Let Santonio Listen To His IPod: I Got Your Back #10

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Well it didn’t take long for Santonio Holmes to grab some headlines in a negative way as a New York Jet. In what has to be one of the stupidest stories I have ever read, Santonio Holmes was escorted off a plane in Pittsburgh for being a disruptive passenger. He wasn’t arrested. No files are going to be charged but why was Holmes sent off the plane? #10 refused to turn off his IPod as the plane was landing. Don’t worry Santonio as the rest of the New York media jumps all over you…I got your back.

First off, everybody knows nothing happens when you keep your IPod on as the plane lands. Let me tell you this, if my plane is going down because I need to hear the last verse of a Kid Cudi song than I need to switch airlines or start driving everywhere. You keep bumping those beats #10. The guy was flying to Vegas for the Mayweather fight, he was probably blasting a little Katy Perry “Waking Up In Vegas,” and getting hyped up for some roulette, blackjack, and craps. Leave him alone and let the man enjoy the last few minutes of his flight.

PhotobucketSecond, do you think this happens if Santonio was landing in JFK? Absolutely not. Obviously, these were bitter Pittsburgh airline employees and police officers who are mad they lost their Super Bowl MVP receiver for a 5th round pick and that their quarterback spends more time in bathrooms during the off-season than at the team complex. If Holmes was flying into JFK, I bet the airline employees tell him to turn his music up and get ready to pull in 10 touchdowns in 12 games. Hell, they might have even sat down with him and put their Ipods on. You think they were escorting him off the plane for being a “disruptive passenger”…C’mon now.

So you keep bumping that IPod Santonio but do us all a favor, if you make it to Vegas…take it easy. I love Braylon and Cotchery as our receivers but I want to see you out there for 15 games this year (including the playoffs)…we don’t need your suspension being shifted up to Rothlisberger or Jason Ferguson length.

Now, Some Other Updates:

1. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (Turn On The Jets) for updates from today’s rookie minicamp. I wasn’t there but I have read a report from everybody who was and it sounds like Joe McKnight had a rough day and Vlad Ducasse was pushing some people around…as much as you could in a practice without pads. Also, I will link Rex Ryan’s press conference where he discussed Holmes and the UDFAs who stood out to him. Also, I will link up the transcripts of Kyle Wilson and Ducasse post practice press conferences. The Jets will practice twice tomorrow.

2. My NBA predictions for tonight? The Bucks knock the Hawks out of the playoffs. The Thunder send it back to Los Angeles for game 7. The Jazz knock the Nuggets out of the playoffs.

Death Of The Jets Chemistry Discussion

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First a few updates:

1. There is still some talk about Darren Sharper potentially ending up with the Jets. I doubt it ends up happening though, especially considering the Jets restrictions with the final eight rules. Rex Ryan appears comfortable with Brodney Pool or Eric Smith taking the majority of the reps alongside Jim Leonhard. If the Jets add any other major pieces this off-season, I would expect it to be Adalius Thomas, a kicker, or a veteran guard if Ducasse and Slauson bomb out in training camp.

2. The Jets start rookie minicamp tomorrow, where all four draft picks, the UDFAs, the tryout players, and a handful of other guys with limited experience will participate.

3. Jets draft pick numbers – Kyle Wilson #20, Vlad Ducasse #62, Joe McKnight #25, John Connor #38.

4. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets).

5. I know I ask this from time to time, but what new Jets jersey should I get this summer? Wilson? Santonio? Greene? Jim Leonhard?

Death Of The Jets Chemistry Discussion

I can’t tell you how tired I am of reading articles about the Jets “chemistry” and how it may stop them from winning games this season. The obsession with this issue leads to things like “Mangold Upset Faneca Was Released” becoming a news story. Of course Nick Mangold is upset one of his fellow lineman and good friends was cut. Yet, his quotes get blown completely out of proportion like he is upset with the team and it will become a problem this year. How come nobody talks about when he said “If we want to prove that we’re a great offensive line and a great unit, then we can make changes and still be great. There’s nothing like a little adversity to continue on.”

