First a few updates:
1. A little background on the network wide mock draft we are about to kick off:
An introduction message from Bryan Douglass, Managing Editor of the Fanball Sports Network:
The 2009 season is in the books and the football universe has turned their eyes towards tomorrow. The Fanball Sports Network has put their first NFL season in the books as well and, like the faithful fans they support, our correspondents emerge with a desire to keep that momentum moving forward.
With that in mind and with the 2010 NFL Scouting Combinelurking in the distance, we have brought the group together for the launch of our talent evaluation season marked by the first annual Fanball Sports Network NFL Mock Draft.
Each of the team correspondents from our NFL family will take the reins of their particular franchises as we construct our own version of the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft… and for those of you in Chicago and Charlotte, while the fates have pushed you out of that moment of glory this season, we will not let you go without. ALL of our correspondents will be taking part as those teams relinquishing first-round selections will offer thoughts on what their teams may have done.
To enhance the experience we’ve opened multiple avenues for you to follow our progress.
Each selection will be announced and our progress will be updated throughout on a unique thread at RotoJunkie.com, the preeminent sports community on the net and the home of Fanball’s message-board mavens, and we would like to invite each and every one of you to comment, question, debate, and lobby for your NFL hopefuls right there in the thread with us. We’ve asked all of our correspondents to track that thread and if you have questions or thoughts to share, we’ll make sure the boys are there to answer.
That’s not all… during the draft our correspondents will be offering brief commentary following their selections at RotoJunkie.com. However, you will also find an adjoining link attached to those selections on the thread. Those links will steer you back to our blogs where you will find extended commentary and analysis on those selections. Our correspondents have worked hard to give you thoughtful insights from the local scene throughout the season and we’re looking to step up our game for our first-ever NFL mock draft. You’ll find that extra effort on each of our blogs following each selection, and you’ll have quick and convenient access to those offerings through our draft thread at RotoJunkie.com. We want to thank you for your support over this, our first year on the sports blog scene, and we keep that appreciation going by inviting you to enjoy this mock draft with us. Come check out the discussion at RotoJunkie, hit up the blogs to read what your team’s correspondent is thinking, and let us know what you think.
Enough is enough… let’s get to it. Will Horton from RamsHerd.com will kick us off shortly with the first pick on behalf of the St. Louis Rams. Follow us on RotoJunkie HERE and make sure you hit up the links for extended analysis on each pick.
Thanks for tuning in, and enjoy.
(And here is a link for that “HERE” to the RotoJunkie thread…
So there you go..
2. How awful was the dunk contest last night? LeBron better step up and take part next season or they might as well shut the thing down.
3. The Jets signed nine players to future/reserve contracts: FS Brannon Condren, WR Britt Davis, FB Jason Davis, T Dan Gay, WR Marcus Henry, DT Matt Kroul, C Michael Parenton, LS Tanner Purdum, and DT Tyler Steinkuhler. Britt Davis flashed a little during training camp last year and could be a guy to keep an eye on at receiver. Jason Davis could be a factor if Tony Richardson decides to retire.
4. Follow Turn On The Jets on facebook.
2009 Evaluations: The Coaching Staff
Over the course of the next few weeks, Turn On The Jets will be going through the roster evaluating how each position performed this past season, starting today with the coaching staff:
Head Coach, Rex Ryan
The Good: Ryan provided a much needed change of scenery and attitude from the previous three years of Eric Mangini. His confidence and swagger trickled down to the team, excited the fan base, and created a buzz around the Jets that normally doesn’t exist. The defense finished the season ranked as the league’s #1 overall unit and Ryan’s “ground and pound” coaching strategy gave the Jets a definite identity. His presence helped recruit Bart Scott, Jim Leonhard, and Marques Douglas to the roster, all of whom turned into valuable contributors. The players genuinely seem to love playing for him.
The Bad: Ryan’s emotional personality led to a few embarrassing moments, including him proclaiming the Jets out of the playoffs before they really were and him giving the middle-finger to a group of Miami fans who were harassing him (although it is hard to blame him, since they spit on him). In the first two-thirds of the season, he focused too much on the defense and acted more like a coordinator than a head coach by giving too much autonomy to Brian Schottenheimer and Mike Westhoff. His confidence in his defense, led to some poor time management decisions, most notably at the end of the Miami Monday night game.
