First a few updates:
1. Gary Myers of the Daily News officially waited one day with an attempt to jinx the Jets for next year by picking them to win the AFC, in his article today.
2. Darrelle Revis did an interview with the The Big Lead the other day and offered a few interesting thoughts, including his belief that the Jets biggest off-season need is a corner, Jerricho Cotchery is their most underrated player (agreed), and he also gave the impression that Vernon Gholston won’t be back next year (we can only hope so).
3. The 2009 highlights section has been changed around, since most of the game highlights are being taken off youtube by the NFL. However, I am working on putting together all the various highlight tapes people have made of the Jets past season, as you can currently see in the section.
Super Bowl Reaction
1. The Colts…choking as heavy Super Bowl favorites since 1969.
2. Peyton Manning is the best quarterback in NFL but his legacy took a hit last night. If he completes that drive and leads the Colts to a win in OT, most people are saying he is the greatest QB ever or he is at least in the top 2/3 of the discussion, he has 2 Super Bowl rings, 2 Super Bowl MVPs, passes Tom Brady as the best QB of this generation, and spends the entire off-season being praised effusively by everybody associated with football. Yet, since he threw that interception he will spend the whole off-season hearing about his 9-9 playoff record, how despite dominating in the regular season for so long, only has 1 ring to show for it with a win over a mediocre Bears team, and how he was outplayed handily by Drew Brees in the Super Bowl. People are now wondering whether he is heading back to his choking ways of the past…talk about one play changing perspective.
3. Honestly, you had to root for the Saints last night. They were a more emotional/fun team to follow. They had a better story, and on and on which is why about 85 percent of the stadium was Saints fans last night. The Colts come off a little robotic…maybe that is just because their coach hasn’t changed his facial expression once the entire season.
4. Give to credit to Dwight Freeney for putting up a hell of an effort on his bad ankle last night.
5. The commercials? Disappointing, at best. Even the Tim Tebow supposedly “controversial” ad was boring.
6. Follow Turn On The Jets on facebook….because 185 other people are, and why wouldn’t you want to be one of them?
Aging Defense Jets Primary Off-Season Concern & Super Bowl Reaction
The Jets defense carried them to the AFC Championship Game this past year. Despite the offense coming on late in the season, the 2009/2010 Jets were about defensive football, finishing with the league’s #1 overall ranking. It was a constant storyline from the beginning of training camp how far ahead the defense was of the offense, yet moving forward into this off-season and likely the few following it, the Jets need to focus on their defense instead of their offense.
On the offensive side of the football, the Jets have a good, young core that should be in place for awhile as we will get to in another article on another day. On defense, the front office is going to have some work to do.
The main focus of this off-season will likely be the secondary. Darrelle Revis will be getting a monster contract either this year or next year. #24 isn’t going anywhere, so feel free to buy yourself his jersey, maybe even an authentic one if you have some money. Jim Leonhard is only 27 years old and will be around for awhile, especially with Rex Ryan in charge of the defense. Beyond that, there is nothing but question marks. Lito Sheppard won’t be back next year. Donald Strickland is also likely going to be released and even if he sticks around, he can’t be relied on to stay healthy. Drew Coleman doesn’t belong on an active NFL roster. Dwight Lowery should be a #4 corner/specials teamer and Marquice Cole is a strictly specials guy. Kerry Rhodes is rumored to be on the trading block, although I think when everything is said and one, he will be back next season. If Rhodes can play to his potential, it will alleviate many potential problems on their defense. They will have a pair of good, 27 year old safeties in place for the forseeable future withtwo quality backups in Eric Smith and James Ihedigbo.
Smith and Ihedigo are good options as #3 and #4 safeties but would be miscast as starters or even as guys splitting starting time. If the Jets can’t work things out with Rhodes, they better find a way to fill his spot before trading him for a middle-round draft pick or else they are only creating another hole to fill. They already need a long term starter opposite Darrelle Revis at corner and a reliable nickel-back, who could also provide depth if Revis (scary to think about) or the eventual starter got hurt. We can’t have Dwight Lowery one snap away from playing starters minutes next season.
At linebacker, the Jets aren’t necessarily old but they aren’t young either and they lack depth. Similar to Revis, David Harris is going to be around for a long time and will be a lynch pin of the defense hopefully for another 7-8 years. Bart Scott is going to turn 30 this year but should pair inside with Harris for a few more years. The top backup at inside linebacker is Ryan Fowler, who has some starting experience but is much better suited as a special teams player. Past him, I wouldn’t expect Larry Izzo back and Kenwin Cummings has never played an NFL snap. Calvin Pace also turns 30 this year and similar to Scott will likely play out the huge contract the Jets gave him as a productive starter (or at least we hope so). Bryan Thomas turns 31 this year and since the Vernon Gholston completely flamed out, has remained a starter longer than many in the organization probably wanted to see. Thomas has been okay the past two years, but the Jets need to upgrade to a more dynamic pass rusher. Unfortunately, because of the Gholston bust, their depth is also weak. Marques Murrell might not back next year after spending plenty of time on the inactive list last season. Jamaal Westerman has potential as a back-up at both positions, but disappeared after a strong start as a pass rusher last year.
On the defensive line, Kris Jenkins is turning 31 and coming off major surgery. I would be thrilled if we could get 2 more seasons out of him at 2008 level and then have him still be productive in a somewhat lesser role after that but even that might be asking too much. Sione Pouha just turned 31 but is only entering his 6th season next year, so hopefully he could remain a key part of the defensive line rotation for a few years. I don’t know if Howard Green will be back next year. Marques Douglas and Shaun Ellis both turn 33 this season so even though both are coming off good years, the Jets need to start thinking about long term replacements at defensive end. Mike DeVito is only 25 but is best used in a reserve role. Ropati Pitoitua hasn’t been able to earn any major reps the past two years.
So in retrospect, yes the Jets had a very good defense last year and yes they should be even better in 2010 with Jenkins returning and another year in the system. However, they still need two corners, an upgrade at outside linebacker, long term answers at defensive end, and better depth at the linebacker position.
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