PhotobucketMy point is that this whole question about the Jets chemistry is being beaten to death by the media. Let’s start with the unit that makes the Jets into one of the league’s best teams…their defense. They have three new starters. Guess who they are replacing? Kerry Rhodes, one of the most unpopular guys in the locker room, who despite his unhappiness last year, still didn’t prevent the Jets from going to the AFC Championship Game. Yes, the Jets made it to the AFC Championship Game with an unhappy player who was benched mid-season and handled it like a little kid. They are also replacing Lito Sheppard, who was on the team for one year and missed more games than he played. Finally, Marques Douglas won’t be back but again he was only on the team one year and is being replaced by a guy who played a ton of snaps for the Jets last season and been on the team for a few years in Mike DeVito.

Where are the chemistry problems coming from on defense? You are telling me Bart Scott, David Harris, Shaun Ellis, Darrelle Revis, Jim Leonhard, Bryan Thomas, Calvin Pace, and Kris Jenkins can’t handle Antonio Cromartie, who will be on his best behavior anyway because he is in a contract year. Is Brodney Pool going to destroy everyone’s ability to cover people? Even if these guys self-destruct, can’t Kyle Wilson and Eric Smith just step in, while Rex Ryan locks Cromartie and Pool away so they can’t damage the precious chemistry?

On offense, okay yes there may be an adjustment period to Vlad Ducasse or Matt Slauson stepping in at guard. Yet, won’t they work this out during OTAs, mini-camp, training camp, and the pre-season? Even if those guys struggle, will everybody’s else play all of a sudden fall off the cliff and the Jets won’t be able to run the ball or protect Mark Sanchez? Isn’t Bill Callahan a better coach than that? Aren’t Nick Mangold, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Damien Woody, and Brandon Moore better players than that?

Santonio Holmes? I don’t know I am pretty sure I just read this quote from Mark Sanchez today in The Daily News:

“He’s so open and ready to get going,” said Sanchez, who has thrown with the receiver several times already. “We’re getting that chemistry to the point where I can explain what I want and we can exchange ideas.”

Yes, I think Holmes will fit in just fine on the Jets offense after working with Sanchez the next few months. He will be raring to go in week 5, because I am sure it will kill him to watch those first four games and beyond that the guy has a ton to prove. He is a former Super Bowl MVP who was traded by his team. By all accounts, Holmes is a big time competitor and he is in a contract year.

PhotobucketWill the Jets miss Thomas Jones leadership on offense? He was absolutely a valuable leader but can’t Mangold, Woody, Ferguson, and Jerricho Cotchery step up? Can’t Sanchez step up in his second year as the starter? What about LaDainian Tomlinson? What about Tony Richardson? These guys are professionals.

Turnover is common in the NFL. Everybody talks about what great chemistry the Jets had last year and guess what they had four new starters on defense and two new starters on offense in 2009. They were breaking in a rookie quarterback. They had to adjust to a new #1 receiver in week 5 (sound familiar for 2010?). They basically switched starting running backs in the middle of their run to the post-season. They dealt with an unhappy big name player on defense, who was demoted. They handled two season ending injuries to key players. They had a player benched because of a twitter incident. They fired a defensive line coach mid-season and guess what? They still managed to pull it together and make a run to the AFC Championship Game.

If you are going to argue the Jets will struggle in 2010, you will have to do better than the chemistry argument.

2009: A Season Filled With Potential Chemistry Problems

Post-Draft AFC Power Poll

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First a few updates:

1. What a let down from the Heat only taking one game from the Celtics…all the more reason for D-Wade to throw on the blue and orange in New York next year. Even the Knicks have more help for him than the Heat did this past year, did you see who Wade was trying to win with last night? Their starter with the second most points was Carlos Arroyo with a whopping 8…Carlos Arroyo. Well at least we get to watch LeBron steamroll the Celtics out of the playoffs now. How about those Milwaukee Bucks by the way? How the hell did the Knicks pass on Brandon Jennings?

2. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets).

3. Kerry Rhodes…Jay Feely…Alan Faneca…The Cardinals are turning into the NFC Jets, which is better than being the Minor League Jets aka the 2009 Cleveland Browns.

