NFL Notes: Rex has 'wife' trouble

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan works on the sideline during the first half of their NFL football...

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan works on the sideline during the first half of their NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Maryland, on Dec. 4, 2011. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Bill Lankhof, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:51 PM ET

Rex Ryan is in big trouble.

In the past he has irritated the league office, has been called offside for illegal use of profanity, even talked trash at Bill Belichick, patron saint of coachdom.

But never has been on such thin ice as this week. Ryan has ticked off a woman.

And, not just any ordinary woman. Katie Leonhard is the wife of Jets’ safety, Jim, and Ryan had promised her in training camp that he would never again use her husband to return punts.

But then rookie Jeremy Kerley fumbled a punt in Sunday’s win over Washington. It was the Jets’ sixth fumbled punt this year, a league high, and this week Leonhard was back practising on special teams. “I had to say, ‘Hey, have your wife call me,’” Ryan told the New York Daily News. “It’s one of those things.”

And, Katie did call.

Leonhard, who came back from a fractured leg in training camp, said his wife voiced her (ahhh, how do we say this delicately) opinion (yeah, that’s the word) her opinion, to Ryan, but that he will, in fact, be returning punts against the Chiefs.

“My wife has let him hear it a couple times,” Leonhard said. “And that’s good. You have to do that. That’s how you keep people in check.”

Helpful hint to Mr. Ryan: If Leonhard gets hurt returning a punt start driving after the game and don’t stop. Ever.

QUARTERBACKS DROPPING LIKE FLIES

It’s looking more and more like the St. Louis Rams will be starting Tom Brandstater at quarterback Monday against the Seahawks. Here’s hoping he remembers to duck.

It’s been open season on quarterbacks again this year.

If Brandstater starts the Rams will become the fourth team to be forced to go to a third quarterback. The Colts, Raiders and Texans already have been forced down this road.

Through 12 games, the league’s 32 teams have had 71 quarterbacks take at least one snap, with 50 having started at least one game, according to STATS LLC.

The Rams were already having a miserable season even with rookie phenom Sam Bradford and veteran A. J. Feeley so this could become a complete fiasco with Brandstater, who would be making his first pro start. The Fresno State quarterback is with his fifth team in three NFL seasons.

Brandstater has never taken a game snap and a couple weeks ago was stuck on the practice roster. Then Feeley broke his thumb and Bradford remains doubtful with a sprained ankle. The club has signed Kellen Clemens as a backup this week. If they have to dip any deeper into the talent pool, Charlie Brown and Lucy might show up.

 

YOU TELL’EM, GUNTHER

When it comes to talking football, those that can; coach.

Those that can’t, just become television analysts.

At least, that’s the opinion of Detroit Lions’ defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham.

While not naming anyone specifically, Cunningham told MLive.com that he’s weary of all the criticism levelled at his team. “I’ll challenge any coach to face me in a room, one-on-one, put the tape on and tell me how to coach football,” Cunningham said,

Now 65, Cunningham said it bothers him that coaches who lack his seniority are on TV badmouthing his team. “There’s some ex-coaches on television, in the media, making statements. Why don’t they come and talk to me about it? Don’t tell me how to coach. They were in high school, and maybe not even born, when I started in this business. I think I know a little bit about it.”

Cunningham said if the coaches-turned-broadcasters know so much about it, how come they’re not coaching, and maybe the fact they’re in broadcasting means they’re not as smart as they think.

“They’re not coaching,” Cunningham said. “They’re on TV. I wonder why they’re on TV? There’s a reason for that. I’m still standing in front of (the media) and still coaching ... I’m tired of hearing about it.”

IN DEFENCE OF PHILIP RIVERS

Philip Rivers has been the scapegoat for the San Diego Chargers’ fall from grace, and the Super Bowl race.

The Chargers’ playoff hopes are hanging by a thread Sunday when they battle the Buffalo Bills, also sitting at 5-7, Sunday. Rivers leads the NFL’s sixth-ranked passing attack and has thrown 19 touchdown passes. But he also has an NFL-worst 17 interceptions, the most in his six years as a starter.

So, Rivers isn’t having a great year.

But Rivers hasn’t actually been the Chargers’ biggest issue. Truth is, he just hasn’t had as much talent (or luck) on his side as in past seasons. Receivers Malcolm Floyd and Vince Jackson and tight end Antonio Gates have all been on the field together for three games. Running back Darren Sproles, their offence’s sparkplug, went to New Orleans as a free agent.

Rivers also hasn’t had the protection of past years, getting sacked 28 times while taking a lot more hits and being hurried much more often. Left guard Kris Dielman has been out with a concussion and both tackles, Marcus McNeil and Jeromey Clary have not played well. “We’ve turned the ball over,” Rivers said on a conference call this week. “I turned the ball over. We made critical errors at critical times.”

 


Videos

Photos