Sunday notes: Jets 'steering' themselves

A look at what's happening around the New York Jets:

1. Life after Holmes: The Jets are into their third season without permanent captains -- such is the legacy of Santonio Holmes, who returns Monday night -- but that doesn't mean the team lacks leaders. It has the "Steering Committee," 10 veteran players representing each position group. It doesn't meet on a regular basis, only when necessary. The committee is a conduit between the players and Rex Ryan. It tackles team-related issues and, yes, it has a fine system. Players can be fined for showing up late for a meeting, missing a weight-lifting session or skipping a rehab appointment with the trainer. The council focuses on Monday-to-Saturday discipline, leaving Sundays for the NFL. They won't say what they do with the money that is collected.

"It's done wonders for us as a team," said committee member Willie Colon, claiming the "discipline level" has improved from last season. "It's not a dictatorship, it's not a Communist-type thing. It's all about, 'Hey, you're a Jet, and we want you to be a Jet on and off the field.' When you're not, you hear about it."

It's a shame the Jets don't have captains anymore, but we all know Ryan abolished the time-honored tradition after the 2011 season, when Holmes -- one of his captains -- went on a power trip and became a disruptive influence in the locker room. Since then, Ryan has named game captains, making selections based on the opponent and the location -- i.e. players facing their former team or playing in their hometown. Sometimes, he'll pick a player for motivational reasons. The Jets are among a handful of teams that don't have permanent captains, meaning no players with a "C" on their chest.

Interestingly, Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman announced at the start of the season that he, too, was switching to weekly captains. That came two weeks after they signed Holmes. Hmmm.

2. The 'What-if?' Bowl: The Bears' two biggest stars -- quarterback Jay Cutler and wide receiver Brandon Marshall -- were once players on the Jets' radar, back in the Mike Tannenbaum days. Before the 2008 season, the Jets explored the possibility of acquiring Cutler from the Denver Broncos. They weren't excited about Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens, so Tannenbaum reached out to the Broncos, quickly discovering that Denver wasn't going to trade Cutler to an AFC team. The Bears swooped in and made the blockbuster trade. The Jets ended up trading for some guy named Favre.

Before the 2009 season, the Jets tried to pry Marshall away from the Broncos, initiating talks at the spring league meetings. They were persistent, continuing their efforts all the way to the end of the preseason. The Broncos wanted David Harris in return, and the Jets -- with the defensive-minded Ryan in his first season -- didn't want to part with the young linebacker. The following offseason, they addressed the receiver need, trading for Holmes.

So, in a roundabout way, can we say the Jets still would have captains if they agreed to trade Harris?

3. 'What-if?' Bowl II: It didn't generate much buzz, but the Jets had eyes for Bears defensive end Jared Allen last offseason. During free agency, Ryan placed a call to Allen, one of the most prolific sack artists in history. The Jets had a strong connection to Allen -- defensive line coach Karl Dunbar, who coached Allen with the Minnesota Vikings. That connection, however, wasn't enough to overcome the money issue. The frugal Jets weren't willing to go anywhere near the four-year, $32 million deal he received from the Bears. The Jets ended up finding a veteran pass rusher on the eve of training camp, Jason Babin, who signed for two years, $3.25 million.

You can't blame the Jets for taking a pass on Allen, 32, who is off to a slow start, but you can blame them for missing the boat on Alshon Jeffery. They traded up for a wide receiver in the second round of the 2012 draft, but they preferred Stephen Hill over Jeffery, who went two spots later to the Bears. Oops.

4. No timeouts on timeout process: Despite last week's gaffe in Green Bay, Ryan said he hasn't made any changes to his sideline operation. He noted one aspect that hadn't been previously mentioned: He relies on the coaches in the press box to alert him if offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg can't get word to him on the sideline that he wants a timeout, as was the case last Sunday. Obviously, that system failed because Ryan had no idea Mornhinweg wanted a timeout.

Here's the bottom line: Regardless of the system, these glitches will happen as long as you have two "heads" coaching the team on game day, Ryan and Mornhinweg.

5. Ed's words of wisdom: Safety Ed Reed took a lot of grief from fans and media during his seven-game run with the team last season, but you have to give him credit for this: Off the field, the future Hall of Famer made a lasting impact on many players. Since then, a few defensive backs have remarked how much they learned from Reed in the film room, but his reach extended beyond the secondary. Linebacker Demario Davis mentioned Reed this week when discussing his improved play. He said he learned "tendencies and habits" while breaking down film with Reed.

Davis said Reed's teachings helped him last week in Green Bay -- specifically, on his fourth-quarter sack. Initially, he dropped into pass coverage, but he noticed from Aaron Rodgers' "mannerisms" that the Packers' quarterback was going to hold the ball longer than usual and was prepared to improvise by playing "backyard football" -- something Davis picked up on film. His eyes flashed to the defensive line, where he noticed teammates being double teamed. He processed the information in a split second and decided to blitz, abandoning his pass-coverage assignment. It was so Reed -- a player jumping off the script to make an instinctive play.

"That's what Ed taught me," Davis said. "If you see something on film, just trust it in the game."

6. The Curse of Vlad: The Jets' best left guard since Alan Faneca is now a member of the Bears -- Matt Slauson. You might say the left-guard position has been an issue since the surprising release of Faneca in 2010. That year, they used a second-round pick on Vladimir Ducasse, thinking he'd step in for Faneca, but he lost a competition to Slauson. Ducasse failed to beat out Slauson in 2011 and 2012, finally getting the job last season by default. That lasted four games. In came Brian Winters, who has struggled in many of his 14 starts. He was tossed around last week by Packers defensive tackle Mike Daniels. A couple of more games like that, and they might have to consider Oday Aboushi.

7. We hardly knew ye: Quarterback Tajh Boyd, cut in the preseason, has signed with the Florida Blacktips of the FXFL, a developmental league. That was a bad draft pick by the Jets -- specifically, Ryan, who lobbied for the former Clemson star. Boyd is one of only five 2014 sixth-round picks (out of 39) no longer active in the NFL, according to pro-football-reference.com.

8. Turnover shortage: The Jets have only one takeaway in two games, and that was a gift -- a botched snap by the Packers. That the Jets recovered the ball was a small miracle. Over the past 18 games, they've forced 22 fumbles, recovering only three. How is that possible? You have to figure there's a 50-50 chance on every fumble, right?