Turn On The Jets 2009/2010 Season Awards: Players

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First a few updates:

1. I made a mistake when discussing restricted free agents in my last article. If you look at the comments section under the article, two people corrected me with the actual rules on RFA’s and the options the Jets have on players like Leon Washington and Kellen Clemens. Here is what they are eligible to do (pulled from comment by SBS0311, thanks to you and DEK for the heads up) -

Your tender suggestions on Clemens and Washington aren’t permitted under the CBA. There’s five distinctions:

No compensation

Draft Round compensation (ex. Clemens 2nd, Leon 4th).

2nd Round Compensation

1st Round

1st and Third

It would actually cost the Jets the same exact money to tender Clemens at a 2nd round level as it would to tender him at no compensation.

With Leon, the Jets will have to tender him at $1.545 M for 2nd round and then at increasing salaries for the 1st and then the 1st and 3rd.

Anyway, bad job by me with the mistake and thanks again for the corrections.

2. My thoughts on the whole Rex Ryan middle finger at Miami fans – I am sure Rex was prompted by excessive amounts of heckling (as was pointed out in this PFT article http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/01/31/rex-ryan-faced-extreme-provocation-before-firing-middle-finger/) However, as much as we all hate Dolphins fans and all enjoyed Rex calling out us sweeping them next year, giving the middle finder is something he just can’t do. I am sure he will pay a fine, which is deserved and hopefully that is the end of this issue. I don’t want Rex to change his personality but when he is out in public, he is going to have to contain the obscene gestures.

3. Nick Mangold discussed getting a long-term deal at the Pro-Bowl and honestly there is no reason the Jets shouldn’t act on it during this off-season. They are already limited at signing UFAs because of the “Final Eight” rules in the CBA agreement so why not take care of their own? Mangold is the best center in the NFL and has without question earned a long-term, big money deal from the franchise.

Turn On The Jets 2009/2010 Season Awards: Players

Welcome to day one of the TOJ Awards for the 2009/2010 New York Jets season. Today we will be honoring the Jets best and worst players on each side of the ball. Tomorrow, we will be looking at the best and worst games of the past season and on Wednesday we will be looking at the best and worst moments/individual plays of the past year.

Best Overall Player – Darrelle Revis, Cornerback – 54 tackles, 31 Passes Defensed, 6 INTs, 1 TD (2 INTs in Playoffs)

Revis had one of the best seasons in Jets history, at any position and was robbed of the Defensive Player of the Year Award. After his first pro-bowl season in 2008, Revis established himself as the league’s best cover corner and maybe the only  legit “shutdown” corner currently in the NFL. By the end of the year, Revis was getting the league-wide recognition he deserved all year for the job he did shutting down receivers like Andre Johnson, Steve Smith, Randy Moss,  Marques Colston, Terrell Owens, and on and on. He was the cornerstone of the Jets defense and allowed them to play as aggressively as they did because of his man to man cover skills. Hopefully, being snubbed for the DPOY Award will inspire him to come back even better next year, which should be a scary thought to the rest of the league. The highlights say it all:

Best Offensive Player – Nick Mangold, Center

It was between him and Thomas Jones but in the end I decided to give it to the best lineman on the league’s best offensive line, which led the way for the league’s #1 ranked rushing attack. Darrelle Revis is the best in the league at his position and so is Nick Mangold, which is why he is deserving of that long-term contract he desires. Despite only being a fourth year player, Mangold quarterbacks a largely veteran offensive line that runs complex blocking schemes drawn up by Brian Schottenheimer and Bill Callahan which had to counter defenses loading up the box.

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Best Defensive Player – David Harris, Linebacker - 127 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 2 FFs, 2 INTs

I am not going to double up on any awards which took Revis out of the running for this one. However, Harris deserves recognition for putting together an All-Pro caliber year as the top tackler in the league’s top defense. An all-around threat, Harris consistently made big plays for the Jets all season and then after bouncing back from an ankle injury finished the year with monster games against San Diego and Indy in the playoffs. He is only entering his 4th year and should be the heart of Rex Ryan’s defense for years to come.

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Most Underrated: Offense – Jerricho Cotchery, Receiver - 57 receptions, 821 yards, 4 TDs/Brandon Moore, Guard

Cotchery’s numbers won’t blow anybody away but if he didn’t basically miss three complete games (Buffalo, Oakland, and Miami where he barely played because of ankle injury) he would have been a 1000 yard receiverwith a rookie quarterback. Most people forget how well Cotchery played in the first four games of the year before Braylon Edwards was acquried and before an ankle injury slowed him down for a few weeks (90 yards week one, 87 yards week two, 108 yards 1 TD week three, 71 yards week four). Cotchery also stepped up in a big way during the Jets post-season run, routinely making clutch third down receptions along the sideline.

