And this is why you have to take all coaches’ comments regarding player personnel with a grain of salt. Yesterday, Jets coach Eric Mangini addressed the media in Indianapolis, and realizing I hadn’t heard anything on ILB Jonathan Vilma in months, asked Mangini what his status is, and if he’ll be back in the starting lineup when training camp opens. Vilma, you might recall, was a star middle linebacker his first two years in Herm Edwards’ 4-3 scheme, but struggled to hit his groove as an undersized inside linebacker in Mangini’s 3-4. Then, he went down with a season-ending knee injury mid-season, and rookie David Harris emerged as a monster the rest of the way.
So you could probably imagine my surprise when I logged onto the New York Daily News this morning, and saw that Jets beat writer Richard Cimini reported that the Jets have granted Vilma free rein to seek a trade for himself, a decision that presumably transpired within the last 24 hours. Incredible. Just a day after Mangini deadpanned a room full of reporters with nothing but praise for Vilma, he has taken the first step toward ridding the team of the guy. It’s not that I was expecting him to tell us the trade-scoop right there, but it would’ve been nice to hear something, anything, other than a complete and utter lie, which it was, assuming the Daily News report is correct. Furthermore, I don’t think I’m exactly going out on a limb to think that the trade idea didn't just pop into Mangini’s head between yesterday’s conference and this morning.
Hindsight is always 20/20, but looking back at it, I distinctly remember Mangini giving an uncomfortable half-chuckle right after I asked the question, and just before he delivered the false report. Should've connected the dots.