Recently, Daily News Jets Reporter Rich Cimini joined us for an online chat where he discussed a wide range of topics, from Herm’s rep around the league to Chad’s shoulder to how the Pats might be vulnerable this season. A big JetNation Family thank you to Rich for his time, candor and great info!
[Jetnation Lounge]: RichCimini has entered at 6:58 pm
[Maxman] 6:59 pm: Hi Rich…thanks for joining us tonight.
[TomShane] 6:59 pm: Well folks, let’s all welcome Rich Cimini, who has joined us tonight for a chat
[TomShane] 6:59 pm: We’ll give him a sec to get the options sorted out
[RichCimini] 6:59 pm: My pleasure to be here. All good to talk Jets football
[TomShane] 6:59 pm: Thanks again Rich
[RichCimini] 6:59 pm: Fire away whenever ready
[TomShane] 7:00 pm: We have a bunch of questions for you tonight, so why don’t we get started
[RichCimini] 7:00 pm: Let’s get started
[TomShane] 7:00 pm: Rich, one question that concerns Jets fans is the coverage of the Jets overall. As we
moved from Leon to Woody, what has changed as far as your job goes?
[TomShane] 7:01 pm: Is it harder? Better? Are these the same old Jets?
[RichCimini] 7:02 pm: That’s a question I’ve never considered before. Really, I don’t think there’s much difference. As you know, both are reticent owners when it comes to dealing with the media. It would’ve been a dramatic change if, say, the jets went from hess to Jerry Jones. Woody and Leon were — are– quiet and dignified men.
[TomShane] 7:03 pm: Is that a good thing, per se? Is Woody as hands-off as Leon was perceived to be then?
[RichCimini] 7:05 pm: Noooo. Woody isn’t as hands-off as people might think. He’s very involved, although I’m sure he doesn’t make any football decisions. He’s at the complex an awful lot (Hess never was) and keeps a close eye on things. One difference, now that I think about the original question: The Jets might have more of a corporate
atmosphere now than when Hess was the boss. Back then, it was more family-oriented — some might say a
dysfunctional family, but that it was family nonetheless.
[TomShane] 7:06 pm: If I can ask a question about one of your past articles, the famed “priveleges” piece where you took Chad Pennington to task for his odd comments about it being a “privelege to cover the Jets,” you still take alot of criticism for that even today. What would you say to fans who take issue with that piece?
[RichCimini] 7:09 pm: Oh, boy, I knew that was coming. First of all, I think that whole Chad incident got blown way out of proportion. Yes, it’s newsworthy when a QB doesn’t take questions after a game, especially a great game, but the story got way too much play. Part of that was Chad’s fault, and I think he admitted he handled it poorly. As for
the “priveleges” piece, I was just trying to be funny, I really was. Obviously, some people didn’t “get” my sarcasm. Believe me, I do appreciate my job.
[RichCimini] 7:09 pm: I realize Im lucky to be doing what I’m doing. I never meant to stir it up with that piece. I just wanted to make light of a situation that I think had gotten a little out of control.
[TomShane] 7:09 pm: Excellent
[TomShane] 7:10 pm: Has Chad been an easy interview in his time here? He seems to handle things well, but is that really the case?
[RichCimini] 7:12 pm: The ironic part of the whole Chad controversy is that he’s usually one of the nicest, most cooperative players on the team. Here’s a guy who agreed to talk to me on his cell phone as he was driving back from his father in law’s funeral, about a week after he broke his wrist. I waited a week after the funeral to make the call, and I asked him if it was OK to talk, and he was more than willing. That was a classy move.
[TomShane] 7:14 pm: What about Chad’s health concerns. Are there any grumblings in the organization about his ability to stay healthy, or are they absolutely sure that he’s “the guy” They certainly gave him the money, but is there any thought that he may not be the answer?
[RichCimini] 7:16 pm: No, he’s the guy — and there are 64 million reasons to prove it. I think the organization sees his injuries as flukey kind of injuries. I don’t think they’re worried — yet. That said, if he keeps having these “fluke” injuries, then I think it’s time to get worried. One more significant injury and the “durability” issue will come up big-time.
[Maxman] 7:17 pm: I think the fans sense the durability as a concern already. Any sign that Chad is concerned himself about making it through a full season?