Brandon Moore is the least talked about guy on the Jets offensive line and the only player who isn’t a former first round draft pick. However, he has been a consistent player for them the past few years and is very good in both the running and passing game. His level of play isn’t too far below Alan Faneca’s.

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Most Underrated: Defense – Marques Douglas, Defensive End – 64 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 FF, 4 TFLs, 1 TD

Sione Pouha stepped up a big way after the Kris Jenkins injury, however I decided to go with Marques Douglas an unheralded off-season acquisition who proved to be a major upgrade over Kenyon Coleman and provided energy and some playmaking ability to the Jets defensive line. There were questions about whether Douglas could handle being a full-time starter and he answered them by playing a ton of reps in a defensive line rotation that for the most part only had four players getting serious reps.

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Biggest Disappointment: Lito Sheppard, Corner – 31 tackles, 8 Passes Defensed, 1 INT, Vernon Gholston, Linebacker – 17 tackles

It was hard to decide between these two so I decided they both deserved criticism. Sheppard couldn’t stay healthy and was extremely inconsistent when he was on the field, proving that he wasn’t the answer to the Jets #2 corner problem. Gholston made no impact in the first four games of the year when he had the chance to start and was a below average special teams player the rest of the season, who probably shouldn’t have even been active in most weeks.

Biggest Offensive Playmaker: Shonn Greene, Running Back – 540 yards, 2 TDs (304 yards, 2 TDs in Playoffs)

Even though Greene didn’t become a factor until week 7 with a breakout game against Oakland and was then relatively quiet for most of year, he exploded when it counted during the Jets last two regular season games and playoff run. Greene averaged 5.0 yards per carry in the regular season and bumped that up to 5.6 in the playoffs, including a long TD run in both the Cincinnati and San Diego game. Greene had some nagging injuries throughout his rookie year but if he can stay healthy next season, it is scary to imagine what his numbers could be.

Biggest Defensive Playmaker: Calvin Pace, Linebacker – 55 tackles, 8 sacks, 7 TFLs, 3 FFs

Keep in mind Pace only played in 12 regular season games, which means he likely would have been a double digit sack guy if he hadn’t been suspended the first month of the season. He remains the Jets best pass rusher until they hopefully upgrade the position. After a quiet first two games of the playoffs, Pace had a big day against Indy in a losing effort including a forced fumble deep in Colts territory.

 The Get Me The Damn Ball Award – Dustin Keller, Tight End – 45 receptions, 522 yards, 2 TDs (3 TDs in the playoffs)

The Jets did a poor job of using Dustn Keller enough throughout the season, some of the blame goes to Mark Sanchez and some goes to Brian Schottenheimer but they must find a way to get more targets to Keller. For an offense that is so reliant on the run, play action to the tight end should be a big part of the offense. Keller finally became more involved in the post-season and responded with 12 catches, 181 yards, and 3 touchdowns in 3 games…tempting me to draft him again in fantasy football, even after a disappointing statistical season.

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The Stop Talking, Start Tackling Award – Kerry Rhodes, Safety – 63 tackles, 3 INTs, 13 passes defensed

Kerry Rhodes is clearly a talented player but he is guy who is starting to wear thin on the organization according to multiple sources. He didn’t improve his play until he was benched and he doesn’t play nearly physical enough. I am not ready to give up on him yet like most people seem to be, because he showed his potential in a big spot against the Chargers during Divisional Weekend. However, he needs to cut back the media appearances and have a big off-season, which will hopefully translate into a better, more consistent 2010-2011 season.

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The Other Guys Who Deserve Positive Recognition Awards – Thomas Jones for putting together a career season and being a terrific short yardage/goal-line back…Jim Leonhard for being tough enough to play through his injured hand, and elevate his play during the playoff run…Damien Woody, Alan Faneca, and D’Brickashaw Ferguson for rounding out the best offensive line in football…Mike DeVito for developing into a quality role player off the bench.

Another Good Highlight Tape Of Jets Season

  • bruceharper

    It’s a long, cold winter, and we are not in the Super Bowl. Here is an article by Dolphin-homer Greg Cote to a least warm our hearts. Go Saints!

    Posted on Tue, Feb. 02, 2010
    With Brees, Miami Dolphins might have been in Super Bowl

    By GREG COTE
    gcote@MiamiHerald.com

    Mark Humphrey / AP Photo
    New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees answers questions at a news conference in Davie, Fla., on Monday, Feb. 1, 2010. The Saints are scheduled to play the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV on Sunday.
    Star quarterback Drew Brees strode through Dolphins headquarters in Davie and into the large auditorium where the team’s major announcements are made, taking his place behind a lectern as a roomful of TV cameras and media waited.
    This was on Monday, alas. Four years too late.

    Had the same man walked into the same room in 2006, it might well be the Dolphins starring in their own hometown Super Bowl this week instead of having to play the courteous host to other teams’ dreams.

