My colleague Brian Heyman wrote a Sunday feature this week about former New Rochelle star Courtney Greene, a Jaguars safety who hopes to make a bigger impact in his sophomore NFL season. As you know, I had been in Buffalo to cover the Empire State Games. It took me a while to catch up, but I finally had a chance to read the story and wanted to pass along my thoughts.
First, I believe Greene when he said he wants to be the best. I wouldn’t discount his ability to leave an impact in the NFL, whether it’s as the next Ed Reed or simply a legitimate starting safety on a quality defense. Greene has often been overshadowed by his former high school and college teammate Ray Rice. But ask yourself this: When has he not proven to be an exceptional player in his own right? In fact, Greene seems to arrive with a boom wherever he ends up. Just look at last year. The Seahawks cut him, but once Jacksonville picked him up Greene became a regular on the active roster. Now, he’s looking for PT somewhere other than special teams. I wouldn’t dismiss his desire. The players from the 2003-04 New Rochelle teams are determined.
(As a side note, when you take high school, college and pro career into account, is/was Greene the area’s second-best football player of the decade?)
Secondly, Greene sounds like he’s worked with the right man. Some of you know this, you know Matt Tauber well as the man who helped Rye and New Rochelle to their decade of dominance. For those of you who don’t, a suggestion: learn Tauber’s name.
I don’t know that I’ve ever interviewed a Rye football player about his improvement or surprise success without both that player and Dino Garr referencing Tauber. Erik Antico. Rob Nieves. Donald Keough. Aaron “Big Hurt” Walker. The Ecks. You name them, they’ve praised Tauber. When you consider he works with arguably the area’s top two football players of the last decade despite them having NFL organizations at their disposal, it’s a pretty good recommendation.
I’ve long though this, but this story really emphasized it: Tauber is one of the most valuable people in Section 1 football. You may scoff at that statement but wins on his watch speak to Tauber’s impact. Has Rye or New Rochelle football ever been as good as it was in the 2000s?