Fuming OL coach opens can of worms

November, 29, 2012
11/29/12
7:56
PM ET
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The Jets' wacky season took another strange turn Thursday -- a combative interview session with OL coach Dave DeGuglielmo, who, in between insults directed at the media, cast light on a possible crack in the organization.

DeGuglielmo made it clear he's not in favor of the Matt Slauson-Vladimir Ducasse platoon at left guard. He said the platoon, in which Ducasse plays every third series, is a directive from "high above me." It fuels speculation that GM Mike Tannenbaum, who has taken a lot of heat for using a second-round pick on the disappointing Ducasse, is calling the shots.

Asked to evaluate Ducasse, DeGuglielmo said, "He's playing well enough to be an every-third-series guy -- maybe."

He was effusive in his assessment of Slauson, saying, "Slauson is a big, tough, strong, smart kid. That's what he is. There are too few of those guys in the world."

Rex Ryan said it's his decision to employ a platoon. There's no doubt Slauson is a better player than Ducasse, but the front office went into the season determined to give playing time to Ducasse, perhaps looking ahead to 2013. Slauson is a free agent.

DeGuglielmo's 15-minute session with reporters began on a contentious note:

By league rule, position coaches are required to speak to the media at least once during the regular season -- the bye week. The Jets' bye was a month ago. DeGuglielmo was notified by the league office that he hadn't fulfilled his obligation. He was in a foul mood Thursday when he entered the interview room, holding a copy of an e-mail from a reporter who had filed a complaint with the league office.

DeGuglielmo, who was testy with reporters during spring and summer interviews, began Thursday's session with a silly statement. He said he was available during the bye week. Thing is, the Jets' facility was closed due to hurricane Sandy, which paralyzed the tri-state area.

"If anybody need(ed) to speak with me, I was here," he said. "It's not my job to find you."

And so it began. For the remainder of the session, DeGuglielmo lectured reporters, claiming they're too quick to blame the offensive line for failures in pass protection and the running game. He said he's happy with the performance of his line.

"I know I get comments from my boss, his boss and even his boss, and the owner, and they don't seem to be dissatisfied," he said. "You guys see what you want to see and write what you want to write. That's how it goes. That's the business we're in."

DeGuglielmo, a former Giants assistant OL coach, made a passing reference to his old team. He suggested the Jets' line play is on par with that of the Giants, but no one notices because the Jets are losing.

"The perception is different, depending on what chair you're sitting in," he said. "If you're sitting in a chair down the street and you watch the same type of stuff going on, you say, 'All right,'" he said. "They got a reputation of having one thing and we have a reputation for another."

He also said, "If you think this line stinks and I'm a terrible coach, so be it. I disagree and I think my bosses would say the same thing."

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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