Ever since Damien Woody retired from the NFL after the 2010 season, he's been finding his voice as a broadcaster on ESPN's New York and national TV/radio platforms and for Sirius NFL Radio. In refining that voice last year, he had some occasionally hard-edged observations about the state of the Jets.
Which makes D-Wood's take on the Mark Sanchez/Tim Tebow QB depth chart worth listening to.
"I wouldn't even describe it as a quarterback battle — Mark's a quarterback and Tim's a football player is the way I look at it," Woody told newyorkjets.comthis week. "I look at the specific role they have for Tim Tebow. He can be an asset to the team. We all know Rex's philosophy: run the football. We all know his formula: rushing attempts plus completions. Tim's going to add to the rushing attempts, and I'm assuming Rex sees this thing playing out as a formula for winning ballgames again."
Thus he takes the opposite side of the debate from Jets alumnus Boomer Esiason, who made headlines Monday by saying he would trim Tebow from the roster, and sooner than later.
"This whole cutting or not cutting Tim Tebow — you don't cut good football players," the Green & White's starting right tackle from 2008-10. "You find a role for good football players."
Woody's observations are appropriate because he will be assuming a new role in covering the Jets this summer. With Greg Buttle moving from ESPN Radio's coverage into the WCBS-TV booth with Ian Eagle again for the Jets' three non-national preseason games, Woody will take Buttle's spot in ESPN's pre- and postgame shows.
"I'm pretty excited about it," he said. "Obviously a lot of people know how I feel about the organization. For them to reach out to me to do this assignment, I feel blessed about it. It's a great way to reconnect with the organization, and it's another avenue that I'm looking forward to going into."
Woody's been down a number of media streets already. He's seen regularly on ESPN's NFL 32 and SportsCenter and can be heard on ESPN Radio, now on the FM band at 98.7, cohosting with Ryan Ruocco this week.
Can a gig as a network analyst be far behind?
"It's just too early to say. Really, I'm just taking my time getting a feel for all the different things," he said. "I think in the next year or so I'll be able to have a better idea about which direction I want to go. I'm just having fun doing it all. It allows me to stay close to the game and I'm working with some really good people."
He'll be working with Ruocco again in the first pre-and-post assignment on Friday night sandwiched around the Bengals game. Then regular host Don LaGreca returns to team with Woody before and after the Giants game on Aug. 18 and the Eagles game on Aug. 30.
And so we could see old No. 67 back in Cortland next week, the last week of camp in Central New York, to prep for those shows — "I'm definitely going to do my homework" — and renew acquaintances with some of the trenchmen he sweated alongside up here in 2009 and '10.
"The air is really good up there. It was a nice atmosphere, it really was. I thought it did our team well," he said. As for the O-line, "We've talked about Rex wanting to get back to running the ball. I'm real curious to see what that's going to look like. I think the best chance for the Jets to win this year is running the football, controlling the clock. It's going to be up to the big guys up front to reestablish their identity on the line of scrimmage this year."
Woody would love to join his teammates on the field of battle again, but he knows that train has left the station.
"Any player misses the game. I definitely miss the game. I miss the locker room camaraderie with everybody," he said. "I think the world of Rex. I think he's a good head coach. Those guys were fair with me and we had a good run when I was there. But life goes on. Football is a young man's game. You've got to move forward." And so Woody will move forward with another entry on his résumé. For three weeks this summer, he'll again be performing for Green & White game watchers, only this time there'll be more deep thoughts and less heavy lifting.