The NFL season kicks off next week, which is great for just about everyone except the players – the ones who get cut, anyway.
Yes, with the preseason winding down, teams have seen what they need to see. Some players are safe; some aren’t. Among the bigger names who have already been cut? Braylon Edwards (Jets), Josh Cribbs (Raiders), Donte’ Stallworth (Redskins), Visanthe Shiancoe (Ravens) and Tom Zbikowski (Bears).
For some players, it’s injuries. For others, it’s ineffectiveness. For others, especially the young ones, it’s someone else entirely.
“Everybody can physically play; you run them out on the field, they can play,” NFL analyst Sean Salisbury said on The MoJo Show. “But when it’s choke-on-your-own-spit time, can you find a way to make quick decisions that are normally right? And, when you make the decision, (can you) finish the play?”
It’s not uncommon to see highly touted rookies not make a roster, or for former first-round picks to be out of a job within their first years in the league. Some players dominate the SEC or the Pac-12 or the Big Ten and think that’s how it’ll be at the next level. That’s not always the case; heck, it’s rarely the case.
“What they don’t realize is the guy drafted in the sixth round is maybe a (smidgen) slower than the first-rounder, but not far off from being just as good,” Salisbury said. “And that’s been proven in the NFL year after year. They can’t keep up with the game and eventually it passes them by.
“Talent is overrated. It’s nice to have, but I’ll take a bunch of guys who know how to win and work as opposed to a bunch of guys who are talented but don’t understand.”
In other words, getting to the NFL is one thing; staying there is another thing altogether.
Salisbury also offered his opinion on the mess that is the New York Jets’ quarterback situation.
“If you have two (quarterbacks), you don’t have one,” Salisbury said. “It’s nice to have a (good) backup, but your starter has to be clear cut.”
The Jets’ starter is anything but.
Salisbury, who is a big Rex Ryan fan, did not agree with Ryan’s decision to bring Mark Sanchez into Saturday’s preseason game against the Giants in the fourth quarter. Sanchez injured his right shoulder, and his availability for Week 1 is in doubt.
“I think it was a mistake just because neither guy (Sanchez or Geno Smith) can perform right now,” Salisbury said. “So you’ve got to keep him healthy because now you’re down to your second and third guys, and Geno Smith, who hasn’t withstood all this, is (one hit) away from (you having to play) your third quarterback. Things can happen. You’ve got to sometimes take the risk, but in a preseason game?”
As it stands, Smith, who threw three interceptions in the first half against the Giants, could very well start in the Jets’ season-opener against Darrelle Revis and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“He’s about to find out that playing quarterback in New York is more unique than any position in sports, anywhere, at any time,” Salisbury said. “He’s about to see what it’s all about. That being said, I’m not sure either (Smith or Sanchez) is the future.
“But right now, I think they’re as dysfunctional as any team in the NFL – and their quarterback position proves it.”