Putting Antonio Cromartie, not Darrelle Revis, on Anquan Boldin, was Rex Ryan’s biggest blunder

Everybody should hold out, skip training camp, wait for the coach to come begging at his door to sign a contract for $32 million guaranteed. Clearly, that is the proper way to prepare for an NFL season. Because Darrelle Revis was the only Jet Monday night who knew how to play cornerback. There was no rust on his wheels, not even a moment of confusion blending back into his old/new team. Revis cut off half the field on the Ravens, just by his very existence. Wherever Revis went, the Ravens were sure not to follow. And when they dared to challenge him, they were luckless. "I figured they'd come at me," Revis said. "They did a couple of times, but nothing happened." The other corners? Not so good, in a disheartening 10-9 Jet defeat. Antonio Cromartie was burned by Anquan Boldin, time and again. Cromartie tried to play bump-and-run coverage, and was flagged three times for banging and holding too much. Kyle Wilson was nearly as unreliable in this flag-ridden, offense-challenged game. Which meant that Rex Ryan should have kept Revis on Boldin, the way the Jets always did against an opponent's best receiver all last season. That didn't happen. Revis stayed on his side for the first half, didn't often move on Bolden. And so Joe Flacco had a field day on third downs, on the biggest plays of the game. It was a matter of trust, and Ryan wasn't ready to believe that Revis was in solid physical shape, after his absence. Another lesson learned: The coach must always recognize when he has a great thing going for him. "I felt real good. I told you guys I was working out," Revis said. "But this week, they didn't want to put too much on my plate." Once again, we witnessed the unimportance of a preseason in preparing a player for the real thing. If recent years have shown us anything, it is that smart, veteran NFL players require minimal summer training camp. In fact, there seems to be solid evidence that most players should probably skip the exhibition season Continue Reading

Jets still eye Cardinals’ Anquan Boldin as WRs at draft are questions marks

For a coach whose receiving corps consists of Jerricho Cotchery and a bunch of question marks, Rex Ryan doesn't sound like he's ready to panic. He paints a bright picture, describing Brad Smith as "one of the scariest athletes in the league" and calling David Clowney the biggest surprise of the offseason. To paraphrase Shakespeare, he doth praise too much. Can anyone smell a smoke screen? Truth is, the Jets are determined to upgrade the position this weekend, which explains their interest in the Cardinals' Anquan Boldin, who is on the trading block because of a contract dispute. GM Mike Tannenbaum is quietly monitoring the situation, according to league sources, as are several other teams. "New York would love this guy," said former Jets and Cards wide receiver Rob Moore, who covers the Cards as a radio analyst. "He plays like a linebacker and has the intellect of a quarterback. He'd be great for a young quarterback. I hear about Braylon Edwards and (Chad Ocho Cinco) being available, but they're not even close to Anquan." If they can't make a deal with the Cards, who are reportedly seeking first- and third-round picks, the Jets will look to Saturday's draft to find a replacement for Laveranues Coles. Rarely do rookie receivers make an impact. Since 2000, only three rookies have had 1,000-yard seasons - Boldin, Michael Clayton (Bucs) and Marques Colston (Saints). Assuming Michael Crabtree (Texas Tech) and Jeremy Maclin (Missouri) are gone by the 17th pick, the Jets will be choosing from a second tier that includes Darrius Heyward-Bey (Maryland), Percy Harvin (Florida) and Hakeem Nicks (North Carolina). But there's a concern with each player, and that will make the Jets think twice about picking a receiver at 17. Harvin is one of the biggest enigmas in the draft. He's a home-run threat every time he touches the ball, exactly what the Jets need, but he has a history of erratic behavior on the field and he reportedly tested positive for marijuana at the Continue Reading

