House of Cards comes tumbling down on Ray Horton

Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt (left) shakes hands with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick...

Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt (left) shakes hands with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick after their game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Sept. 16, 2012. (JESSICA RINALDI/Reuters)

JOHN KRYK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:30 PM ET

That item we had yesterday on Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton bragging about having figured out the Patriots offence to a T last Sunday?

Yeah, not so much.

Horton told an Arizona radio station that before New England tight end Aaron Hernandez hurt his ankle, the Pats ran the ball whenever Hernandez lined up as a traditional formation, tight to the line. Afterward, New England ran whenever quarterback Tom Brady lined up under centre, and always passed when he was in the shotgun.

Horton suggested the Patriots couldn't figure out how the Cardinals always knew what was coming.

ProFootballTalk.com, however, conducted a day-after fact-check, and was appalled at what it found.

Using the new, widely available all-22 game film, PFT's Mike Florio discovered the Patriots actually ran 10 times from the shotgun formation, and passed 11 times when Brady lined up under centre.

"We're not going to try to figure out whether Horton was intentionally lying or whether he was grossly misinformed," Florio wrote. "Either way, the comment turns what was a high point of his coaching career quickly into a low point."

So, apologies to Bill Belichick. Ray Horton is the Wile E. Coyote of NFL coaching geniuses.

And like an ACME bomb, this has blown up in his face.

JETS AVERAGE AT BEST

If you listen carefully, you can hear the stitches starting to pop already.

The New York Jets are 1-1, just like 19 other NFL teams. But they could hardly have played worse in a thumping at the hands of a severely banged-up Steelers squad last week.

Spectacular play on both sides of the ball through two-and-a-half quarters in the opener against the Bills perhaps belied the true state of the Jets. Many analysts predicted they'd be average at best.

Well, the stats say they're average at best.

The Jets rank among the Top 15 teams in the NFL in only one major category, either on offence or defence. That's in scoring offence; they're eighth, at 29.0 points per game. Take away the punt-return and interception-return TDs against the Bills, however, and they're averaging only 22.

Otherwise, the Mark Sanchez-led offence ranks 26th in total yards, 24th in passing yards and 19th in rushing yards.

The defence is 16th in total yards allowed, 16th in passing yards, 22nd in rushing yards and 23rd in points per game allowed.

A loss in Miami on Sunday, and look out. Stories containing the words "Tebow," "apocalypse" and "immolation" will flood the interwebs.

GONZALEZ'S WORK ETHIC CATCHES ON

Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez has said that this season, No. 16, probably will be his last in the NFL.

As the announcers said during Monday night's game, as Gonzalez padded his Canton portfolio with seven more catches for 70 yards and a TD, why leave now?

He's playing as well as ever. At age 36.

Gonzalez is a sure-fire Hall of Famer who holds NFL career records for catches, TDs and receiving yards by a tight end. But he'll leave more than just an on-field legacy at his position, coach Mike Smith said Thursday.

"I've said many times to our players, and they've heeded my advice, 'Just watch what Tony Gonzalez does, and try to mimic him.'"

Specifically, the way he prepares. That is, tirelessly -- just as Hall of Famers such as Jerry Rice and the late Walter Payton famously did. Noticing a trend here?

"He's one of the first guys out there on the field," Smith said of Gonzalez. "He's going to catch his 100 or 150 balls before practice. He's going to catch another 100 during practice. When the defence is working, he's working on the top of his stints, he's working on routes."

And Gonzalez seldom leads with his words, Smith said. All by example.

"We now have defensive ends and tackles who are out early working hard simply because they've seen Tony do it. It's just amazing to watch this guy."

EXTRA POINTS

All-Pro New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis -- who suffered a concussion in Week 1 against the Buffalo Bills -- was cleared for contact, and said, "I'm playing Sunday" against the Miami Dolphins. "I can bang my head on a wall if I want to," he told the New York Daily News ... Nothing is left to chance in the NFL, or left unresearched. Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith, whose team flies to San Diego this weekend, said his team has an antidote for jet lag: "We educate them on hydration. We want them to drink 20 ounces of fluid for every hour that they're in the air, and we push that on them consistently." Boy, in that last hour, the lineup for the in-flight toilet must be a doozy ... Houston Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has been let go by a few teams. Asked about returning to Denver, he cracked, "If I had a grudge against all the teams that I've been with, I could pretty much get up for every game." ... San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson appeared to have better cutting ability and speed in Week 2, as he nears full recovery from post-season ACL surgery. "He had a lot more (talent) than anybody else to begin with, so he still looks like the best back in the league," Fangio said.


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