Post-Draft AFC Power Poll

It was feeling like that time to put together another power poll, especially with the draft over and most major transactions taken care of. Most teams are ready to head into the 2010 season with their roster constructed the way it is today. Hopefully, I won’t be looking back in January and see the 12-16 teams in this poll still playing.

Tier 1 – The Favorites – The division favorites who should be jockeying for a first round bye. All these teams should have a double digit win total and potentially be in the 11-5 to 13-3 range.

1. Indianapolis Colts – They were basically undefeated last year during the regular season and reached the Super Bowl where they lost a tight game to the Saints. They are number one until somebody knocks them off and as long as Peyton Manning continues to be an absolute beast behind center. I don’t care about the rest of their roster, Manning makes them the team to beat.

Photobucket2. New York Jets – Yes, the AFC’s runner up last year stays in the number two spot. They were already going to be better this year because of Mark Sanchez’s continued development and the defense getting more comfortable in Rex Ryan’s scheme and that was before they added Antonio Cromartie, LaDainian Tomlinson, Brodney Pool, Jason Taylor, Santonio Holmes, and Kyle Wilson.

3. Baltimore Ravens – The Ravens had a good run last year despite having a weak receiving core and Joe Flacco struggling down the stretch. Now they have added Anquan Boldin and Donte Stallworth at receiver and Flacco should be improved. Beyond that, they just stole Sergio Kindle and Terrence Cody in the second round of the draft to add to their defense.

4. San Diego Chargers – They are still loaded with talent on both sides of the ball and play in a crappy division. If they can’t go 5-1 in the AFC West than shame on them.

Tier 2 – The Contenders – The teams who should battle for a division title and be anywhere from around .500 to 10-6/11-5.

5. Cincinnati Bengals – Most people seem to think the Bengals are going to struggle this season but I am not sure why. They added a legit number two receiver in Antonio Bryant, drafted a quality pass catching tight end in Jermaine Gresham, and still should be solid on defense and running the football.

6. New England Patriots – They didn’t do much in free agency but had a pretty good overall draft. Brady and Belicheat will keep them competitive, and of course the referees will always be there to help them with roughing the passer penalties.

7. Houston Texans – Everybody loves them every year and every year they go 8-8 (okay, they went 9-7 last year but you get the point). They are a talented team but when will they win a big game?

8. Miami Dolphins – Brandon Marshall was a much needed addition to their offense, while Karlos Dansby and Jared Odrick will improve their defense. Even though I have the Patriots ranked higher, I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Dolphins be the primary challenge to the Jets for a division title.

Tier 3 – The Question Marks – Teams with major questions surrounding them who could go anywhere from 6-10 to 10-6.

9. Pittsburgh Steelers – Outside of their starting quarterback being suspended six games and trading away their best receiver for nothing, they had a pretty good off-season.

10. Tennessee Titans – Vince Young is always a question mark and now they have to deal with Chris Johnson holding out. However, they could be dangerous next year if Young gets rolling, especially if Kenny Britt continues to develop into a legit number one receiver.

11. Denver Broncos – I am not sure if they have improved at all this off-season. Yet, they are in a crappy division so they could hover around .500 again.

12. Jacksonville Jaguars – They added some pieces on defense but I am not sure how far David Garrard can carry them. Beyond that, they are in a tough division.

13. Oakland Raiders – Yes, the Raiders. Keep in mind they were 5-11 last year with a defensive tackle playing quarterback the majority of the time. With Jason Campbell under center, they  might actually get somewhat near .500.

Tier 4 – The Basement Dwellers – Teams who shouldn’t be planning on playing meaningful games in December next year.

14. Cleveland Browns – They had a good off-season so far and improved on both sides of the ball but how is that offense going to score points? Nobody is worried about Jake Delhomme throwing to Chansi Stuckey.

15. Kansas City Chiefs – Anytime you give Matt Cassel that much money, you are probably going to struggle for a few seasons.

16. Buffalo Bills – Trent Edwards vs. Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Brian Brohm…with no offensive line…sorry Buffalo.

Yes, We Are Pretty Good At Corner

Rookie Expectations For The Jets

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First a few updates:

1. For everybody who gets on the Jets for bringing in players with troubled pasts and talking their share of trash, read here about an organization that actually is heavily lacking in the class department (http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=ms-trippintuesday042710).