    “Pretty crazy the way things work out,” Brees said.

    In this case, make that crazy as in enough to drive a Super-starved Miami fan halfway to insane just thinking about it.

    One of the byproducts of this city hosting so many Super Bowls — Colts vs. Saints is our record 10th — is that we get all of these cruel and thoroughly unnecessary reminders how long it has been since the locals last played in a Super Bowl, let alone won one.

    This week, though — this one hurts the most because we are forced to relive what might have been. The fates slapped poor Dolfans four years ago and the fates had to go rub it in Monday, when heavy rain forced the Saints’ initial SB practice from an outdoor workout at the University of Miami to Dolphins HQ and the indoor practice bubble.

    So now here was Brees at the facilities of the very franchise that went after him hard and could have had him, once, but instead watched him slip away to top-tier stardom in New Orleans.

    “It’s kind of interesting I guess,” he said, recalling his visit here during the free agent wooing. “The bubble wasn’t built yet but was under construction. Walking around here brought back memories.”

    As he spoke, Brees stood Monday before a backdrop decorated with Super Bowl XLIV logos and the Saints’ fleur de lis insignia. Above him a large sign near the ceiling declared:

    “Miami Dolphins: Smart. Tough. Disciplined.”

    Benefit of doubt on tough and disciplined. Smart? Not four years ago.

    The Dolphins had an inside line on Brees. He wanted to come here. Money was not the issue. Ultimately, Miami was not convinced his surgically repaired shoulder was sound, even though the player offered an affidavit from famed surgeon Dr. James Andrews stating the shoulder was 100 percent.

    A BAD DECISION

    Miami put Brees through a six-hour physical exam that focused on the shoulder, after which the Dolphins’ interest waned and the club turned its focus instead to the ill-fated signing of Daunte Culpepper.

    “It was a medical decision,” then-coach Nick Saban had said.

    That was almost 20,000 yards and 122 touchdown passes ago. Saban and club brass had wooed Brees ardently but then been swayed by medical advice that proved to be spectacularly wrong.

    I applauded Miami’s decision at the time, and I was as deadwrong as that medical opinion. I assumed the Dolphins’ medical experts, after a six-hour exam, knew what they were talking about.

    Brees followed not the dollars, but the trust. The faith. He noted Monday that the Saints “believed in me when nobody else did.” He meant his original team, the Chargers, who let him go. And he meant the Dolphins, who saw him as damaged goods.

    He calls that turn of events — going from thinking he’d be a Dolphin to the Saints instead — “A defining moment in my career and life.”

    For the Dolphins, it was nothing less.

    With the clarity that time and 20/20 hindsight allow, we might identity four decisions that loom biggest in this franchise’s history. The brief chronology:

    March 1965. A Minneapolis lawyer named Joseph Robbie meets with AFL commissioner Joe Foss, who suggests he apply for an expansion franchise in Miami. Robbie agrees.

    February 1970. The Dolphins lure coach Don Shula away from the Baltimore Colts.

    April 1983. Quarterback Dan Marino falls in the NFL Draft and is selected by Miami late in the first round.

    March 2006. The Dolphins, after due diligence, decide Culpepper is a smarter signing than Brees.

    To include that decision isn’t overstating it, not when one sees how impactful a great quarterback can be and what Brees has meant to New Orleans.

    He is a quarterback still at the height of his prime at age 31, and rates with fellow Super Bowler Peyton Manning (and, arguably, the Pats’ Tom Brady) as the best man at the most important position in the NFL.

    Brees is, certifiably, what Miami only dreams Chad Henne might become, or close to it, someday, maybe.

    MISSED OPPORTUNITY

    Miami also had a chance to draft Brees, in 2001 (on Dave Wannstedt’s watch), but selected cornerback-bust Jamar Fletcher instead. Five years later, another chance to right that wrong was squandered foolishly.

    Brees says now, “I felt New Orleans was my calling to help rebuild that organization and that community.” No player is more intertwined with the symbolism of the Saints’ rise to prominence mirroring and inspiring the city’s rise from the ravages of Hurricane Katrina.

    Put aside that sentimentality for a moment, though, and understand that, not quite four years ago, Brees liked the Dolphins enough to come here, if only the Dolphins had liked him as much in return.

    As the latest Super Bowl party plays out, left-out Dolfans increasingly see the Dolphins’ two Super Bowl championships, in the 1972 and ’73 seasons, as distant, receding relics. Like Neil Armstrong walking on the moon, they are historical snapshots more than living memories.

    Worse in some ways than the near-40-year title drought is the fact Miami hasn’t even been in a Super Bowl in a quarter century, since the 1984 season.

    Now here is Brees, right in Miami, right at Dolphins camp.

    The savior who might have been.

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