By Eric D. Williams The News Tribune
RENTON — They’ve lost four of their last five games and sit tied for last place in the AFC East at 3-5, yet New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie confidently predicted on Thursday that his team will make the playoffs.
The team’s most popular player, backup quarterback Tim Tebow, has been in just 55 plays through eight games, and is not happy with his part-time role. Even more displeased is the team’s fan base, which would like to see Tebow supplant an ineffective Mark Sanchez as the team’s starting quarterback.
The Jets boisterous head coach, Rex Ryan, guaranteed his team would make it to the Super Bowl last season, but they finished out of the playoffs at 8-8.
While Ryan has been more reserved this year, he was voted the most overrated coach in the league in a recent players’ poll conducted by The Sporting News.
Welcome to the travelling circus called the New York Jets, due to arrive at CenturyLink Field Sunday afternoon.
“I look forward to the challenge,” Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson said about playing the most talked about team nationally this season. “I’ve always seen Rex on TV and see how he is. I’ve seen him on ‘Hard Knocks’, and things like that. So I’m kind of excited to play against him. I’m kind of excited to see some of the trash talk that I hear from some of their players, so it should be fun.”
Jets All-Pro center Nick Mangold said you have to have blinders on when playing in the Big Apple.
“You try to focus in and look at the things that you can control, especially classroom, field, and practice time and in the games,” said Mangold. “You just put your mind into doing those things.”
Asked about the constant clamoring to put in Tebow, Ryan also apparently has ear muffs on 24 hours a day.
“I don’t hear very well anyway, so it doesn’t bother me a whole lot,” said Ryan with a chuckle.
While he has not accomplished his Super Bowl prediction, up until this season Ryan’s teams have been mostly successful, advancing to within a game of the Super Bowl twice in his first two years as a head coach.
In four seasons with the Jets, Ryan has compiled a 31-25 record. Known for his fiery nature, Ryan’s developed a reputation for being a players’ coach.
“From the moment Rex entered this building, he’s always had his players’ back,” Mangold said. “And as a player you really appreciate that. You want to go out there, and you don’t want to disappoint him, or prove him wrong.”
Added Seattle return man Leon Washington, who played for Ryan for one season in 2009: “He’s a players’ coach all the way. I remember the meetings before the game on Saturday nights, and how passionate, and how emotional he was before the game. So he’s a players’ coach, so you know when they come, the players will be ready to go out and play for him.”
That said, Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman isn’t buying the hype behind the NFL’s most talked about team.
“It doesn’t make any difference,” Sherman said. “They’re just another team. Big market, small market, there’s a lot of good teams out there. Whether you’re the most talked about or the least talked about, it’s the NFL.”
The injury report for the Seahawks grew on Thursday, as cornerback Richard Sherman (illness) and defensive tackle Greg Scruggs (oblique) were added to the list and did not practice.
In all, Seattle had eight players — six of them starters — sit out practice because of injuries on Thursday.
But receiver Braylon Edwards (knee) returned to practice as a limited participant with the hope of playing against his former team, the New York Jets, on Sunday. Edwards had missed Seattle’s last two games.
Along with Sherman and Scruggs, players sitting out for a second straight day included running back Marshawn Lynch (wrist/back), offensive lineman James Carpenter (concussion), linebacker K.J. Wright (concussion), defensive tackle Clinton McDonald (groin), safety Kam Chancellor (quad) and defensive end Red Bryant (foot).
Defensive tackle Jason Jones (ankle) was a limited participant for a second straight day.
Receiver Doug Baldwin (ankle), offensive guard John Moffitt (knee) and center Max Unger (finger) were full participants.