[RichCimini] 7:19 pm: If he is concerned, he does a good job of hiding it. Bottom line: He has to be there for 16 games. Until he is, he can’t be considered an elite QB.
[TomShane] 7:19 pm: That’s tough, because it seems without Chad, we’re doomed. Will he be ready for the
regular season? It seems the Jets organization wasn’t especially truthful or forthcoming about his labrum tear, etc, calling it a “bruise” and letting him play an extra week with what could have been a career threatening injury. Should we believe them now when they say he’s fine and will be back throwing?
[Maxman] 7:19 pm: Thanks Rich. Tom has another question.
[RichCimini] 7:21 pm: Yes, he will be ready for the regular season.There’s no doubt in my mind — unless he gets hurt again in the preseason. When it comes to the team’s spin on this, you obviously have to take everything with a grain of salt. They lied once about it (I think they did it to protect Chad) and they’re being especially paranoid about commenting on his rehab. Even his teammates are afraid to talk about it off the record. As a reporter, that always
makes you a little suspicious.
[Maxman] 7:22 pm: Rich do you think the Jets risk long term injury to Chad by letting him play last season?
[RichCimini] 7:23 pm: No, I don’t. I’ve talked to medical people about it and they say the risk was very, very minimal. I believe it became a pain-tolerance issue and, obviously, Chad was willing to go forward.
[JonEJet] 7:24 pm: Screw it, I have to throw out the name….John Abraham……what’s the deal. In your opinion could the guy go, or was he spineless
[TomShane] 7:24 pm: This question is from PatsFanTx: “Rich, would you have rushed in to give Chad the big dollars despite the health concerns and despite the fact that Chad hasn’t played particularly well in big spots i.e. Oakland, NE, Pitt? Or do you attribute those failures to the horrid play-calling of former OC Paul Hackett?”
[RichCimini] 7:26 pm: I’ll tackle the Abraham question first. The man couldn’t play. The Jets (Herm) did him a disservice by announcing that John was ready to play in the SD game. John did himself a disservice with those ill-advised comments about his impending free agency. The guy is not a dog…but he’s injury prone, and that is a concern for the Jets
[TomShane] 7:26 pm: OK guys, we’re going to open it up here. PM me to get your order so we can keep it
organized and not use up too much of Rich’s time
[R44] 7:27 pm: How concerned are the Jets due the lack of depth at the guard postion…Right now, Yovanavits and 2 undrafted (King & Nerys) provide the only depth.
[RichCimini] 7:27 pm: They have Goodwin and I believe Ethan Brooks, whom they just signed, can play guard, too.
[4HCrew] 7:28 pm: Rich what do you think the NFL’s perception of Herman Edwards as a coach?
[RichCimini] 7:30 pm: The man has made the playoffs 3 out of 4 years; that immediately commands respect. I think he still has a rep for being a “soft” coach. His clock management problems are widely known. But he’s a very popular coach. Heck, even belichick likes him a lot.
[TomShane] 7:30 pm: How about Herm, Rich? The guy has some incredible blunders on game day and he
seems to be made of Teflon. Will this guy EVER be on the hot seat? He’s a .500 coach and Jets fans act like he’s won 5 rings sometimes
[TomShane] 7:31 pm: I’m thinking of the Ravens debacle, the Pitt playoff game where he asked Doug Brien to kick from long range in a clutch spot, etc.
[4HCrew] 7:31 pm: Especially with the addition of Heimerdinger he should be exempt of excuses
[RichCimini] 7:32 pm: Made of Teflon? I disagree with that. He has taken a lot of heat for his game-day mistakes. Have you forgotten about the Ravens game? The Steelers game? He got hammered for that stuff.
[Maxman] 7:32 pm: Rich do you think Herm has what it takes to bring the Jets a championship?
[RichCimini] 7:33 pm: Dinger, I believe, will cure some of the clock blunders. He’s a proven coordinator. Plus one thing people might not know: He’s going to be on the field, so the chain of communication won;t be as long and #$%^&* ersome as it was with Hackett and his Henchmen,
[TomShane] 7:34 pm: Any tears at Weeb Ewbank Hall over Hackett’s leaving?
