A look at what's going on around the New York Jets:
1. Counting on Cro a mistake: Todd Bowles faces his first play-him/sit-him decision as a head coach. It involves cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who is listed as questionable for Monday night against the Indianapolis Colts. The smart call here: Sit him. It's not worth the risk. The Jets have ample depth at cornerback, and they need Cromartie for the long haul. Medical experts say even a first-degree knee sprain requires at least two to three weeks for recovery time. This should be a no-brainer. Let the man heal properly.
2. A $3.5 million-a-year punt returner: Yep, that's Jeremy Kerley. His role on offense has all but disappeared, creating questions about his future. I asked Kerley if he wants to be traded, and he replied with the standard line: It hasn't crossed his mind. I believe it has. Who can blame him? He used to be a big part of the offense, and now he's at the bottom of the depth chart.
The Jets should call the Dallas Cowboys to see if they'd be interested. They're hurting at receiver without the injured Dez Bryant, and it would be a homecoming for Kerley, who grew up in Texas and played at TCU. The problem is Kerley's contract. His $2 million base salary is guaranteed. Beyond 2015, he has three years, $9 million remaining on the deal he signed last fall.
3. The new slot receiver is ...: In essence, Kerley has been replaced as the slot receiver by Eric Decker. Yes, Decker. Consider the snap breakdown from the season opener (based on the number of pass routes): Decker 16 in the slot, Quincy Enunwa seven, Chris Owusu four and Marshall two. At 6-foot-3, Decker isn't your typical slot receiver, but it kind of makes sense because he's a crafty route runner with the smarts to find soft spots in underneath coverage.
4. The forgotten men: Will this be the year of the tight end? Maybe, but not for the Jets, that's for sure. Across the league, there were 22 touchdowns by tight ends in Week 1, the most in a week since the merger in 1970. In fact, tight ends scored more than wide receivers (21 touchdowns). Crazy, right? Suffice is to say the stunning trend didn't include the Jets, as they had only one target in the opener. Obviously, their passing attack is built around the receivers, but coordinator Chan Gailey issued a not-so-subtle warning to opponents: Don't sleep on Jeff Cumberland and Kellen Davis.
"Just when you think that we’re not going to throw to them," he said, "that will be the week that we do."
5. Tracking Pryor: There was a lot of talk in the offseason about Calvin Pryor's role in the new defense, how he'd become an impact player in Todd Bowles' system because he'd get the chance to play his natural position, strong safety. Pryor fueled the conversation by expressing his trademark confidence, predicting big things. Well, he got off to a terrific start, recording a team-high nine tackles and forcing a fumble that saved a touchdown. Looks like all that chatter was justified, right? Well, know this:
In Week 1, Pryor played more often outside the box than in the box, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The numbers: 34 snaps at free safety, 20 snaps at strong safety/linebacker. The ratio is more balanced than his rookie year, but it's not like he's been transformed into an every-down "box" safety.
6. Let's play (for) two: Because of the longer PATs, Gailey has placed a greater emphasis on two-point plays in terms of practice and preparation. He said he has more two-point plays in his arsenal than ever before -- two or three different plays in the weekly game plan. It's been quite a long time since the Jets were successful on a two-point play -- 2010, to be exact. Since then, they've gone 0-for-6. The Jets and Kansas City Chiefs are the only teams with an oh-fer since 2011.
7. Quarterback teasers: My former New York Daily News teammate, Gary Myers, has new book on Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, entitled, "Brady vs. Manning: The Untold Story of the Rivalry that Transformed the NFL." It has a lot behind-the-scenes stuff, including instances in which they almost became Jets. Well, kind of.
During the 2000 draft, a Jets' scout named Jesse Kaye implored Bill Parcells to select Brady in the sixth round, according to the book. They already had picked Chad Pennington in the first, so Parcells didn't listen to Kaye and chose a defensive back, Tony Scott. I'd say it worked out rather well for Brady.
Before the '97 draft, Archie Manning called Parcells to gauge his feelings about Peyton. The Jets owned the top pick, and Peyton was deciding whether to enter the draft or stay in school. This was well-documented at the time, but Myers adds a new layer, writing that "the feeling around the league at the time was that Manning would turn pro" if Parcells guaranteed the Mannings he'd pick Peyton. Archie practically begged Parcells for an answer, the book reveals.
"I'm telling you, he's pretty torn," Archie told Parcells. "He'd like to be the first pick in the draft; he's got no problem with New York or the Jets. At the same time, he wants to play his senior year."
We all know how it turned out.