2. There have been contradictory reports from the local papers about the Jets interest level in Adalius Thomas. Mike Tannenbaum was on WFAN this morning and said “nothing was imminent” but something could happen down the road. You have to think the Jets will let Thomas sit on the market for a little bit and see if there is any type of interest in him from other teams around the league and then potentially make a low price offer to him if he remains on the market in a month or so. In the end, I still have a feeling Thomas will end up in green and white, Tannenbaum and Rex Ryan can’t help themselves.

3. Also in that interview, Tannenbaum commented that he called Mark Sanchez before pulling the trigger on drafting Joe McKnight. Apparently Sanchez signed off immediately and said he was the type of player he wanted in the huddle. I hope Sanchez’s faith in his former and now current teammate pays off.

4. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and twitter (TurnOnTheJets)…When you follow on Facebook you get access to sweet pictures like this made by TOJ fan John Morales:

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5. I know I have long been talking about getting a Podcast going and trust me it is on the way, I’d rather take the time and make sure it gets done right instead of rushing it out. Also our staff (myself and maybe my friend Corbett) are working on a new design for the site. Finally, don’t forget there are other links across the top of the home page: Depth Chart, 2009 highlights, 2010 schedule, About the Author, Turn On The Jets TV (new episode coming within the next few weeks), 2009 Stats, 2010 Draft Picks.

Rookie Expectations For The Jets

What do the Jets need out of their four draft picks in the 2010 season? What is fair expectations for them considering their likely roles on the team?

Kyle Wilson – Rex Ryan made it abundantly clear in his post draft press conference that Wilson would be the team’s nickel back and punt returner in his rookie season. The Jets need him to be an upgrade over Donald Strickland (who couldn’t stay healthy), Dwight Lowery (who was wildly  inconsistent), and Drew Coleman (who just isn’t that good) at the nickel position. Wilson will be in position to blitz the quarterback often in Ryan’s scheme, which frequently overloads one side with corners and sends them at the QB. He will also obviously be asked to play plenty of man to man, both in the slot and on the outside. Ideally, Wilson will be consistent enough and make enough big plays to make the Jets seriously consider letting Antonio Cromartie walk after 2010. I am not saying they should or will (it depends on his production) but you want Wilson to show enough to make you believe he can easily step into a starting role. On special teams, the most important thing is that he is reliable with catching the ball. Hopefully he can also add more of a big play element to the Jets punt return unit, which has been lacking the past few years. Finally, expect to see Wilson on all of the Jets special teams coverage units.

Vladimir Ducasse – Regardless of his competition with last year’s sixth round pick, Matt Slauson, the Jets clearly want Ducasse to step into the starting role left by Alan Faneca. Nobody expects him to instantly duplicate Faneca’s level of play but if Ducasse can hold his own, especially in pass protection and show promise of being a quality starter on the line for the long term, the Jets will be thrilled with their decision to draft him and let Faneca walk. Nick Mangold, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, and Ducasse (if he can develop into a quality player) would be a nice trio for Mark Sanchez to play behind for the next decade.

PhotobucketJoe McKnight It will be very interesting to see what McKnight’s role will be in his rookie season. He will likely be a candidate for the kick return job and play on many of the coverage units on special teams. On offense, I am assuming he will be the team’s third down back in most situations and be used as a pass catching weapon out of the backfield. Ideally, you want him improving as the season goes on and slowly taking carries away from LaDainian Tomlinson so he is ready to take over as the team’s number two back, sooner rather than later. In order to make fans forget about Leon Washington, McKnight will also have to rip off his share of big plays.

John Connor – Connor’s job will be to learn behind Tony Richardson this year. I am interested to see if he is even active on most weeks, despite his supposed value on special teams. It would be unlike the Jets to carry five running backs on the active roster each Sunday, so don’t expect to see a ton of Connor this year. The goal is to have him ready to be the starting fullback for opening day of the 2011 season.

UDFAs – Keep an eye on Michigan DB Donovan Warren. This guy was initially projected to be a mid-round pick but ran a poor 40 time at the combine so he fell drastically down the board. He was a corner in college but the Jets have him listed at safety. The guy was a productive player at a big time school, who could grab a spot on the Jets roster.

