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Florio on D&C: Jets might not even make playoffs

08.03.10 at 11:16 am ET
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Profootballtalk.com founder Mike Florio joined the Dennis & Callahan show Tuesday morning to discuss the extremely competitive AFC East, why the Jets may not be as good as everyone is predicting, and why the Patriots need to sign Tom Brady.

Regarding the Jets, he explained,  “I just think that it’s going to be a very tall order for the New York Jets to be competitive this year. They welcomed the bull’s-eye that’s on their back, and I don’t know if that’s going to play that well.”

Following are highlights of the interview. To hear the full interview visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Where do you see the Jets finishing this season?

I think they’ll have a very difficult season. I just don’t know that they planned very well how this was going to play out. They finished strong last year, and were just kind of in the right place at the right time. They beat a Colts team that wasn’t trying to win, they beat the Bengals back-to-back, that pretty much everyone pretty much everyone figured out by the end of the season. They won in San Diego in the playoffs, who hasn’t done that? And now all of a sudden they’re a great team, and they go out and bring in a bunch of veteran players with big personalities who may or may not jell.

They have a guy in camp, or not in camp [Darrelle Revis], who wants more money. I just think that it’s going to be a very tall order for the New York Jets to be competitive this year. They welcomed the bulls-eye that’s on their back, and I don’t know if that’s going to play that well. They were a mediocre team in November last year and into December. I think there’s a good chance they don’t even make the playoffs.

What is the possibility of Aaron Shobel joining the Patriots?

It’s very confusing right now. And I think that haze of confusion is the overall atmosphere in Buffalo at this point. The general manager [of the Bills] Buddy Nix said they are not going to let him go, even though there was a report that the Bills were going to release him. They could be trying to trade him, it’s been a big subject over the offseason, will he or won’t he retire. The Texans are interested.

I think maybe what’s going on is that the Bills are trying to get some value, instead of just walking away and cutting him. If he retires then they still hold his rights. If they trade him then they get something for him. If they cut him, he becomes eligible at that point to sign with any other team. It looks like maybe they figured out that’s what he’s up to. And maybe he’s trying to pull a Brett Favre here, get out of Buffalo and go play for a contender. And that’s only going to happen if there’s a draft pick or a player who changes hands.

What teams will surprise and disappoint this season?

The Texans have that feel that they’re due to really become a playoff contender this year. They haven’t made it to the postseason in what ‘€” eight, nine NFL seasons since joining in 2002. That’s the longest wait I think any team has had in the post-merger era to get to the postseason. That wouldn’t really be a surprise.

I think a surprise team out there that no one is really talking about is the Cleveland Browns. They finished strong last year with four straight wins. In any other year, the media would lock onto a team like the Browns and say, “Hey, you finished with four wins in bad circumstances, you’re going to be good next year.” The problem is, they’ve had a dramatic overhaul at quarterback, which makes continuity a little more difficult. I wouldn’t write off the Browns at this point, at least being competitive.

A team I think a team to watch to really fade, and no one really expects the Denver Broncos to be a high-end contender. I think people think they can do like they did last year, maybe give the Chargers a run for their money. [The Broncos] finished 2-8 last year. A lot of uncertainty, a lot of confusion. Mike Nolan, who did a great job with that defense last year, he’s gone. I think the Broncos could have a very difficult year. They’ve got the Chiefs and Raiders they can try and beat up on, so maybe they won’t be 4-12. But, I think anyone who thinks the Broncos are going to get back to what they’re were under Mike Shanahan, in Year 2 of Josh McDaniels‘ tenure, I think that may be a little bit of a stretch.

Why didn’t the the Redskins cut Albert Haynesworth?

Well, we’ll never get an answer from the Redskins, at least a straight answer. We’ll get a lot of Mike Shanahan talking in circles if he’s ever asked that question, if he even tries to answer. But, there’s so many things the Redskins have done wrong here. They never should have signed the guy in the first place. I think anybody with any amount of football sense who was watching what Haynesworth was doing in 2007 and 2008 should realize this  guy was playing hard because he wanted to get paid. And once he gets paid he’ll go the other way, just like he did the first four or five years of his career.

And then when Shanahan comes in, he has the bright idea to switch from a 4-3 [defensive alignment] to a 3-4. The defense was fine in Washington. The offense was the problem. Why do you switch to a 3-4 if you don’t have the personnel to play a 3-4, and if your key defensive lineman doesn’t want to be involved in the 3-4 defense?

And they still had a way out after that, just don’t pay him the $21 million. Cut him, trade him, nobody would have picked up that contract. Just cut the guy, tell him to get lost. Now, they’re stuck in a mess, Shanahan’s rubbing his nose in it. Haynesworth has figured, “Hey I don’t have to practice if I don’t pass this test, I’m just going to say my knee hurts.” How do you get out of this now if your Shanahan? There’s no god way out of this maze.

How do the Brady/Manning contracts work out?

Well, first of all, I don’t buy it. Any time one of these teams says that can’t sign their key player, because we don’t know what the new rules are going to be, that’s bologna. The St. Louis Rams gave $50 million guaranteed to a guy that has never worn a Rams helmet in a game before. They didn’t have any hesitation about not knowing what the rules are going to be in 2010, 2011. So, if Sam Bradford gets $50 million guaranteed, how do you not sign Peyton Manning? How do you not sign Tom Brady? I don’t buy it.

I think that, whether it’s collusion or not, there’s something going on where the teams don’t want to pay players. And I think when it came down to the rookies, they realized if we drag our feet with the first-round pick, it will be obvious there is collusion. So, they had to pay those rookie first-rounders what they pay them every year. I think that they just need to sign Brady in New England, they need to sign Manning in Indianapolis. Who knows how it’s going to play out?

It would be smart for the Patriots to sign [Brady] before Peyton Manning get his money, because Peyton Manning is going to get top, top dollar. You don’t want him setting the ceiling before you do your deal with Brady. But I still think it’s going to take a lot more money than Bob Kraft wants to pay to get Tom Brady locked up now. But I think there’s an opportunity to do it, because Tom Brady recognizes, “Look, I’ve got to get through 2010 with the injury risk on my shoulders. And if I have another torn ACL or another serious injury, I’m not going to be nearly as attractive to my current team or some other team in February or March of 2011.” So, I think now is the time for the Patriots to make it happen. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t, but it’s going to take more money than Bob Kraft wants to pay.

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