Jump to content



Recommended Posts

Kerry Jets' new video star

Film sessions with Vilma paying off


By the time Kerry Rhodes and Jonathan Vilma get to Lambeau Field on Sunday to face the Packers, they will have seen more video of Brett Favre than most of the Cheeseheads in Green Bay.They're the Ebert and Roeper of the Jets' defense, a couple of film geeks who spend three nights a week together in front of a screen, remote control in hand, breaking down their upcoming opponent. Sorry, no popcorn allowed.Vilma has been a film-watching junkie since his college days at Miami - actually, they use DVDs now - but this is a new world for Rhodes. He started watching film last season with Vilma, but he lost interest as the Jets faded into oblivion.

In the offseason, Rhodes, looking for an edge in his second season, rededicated himself and went to Vilma with a request: Teach me."He said he wanted to watch film with me, and that he wanted to be the best safety in the league," Vilma said yesterday. "I said, 'Okay, but if you start, you can't stop.' He said he wouldn't stop, and I said all right.

"It's been paying off. He's been phenomenal."

Rhodes, one of the keys to the Jets' resurgence on defense, is putting up Pro Bowl numbers - four sacks, three forced fumbles, three interceptions and a team-leading 55 solo tackles."I believe in it. I think everybody should do it," said Rhodes, referring to the extra hours he spends in front of the screen.

Ironically, Vilma, admittedly still not comfortable in the new 3-4 defense, isn't making as many impact plays as those around him. Not to worry, said Eric Mangini, who lauded Vilma's cerebral contributions. He called him the Chad Pennington of the defense.

Like Pennington, Vilma does an inordinate amount of after-hours prep work each week. "Gotta do it, gotta love it," he said. He watches alone on Monday night; he's joined by Rhodes on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for film-watching sessions that last about 90 minutes apiece, alternating houses each week.

A typical week:

Monday - Vilma watches the last four games of the Jets' upcoming opponent. This takes about two hours.

Tuesday - They study cut-ups of the opponents' first- and second-down plays in various personnel groups (i.e. two wide receivers, two tight ends, one back).

Wednesday - Rhodes and Vilma break down the third-down plays.

Thursday - They analyze the goal-line and red-zone plays.

Friday - At the Jets' facility, they watch the first half of the opponents' most recent game, making the checks and alerts as if they were actually playing the game. They also quiz each other, naming two of the opponents' tendencies in each formation.

"When we watch film," Rhodes said, "there's no B.S. We're really trying to find tendencies. We're serious."For Rhodes, the extra work paid off in Sunday's win over the Texans. On one particular play-action pass, Rhodes knew exactly where David Carr was going with the ball. After showing blitz, he dropped 15 yards to Carr's left and - sure enough - he was in the right spot when Carr tried to hit Andre Johnson on a comeback route.


"It's great when you can translate what you've seen on film to the game," Vilma said. "That one step faster, that's the difference in the game."Knowing the opponent is one thing; understanding your own defense is another. Vilma admitted he's still getting his bearings in the new system, which has limited his big-play opportunities. That, he said, was "tough to swallow" at first, especially after a Pro Bowl season.

"Once I get comfortable in the defense and really understand it," he said, "I'll be able to play a little faster and make more plays."

In the meantime, the film festival will continue.


Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...