Donovan Warren Highlights

A Defense Of The Jets Off-Season

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First a few updates:

1. The Patriots have finally cut ties with outside linebacker Adalius Thomas. Will the Jets still puruse Thomas, who excelled in Rex Ryan’s system during his time in Baltimore? Initially you would think not, considering they just signed Jason Taylor and still have Calvin Pace and  Bryan Thoams in place as starters. However, you could never have enough pass rushers, especially in this defensive system. The Jets may be able to get Thomas at a low price depending on the amount of interest he generates around the league and his desire to reunite with Ryan and stick it to the Patriots for cutting him. I say if they can get him at a reasonable price, then why not? Also keep in mind Thomas is versatile enough to play multiple positions in Rex Ryan’s defense. Overall, don’t be shocked to see the Jets add yet another big name in the next few days.

2. The Jets have restructured Vernon Gholston’s contract to make it primarily incentive based. Apparently, Gholston approached the team about redoing the deal in an attempt to actually earn his contract money. If that is true, than it is a very admirable move by Gholston who will hopefully begin to turn his career around somewhat at the defensive end position.

3. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook…Good links today on the Jets/Giants business relationship and Peter King’s inside information of what went down before the Leon Washington deal.

A Defense Of The Jets Off-Season

I have been caught off guard by the amount of negativity expressed by many Jets fans after their draft weekend decisions. On the whole most people who follow and write about the NFL initially praised the Jets pro-active approach this off-season, however there is starting to be some questions asked about adding too many big name players, destroying team chemistry, and an overall skepticism about the direction Mike Tannenbaum/Rex Ryan have taken this team. You can poke holes in any team’s roster and any personnel decision they make, yet I have this to say to people who haven’t liked the Jets off-season: are you kidding me?

Let’s start with the defense. The consensus weakest part of the Jets defense last year was their secondary outside of Darrelle Revis. Everybody agreed they needed a major upgrade at corner after Revis and that Kerry Rhodes was a disappointment in Rex Ryan’s system who wasn’t a good fit in the locker room with his “Hollywood” personality and selfish anger over Jim Leonhard calling the shots in the defensive backfield. What did the Jets do? They replaced Lito Sheppard with Antonio Cromartie as the other starter at corner. They replaced Dwight Lowery with Kyle Wilson as the nickel back and they shipped Rhodes to Arizona for two draft picks.

Photobucket Cromartie and Wilson should be substantial upgrades over the players they replaced. Cromartie is out to prove he can return to his all-pro level in Ryan’s man to man scheme and validate the Jets decision to give him a chance, along with a nice advance on his contract to help pay his child support. Wilson was a steal at #29 in the first round and should immediately be one of the most talented nickel backs in the NFL. Everybody wants to criticize the Jets chemistry for this upcoming year but didn’t they improve it by shipping out the disgruntled Rhodes? Brodney Pool has been tabbed as his replacement and had more sacks and interceptions than Rhodes last year, despite only playing in 11 games. Yes, Pool has injury concerns but if he gets hurt, wasn’t Eric Smith just as productive as Rhodes last season. Beyond that the Jets didn’t break the bank for Cromartie, Pool, or Wilson considering where he was selected.

The other big problem on the Jets defense last year was their lack of a pass rush. In order to improve this they added Jason Taylor, who notched seven sacks last year despite not being put in the best position to rush the passer in Miami’s defense. Rex Ryan should be able to put together enough schemes and blitz packages to get somebody with Taylor’s talent 9-12 sacks. Also don’t forget Kris Jenkins is coming back from injury and while he won’t ever rack up monster sack numbers his presence on the line will open up things for everybody else. Beyond that, there is a decent chance Adalius Thomas will also be thrown in the mix as a pass rusher at outside linebacker, inside linebacker, and defensive end.

So on defense the Jets replaced three starters: Kerry Rhodes, Lito Sheppard, and Marques Douglas with three younger players in Brodney Pool, Antonio Cromartie, and Mike DeVito. They removed the biggest personality/chemistry problem by getting rid of Rhodes. Yes, Douglas was a quality player and it remains to be seen if DeVito can be a full time starter but the Jets defense isn’t dropping from the number one spot in the league because they removed the 60 tackles and 1.5 sacks from Douglas. On top of that, they now have Jason Taylor as their top reserve at linebacker instead of Vernnon Gholston and Kyle Wilson at nickel back instead of Dwight Lowery. So tell me what the problem is again? It sounds to me like there is a good chance the Jets will be repeating as the league’s #1 defense.

