You all know the story by now, Coach Ryan has brought Marty Mornhinweg in to run his offense, pretty much without any influence from him. So, Rex is getting back to his defense, taking more control over the unit as a whole, as well as the primary play calling.
At the end of minicamp last week, Rex spoke with the media about some of his big guys, such as his expectations for Kenrick Ellis:
I was expecting huge things from him last year and I think he was ready to take that step. Then he had, you mentioned the one problem, obviously, over the summer. When he came back, he started out (and) looked great last year in the OTAs. Like I said, I was like, ‘Wow, this guy may end up winning our starting job.’ I was really pleased with him. When he came back in the summer, he wasn’t quite to that level and then he got injured early in the season. He had a little bit of a knee (injury) early in the season. (He) never really hit his stride until late in the year, but again, now is the time for him to step up. I think he understands that the opportunity is right there in front of him and I believe the young man is going to do a tremendous job for us.
Rex is right. He could step up now, after his late season improvement and excel, right along with Mr. Wilkerson.
He also compared Antonio Cromartie’s attitude from his first two seasons with the team to the most recent:
I was pleased with him the first couple of years as well, in fact, last year, obviously making the Pro Bowl, I’m not sure how many corners actually played better than him last year. But I see him taking another step. I don’t think there’s any doubt. I see him taking a step as far as his leadership as well, bringing guys with him. He trains with a bunch of guys. Obviously, the kind of shape he’s in, people will be (saying), “What are you doing? How can you be in that kind of shape?” You don’t want to tell everybody that a lot of that’s God-given. I think he’s just an unusual guy that way. But he does work extremely hard. He’s one of the first guys in the building every day and one of the last to leave, so he is very dedicated. I’ve seen him on the practice field really working at his craft, trying to get better. Sometimes when you get a guy that has played extremely well, obviously a Pro Bowl level, sometimes it’s natural to kind of (think), “Hey I got this figured out.” The great ones, the unusual ones, will try to take it (to) a level even higher, and I see that out of him. I’m always reminded about what Walter Payton said, as great as he was, he was a legendary worker in the offseason, similar to a Jerry Rice. They (asked), “If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?” He said, “I would’ve worked harder.” That’s unbelievable because I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a guy work harder than Walter Payton. But that talks about, really, the unusual guys. There are stars and then there are guys that can play even at a higher level.
Cro will be key, we all know this. One thing is for sure. The Jets defense might step up to at or near the top of the league, a lot faster than anyone expects it to.