Best Decisions: Taking a more hands approach with the offense after the Jets fell to 4-6, from that point on the Jets went 7-2…Deciding to bench Kerry Rhodes, which sent a message to the team and led to better play from him down the stretch…Naming Mark Sanchez the starter…Making Sanchez sit out against the Bucs, to avoid further injury and make sure he could play down the stretch.
Overall Grade: (A-) The bottom line is that Ryan, a rookie head coach, took a team with a rookie quarterback to the AFC Championship Game. He also mastered the New York media and was able to change his coaching style mid-season (by getting more involved with the offense). It was a great start for Ryan.
Brian Schottenheimer, Offensive Coordinator
The Good: He helped get Mark Sanchez off to a good start and after his rocky patch in the middle of the season, scaled back to the offense to help get his confidence back before slightly expanding the offense again during the playoff run. Schottenheimer is one of the more creative offensive minds in the league and does a good job of mixing personnel groups and formations. He stepped up during the playoffs, especially with a brilliantly called game against the Bengals which included some well-timed play action passes. Sanchez appears to be very comfortable working with him and Schotty also did a good job distributing carries throughout the season between Thomas Jones, Leon Washington (when healthy), and Shonn Greene.
The Bad: Scottenheimer tends to out-think himself sometimes with poorly timed reverses or shots down the field. He also sometimes got too conservative at the wrong moments, although some of that could be attributed to pressure from Rex Ryan. For some reason, he loves running toss even though the Jets never get a good gain out of it. When Sanchez began struggling, Schotty did a poor job of controlling him before Ryan stepped in after week 11. He did a poor job of using Dustin Keller and completely shut down the Jets screen game after Leon Washington was hurt.
Best Decisions: The entire game-plan wild-card weekend…the first half of the AFC Championship Game, with well-timed shots to Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery (via Brad Smith out of the Tiger Formation)…Passing the torch to Shonn Greene during the playoff run…
Overall Grade: (B/B-) Alot of fans have major problems with Schottenheimer but I think on the whole he had a pretty good year, especially considering he had a rookie quarterback, a number #1 receiver acquired mid-season, and a rookie running back getting major carries down the stretch.
Mike Pettine, Defensive Coordinator
The Good: It is hard to know exactly what Pettine was responsible for this season, considering Ryan calls the plays on defense and leads the way in coming up with the game-plans. However according to Ryan, Pettine is an integral part of the process. He also received credit for coming up with the way to handle the loss of Kris Jenkins. I also liked how Pettine wasn’t shy about the Kerry Rhodes benching and basically said he needed to work harder in the off-season and commit more to the system.
The Bad: Again, it is hard to say what he specifically would deserve blame for. Yet, he obviously was part of the problem of the Jets not having a “Plan B” against the Colts in the AFC Championship Game, some of the communication/substitution problems they had mid-season, and their late game struggles throughout the season.
Best Decisions: Getting behind the Kerry Rhodes benching…Getting the most possible out of Sione Pouha, Mike DeVito, and Marques Douglas…Helped recruit Jim Leonhard to the team.
Overall Grade: (B+) Ryan trusts the guy and it is hard to say he didn’t do a very good job this year considering the Jets production on defense.
Mike Westhoff, Special Teams Coordinator
The Good: Orchestrated some well-timed fake punts this season. The Jets were 4/4 on fakes this year, which is a pretty impressive stat. The kick return unit improved as the season went on, despite the loss of Leon Washington. Steve Weatherford had a decent year for a journeyman punter and Jay Feely played at a borderline pro-bowl level. The punt rush team blocked one against New England that led to a touchdown.
The Bad: Ted Ginn Jr…enough said. The three botched field goals against the Falcons were absolute killers. He was likely part of the decision to let Jay Feely try a 50 yard field goal when the Jets should have punted against the Colts in the AFC Championship Game.
Overall Grade: (C) Westhoff is a legend but this was far from the Jets best special teams season.