PhotobucketNow let’s look at the offense where there is a popular misconception that the Jets signed LaDainian Tomlinson to replace Thomas Jones. Actually it will be Shonn Greene replacing Thomas Jones, with LaDainian Tomlinson taking over the #2 role and stepping in as the goal-line/short yardage back. The Jets also replaced Leon Washington, who may have begun the season on the PUP list with a player who has the skill set to be a young, healthier version of him in Joe McKnight. Washington also would have been leaving the Jets after this season anyway because of his contract situation, while the Jets now have McKnight for the next 4-6 years at a minimum.

Most people agreed the Jets needed to upgrade their receiving core. They responded by adding Santonio Holmes for a fifth round pick. Holmes has the talent to be a #1 receiver on many teams in this league, yet will basically be the Jets #3 receiver when he begins playing in week five. They will also be benefitted by having Braylon Edwards spend a full off-season with the team and having both Edwards and Holmes looking to prove they deserve long term contracts from the Jets or another team.

Yes the Jets had to make the tough choice of parting ways with Alan Faneca. However, considering they just gave Brandon Moore a long term deal and will have to give Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson ones after this season, did they really have a choice? Let’s have a little faith in Bill Callahan, widely considered one of the best offensive line coaches in the game, to develop Vladimir Ducasse or Matt Slauson into capable starters this year and long term quality players for the team.

PhotobucketSo on offense the Jets replaced two starters: Thomas Jones and Alan Faneca. Two guys who were productive last year and well-respected in the locker room, yet two guys who are 31 and 33 years old, respectively. Shonn Greene certainly looked the part of a a number one back in the playoffs last year and if he struggles the Jets have quality depth behind him in LaDainian Tomlinson and Joe McKnight. Ducasse and Slauson are unproven but will be surrounded by four high quality players and a great offensive line coach. Beyond that, they moved from having their number three receiver either being Brad Smith or David Clowney to being Santonio Holmes. Mark Sanchez should also be better in his second year but hey the Jets went to the AFC Championship game with him throwing 20 INTs to 12 TDs, along with a 53 completion percentage, so imagine what they could do if he makes strides this season.

I am sure players hated to see people like Faneca, Jones, and Washington leave the team. Yet, let’s not go crazy with the chemistry or leadership concerns. Last time I checked on offense the Jets will still have Tony Richardson, Jerricho Cotchery, and Damien Woody in the huddle, along with the same quarterback, three other returning starters on the offensive line, the same top two tight ends, and a new strong veteran presence in LaDainian Tomlinson. On defense Bart Scott, Jim Leonhard, Darrelle Revis, David Harris, and Shaun Ellis will still be out there along with Kris Jenkins returning to the huddle.

You want to criticize the Jets for something? Fine, they downgraded at kicker by replacing Jay Feely with Nick Folk, yet somehow I think Tannenbaum will find a way to add another kicker at some point this summer.

Like I said before, you can poke holes in any roster or personnel decision. Yet, sometimes you just have to call things as you see them. The Jets are loaded right now, on both sides of the football. This team is built to be a legit Super Bowl contender and in my mind are the second best team in the AFC right now and a top five overall team in the NFL.

Let’s Go

New York Jets Draft Wrap-Up

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First a few updates:

1. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook or twitter (TurnOnTheJets). You need those updates because Mike Tannenbaum makes a trade every 4.8 seconds.

2. Here is a run down of all the reported UDFAs the Jets signed: Michigan CB Donovan Warren, Illinois WR Jeff Cumberland, Texas G Charlie Tanner, Nevada DE Kevin Basped, Pittsburgh DT Mick Williams, Baylor DE Jason Lamb, North Dakota State OT Keith Buckman, Bethune-Cookman WR Phillip Kirkland, Alabama LB Cory Reamer, California SS Marus Ezeff, Indiana State SS Donye McClesky, Northeastern State DT T.J. Raymond, William Paterson WR Joel Rivera

3. The depth chart has been updated to include draft picks and UDFAs. Also the 2010 Draft section has been remodeled into “2010 Draft Picks,” which has information on the four players the Jets drafted and the UDFAs they signed.

