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Michael Lombardi on D&C: Rex Ryan ‘hasn’t been really honest with himself’ about struggling Jets

10.21.11 at 9:27 am ET
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Michael Lombardi

NFL Network columnist Michael Lombardi made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning to discuss news from around the NFL.

Lombardi said there should be concern in New York, where the 3-3 Jets have shown few signs of improvement.

“The Jet team to me is just not an overly talented team, especially on defense,” Lombardi said. “They’re front seven doesn’t have a dominating player that can control the game. And then they have to play great defense, because they don’t want their quarterback to ever affect them in the game. They want to minimize Mark Sanchez‘ effect in the game, so it has to complement their defense. And if their defense can’t stop the run, which they haven’t been able to do all season, and their defense can’t handle some passing games, which they’ll struggle with San Diego this week, I think that’s a concern.”

Asked if the Jets won’t make the playoffs, Lombardi said: “I suspect they really won’t. I think they’re a team that’s kind of built up with this false bravado that they’re the greatest team ever, and I think that Rex [Ryan] hasn’t been really honest with himself. I think when you look at their front seven and you analyze every player, Mike DeVito‘s the best player on their front seven. And last week they finally got him back on the field because New England ran him out of the nickel defense, and [the Jets] came up with a nickel front that puts DeVito back on the field. They’ve got to play that.

“Now, DeVito’s never been the best player on any team he’s played for, going back to high school. But he is on this Jet team right now, and that tells you where they are. Bart Scott‘s not the same player. Guaranteed contract for next season as well. Calvin Pace, not the same player. By the way, guaranteed contract for next season. This Nnamdi Asomugha recruiting process that they got caught up with really has affected the team, because they re-did some contracts that affected them for next year on players that might not be good enough this year.”
Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

On the resurgent Bills: “I’ve been impressed with the Bills. They’ve got that fight in them. They’re a tough, determined team and they don’t go away. The Giant game, they hung in there all the way through. I thought their offensive line would get exposed.

“I think the Bills are going to be just exactly what they are. They’re going to be an 8-8 kind of team, and you’re not going to be able to put them away until the last minute. They’re going to compete every single week. If they go on a three-game losing streak they’re not going to flinch, they going to keep competing. If they go on a three-game losing streak they’re not going to flinch, they going to keep competing. This is just who they are. They’re kind of an overachieving-type team that plays really well and they’ve got a nice little system going for them defensively. [But] they gave up 400 yards at the drop of a hat, and eventually that catches up to you.”

On the Raiders trading two high draft picks to the Bengals for holdout quarterback Carson Palmer: “I don’t think Al [Davis] would have made this deal. He loved to win deals. He was always about, ‘I’ve got to win the deal.’ And he loved Jason Campbell. He resurrected Jason Campbell’s career. Part of that was important to him. So, to pay this price would have been extremely steep.

“They had to pay the price, because Mike Brown wasn’t going to trade him. But I think the desperation element of this is really unique, because the Raiders don’t have any draft picks. They’ve got to hope that their team, it’s really good enough the next two years to carry it over without having a draft to infuse some young talent. And I’m not sure that’s the case. Their defense, as Patriots fans know, wasn’t that impressive. They haven’t been impressive all season. And this offensive line does struggle to pass protect.

“So, Carson better stay healthy. Because if this does work out — and that’s the concern I have: Can Carson Palmer stay healthy when he gets hit a few times, and can he make some plays with his fee that Jason Campbell made when the play broke down?”

On Tim Tebow, who will start at quarterback for the Broncos against the winless Dolphins: “Tebow’s a unique player. He’s more of a single-wing quarterback. And I think if the Broncos run the offense that allows him to be playing in the single wing, I think he can be an effective player for them. He’s never going to be a 60 percent completion thrower. He’s going to be a guy that makes two or three plays in a game. But [with] the lack of Miami’s offensive production, if Tebow scores 14 points or 17 points, they’ve got a chance to win.”

Read More: Al Davis, Bart Scott, Carson Palmer, Jason Campbell Print  |  Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
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