Jets safety Eric Smith appealing suspension for hit on Anquan Boldin

New York Jets safety Eric Smith appealed his one-game suspension and $50,000 fine by the NFL for his helmet-to-helmet hit last week on Arizona receiver Anquan Boldin. Coach Eric Mangini said Smith was going through the appeal process Monday and a ruling was expected later in the day or Tuesday. "Nothing has been finalized with that yet," Mangini said. "It still has to go through the appeal process." The league suspended Smith last Monday for committing a flagrant violation of player safety rules in New York's 56-35 win Sept. 28. In a statement, the NFL said Boldin was in a defenseless position when contact was made. Smith, a starter in his third season with the Jets, has insisted there was no malicious intent on his part. If the suspension is upheld, Smith would have to sit out the Jets' game Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. Smith wasn't in the locker room during media availability Monday, and wasn't seen at practice during the half-hour the media are allowed to watch. With 27 seconds remaining and the Jets leading big, Boldin tried to catch a pass from Kurt Warner in the end zone, but was hit in the back by Kerry Rhodes. As Boldin was falling forward, he then took a shot to his helmet from Smith. After being worked on for several minutes, Boldin was immobilized and placed on a stretcher before he was carted off the field. Boldin missed the Cardinals' game Sunday against Buffalo and is out indefinitely after having surgery to repair a fractured sinus. Smith was briefly knocked unconscious by the hit and felt groggy afterward. Mangini expects Smith to be able to play in his next game, whether that's against the Bengals this weekend or at Oakland the following weekend. "I don't anticipate any medical issues in terms of him playing," Mangini said. "It would be more suspension-based." The Jets were eagerly awaiting the status of the appeal because their roster exemption for suspended running back Jesse Chatman expired Monday. Chatman practiced Continue Reading

Cardinals’ Anquan Boldin a nice fit for Giants to replace Plaxico Burress

TAMPA - Anquan Boldin has the talent to be the No. 1 receiver the Giants crave to replace Plaxico Burress and he happens to be good friends with Eli Manning's exiled former favorite target. One half of the Boldin-Larry Fitzgerald tandem could force a trade out of Arizona after the Super Bowl. Too bad for the Giants that Fitzgerald, the best receiver in the NFL, is locked into a four-year, $40 million contract with $30 million of it guaranteed and is going nowhere. But Boldin would be a nice second choice and may be available. He has two years remaining on his four-year $22.75 million deal that pays him $2.75 million and $3 million in the next two seasons. He said over the summer the Cardinals lied to him about upgrading his money, which could lead to an offseason showdown and a potential trade. Can the Giants and Boldin be a match? "I'm here to win a Super Bowl," Boldin said. "Thinking about what somebody else needs and what somebody else wants doesn't help me at all. I'm here to win a Super Bowl and that's it." Boldin and the Cardinals arrived at the Super Bowl site Monday and the closest Boldin came to talking about the Giants was revealing that Burress called him last week to wish him luck and they spoke. They've been working out in the offseason together in Fort Lauderdale the last couple of years, and he's sure the Giants would have gone deeper in the playoffs if Burress hadn't put a bullet in his thigh in late November. "We're good friends," he said. What was his reaction to Burress shooting himself? "Unfortunate," Boldin said. "I wish that it hadn't happened. I wish that he was the guy that was still with the Giants. If he was on that team their season probably would have turned out a little different. But things happen. The only thing you can do is try and encourage him." Boldin said that Burress is "doing good. Obviously, he wants to be playing football, but he's doing pretty good." Boldin, 28, is 6-1, 217 and not the big Continue Reading

Jets safety Eric Smith fined, banned for hit on Cards’ Anquan Boldin

Eric Smith said he was knocked unconscious and doesn't remember anything from his frightening, helmet-to-helmet hit Sunday on Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin. But he'll probably never forget the penalty handed down by the NFL. The Jets' starting safety was suspended one game and fined $50,000 for a "flagrant violation of player safety rules," the league announced Monday. The suspension came 12 days after commissioner Roger Goodell sent a league-wide memo to players, warning them he was cracking down on illegal and dangerous hits. PHOTO GALLERY: JETS 56, CARDS 35Because the Jets have a bye this week, Smith's suspension will be enforced for their Oct. 12 home game against the Bengals. The fine is double the amount of Smith's weekly pay check. Based on his $445,000 base salary, he makes $26,000 per game. Smith wasn't available for comment, but his agent, Buddy Baker, hinted the Jets would appeal the fine. "It's a steep fine based on the fact that it was an unintentional hit," Baker told the Daily News. "Eric felt terrible, but the most important thing is that both players are okay." Boldin was resting at home last night in Arizona after being evaluated late Sunday at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, where he was transported by ambulance after being carted off the field in the Jets' 56-35 win over the Cardinals. Boldin's test results were encouraging, according to Cards coach Ken Whisenhunt. Smith, who didn't speak to reporters after the game, admittedly was still groggy Monday as he tried to recall the play. He claimed there was no malicious intent, and that he was simply trying to prevent a score. There were 27 seconds left in the game, meaning the outcome was secure. "I'm coming to break up a pass, and if I don't, it's going to be a touchdown," said Smith, speaking before the suspension came down. "So I'm going 100%, and so is Kerry (Rhodes) from the backside. Sometimes, somebody gets hit, angles change and things like that happen. It's not like Continue Reading