[RichCimini] 7:34 pm: Well, he got them to within inches of the AFC title game. Win a championship? Wow, tough question. I think he’s an excellent leader, but you’d like to see more effectiveness on the sideline. It takes luck, too.
[mudcat21] 7:35 pm: The Jets appear stacked at RB position. They usually keep only 4. Martin, Blaylock, Sowell, Houston, and Askew. You think Askew finally gets cut?
[TomShane] 7:35 pm: Will that effectiveness come from Dinger ?
[RichCimini] 7:35 pm: I think the players threw a party when Hackett left.
[RichCimini] 7:36 pm: Askew won’t get cut. Don’t be shocked if he pushes Sowell. The Jets want more speed on the field and Sowell isn’t a fast guy
[AirForceJetFan] 7:36 pm: How confident do the Jets seem in Adrian Jones at OT and how much progress did he make throughout the course of last season?
[RichCimini] 7:38 pm: Bradway is extremely confident in Jones. I think they’re putting a lot of faith in Doug Marrone, their OL coach. I think Doug is a terrific coach and he can mold Jones into a capable starter. The Jets like to compare it to the year Kareem started in his second year. One difference: Kareem was a 4-year starter at Penn State; Adrian has only 1 year of OL under his belt. Should be interesting.
[JonEJet] 7:38 pm: Rich…Have you been impressed with Dinger thusfar, and do you think Lavernaeus can dominate once again in his offense. Thanks Rich
[RichCimini] 7:39 pm: Dinger is a Donnie Henderson clone, except on offense. Very intense. Yells a lot. Doesn’t care who he pisses off. Maybe he can bring some of that Henderson-like ‘tude to the offense. Coles, I think, will have an 80, 90 catch season — if the toe is ok, and it seems to be.
[TaborJet] 7:40 pm: Hey Rich. Woody Johnson thought the West Side Stadium was a done deal. Did he see this latest setback coming? What is his next course of action? And how realistic are the chances that it gets built?
[Jets2k5] 7:40 pm: Does McCariens have a break out year, under Dinger’s system?
[Savage69] 7:40 pm: Rich..What do you think about Mark Cannizzaro joining the Jetinsider Staff??
[RichCimini] 7:40 pm: the play people remember about Jones was him whiffing on Freeney in the preseason. A lot of guys struggle against Dwight.
[spjets] 7:40 pm: lol..savage
[mudcat21] 7:41 pm: The Jets gave Coles more money when they traded for him without adding additional years or helping the salary cap. How has this impacted the team, particularly Johnny Abe and Sowell?
[RichCimini] 7:41 pm: Interesting note on Justin; still looking for his first 100-yard receiving game in his career. I have a feeling he gets it this year.
[TomShane] 7:42 pm: Rich, can you shed any light on the stadium deal ? Any chance Woody gives up on the
West Side now?
[RichCimini] 7:42 pm: Yes, I heard Mark is joining Jets Insider. The more you can do … I hope it takes time away from his golf game because he always kicks my a$$.
[R44] 7:42 pm: Having covered the AFC South for a premium website, I know Dinger loves tall WR’s….but the Jets backups are mostly shorter players. Will the team attempt to sign a tall veteran for depth (i.e Tai Streets) ordo you
see a young, undrafted type catching the teams eye and making the roster?
[spjets] 7:43 pm: great question44
[RichCimini] 7:44 pm: I believe the Jets started a dangerous precedent by giving Coles more money. I don’t think Woody was too high on that, but his football people convinced him it was the right thing to do. Yes, I do think it will have an impact on other players, particularly Abe
[TomShane] 7:45 pm: To get back to the Stadium, Rich
[RichCimini] 7:45 pm: I don’t think the Jets will sign any tall WRs. Cotchery is only 6-0 or 6-1, but he’s pretty thick and jumps very well. Keep your eye on Chas Gessner; he ‘s a sleeper. And he’s 6-4.
[TomShane] 7:45 pm: Sorry. Gessner was with the Pats last season, if I remember right.
[TomShane] 7:46 pm: As for the Pats, will the losses of Crennel and Weis hurt them severely? Are we closer to beating them now more than ever?
