Welcome to this week’s TOJ Bag, where our staff answers your questions on the New York Jets, NFL, and things somewhat related to both. We are going to run this every Thursday so make sure to send questions in to TOJBagQuestions@gmail.com – On to the questions!
1.) (2 part question) First, the Jets seem to be lacking a big play threat on offense. Dustin Keller was allowed to leave via free agency, and it doesn’t seem like Jeff Cumberland is the answer at Tight End. I like the Mike Goodson signing, but this unit still seems to be lacking significant pieces to help Sanchez. What needs to be done for this offense to have a chance to succeed in 2013?
Joe Caporoso - It is going to take more than one off-season to rebuild this offense but for this year, they still need another tight end (Jeff Cumberland is nothing more than a situational back-up), another wide receiver (depth is perilously thin), a running back (Goodson has a shaky injury history and Powell can’t carry the load alone) and a Guard (you don’t want to start Ducasse). Are they going to address all those needs? Probably not but hopefully you find a few options in the Draft and down the road in the free agency who can be adequate starters. Outside of a handful of spots (Center, Tackle, Slot Receiver) this is an offense that needs to be rebuilt from scratch.
Chris Gross – It’s no secret that the Jets offense was one of the most putrid units in the league in 2012. When you are have players like Clyde Gates, Jeff Cumberland, and Chaz Schilens starting or playing significant reps, you know you are void of talent. Tight End is a primary area of need for this offense, along with depth at guard, wide receiver, and running back. Unfortunately, there is no immediate fix to all of these issues. A tight end will likely be added by way of the draft, even if a veteran like Fred Davis is added. At running back, the Jets could look to add anywhere between rounds 2 and 4, depending on the board. While the Goodson signing could end up being one of the best low cost additions this year, depth at the position is still imperative. It would not shock me to see the Jets use a pick at the position as early as round two. Guard could be addressed in round one, particularly if New York obtains an additional first rounder in a Darrelle Revis trade, and Wide Receiver will be addressed at some point. If the team does not opt to draft at the position, look for a low cost veteran to be brought in on a cheap, short term deal. In short, there is no quick fix, but look for the reconstruction of this offense to begin this April.
Mike Donnelly - First of all, I don’t think Dustin Keller was ever really a “big play” threat for this offense. Whether that was by design from our terrible offensive coordinators or just because he isn’t the dangerous receiving threat many people made him out to be, I’m not sure, but I don’t think his loss will be as big of a factor as the media made it out to be, especially if Fred Davis is brought in to replace him.
I think Mike Goodson was a tremendous signing, and he will break off a lot more “chunk yardage” plays than we’ve been accustomed to seeing from our running backs the past few years. The hope is that Santonio comes back from his injury 100% and Stephen Hill develops into the deep ball threat he was drafted to be. There are a lot of ”
Second, do you think the Jets will go into the season with two very inexperienced players at safety in Josh Bush and Antonio Allen? - Thomas Rossi, South Jersey (@tomm_rossi).
Joe Caporoso - I do not. A veteran will be added (most likely Dawan Landry) and I think they will address safety at some point in the Draft. The problem with Antonio Allen is that he is more of a linebacker playing safety and the problem with Josh Bush is that he is more of a cornerback playing safety. Out of the two, I do think Allen has the most potential to be a competent starter or at least a valuable role player but the Jets badly need to add another player or two here.
Chris Gross – No. While the Jets are responsibly looking at veterans like Dawan Landry, I don’t expect any to be brought in until after the draft, much like the team did with Yeremiah Bell last season. The safety class is extremely deep this year, and one could argue a starting caliber player could be had as late as round four. That being said, I expect the Jets to take a player at the position no later than round 3. The top of the second round makes the most sense with players like Matt Elam and Jon Cyprien being the primary targets, if they last that long. Either way, players will be brought in at the position, as I do not see Bush or Allen playing in full time starting roles this year. The best approach would be to draft a free safety early, sign Landry to a one year deal, and allow Allen to grow underneath him for another year, while playing in certain situations. Bush can be effective in coverage, but I see his role primarily as a nickel sub package type player. His coverage skills could give him some value as the 4th or 5th cornerback as well.
Mike Donnelly - Oh this is an easy one. God, no. That would be a disaster, and I’m pretty sure the team is fully aware of that, because they’ve brought in Dawan Landry for a look, and it’s highly likely that the safety position will be addressed early in the draft.
2.) Hey guys, long time follower and a huge fan. I don’t know anything about twitter or have an account, but wanted to submit a few questions to Joe and the boys.
