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.”
My 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.
Will 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