Was Signing Tomlinson The Right Move? & Coin Flip Madness

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First a few updates:

1. I have to recommend everybody finds a way to get down to Austin, Texas at some point in their life. The place is completely out of control. I thought I would have a more laid back spring break after going to Cancun the previous two years but I was absolutely, 100 percent wrong. Good times. Anyway, I have been a little late writing this article about the Jets officially signing LaDainian Tomlinson and Coin-Flip Gate but I have a valid excuse. Here has been my last few days:

  • Saturday Night – Out on 6th street, go to bed at 8 AM.
  • Sunday Morning – Up at 9 AM.
  • Go to airport in Austin…find out I lost my credit card.
  • During flight, guy next to me throws up in a bag three times.
  • Fly to airport in Minnesota…find out flight is delayed 3 hours.
  • Look around for Tomlinson Vikings jersey…don’t see any.
  • Land in Newark at 9 PM, received 10 texts about Tomlinson signing being official.
  • Arrive back in Ringwood at 10:30 PM
  • Write 8 page paper on the European Union, finish at 8 AM
  • Drive back to Pennsylvania
  • Go to class from 11-12:30
  • Sleep from 1 PM until 9 PM.

So there you go. Anyway, despite currently running on nothing but coffee I have get my opinions out there, before going to bed for another 12 hours.

2. There are still some rumors swirling around about the Jets being interested in Brandon Marshall. I don’t see it happening but honestly you never know with Mike Tannenbaum. At this point, I like the way the Jets offense is constructed and would rather not deal with the sideshow Marshall would bring to town. I don’t care how talented he is. He was the target of a gang hit, hit his girlfriend, and made a huge scene in Denver last year.

3. I am glad to hear Rex Ryan is doing well after his surgery and that his first question after waking up was “Did we sign LT yet?” How can you not love this guy as your football coach?

Was Signing Tomlinson The Right Move? & Coin Flip Madness

Ironically enough, I spent a good amount of article space before and after the Jets/Chargers divisional round playoff game ripping not just Antonio Cromartie but also LaDainain Tomlinson. Sure enough, both players are now members of the Jets. I have already said my piece on Cromartie’s arrival over the past couple of weeks but now what about Tomlinson? First off, I would have still rather have Thomas Jones for next season. There is a bunch of different information being thrown around about the contracts of Tomlinson and Jones but it appears that Tomlinson’s is overall worth more money but Jones will be making more this upcoming season, and the Jets will be able to cut ties with Tomlinson with minimal cap damage after this year if he flames out. Regardless, I still would have rather paid TJ more money next season. He was substantially more productive last year. He was a veteran leader in the locker room and clearly everybody around the organization thought highly of him, as shown by this ad taken out in a Kansas City paper by the team:

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However, when it became apparent that Jones wasn’t coming back next year, the Jets were faced with a hole in their backfield. Chauncey Washington couldn’t be counted on to take consistent carries. The free agent market was extremely thin and the Jets didn’t want to be forced to spend another mid-round pick on a running back, after doing so last year and in 2006. I would have never thought they would look towards Tomlinson but when you consider a few things, it begins to make more sense.

First off, he is familiar with the Jets offense and is comfortable with offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. Second, he provides a veteran presence at a position that desperately needs it. Third, he is a great receiving running back and is steady in pass protection. Shonn Greene sure as hell can run but he has worse hands than Troy Williamson. Obviously, Leon Washington can catch but he is coming off major surgery so it remains to be seen how effective he will be next year. Fourth, Tomlinson is still a very good short yardage back. Washington isn’t built for that type of role and Greene was never used in short yardage or goal-line situations last year. Finally, we all know Woody Johnson and Mike Tannenbaum like to make a splash with big names.

PhotobucketTomlinson is done as a feature back in my mind. Yes, I think he would be more productive in that role with the Jets than he was with San Diego because of the Jets dominant offensive line but he won’t be asked to be option 1A. What do the Jets need from him next year? I would think Shonn Greene will be looking at 17-21 carries a game. Leon will get his touches on third downs, gimmick plays, and as a pass catching target. Tomlinson needs to be an effective short yardage and goal-line back, be able to spell Shonn Greene for a series or two per half, and be a pass catching threat out of the backfield on screens and other short routes. You have to admit, it will be tough to defend the Jets screen game when they line up both Washington and Tomlinson in the backfield.

Tomlinson is in the green and white now so I am trying to look at the positives. I couldn’t stand him watching from the side-lines in playoff games in previous years with his jacket on and I thoroughly enjoyed watching him be made to look like an old lady last year by the Jets defense. Yet, with the help of the best offensive line in football, Shonn Greene, and Leon Washington maybe Tomlinson can carve himself a nice role on the Jets offense. At worst, he provides depth and veteran leadership. At best, he will pile up short-yardage touchdowns and become a game-changer as a change of pace back/receiver out of the backfield. The most likely scenario is that he ends up somewhere in the middle of those two. I will be happy if he can give us 7-9 carries a game, a few receptions, and a high success rate on short-yardage downs. Welcome to New York, LaDainain…I am sure you won’t have trouble getting #21 from Dwight Lowery.

Coin Flip – On to this whole coin-flip issue, which has now been settled by the NFL with a secret flip that resulted in a Giants victory (shocking). The news is that the Giants will open the stadium on Sunday afternoon of week 1 and then the following day, the Jets will host the Monday Night Football opener. Honestly, that is fine with me. Jets owner Woody Johnson is furious because there was no transparency in the coin toss (representatives of neither team were invited) and it is probably likely Roger Goodell just picked the Giants, because despite being 50/50 partners on the new stadium, there is still a view among some people that this new building will also be Giants Stadium. I could see Jets fans getting real worked up about this but in the end it isn’t a big deal. All I know is I am pumped that the Jets are hosting the week 1 Monday Night game. My early predicted opponent? I will either say Minnesota, New England, or Miami. Let the Giants play on Sunday, they probably can’t wait the extra day to start the season considering they lost their final two games by a combined score of 85-16. I can wait until Monday Night with the rest of the nation to watch the league’s #1 defense, #1 offensive line, most entertaining coach, up and coming franchise quarterback and running back, LaDainain Tomlinson, the return of Leon Washington, Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, Dustin Keller, and the rest of the #1 show in town next season.

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They Could Have Settled The Home Opener, With A Bat Fight

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the VP of Social Media at Whistle Sports