TOJ Roundtable: Is Santonio Holmes Coming Back?

Welcome to our first ever TOJ Roundtable, where each of our writers offers a quick opinion on a pressing Jets question of the day.

By the way, how about that new banner? Well done by Randy Yaws again. Remember to follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter.

Who has the best chance of coming back to the Jets: Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards, or Antonio Cromartie?

Joe Caporoso: I would still say Holmes has the best chance of returning. We have consistently heard he is the Jets number one priority and I think Tannenbaum will work out a contract competitive enough to what Washington offers, along with the Jets offering a much more appealing situation than the Redskins do.

Chris Celletti: I think it’s Holmes. He seemed to really enjoy his time in New York last season, and started creating a good rapport with Mark Sanchez. I think the Jets recognize this and would risk losing both Edwards and Brad Smith if it meant keeping Santonio in town. The only thing that scares me is a team like Tampa Bay, who is so under the cap and needs to hit the salary floor, blowing Holmes away with a ridiculous contract offer to eat up some of the money they need to spend.

Justin Fritze: I think Holmes is coming back, but two things will come into play. Does he want a Superbowl or money? The Redskins are not a top tier organization, and when you don’t have a quarterback with experience, the Jets look better and better. I think Braylon genuinely wants to remain a Jet unless he finds a better quarterback and receiving core. The jets did stick by him but never count out the idea of being the prime receiver on another team. I think Cromartie has turned off teams with his comments. He remains hard to pin down.

TJ Rosenthal: What it will come down to is whether the Jets feel as though matching offers for Holmes and Cromartie play into a gameplan that we feel seriously includes Asomugha. Putting those two issues together, we see Asomugha as a Jet, and Edwards the cheaper choice of the two starting WRs with a Randy Moss, Plaxico Burress, or even a lesser priced Roy Williams brought in as the number two. What you would lose there is vertical speed and a resume of late game winning plays with Holmes. What you gain is a complete shut down on the outside defensively.

Rob Celletti: Everything I’ve heard points to Holmes being the Jets number one priority, which makes me believe that he’ll be back.  There are pros and cons to any of the three, but in the end, Holmes was the most important player and I have to believe the Jets will be able to bring him back.

UPDATE: The Jets have officially offered a contract to Santonio Holmes, coupled with Santana Moss resigning with the Washington Redskins for 3 years at $15 million dollars.

A Quick Defense Of Braylon Edwards

Hard not to get frustrated when you read analysis like this of a player who you watched every snap of last season and saw the exact opposite —

Bill Barnwell at Grantland

“Braylon Edwards has built his argument for being a great pro receiver upon being selected in the top five by the Browns after a very good college career and a huge four-game stretch against terrible pass defenses in 2007. He’s a highlight-reel player, but he doesn’t run great routes and drops way too many passes to justify a big salary.”

Actually the case here is that Bill Barnwell has built his argument on watching Edwards in 2008 and not watching him play in 2010. Edwards dropped one pass all of last season and was the Jets most consistent player at the receiver position. He was far from just a “highlight-reel” player (which should actually be a positive anyway right?) and made tons of tough catches in big spots for the Jets and was excellent in his down the field run blocking.

I am pretty sure I remember these two plays from the playoffs last year, they certainly seem like the type of plays great pro receivers make.

Oh and then this one from the AFC Championship Game two years ago

Free Agency Floodgates Open: New York Jets Active Early

Here is running count of the undrafted free agents the New York Jets have signed thus far, look more information on these players later in the day:

  • TE Josh Baker, NW Missouri State
  • TE Collin Franklin, Iowa State University
  • G Chris Stewart, Notre Dame
  • DE Wayne Daniels, TCU
  • SS Davon Morgan, Virginia Tech
  • CB Julian Posey, Ohio
  • LB Nick Bellore, CMU
  • OL Tom Ottaiano, Monmouth
  • WR Courtney Smith, South Alabama
  • WR Mike Campbell, Temple
  • OG Zane Taylor, Utah
  • OLB Stafford Gatling, Ohio
  • WR Dan DePalma, Westchester

In other Jets free agency rumors and speculation –

As expected the team is pushing hard to get Damien Woody back on the team. I have a tough time seeing this not happening. Brandon Moore isn’t going to be ready for the start of camp because of off-season hip surgery, which is only more incentive to get a veteran like Woody back.

Braylon Edwards will be in court tomorrow to find out the penalty for violating his probation with his DWI charge.

A couple of veterans who were released that the Jets could have an interest in: Tully Banta-Cain and Kelly Gregg. Banta-Cain is a rush linebacker who is recovering from off-season abdominal surgery and could provide depth to the Jets at outside linebacker. He recorded 5 sacks the past year. Gregg is defensive tackle, who could be a nice addition to the Jets rotation up front.

One of the Jets newest additions

Two Decades of Jets Quarterbacks – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

TOJ would like to welcome another new writer to our staff, Rob Celletti…weclome aboard! – JC

Some people love to watch players like Ray Lewis and Troy Polamalu lay out an unsuspecting wide receiver, others love the rush of a long kickoff return by Brad Smith. Me? I always watch the quarterback.

I don’t just watch the quarterback when a play starts.  I watch the quarterback warm up.  I watch his interactions with coaches and other players.  I watch his mannerisms in the huddle.  If I’m lucky to be at the game, I try to read the defense along with him (not hard from row 23 of section 317 in the New Meadowlands, from which the game looks like a Google Maps satellite photo). 

In my first article here at TOJ, I will look at the Jets quarterbacks that I have watched during my two decades as a fan.  No, the Jets have not been blessed with an all-time great quarterback since Joe Namath. Yet, there have been bright spots sprinkled among some ugly seasons.  So here they are: the Jets quarterbacks, from 1993-2010, in reverse chronological order* –

*This list only includes primary starters and completely disavows the existence of Brett Favre and the 2008 season, the year that made me believe I was going to give up on this team for life.

Mark Sanchez (2009 – present)

What you love: From a technical standpoint, Sanchez is relatively gifted. He doesn’t have the biggest arm but makes up for that with his ability to scramble, improvise and make a big play out of nothing.  He’s a smart kid with the right demeanor for New York and a great work ethic, but the most important thing is his ability to perform in a big spot.  Just take a look at the playoff statistics (all road games).

What you hate: Sanchez has problems with accuracy and decision-making, and the numbers bear that out.  He’s completed less than 55% of his passes and thrown  33 interceptions through his first two full seasons.  Though I don’t want to get into the “body language” discussion, it’s pretty clear that when things go bad for Sanchez, they can snowball rapidly.  He allows his bad throws to turn into bad quarters and his bad quarters to turn into bad games.

Best season 2010 – Led the Jets to an 11-5 regular season record and a second consecutive AFC Championship Game.  Threw for 3,291 yards, 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.  He led the Jets on three consecutive game-winning drives in the 4th quarter/overtime in weeks 9-11.

Worst season: 2009 – Sanchez’s rookie campaign was wildly inconsistent. He gave fans everything from his inspiring debut vs. the Texans to the infamous color-coded wristband.  Still, Sanchez showed he could compete at the NFL level and win road playoff games.

Chad Pennington (2002 – 2007)

What you loved: Did anyone get more of a kick out of proving people wrong than Chad Pennington?  He was such a fierce competitor and leader, which is what ultimately made the Pennington story so difficult to swallow for so many Jets fans.  With an average-at-best arm battered by numerous injuries, Pennington kept coming back. What made that possible? His football acumen. Outside of Peyton Manning, I don’t believe there was a smarter quarterback in the league during Chad’s time. Also, did anyone throw a better fade route from the half-yard line?  I kid, but Pennington was arguably (and actually IS, statistically speaking) the most accurate Jets passer of all time.

What you hated: The injuries.  Pennington just couldn’t stay healthy, to the point that it became sort of laughable.  The end of Pennington’s Jets career was particularly painful and unjust, as he was released so the Jets could sign Brett Favre.  Of course, Chad had his revenge, leading the Dolphins to the AFC East Championship in 2008, clinching the crown against the Jets at the Meadowlands.

Best season: 2002 – Pennington burst onto the scene in relief of the aging and ineffective Vinny Testaverde. He took over a floundering 1-3 team, and even though he lost his first start, rallied the Jets to a 9-7 record and an AFC East Championship (thank you Travis Minor). The numbers were mind-boggling (in 12 starts): 3,120 yards, 22 touchdowns, 6 interceptions, a completion percentage of 68.9% and a passer rating of 104.2 (both Jets’ single-season records).

Worst season: 2007 – For the most part, the Jets had successful seasons when Pennington was healthy, but that was always the problem, wasn’t it?  2007 was the beginning of the end. Kellen Clemens took most of the snaps as the year progressed, as the Jets were just 1-7 in Pennington’s starts and finished an abysmal 4-12.

Vinny Testaverde (1998 – 2003)

What you loved: Being born in Brooklyn didn’t hurt him, but Vinny is one of the most beloved Jets of all time.  He was a classic pocket passer with a cannon of an arm.

What you hated: Vinny was notorious for his killer interceptions and fumbles.  For his career, Testaverde threw 275 touchdowns, but also 267 interceptions, many of them complete head-scratchers that cost his team games.

Best season: 1998 – Bill Parcells acquired the 35 year-old Vinny and taught the old dog some new tricks,  turning him into an efficient, nearly turnover-free machine.  He threw for a single-season Jets record 29 touchdowns and completed nearly 62% of his passes.  Testaverde led the Jets to a 12-4 record, the AFC Championship game, and was selected to the Pro Bowl.

Worst season: 2000 – After rupturing his Achilles Tendon in 1999, shattering the Jets’ momentum coming off one of the best seasons in team history, Vinny came back at age 37 and put together some respectable games in leading the Jets to a 9-4 record after 14 weeks.  But it’s hard to forget how this year ended, in complete and utter heartbreak, with three consecutive losses to the Raiders, Lions (at home) and Ravens.  That loss to the Ravens, on Christmas Eve, is one of the all-time great Jet collapses, largely due to Testaverde’s implosion, in which he threw 3 interceptions and lost two fumbles.

Neil O’Donnell (1996 – 1997)

What you loved: I’ll abstain.

What you hated: Everything?

Best season: 1997 – It’s easy to focus on the negative with O’Donnell, but when Bill Parcells became the Jets’ coach, he coaxed a decent season out of his quarterback, by mostly keeping him on a short leash.  If nothing else, O’Donnell stopped turning the ball over (just 7 interceptions in 460 attempts). The Jets were one win away from the playoffs after going 1-15 in the previous season.

Worst season: 1996 – Started 6 games, lost all 6 and was benched in favor of Frank Reich after an “injury” during pre-game warmups.  The Jets were on their way to an infamous 1-15 season.

Boomer Esiason (1993 – 1995)

What you loved: Long Island born and bred, Boomer came home to play for the Jets after Cincinnati traded him for a third round pick.  Boomer was the consummate professional and deserved better during his time in New York, as he played under three different coaches during the end of the Hess ownership.

What you hated: Though Boomer was more a victim of circumstance and suspect coaching under Bruce Coslet, Pete Carroll and Rich Kotite, he was never the All-Pro quarterback for the Jets that he was in Cincinnati.  As a matter of fact, the Jets had two chances to make the playoffs with Esiason at the helm in 1993 and 1994, but their offense was downright anemic at the end of both seasons.

Best season: 1993 – Boomer made the Pro Bowl in his first year as a Jet, throwing for 3,421 yards and 16 touchdowns (the NFL was a different animal back then).  The Jets finished with an 8-8 record, and even though the offense sputtered down the stretch, fans were optimistic, at least about the quarterback position.

Worst season: 1995 – Boomer went down with a major concussion and missed four games, but that’s not what sunk the Jets to 3-13 in 1995.  The aging Esiason completed just 56.8% of his passes, was intercepted 15 times, and had nearly a career-low 5.8 yards-per-attempt.  The Jets record was 2-10 in the games he started.

It’s been a roller coaster ride for Jets fans in terms of quarterbacks throughout the last two decades. Mark Sanchez has a few things on his side that none of his predecessors did, namely his youth and a stable coaching staff/front office/ownership situation which fully supports him. It’s now up to Sanchez and the Jets to build on the experience from his first two seasons and translate that into consistency, more wins, and a Super Bowl.

Back To Football: Upcoming Week’s Timeline

Here is what to look for…

Today – Free agency list will be distributed and the league will announce that teams can have 90 man rosters for training camp.

Tomorrow – Trades and free agency begin, including team’s having the ability to sign undrafted free agents, their draft picks, their own free agents, and other team’s free agents. Players can enter team facilities.

Wednesday – Some teams begin reporting to training camp.

Thursday – Players can be cut starting at 4 PM.

Friday – Transactions can be filed to the league office and become official starting at 6 PM.

Sunday – Jets expected to report to training camp in Florham Park, New Jersey.

August 15th – Jets open pre-season in Houston on Monday Night Football.

A few other nuggets from around the web

TOJ at Gunaxin with a quick look at what to remember about all 32 teams

Rex Ryan welcomes fans back to football with a short video

Apparently, Rex dropped a gem of a speech to team employees today, where he said “the Giants talk about the past, but the Jets talk about what we’re going to do in the future.”

ESPN Chicago is reporting the Bears are interested in Brad Smith

Let the bidding war for Santonio Holmes begin

NFL Is Back!

I never use exclamation points in articles, as part of my belief that men should never use emoticons or exclamation points when typing or texting…but I have to break that belief because the NFL is back and I, like all of you, couldn’t be more excited.

The reported timeline for the upcoming week is still a bit up in the air, but I will update this post when the finalized version is released. It is expected that teams can begin negotiating with free agents tomorrow, with all contracts becoming official on August 2nd. The Jets are expected to report to camp this Sunday, with their pre-season opener set for August 15th at Houston.

The road to the Super Bowl finally begins…

Calm Before The Storm: Final Thoughts On Jets Free Agency

I won’t publish a “NFL is Back” post until it becomes official (probably around noon today) with a finalized timeline for the rest of the week. Yet, from everything we are hearing, things are about to start getting nuts…maybe even today. 

A few final thoughts –

1. Wide Receiver – Santonio Holmes remains the Jets top priority but if the Washington Redskins drive the price up to a ridiculous number, Mike Tannenbaum shouldn’t hesitate to move his focus to bringing back Braylon Edwards. The Jets have too many other areas to address to waste resources and time in a bidding war with Daniel Snyder’s endless pockets. If the Jets are going to sign a free agent, I think it ends up being Randy Moss.

2. Secondary – It is worth taking a run at Nnamdi Asomugha, even if it remains a long shot. Antonio Cromartie returning is also starting to seem like a long shot, which means the Jets could have to focus on getting Brodney Pool and Drew Coleman back, along with finding a veteran free agent corner.

3. Offensive Tackle – It sounds like they plan to work something out with Damien Woody but if not Wayne Hunter remains a viable fallback option. The key is making sure at least one of the two is brought back. It would be insane to just hand the job to Vladimir Ducasse without having a veteran to compete with him.

4. Defensive End – Unfortunately, I could see Shaun Ellis being too pricey considering the Jets other concerns. However, Trevor Pryce is a good fallback plan.

5. Other Considerations – Even though I would like to see them add another linebacker, we haven’t heard anything tangible about the Jets having interest in picking up a Matt Roth, Manny Lawson, or Antwan Barnes. Hopefully, they can find some support for the position, especially if Bryan Thomas is forced to be a cap casualty.

TOJ Sunday Video Clips: Lockout Ending Edition

It sounds like we will have an official end to the lockout tomorrow, starting a frenzied week of finalizing votes and preparing for the league year to kick off this Saturday. Football is on the way back, so that calls for a nice collection of video clips and links to bring your Sunday to an end –

Mark Sanchez 2011 Highlight Film

Locker Room After Beating New England

Game Winner

Still Gets Me Everytime

No Hard Knocks This Year? Watch TOJ’s Version Instead…

TOJ writing staff getting after it this week

In The Hours Of Waiting: Heat Waves and Missed Opportunities

It is a cool day in New York. With the past four days temperatures ranging from 94 to 105, most of lower Manhattan has taken to the garbage filled East River, taking refuge in the shady waters under the FDR. The NFL has teased us again. Perhaps the season will not come until September. Will a lack of pre-season have any effect on fans? Of course. Fathers will be forced to actually take part in preparing their children for the school year. Fans will not be constantly checking Wikipedia to see exactly who all these strange statless players flashing across our screen are. There will be injuries by the hundreds. Plays will fall apart, leaving defenses with stats that rival the ’85 Bears.

I have come to conclusions about baseball, understanding the utter callousness I put on display in a recent article regarding the oldest sport known to modern man. I have come to love baseball. But it is a love the professor who studies malaria has for his petri dish. It is not a love that translates to the casual fan. It is a scientist’s love, made for the weird and the lover of all things slow. It is bird watching with sponsors.

