First a few updates:
1. I’d like all the TOJ fans to know that I am blogging through injury right now, almost like Curt Schilling in the ALCS if he was actually hurt and didn’t put ketchup on his sock. Anyway, I was out in Morristown and felt something stuck on the bottom of my shoe so I reached to pull it out, unfortunately I forgot how my friend had hands like Sinorce Moss and dropped a beer near me about 15 minutes earlier so yes, I pulled glass out with my bare hands, which apparently makes you bleed..alot. Fortunately thanks to the brave soldiers of the Morristown volunteer ambulance corps, I am now typing with a heavily bandaged left hand which is impacting my typed words per minute. I just wanted to make sure everybody appreciated the extra time this article took, which has delayed my plans for the night. The plans? Either playing Tecmo Super Bowl for SNES or starting to watch The Wire on DVD.
2. Very disappointing effort by the Lakers last night. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett might as well have been in wheelchairs and Boston still found a way to win. This feels like a seven game series.
3. Highly recommend Get Him To The Greek.
4. The Jets minicamp practices will be open to the public next week. On Monday you could go watch at Florham Park and on Wednesday they will be practicing in the new stadium starting at 11:30 AM free of admission. However, you still have to get a ticket in advance to show at the door, even though the ticket is free.
5. The Jets are the fourth highest rated team in this year’s version of Madden…oh how far we have come. They are behind the Colts, Saints and Ravens.
6. Chris Mortensen is reporting that it is basically a done deal that quarterback Mark Brunell will join the Jets in mid-July. It will likely logically follow that Kellen Clemens will be cut, and leave Erik Ainge and Kevin O’Connell to battle for the #3 spot.
Better Than Expected: Jets Who Will Surprise in 2010
I am not sure I have heard one person who analyzes the NFL say that LaDainian Tomlinson will have a good year for the Jets in 2010. Everybody has already jumped on the bandwagon that the Jets were ill-advised to sign him and he will continue his rapid decline this season. It is more than fair to question Tomlinson’s ability to be productive because of how he played towards the end of last season. However, I wonder if at this point the expectations are so low for him around the league that he now has a chance to surprise a good deal of people by giving the Jets a quality year. Nobody is saying the guy is going to run for 1,000 yards but a highly motivated future hall-of-famer, now playing behind an offensive that actually knows how to run block and for a coach who is committed to running the football, Tomlinson could do better than expected this season. If he can get his yards per carry up in the 3.9-4.2 range, continue to excel in goal-line situations, and remains the quality receiver out of the backfield he always has been the Jets will have got their money’s worth. 550-650 rushing yards, 200 receiving yards, and 6-8 total touchdowns and I’d be satisfied with Tomlinson’s production and at that point it would be hard to say he was a bust for the team. Who else will exceed expectations on the Jets in 2010?
Brodney Pool – He has received a little press recently but is still frequently lost in the shuffle when people talk about the Jets new acquisitions. Pool isn’t a big name guy like Santonio Holmes, Antonio Cromartie, Jason Taylor, or Tomlinson but that doesn’t mean he can’t have a big impact on the Jets defense. Unless he suffers an injury, he will be the opening day starter at safety in Kerry Rhodes old spot. Pool won’t shy away from contact like Rhodes and has already impressed the coaching staff with his study habits, enthusiasm, and willingness to do whatever the coaching staff asks him. Don’t forget Pool was having a very good season last year (5o tackles, 1 sack, 4 INTs in 10 games) before his season was cut short by an injury. It will be exciting to see how Rex Ryan uses him in the Jets scheme and if he can produce the big plays Rhodes failed to last season.
Calvin Pace – Another player who gets lost in the shuffle alot when people talk about the Jets defense. Pace had 55 tackles and 8 sacks in only 12 games last season, after missing the first 4 because of suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. When discussing who could get double digit sacks in 2010, most conversation centers around Jason Taylor while forgetting to recognize Pace could easily get in the 10-12 sack range in his second season playing in Rex Ryan’s system.
Joe McKnight – The amount of pessimism around McKnight is pretty laughable at this point. It sounds like everybody is ready to give up on the guy because he threw up a few times during rookie OTAs, forgetting another fourth round scatback dropped so many punts and fumbled so many balls in his first few weeks of practices that he logged 87 miles of Mangini penalty laps and turned out to be pretty decent.
Similar to Washington and Shonn Greene last year, look for a somewhat slow start followed by McKnight becoming a big factor in the Jets offense during the second half of the season.
Brad Smith – So you are a defensive coordinator trying to stop the Jets…Shonn Greene is gashing you behind Nick Mangold and Brandon Moore, Mark Sanchez is spreading the ball around to Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes, Jerricho Cotchery, and Dustin Keller, LaDainian Tomlinson and Joe McKnight (if you can’ tell yet, I really enjoy listing all of the Jets skill position players) are catching screens and swing passes out of the backfield, and now Brad Smith checks in at quarterback to run the “Tiger” formation. Is he running option? Is he going to handoff to Greene or McKnight coming in motion or fake the hand off and keep the ball around the end? Is he going to pull up and throw the football for a big play down the field? Don’t forget about Smith as a guy who could create some huge plays for the Jets this year.