Matt Slauson doesn't want to be Vladimir Ducasse's Matt Stover. He doesn't want to sabotage through detrimental advice the chances of his direct competition.
"The classic guy for (sabotaging competition) is (former Baltimore Ravens kicker) Matt Stover," Rex Ryan said. "Matt Stover kicked for 15 years and could still kick today for sure. But if you brought another kicker in, and he was killing it -- every kick eight yards deep, launching field goals -- By the time Stover was done with him, you couldn’t tell if he was right footed or left footed."
Slauson doesn't want to be the sabotage-Stover, no matter how badly Slauson wants the starting job at left guard for the Jets. The spot that both he and Ducasse are vying for.
In the most heated position battle thus far this spring for the Jets since Alan Faneca vacated the job after his departure this offseason, Rex Ryan said he doesn't sense any Stover between Slauson and Ducasse. Ryan also said Slauson has the edge over Ducasse to start at left guard once the season starts.
Slauson will start at left guard for the Jets Monday night in the preseason opener versus the Giants.
"I wanted to say, 'Look, Vlad. We both want the job, and one of us is going to get it. The better one will get the job. If that is you, great. If that’s me, I’d be stoked," Slauson said. "But if I’m out there and I am telling (Ducasse) the wrong stuff to do so that I look better, it doesn’t help us at all."
Slauson won't Stover Ducasse. After all, Duccasse might be Slauson's best friend on the team.
"I didn’t want to make this about trying to mess the other guy up, because then you are not going to have the best player out there." Slauson said... "I have heard stories about it. Friends on other teams saying how some of the vets will tell you the wrong thing to do so they mess up and you look good."
Through the first two weeks of Training Camp here on the campus of SUNY Cortland, Slauson and Ducasse have formed a companionship that both Ryan and Slauson described with a slew of cliche offensive linemen words. "Angry", "Nasty" and "Mean" were thrown around by Ryan and Slauson when speaking of both Slauson and Ducasse.
That's where the two are similar. Where the two are different doesn't come with the cliche descriptions. Rather, it comes down to how each is physically built and their past with Bill Callahan.
Or, in the rookie Ducasse's case, the lack thereof. That in the end is what looks to be preventing him from starting this coming season.
The situation stands as this heading into Monday night's game: Slauson is ahead of Ducasse because he has a long history dating back to his days at Nebraska in an offensive line system under Bill Callahan. That is why he has the substantial advantage currently, Ryan said. But Ducasse is still in the mix because of the gifted physical tools he poses that Slauson himself said he doesn't have: "Crazy long arms, and quickness"
Said Ryan: "The thing with Slauson is, he was recruited by Bill Callahan to Nebraska. So Bill approached him in college. He has been around Bill a lot longer that Vlad with his two months or whatever, that gives him the upperhand. Could (Slauson) be the long term solution at guard? I believe he could. We’ll see, we are lucky we have a young guy who is really coming on, but Slauson is ready to be a starter in this league."
Just like any other Training Camp position battle, the differences between the two will decide who will play. But for now each is content with satisfying offensive linemen cliches.
Cliches that Ryan is demanding out of his whole team and each lineman battling for the left guard spot. Cliches one will live up to on the field, and one will live up to on the sidelines.
Said Slauson: "He wants us to be the most nasty, physical team in the NFL. He wants people to be scared to play us, and I want to fit into that mold."