I have been mostly shocked that the Yankees are somehow competitive without a serious number two starter. We have been living on the concoctions of voodoo doctors, seeing how the bullpen is one of the most randomly hashed together staff of veterans and rookies, it is a shock we have remained at the head of the AL Wild Card race. Derek Jeter hit 3,000 with the entire HBO film crew trying not to fly out of their seats. The movie is in the works.

Money and power. Divorces, death and war all over the country. It is summer, and so we all try and push that out of the way. I am planning a trip to Montauk next weekend, which will hopefully be devoid of cable news, NY Times and the opinions of other human beings on sports and politics. You can only watch highlight express so many times before the faces all seem to blur into one lawyer/former agent ranting about the divide between players and owners.

Where can I go on the Jets without sounding like a hopeful fool or a hopeless cynic? Let’s keep Cromartie and Holmes. I know we need Edwards, but I can take Cotchery and Jeremy Kerley as the smaller faster Dustin Keller. We have four running backs. I feel ok. Let’s also keep Ellis and Woody. Veteran lineman are a must for any team with risk at the linebacker or receiver position. Kris Jenkins is gone, but he is still on my Madden ’10 team, which is all I care about at this point. We may even have enough money to keep Brodney Pool and Eric Smith around before we take a first round linebacker or safety next year. Scratch that, knowing Tannenbaum, he will steal someone completely insane for a 1st and a 3rd round pick.

NBA lockout is causing some unusual craziness. Nobody needs that much practice that isn’t 18 years old. Going overseas will be the biggest mistake any star NBA player can make. The venues are garbage, the rewards are relatively small, and the teams you will play against wouldn’t make the sweet sixteen of the NCAA championship. Dwight Howard may have an ego, but when you score 50 3 nights in a row, the inkling of maximizing potential against the “best in the world” does not seem to be a valid argument. There is a reason Dirk Nowitzki did not stay in Germany.

When something regarding the lockout resolution comes to fruition, I will have something somewhat meaningful to say. Until then, I will be waiting for the dew point to drop below 65, and for Drew Rosenhaus to send me my case of 5 hour energy.

TOJ Quick Opinion: Nnamdi Asomugha

I felt the need to throw in my two cents on the potential of the New York Jets signing Nnamdi Asomugha, since the topic has been brought back up by a Peter King tweet and TJ’s recent column.

I have written off the possibility of the super pairing of Asomugha and Darrelle Revis for most of the off-season, as I didn’t think the Jets would invest the money with concerns in other areas and other free agents to deal with. Yet, if Asomugha truly desires to join the Jets, the way some sources are indicating he does, could they sign him to a reasonable enough deal to make it happen and still take care of other areas of need?

Personally, I think the Jets top priority needs to be making sure either Santonio Holmes or Braylon Edwards returns, to keep talent around Mark Sanchez. Out of the two, Edwards would be cheaper, so the first step to pursuing Asomugha could be letting Holmes gobble up whatever monster contract Daniel Snyder throws at him and taking Edwards back, who has been consistent in expressing his desire to return to the team.

If the Jets could then talk Asomugha into taking less than what a team like Houston or Dallas is offering, restructure Sanchez’s and Bart Scott’s contract, and lock David Harris down to a long term deal to free up money now. They could still have enough money left to make the minor moves necessary to support the rest of their roster.

Obviously, Antonio Cromartie would be gone, likely along with Brodney Pool, Brad Smith and Drew Coleman. You could also forget about bringing Jason Taylor back or signing a player like Matt Roth. The next focus would be securing right tackle, by bringing either Damien Woody or Wayne Hunter back, whichever comes cheaper (likely Hunter). At defensive end, they make the same decision between Shaun Ellis and Trevor Pryce (Pryce will be cheaper). Finally, they could bring back Eric Smith to start opposite Jim Leonhard at safety.

This route of free agency influenced by Asomugha, basically requires the Jets to take the cheaper of two options at the following positions:

  • Wide Receiver: Edwards over Holmes
  • Right Tackle: Hunter over Woody
  • Safety: Smith over Pool
  • Defensive End: Pryce over Ellis

Do you think the level of production is similar enough between all those players to merit signing Asomugha? I think it just might be. Remember this still remains a major long shot, as money usually talks loudest in free agency. The Jets would also need to come through on restructuring those deals, which is easier said then done.