Giants could make Anquan Boldin move to replace Plaxico Burress

Plaxico Burress has left the Giants and Eli Manning without a No. 1 receiver for the rest of the season and perhaps beyond. What is a quality quick fix to this problem? Trade a first-round pick and a little more for Arizona's Anquan Boldin, who was unhappy the Cardinals didn't upgrade his contract before this season and could be even unhappier if they turn their back on him again. When the Giants signed Burress to a five-year deal in September worth a maximum of $35 million, they had a right to expect at least three more productive seasons. Now, if Burress winds up in jail, the next pass he catches might be from Michael Vick after a play-action fake to O.J. Simpson. Regardless of the outcome of his legal problems, it seems unlikely Burress will ever play for the Giants again. So, where do they go to replenish their wideouts? The first step will be re-signing Amani Toomer, who will be a free agent after the season. He will be 35 next season, but he is still an excellent complementary receiver who benefitted from the double-teams Burress attracted. The Giants have thrived taking second-round receivers, with Toomer in 1996 and Sinorice Moss, Steve Smith and Mario Manningham in the last three drafts. But Moss is 5-8 and Smith and Manningham are 5-11. The Giants need a big, physical receiver. Domenik Hixon steps into Burress' spot, but he looks more like a No. 2 receiver once Toomer retires. There are three ways the Giants can attempt to get a go-to wideout: Trades: Boldin said in training camp the Cardinals lied to him about upgrading his four-year $22.75 million contract, which has two years at $2.75 million and $3 million left after this season. His deal is invisible compared to the four-year $40 million deal - with $30 million guaranteed - the Cards gave to Larry Fitzgerald in the offseason. Boldin is 6-1, 217, four inches shorter than Burress, but he's a physical receiver who never drops a pass. He might be the toughest player in the NFL. He missed Continue Reading

Anquan Boldin, USC QB Mark Sanchez on Mike Tannenbaum’s radar

Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum isn't afraid to chase big names. Remember a guy named Brett Favre? As he prepares for Saturday's draft, Tannenbaum's radar screen includes two high-profile targets: Anquan Boldin and Mark Sanchez. The receiver-needy Jets remain interested in trading for Boldin, who is being shopped by the Cardinals, and they're also exploring ways to trade up for USC's Sanchez, according to league sources. Like many teams looking for a long-term answer at quarterback, the Jets, picking 17th, are smitten with Sanchez. The problem is, there's virtually no chance he will last to their slot. He could be selected anywhere from fourth (Seahawks) to 13th (Redskins), with at least three other teams in between (the Browns, Jaguars and Broncos) showing interest. It will be almost impossible to pull off both deals because they would have to give up too much, so the Jets will have to prioritize. It's believed they've talked to the Jaguars (eighth) about trading places, a jump for Sanchez that probably would cost them their first- and second-round picks. "If I were running the organization, I'd think long and hard - if Sanchez started to fall - about trying to trade up for him," ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said Tuesday on a conference call. If they fail to land Sanchez, the Jets may shift their focus to Boldin, a two-time Pro Bowl receiver demanding a new contract. The Cards reportedly are seeking first- and third-round picks. The Jets have only six picks and they don't want to part with the 17th pick for Boldin. But they could look to trade down in the first round, collecting an extra pick or two and using the lower No. 1 in a package for Boldin. Even though Rex Ryan has praised his young receivers, they need a replacement for Laveranues Coles. The Giants, Ravens and Eagles are showing interest in Boldin. The Jets aren't considered a front-runner, but they have two things going for them in potential trade talks: They're in the AFC (the Cards Continue Reading

