The long Rhodes back

November 30, 2009

Kerry Rhodes celebrates with Revis and Eric Smith after catching his second interception against the Panthers.

Head Coach Rex Ryan went from demoting safety Kerry Rhodes, to hugging him after Sunday’s win against the Panthers.

Rhodes, who played in only nickel and dime packages this week after starting since his rookie season (74 consecutive games), responded with two interceptions in the Jets’ 17-6 victory at The Meadowlands.

Kerry Rhodes was definitely the topic of conversation while I was listening to the post game yesterday.  Reporters wanted answers, comments, and feelings, and the fans wanted to hear if Kerry was still humbled.  After going 12 games without an interception, how did he manage to get two in one game?  Did he do anything differently to revert back to his 2006 form?  Does he expect to be inserted back into the starting lineup Thursday against the Bills? 

Rhodes was more than willing to speak with the press yesterday, and why wouldn’t he be?  Hollywood was back on the big screen, so to speak.  However, after a few chuckles at reporters’ comments, Rhodes offered the brief following statement:

“Coach tried to send a message to me, I got the message, the message was sent,” said Rhodes.  “So, now I am moving on. You are going to see Kerry Rhodes, so that is all I’ve got to say.”

“That’s all it takes. You saw Kerry today and that is what you will see.”

Rhodes, who had his first multi-interception game of his career, didn’t offer much, and left the locker room rather quickly.  I understand Hollywood has taken a lot of flack this season from fans and the press, and he built back some credibility on the field yesterday, but Rhodes may still not get it. 

There is no doubt that Kerry Rhodes had a great game yesterday in the role that he was given.  He was able to use his outstanding range in the space he was alloted.  Furthermore, he was asked to blitz, and succeeded in hitting Jake Delhomme on numerous occasions.  Nonetheless, despite his best game in maybe two seasons, Rex Ryan cannot make the mistake of inserting Kerry Rhodes back into the starting lineup. 

The Jets play the Bills on Thursday night, so we won’t have to wait long to hear what Rex plans on doing with Rhodes.  Their plan on Sunday worked to perfection, as Eric Smith played a phenomenal game as well.  Smith has shown that he is a better tackler right now than Rhodes, and one of the Jets biggest weaknesses this season has been missed tackles. 

Kerry Rhodes has been invisible for basically two years now.  That is 32 games of non-productivity for the 40 million dollar man.  One solid game on Sunday should not erase 32 games of ineffectiveness.  If Rex Ryan wants to continue to establish his mantra that “the best players will play on Sunday,” then Eric Smith must be the starter on Thursday night.  Let Kerry have three or four solid games in a row, not just four quarters. 


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