Collision Low Crossers Review – A Must Read For Jets Fans

Joe Caporoso reviews “Collision Low Crossers” by Nicholas Dawidoff. A must read for any Jets fan

I just finished up Collision Low Crossers by Nicholas Dawidoff, which I highly recommend for any New York Jets fan. Dawidoff spent the entire 2011 season with the team, predominantly with the defensive coaching staff. This book provides unparalleled access and a unique perspective since the author is not a sportswriter and came in with limited knowledge of football. Here are a few observations but again, go read it yourself…

1. This book makes you like Rex Ryan more as a person and less as a NFL head coach. Rex comes off as a genuine, caring individual who is nearly impossible not to root for. He also comes off as a defensive savant with a natural ability to scheme against NFL offenses. However, it is clear that Rex struggled in dealing with his own team’s offense. He admittedly lacks a feel for dealing with that side of the football and basically let Brian Schottenheimer be his own Head Coach for the offense. Rex was also too tentative to step in and input his opinion to his coordinators and positional coaches. It comes from a good place of not wanting to step on people’s toes but in reality as the Head Coach, you need to be more assertive than he comes off as in the book.

Rex’s loyalty is also a gift and curse. Loyalty is always an admirable trait but there isn’t always room for it when it comes to being a Head Coach. Rex kept an under-qualified and slacking best friend on staff (Jeff Weeks) which drew the ire of other coaches. Most embarrassingly, Rex trumped the scouting department and forced the selection of WR Scotty McKnight with a 7th round pick because of a joke he made with Mark Sanchez.

You can see some of the seeds of the Jets recent struggles planted in this book. Remember this team is 12-20 since week 14 of the 2011 season.

2. Similar to Ryan, Mark Sanchez comes off as a good guy, who would be fun to hang out with but as a player, does not come off as somebody who is built to be a franchise quarterback…at all. Generally, he seems too immature and unfocused. Beyond that, the Jets offense repeatedly has awful practices which he has to take some of the blame for. The locker room and coaching staff (outside of maybe Rex) also clearly lacked faith in him.

3. There was a very clear divide between the Jets offense and defense in 2011. They were basically two separate warring teams. There was also major ongoing issues between Santonio Holmes and the offensive line, stemming from Holmes calling them out to the media after the week 4 loss to the Ravens.

4. Holmes comes off poorly in the book to an extent. He seems like a player who is understandably frustrated by the offense around him but handles it an awful way, especially since he was named a team captain (a move scoffed at by most of the team…poor choice Rex). Plaxico Burress and Derrick Mason come off even worse. What a nightmare the Jets assembled at wide receiver that season. Burress was selfish and lazy, refusing to clap his hands when he left the huddle on running plays and not interacting with teammates, outside of Holmes. Mason repeatedly clashed with Schottenheimer before being traded away.

5. Antonio Cromartie doesn’t come off very well either. He is a hard working player but immensely erratic on and off the field.

6. You further understand why Darrelle Revis is going to be a first ballot Hall of Famer and will become depressed he isn’t on the team anymore.

7. Some 2011 draft tidbits:

  • If the Jets didn’t land Muhammad Wilkerson in the first round, they were contemplating trading back for Titus Young or Jaiquawn Jarrett in round 2. Yikes.
  • The Jets wanted to either target Jeremy Kerley or Jerrel Jernigan as Jerricho Cotchery’s replacement. They picked right!
  • Mike Tannenbaum was frustrated by Kenrick Ellis’ lack of playing time in his rookie season.

8. We’ve been relatively critical of Joe McKnight on this site and now feel bad since many of his struggles were due to debilitating insomnia that began after the traumas he suffered from Hurricane Katrina. It isn’t easy to learn a playbook or practice if you aren’t sleeping at all.

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the VP of Social Media at Whistle Sports

  • joeydefiant

    Having your basement flooded and losing some stuff and having to move into a new house is so traumatic you cant learn a playbook? Cry me a river… Lots of people had it way worse than an NFL player with enough money to move and replace everything and somehow still managed to do their jobs.

  • KAsh

    I do not understand the criticism of Rex not being assertive with the offense. “He admittedly lacks a feel for dealing with that side of the football and basically let Brian Schottenheimer be his own Head Coach for the offense. Rex was also too tentative to step in and input his opinion to his coordinators and positional coaches.” A criticism of not having good command of the offense, followed by a criticism that he, therefore, did not put himself in charge of something he did not understand, followed by a criticism of him giving more autonomy to people who have more expertise in the area than him.

    I guess you could say Rex should have picked better coaches, but would you really be happier if he had seized control of the offense when he himself acknowledges that he does not know what to do with it?

  • Joe Caporoso

    Go read the book.

  • Neil

    Excuse me, but Hurricane Katrina was a national disaster in which over two thousand people died,and over one hundred thousand were left homeless.

    It was a far reaching,life changing nightmare for those who endured it. A thriving cultural hub was under 18 feet of water,and cut off from the world.

    How dare you trivialize a catastrophic event because you’re not from New Orleans,are generally ignorant as to what transpired there, and lack the sensitivity and intelligence to grasp the magnitude.

  • Gavin Buck

    @neil, I totally agree with you,

    Unless you were there during that time you cannot understand what happened during that time and the effect it had on the people it affected.

    JoeyDefiant, have you never heard of Post-traumatic stress disorder, where a major symptom is insomnia, because when you close your eyes to sleep, you get flashbacks. I am sorry but you are incredibly insensitive to people that have gone through what can only be described as horror. I have never been through anything like that and God willing never will.

    I just hope if I go through something traumatic I do not have some idiot trivialising it, just because I can replace possessions, that I should be ok. I hope I get the understanding I need to hopefully heal.

    You should be ashamed of yourself

  • Gavin Buck

    I am sorry, I cannot keep my own counsel on this.

    @Neil you are absolutely right.

    Joeydefiant, you do not know what the guy went through, he could have had Prost-traumatic stress disorder, where one of the symptoms is insomnia because whenever you close your eyes to sleep, you immediately experience a flashback back to the time of the incident. Another symptom is a lack of ability to focus and concentrate.

    Just because he achieved a level of success later should belittle the experience he went through or the potential Impact it had on him.

    People who play sport also suffer from mental illness just anyone else in the population does. Just because they play sport or are well paid for what they do, does not mean that they are not depressed or suffer from PTSD, just ask high class cricket players like Marcus Trescothik, Michael Yardy and Jonathan Trott. Mental illness is mental illness

    Until you know what you are talking about please do not presume to assume what others go through.

    Sorry for the rant.

  • Lidman

    Joeydefiant, that’s a bit rough. PTSD is nothing to ‘poo poo’.

    Kash…guess Revis wasn’t the locker room cancer you thought. It’s a business and fans, short for ‘fanatics’, often lose that point.

  • Mark Phelan

    People deal with trama in different ways – some become even more focussed on their external responsibilities. I did.

    I am going to read the book.

  • twoshady18

    it basically sounds like affirmation of things we already suspected about last season.

  • Psi

    Joe…thanks for this insightful summation. I’ve always maintained that NY fans are very astute observers of their teams and players and even without insider access, generally are correct in their assessment of personnel. Your summary validates many of our observations about a) Rex as a one-dimensional HC b) Sanchez as a mediocre QB 3) Santonio as a pouting but skillful player 4) Cromartie as an erratic inconsistent player with above average physical skills 5) Shotty as a joke of an OC 6) Revis as probably the best Jet player of all time and 7) How better off we are that most of Tanny’s scouts have been replaced. I pray for more stability and consistency moving forward.