New York Jets Draft Wrap-Up

I would have never thought the Jets would spend three of their four picks on offensive players. Yet, Mike Tannenbaum and the Jets front office decided to use the 2010 draft to primarily reshape their offense by parting ways with two veterans and adding three new long term pieces on that side of the ball.

A few things became clear this weekend. First off despite the recent acquisitions of Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes, the Jets will still be a run first, run heavy offense. It is obvious the Jets like to have their young backs learn from veterans before taking over big time roles. Shonn Greene spent a season behind Thomas Jones and is now the Jets #1 back. Joe McKnight will spend a season or two behind LaDainian Tomlinson before becoming the Jets full time change of pace back/#2 option. John Connor will spend a year behind Tony Richardson before becoming the Jets long time starter at fullback. One thing you can’t argue with is the fact the Jets are now set in the backfield for the future.

PhotobucketSecond on defense, the line of thinking that defensive ends aren’t premium positions in Rex Ryan’s scheme held true. Ryan believes he can get by with a defensive end rotation of Shaun Ellis, Mike DeVito, Vernon Gholston, and Ropati Pitoitua. He confirmed in the post draft press conference that Marques Douglas won’t be back and Gholston will now be a full time end. At least Gholston adds some speed and youth to the end position…even if he can’t you know…play football. Ryan is also comfortable with the three man rotation at outside linebacker of Calvin Pace, Bryan Thomas, and Jason Taylor for the next year or two, which will also hopefully give enough time for a guy like Jamaal Westerman to develop into a more consistent player.

The Jets defense and Rex Ryan in particular values corners over just about any position. Kyle Wilson will basically be a starter for the Jets because their nickel back is on the field so frequently. Ryan is also confident Brodney Pool will be the answer at safety and that he if he does get hurt, Eric Smith or James Ihedigbo can adequately step in.

PhotobucketThe decision to part ways with Alan Faneca and Leon Washington hasn’t been a popular one, both with the team and with fans. Yet, keep in mind how many long term contracts the Jets will have to work on after this season. Nobody is saying the Jets offensive line will be better this year with Matt Slauson or Vladimir Ducasse at left guard but for the long term cutting Faneca was the right choice. He was their 5th best lineman last year and Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson both need new deals next off-season. Ducasse or Slauson will be fine because the Jets are lucky enough to surround them with one of the best offensive line coaches in the game in Bill Callahan and pro-bowl talent in Mangold and Ferguson.

Nobody liked Leon Washington more than me but he wasn’t getting a long term deal from the Jets and is likely starting out the season on the PUP list. McKnight has the skill set to effectively replace him as the Jets third down back and has a year or two behind Tomlinson to develop into a quality #2 back behind Shonn Greene. McKnight and Kyle Wislon also have the ability to fill the hole left by Leon in the return game.

Maybe Not The Next Reggie Bush But Hopefully The Next Leon Washington

Jets Trade Leon Washington, Draft John Connor

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The writing was on the wall when the Jets traded up to draft USC running back Joe McKnight. Clearly the organization wasn’t comfortable with Leon Washington returning off his injury and they didn’t take long to act, trading him and their seventh round pick to Seattle for the 139th overall pick in the draft, where they took Kentucky fullback John Connor.

It is a sad day for TOJ and Jets fans everywhere. Leon was a fan favorite and an electric playmaker during his career with the Jets. Unfortunately, he sustained a brutal injury last year and had ongoing contract problems with the team. After the Jets decided to draft McKnight, a player with a comparable skill set, there wasn’t any room left for Leon on the roster. I wish him the best of luck on a speedy recovery in Seattle and hope the rumors of him starting the season on the PUP list aren’t true.

It was a very surprising decision that the Jets went with a fullback with their newly acquired 5th round pick. Tony Richardson was re-signed on a one year deal so Connor will spend the year learning behind one of the best in the business before taking over as the Jets long term fullback. Connor is known for his blocking skills, inside running, and special teams ability on coverage units.