Giants seek top receiver, but price to steep for Arizona’s Anquan Boldin

The price of Anquan Boldin might be a bit too high for the Giants, but that doesn't mean Jerry Reese wouldn't be willing to pay it for someone else.With the Cardinals reportedly asking for at least first- and third-round draft picks in return for the three-time Pro Bowl receiver, the Giants GM said, "I don't know if that's the best thing for us to do." However, there are other receivers available - such as Cleveland's Braylon Edwards - and Reese said, "For the right player, you do whatever you can to make it happen." "Maybe (that price is not too high) for anybody available," Reese said yesterday. "There's a couple guys that might be worth that price." The Giants have been talking with the Browns about Edwards as they attempt to replace Plaxico Burress. The Browns reportedly have been offered at least one first-round pick for Edwards. Without specifically mentioning Edwards, Reese said the Giants might also be willing to deal their first-round pick - 29th overall. "If it's best for us to trade our No.1 pick, I'll do that," Reese said. "I'm not against that." But Reese also insisted that just because the Giants lost their two starting receivers from last season - Burress and Amani Toomer, who is not being re-signed - doesn't mean the Giants view receiver as a priority. He said he's comfortable with his current corps of Steve Smith, Domenik Hixon and Mario Manningham. He added that a "big" receiver isn't something the Giants necessarily need. "You'd like to have a big Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson, Calvin Johnson ... you'd like to have those types of guys," Reese added. "But Larry Fitzgerald's team didn't win the Super Bowl. Almost is not good enough in this league. He was outstanding, but his team didn't win. There are other ways to do it." Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin appears OK after KO

Time stood still with 27 seconds left in Sunday's game, as still as the Cardinals' Anquan Boldin was lying in the end zone.Medical personnel scrambled and Kurt Warner led players from both teams in prayer, with another reminder of how perilous a player's physical well-being can be in this violent sport."I just wanted to get on the plane and go home. I just wanted us to kneel down the ball and get out of there," Cardinals cornerback Eric Green said after watching his teammate absorb a helmet-to-helmet hit from Jets safety Eric Smith. "I was standing on the sidelines next to Antrel (Rolle) and I saw the hit and I said, 'Oh, he's out,' because immediately his arms just flew out, just dead. "I had tears in my eyes. You never want to see that happen, especially to a guy like Anquan, who's a really good person and a great competitor."Boldin was able to move his extremities and, after being X-rayed at Giants Stadium with family members, including his fiancée, waiting nervously outside, he was taken by ambulance to Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan for observation. The Cardinals were reasonably sure he hadn't sustained any serious injuries and planned for him to fly back on team president Michael Bidwill's private plane."Typical 'Q,' he said he'll be all right," teammate Steve Breaston said.It could have been a lot worse."It's the only thing on my mind right now," Kurt Warner said after a game in which he turned the ball over six times. "We're just praying and believing that he'll be back safely. It was scary . . . a scary play. It's the scary part about this business and I can't get it out of my mind."Warner was taking a shot at the end zone, his team already down 21 points. Boldin caught the ball at the goal line in front of Kerry Rhodes when Smith broke the play up by launching himself so that his face mask met Boldin's head on. The receiver's neck snapped back and he fell to the turf, one leg crossed over the other. Smith was dazed and took several moments to get Continue Reading

Giants might be able to grab wide out Anquan Boldin from Cardinals

The Giants now have another option in their search for Plaxico Burress' replacement: Anquan Boldin is available, too.The Arizona Cardinals said Wednesday that they are willing to listen to offers for the 28-year-old Boldin, according to The Arizona Republic. In fact, "a few" teams have already called, Cards coach Ken Whisenhunt said. It wasn't immediately known if the Giants were one of those teams, but several NFL sources expect them to at least explore the option. Giants GM Jerry Reese has already twice opened talks with the Cleveland Browns about trading for Braylon Edwards, and obviously receiver has become a huge need since the team released the troublesome Burress on April 3. However, like Edwards the 6-1, 217-pound Boldin could be expensive. Back in February, Boldin's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said the Cardinals would likely ask for at least as much as the Detroit Lions got last season when they traded receiver Roy Williams to the Cowboys - a first-, third- and sixth-round pick. Also, Boldin - who has two years and $5.75 million left on his current contract - is seeking a new deal worth at least $10 million per year. Boldin, a three-time Pro Bowler, had 89 catches for 1,038 yards and 11 touchdowns for the NFC champs last season. Meanwhile, the Giants will bring in Rutgers receiver Kenny Britt for a private workout at the Meadowlands today, according to a Rutgers source. The 6-4, 215-pound Britt, who was the Big East's all-time leading receiver (178 catches, 3,043 yards, 17 touchdowns), should be available when the Giants pick 29th in the first round of the NFL draft on April 25. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading