First a few updates:
1. I always wonder why the NBA has such a quick turn around on their draft. They give no time for the hype to build up like it does for the NFL Draft. I guess it makes sense considering only the first 10 picks are interesting and after that 3/4 of the guys never even make it in the league. However, there is always a high amount of trades and I’m sure there will be a few interesting LeBron nuggets of information coming out tonight.
2. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets) and now on YouTube (Turn On The Jets channel).
3. I had a nice wake up call from the Jets organization this morning attempting to convince me to buy season tickets. Considering I already have tickets and the salary of a blogger doesn’t cover those club-level PSL seats, I had to decline. I was thinking they were calling to offer the job of running their web-site.
Jets Area of Strength – Linebacker
We touched on one of the Jets areas of concern yesterday by talking about their running back position, so let’s cheer you back up today by talking about one of their areas of strength heading int0 2010, the linebacker position.
The Jets are returning the same four starters from the 2009 season, all of whom had a very productive seasons considering their role on the team. Second team All-Pro linebacker David Harris led the way with 127 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 2 FF, and 2 INT. Despite not being a big name around the league because he isn’t a flashy player, Harris is one of the league’s best inside linebackers and the second most important player on the Jets defense behind Darrelle Revis.
Scott and Calvin Pace are both a touch below being Pro-Bowl caliber players. Pace racked up 8 sacks, 55 tackles, and 3 FFs in only 12 games last season. There is no reason he shouldn’t be able to crack double digit sacks in a full season of play. Scott is the vocal leader of the defense and I am not sure if I have seen a player ever run his mouth on the field more. Yet, he had a very good season in 2009 to back up his words. Scott finished with 92 tackles, 1 sack, and an impressive 11 tackles for a loss. There are few teams in the league that you could argue have a better top three linebackers than Harris, Pace, and Scott.
Bryan Thomas didn’t have flashy numbers in 2009 but is an important part of the Jets defense because of his versatility and ability to do things that don’t show up on the stat sheet. He isn’t frequently given chances to make plays in the Jets scheme but still had 53 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 TFLs, and a FF in 2009.
This off-season, the Jets added Jason Taylor which gives a huge boost to their depth. Taylor will provide a needed pass rushing threat off the bench and should see a ton of time on third downs and in the Jets nickel package. He had 7 sacks for the Dolphins last season and he came to the Jets on Rex Ryan’s promise that he could get him at least 10 this season. It is hard not to have faith in Ryan’s ability to get his players after the quarterback. Taylor will have every chance to be a 10-12 sack guy this season
The linebacker group is rounded out by two young players, who are heading in the right direction. Jamaal Westerman managed to make an impact last year as a UDFA on both defense and special teams. The coaches love his versatility and he should be involved in a few defensive packages as both an inside and outside linebacker. Kenwin Cummings has been raved about by the coaches and players as one of the MVPs of the team’s off-season program. He should provide good depth behind Scott and Harris at the inside linebacker position and could contribute in a few packages and on special teams.
The Jets also added special teams ace Lance Laury from Seattle this season to help offset the loss of Wallace Wright and Larry Izzo. He will be listed as a backup at inside linebacker but his primary job on the team will be to lead the special team units.
Turn On The Jets TV – Mini Camp