[RichCimini] 7:46 pm: Ultimately, the Jets will end up co-owning the Meadowlands with the Giants. I don’t know why they don’t go to Queens. Well, I take that back. I think Woody doesn’t want to alienate the NJ corporations by jumping to Queens. It’s all about luxury suites, and he might lose his jersey business if he jumps 2 rivers.
[TomShane] 7:47 pm: That is awful. Doesn’t that make them look like a lesser organization around the league?
[R44] 7:47 pm: TS, he was cut by the Patriots, spent 2004 on the Jets practice squad, so Herm knows him well
[TomShane] 7:47 pm: Thanks Rigs!
[RichCimini] 7:48 pm: The Pats are definitely vulnerable. They won’t miss Romeo as much as Weis. Brady will really miss CHarlie. That said, they still have a great coach, great QB, excellent RB, good receivers and a TE (Watson) who will surprise a lot of people.
[TomShane] 7:48 pm: Is Belichick calling his own plays next year?
[Maxman] 7:48 pm: Vinny025 you are next up.
[RichCimini] 7:49 pm: Every team is out for the luxury-suite business. That’s how the teams fill their pockets. Now if the NFL changes its revenue sharing formula, ooh, boy, Woody’s dough could be financing new concessions stands at the Cardinals’ new stadium in Arizona.
[RichCimini] 7:49 pm: Yes, Dr. Bill (he got an honorary degree from his alma mater) will be calling plays.
[mudcat21] 7:50 pm: Rich, do you think we are a better team now than after the season ended? What is your prediction on our record next year.
[RichCimini] 7:51 pm: No, I can’t say this is a better team. Better at WR (coles over Moss) and slightly better at TE (Jolley over Becht), but they’re worse at RT and NT. They also don’t have a good short-yardage back, so they’ll miss Jordan. The keys: Chad’s health and Dinger. Dinger could be the X factor. If he has a Henderson-like impact, the
team’s potential is unlimited.
[Maxman] 7:52 pm: From Vinny025: How will Blaylock fare this year with Dinger as OC. How many touches will he
[R44] 7:53 pm: Perhaps the most knowledgeable Jets fan on the Net is a fellow that goes by the name GJ&H….He is very high on a former AFL star (NY Dragons) named Tim McGill, who is staring in NFL Europe? Is McGill a factor just due to his size (6-2,330)?
[RichCimini] 7:53 pm: Blaylock, I believe, will experience the LaMont syndrome. They’ll promise him X number of carries, but when they get into the heat of battle, it’ll be No. 28. Blaylock has good speed but he’s not a very insintcive runner. He relies a lot on the OL and he had a great one in KC
[Maxman] 7:53 pm: The Lamont Syndrome, I like it. Thanks Rich.
[RichCimini] 7:54 pm: I’d be lying if I said I knew much about McGill. all i know is that dude is large — at least he looks that way when I see him in the locker room. I don’t know if he’ll have a role
[Maxman] 7:55 pm: 4h is up next.
[4HCrew] 7:55 pm: Rich what do you think will happen with the safety position next to Coleman? what is the deal with McGraw?
[RichCimini] 7:57 pm: I think they’re going to be holding open auditions there. They’ve got Tongue, McGraw, Rhodes and Maddox. McGraw can’t stay healthy, which I think has dimmed his star in the eyes of the organization. Best bet: Tongue gets the early lead, Rhodes makes a strong push. The players are buzzing about Rhodes. Of course, they’re
not in pads yet.
[jetheelz] 7:57 pm: Rich, how do you think Jonathan Vilma is going to do this year compared to last, and what kind of preparations is he making to improve on his DROY season?
[4HCrew] 7:57 pm: what about Rashard Washington?
[AirForceJetFan] 7:57 pm: Rich, what did you think about the Lamont Jordan situation as a whole. He was definitely a player that generated a lot of talk on Jets message boards. Was he right to be upset with the coaching staff and how good do you think he’ll be in Oakland?
[RichCimini] 7:59 pm: Vilma is really emerging as a leader this offseason, and I think that will carry over to the field. I think he’s a Pro Bowl talent, butthe loss of Fergy could have a negative effect on him. Jon needs a widebody to tie up blockers. I don’t know if Legree and pouha can do that on a consistent basis
[RichCimini] 7:59 pm: Sorry, I forgot about Washington. He’s in the mix, too
[Boozinboozer] 8:00 pm: Rich, Is the coaching staff really that high on Adrian Jones? Is this a smokescreen while
they have their eye on someone else getting cut?