Who would have ever thought the Jets would use three of their four picks on offensive players this year? Rex Ryan must be pulling his hair out.

Some John Connor Action

Jets Trade Up For Joe McKnight: Bye Leon Washington?

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Obviously the entire draft was going to pass without Mike Tannenbaum making a trade. The Jets gave up their sixth round pick to move up 12 spots in the fourth round to surprisingly take USC running back Joe McKnight.

McKnight is a pretty big name guy, who was a playmaker at one of the nation’s biggest programs the past few years. Last season he had over 1,000 yards rushing and eight touchdowns. McKnight is also a threat catching the football out of the backfield and as a return man.

The real question is now whether the Jets will look to move Leon Washington or they just felt they needed four running backs because of Washington’s health concerns and potential durability questions about Shonn Greene. Regardless, it is clear Mike Tannenbaum loves drafting running backs and it is hard to argue with McKnight’s value in round 4.

Joe McKnight Highlights

New Day On Offensive Line: Thoughts On Ducasse & Faneca

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Most of the time in the NFL rumor mill, when there is smoke, there is fire. After missing out on Mike Iupati and Maurkice Pouncey in round one, most people assumed (including myself) that Alan Faneca would remain a Jet for another year as the Jets targeted a player for their front seven on defense in round two. Well, think again…the Jets selected UMass OT/OG Vladimir Ducasse with the 61st overall pick and reports have surfaced that Alan Faneca has either already been released or will be released on Monday.

Despite Mike Tannenbaum saying Ducasse will work at right tackle and left guard, you have to think the Jets view him as the number one potential replacement for Faneca this season and moving forward. Unless Matt Slauson or Robert Turner blow everybody away in camp this summer and they move Ducasse to being Damien Woody’s future replacement. However, if I had to bet today, I would bet on Ducasse being the Jets opening day starter at guard.

What about cutting Faneca? Most people agree that Faneca’s play declined a little bit last season, especially in pass protection. As a matter of fact many sites like Football Outsiders had him ranked as one of the worst performing guards in the league. Yet, the bottom line is that the Jets offensive line had chemistry. Faneca was still a top notch run blocker and a an important veteran in the locker room. The Jets offensive line won’t be any better next year with Ducasse or Slauson at left guard instead of Faneca. However, in the long term the Jets needed to find replacements for Faneca and Damien Woody and now they have one in Ducasse.

Keep in mind the Jets have some major contracts to pay in the next couple of years. If you want to sign Darrelle Revis, Nick Mangold, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, and Braylon Edwards or Santonio Holmes for the long term, the money has to be cut somewhere else.

In the end Faneca gave us two quality years and helped immensely in the development of Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson.

Ducasse is 6 foot 4, 332 pounds. Apparently the Jets had him graded high enough that they considered taking him in round one. Hopefully, Bill Callahan can work his magic with the big fella.

Some Video Action Of Ducasse

Five Players Jets Could Target In Round Two

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The draft continues tonight with the 2nd and 3rd rounds. Unfortunately, the Jets only possess a second round pick, however there is still plenty of talent available for them to add with the 61st overall pick. Here are five players the Jets could target at #61 or move up to acquire:

1. Sergio Kindle – OLB – Texas – Just because the Jets added Jason Taylor doesn’t mean they can’t add a pass rusher for the long term. It was a mild surprise Kindle fell out of the first round and the Jets would likely have to trade up to get him.

2. Everson Griffen – DE – USC – The Jets still need to improve the depth on their defensive line. Griffen was frequently associated with the Jets at #29 in mock drafts but maybe now they could snatch him round two.

3. Terrence Cody – DT – Alabama – Another player who was frequently talked about for the Jets at #29. Cody would be a welcome addition to the Jets defensive line and a long term replacement for Kris Jenkins.

4, Nate Allen – S – USF – The Jets could still use another safety to compete with Brodney Pool and Eric Smith. Allen is a talented guy who could end up starting in his rookie year opposite Jim Leonhard.

5. Ricky Sapp – OLB – Clemson – A pass rushing prospect the Jets are apparently high on. They should be able to stay put at #61 and get him.