As I sat this morning looking out at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center fields and searching for inspiration, my partner Eric Allen, sitting behind me and looking the other way, provided it by asking a question:
"Isn't that Chris Mortensen walking down the hall with Bruce Speight?"
Indeed it was the NFL über-analyst for ESPN surveying the facilities with the Jets' senior director of media relations. EA and I immediately had the same thoughts. First and foremost, we wanted to thank him for visiting with us by phone right before the introduction of Rex Ryan as the new Jets head coach five weeks ago.
Then second and nearly as foremost, since we were discussing whom to try to bring on to share some pre-free-agency insights with you all, we wanted to see if he had a small window to sit with us in our plush state-of-the-art radio studio here at the AHTC for a special segment of "Jets Two-Minute Drive: Special Free Agency Edition."
Mort, being the great guy he is, said sure, let's do it.
So we did it. You can find our 12-minute midday conversation with Chris on our multimedia home page.
One may wonder why Mortensen was in Florham Park, N.J. Knowing the thoroughness with which he approaches his job, one reason was that he was in the New York area in conjunction with his current trade/free agency media duties and he simply wanted to see this incredible complex.
"I know there's somebody at a university that's getting ready to build a new football facility and he asked me about the three best NFL facilities to go visit," Mort said. "I said, 'I haven't been there yet but you need to go visit the Jets facility if you're lining things up, based on what I've heard.' And I was right."
I won't give away our entire chat here, but asked if he foresaw the Jets jumping cleats-high into the FA frenzy at 12:01 a.m. Friday (less than 12 hours from when I'm writing this), Mortensen said, "Yes, I think the Jets will be players in free agency," adding that as far as pursuing one of the Ravens' potential FA linebackers, Ray Lewis or Bart Scott, "It's speculative, but just because it makes so much sense, you would say yes, within reason, not overpaying."
As far as Ryan, you can check out the audio menu on the multimedia home page to hear what Mortensen's initial reactions to Rex taking over the Jets' reins, and suffice to say his analysis of the reign ahead hasn't changed.
"Rex is going to bring great energy, great creativity and a great positive attitude," Mort said, "and at the same time the ability to draw a line and bring great focus to the players and tell them this is what our team's all about. I thought Rex should've gotten the job last time around, so to me the Jets caught a break with him being available right now."
We'd like to gush one more time about how great it is to have Chris Mortensen visit us here at newyorkjets.com, and we invite you to listen to this special show when you have a small window in your day, as well as to keep the suggestions coming for who you'd like to see in the Green & White once free agency hits us in the face a minute after midnight.