[RichCimini] 8:00 pm: The Lamont situation got blown way out of proportion. Never has a backup RB generated so much fanfare. He’s a terrific talent, but let’s see how he handles 25 carries a week. Some people close to the team think he may suffer without Curtis’ mentoring.
[mudcat21] 8:00 pm: What’s the story with access by the press to the facilities and team? Was the press allowed in to watch the OTA’s? If yes, then who looked good, any sleepers? Is it Hermie or Bradway behind the limited access?
[RichCimini] 8:01 pm: Well, I do know they’re interested in Gragg. They also have Brooks. But, yes, they’re very high on Jones. No smokescreen
[R44] 8:01 pm: After the kid allocated by the Houston Texans, it was an awful season for NFL Europe QB’s…….Kevin Eakin from Fordham, stats wise, may’ve been the next bext QB in NFLe…..Does he have any shot at all to make the Jets? Does his fine season in Europe give a great at the practice squad?
[TomShane] 8:02 pm: We’re going to wind it down guys. Maybe two more questions.
[RichCimini] 8:03 pm: No, we weren’t allowed to watch the OTA.s It was the same way last year. The organization had an about-face with their media policy after the 6-10 debacle. I think they saw Belichick’s MO in New England and are trying to emulate that.
[JonEJet] 8:03 pm: Rich, again thank you for your time, I have to ask you about Wayne Chrebet. The player obviosly is one of the most loved players in Jets history. I s this one last hurrah? Did the team do him a favor for all the years by not releasing him, or is thee a year or 2 left in that Melon of his??
[RichCimini] 8:04 pm: Im hearing really good things about Eakin. He could push Bollinger for No. 3. Remember this: Bollinger was a Hackett guy all the way. Dinger may have a different opinion.
[PatsFanTX] 8:04 pm: Rich, In your opinion, will Dwayne Robertson develop into the consistent, dominate, All-Pro player that the Jets gave up two 1st rounders and a 4th to acquire?
[RichCimini] 8:06 pm: Honestly, I thought Wayne was going to retire after the season. I think the departure of Hackett, and arrival of Dinger, has really brought out a spark in Wayne. I think, too, he really wants to overtake Maynard for career receptions. I don’t think he can make it, but why not try? Bottom line, I think Wayne just wants a
[RichCimini] 8:06 pm: To be an All-Pro, Dewayne has to develop more as a pass rusher. He has to do a better job of reading schemes and using his hands. The ability is there; it’s just a matter of being consistent.
[TomShane] 8:07 pm: OK guys, last question of the night here, and thanks again for everybody coming, and thanks to Rich. ..Rich, what’s the deal with Mawae? Will you guys be sending Xmas cards this year?
[RichCimini] 8:09 pm: I knew you weren’t going to let me off without a Mawae question. I don’t know where he’s coming from on this one. When a union leader goes on a web site (an NFLPA website, no less) and blasts the OTA concept, I think it’s news. I tried to get Kevin for comment, but he didn’t return a call. Instead , he went back to the website and ripped me. I think he realized he put his foot in mouth and tried to make me look like the bad guy.
[Maxman] 8:09 pm: Rich last thing will his relationship with reporters in general be changed because of this?
[RichCimini] 8:10 pm: Sorry to be long winded. It was my pleasure to chat with you guys. Jets fans are genuinely passionate, and as a writer, it’s always good to know thatpeople are interested in what you put in the paper. The questions were great, and I hope to do it again some time. Good night.
[TomShane] 8:10 pm: Thanks to Rich for coming out. Excellent job and I’d imagine not an easy thing to do.
[RichCimini] 8:11 pm: No, I really liked it. I just wish I could type faster.
[Maxman] 8:11 pm: Rich we do appreciate your time! Thanks.
[TomShane] 8:11 pm: Rich, any time you want to stop by, feel free. You’re always welcome at JetNation, my
[RichCimini] 8:11 pm: See you guys at camp.