If TOJ where the ones making the draft decisions, what would be your approach with the 9th overall pick?
That being said, who do you think the Jets take at 9? Do you feel they will trade down?
Will you guys come to our tailgate once this season? We have a professional bbq chef, top shelf booze and more beer than the first level concessions have inside the Metlife. Anxiously awaiting your answers. -Michael Echevarria
Joe Caporoso - Most importantly, yes…we’d be happy to stop by to ease the burden of having to watch our offense live at MetLife by stuffing ourselves with food and alcohol. I have to warn you though, Chris Gross went to Union, which means he may have a tough time holding his liquor and could be shamed by a Division 3 Wide Receiver (myself), eating more food than him…
My approach with the 9th overall pick would be to take the best player available. This roster is so thin across the board that you can’t really go wrong with that strategy. I think the Jets will probably consider trading down but will ultimately end up staying put and having their choice of a handful of pass rushers, likely ending up with Barkevious Mingo or Ziggy Anash.
Chris Gross – To the most important part of this question, absolutely. I would love to join your tailgate festivities by telling stories of my first collegiate sack on Joe Caporoso’s home turf in Muhlenberg while dominating all of the “refreshments” offered.
If I were running the show in Florham Park, I would look to go with the best player available at number 9. A trade down to acquire more picks would be ideal in this deep draft that seems to be lacking elite talent at the top, but unfortunately it will be very tough to find a partner. For a team looking to retool, the most important thing to do is to collect the best talent rather than forcing a pick based on “need.” Whether that player ends up being Chance Warmack, Barkevious Mingo, Ziggy Ansah, Tavon Austin, or someone else, I would not be restricted to a position. I would much rather draft based on quality. Acquire talent first, then put together the pieces of the puzzle as you move forward.
As far as what the team will actually do, I think there is enough talent at outside linebacker this year to obtain a very quality player with the 9th overall pick. Ziggy Ansah and Barkevious Mingo make the most sense, schematically, at the position. Dion Jordan would be a terrific pick as well, but it is unlikely he lasts beyond the top 5. A player like Chance Warmack wouldn’t be the “sexy” pick, but would certainly fit the talent approach and would solidify the offensive line for years to come. Also, with the lack of offensive playmakers the team currently has, a player like Tavon Austin would not shock me, although some would consider it a reach. In short, this is one of the most unpredictable drafts in recent memory. Buckle your seatbelt on the weekend April 25, because it is sure to be a wild ride.
Mike Donnelly - Oh you want us to come eat your food and drink your beer at a tailgate this season? Fine, you’ve twisted my arm, I’ll be there! As for the 9th pick, a trade down possibility gets everyone all excited for a team that needs multiple picks like the Jets do, but I don’t foresee a scenario where another team is anxious enough to move up to #9 that it would be worth it for the Jets to pull the trigger. The top of this draft isn’t all that great — especially the quarterbacks — so I don’t think there will be a player worth moving up for, which will leave the Jets to pick at #9. With that pick, I’m steadfast in my belief that it has to be used on an OLB prospect, whether it’s Dion Jordan, Barkevious Mingo, Ziggy Ansah, or perhaps Jarvis Jones. The Jets desperately need someone who can rush the passer from the edge, and any of these guys would fit the bill.
3.) The Jets are on the clock at 9 and Ansah, Mingo, Jordan, Jones, Joeckel, Fisher, Smith, and Warmack have all been selected. Still excited about the #9 pick? Anyone left to drink to? – Steve (@reaperjet)
Joe Caporoso - A few options at #9 could be Jonathan Cooper, Bjorn Werner, Star Lotulelel, or Sharriff Floyd. It may sound crazy to take another defensive lineman but you rarely go wrong by taking the best player available, which Star or Floyd could be at this spot. Beyond that, if the Jets trade Darrelle Revis you can bet everything you have they’d take Dee Milliner in this scenario (who’d be an absolute steal at #9). If you trade down to the 15-25 range, either Tavon Austin or Kenny Vaccaro could be options. JUST PLEASE GOD NO MATT BARKLEY!
Chris Gross – To me, these 8 players off the board means only one thing – Sharrif Floyd and Star Lotulelei are all still available at 9. While a defensive lineman would not be popular among most fans, the value you’d get in Floyd or Lotulelei would be terrific. I’d prefer Floyd, as I do believe he is the best player in the draft. While he may not be ideal for a 3-4 scheme, he is the type of player that will succeed in any role he is placed in. This would also give the Jets a lot of flexibility with how they can mix up their frontage looks from 3 to 4 players. New York would have arguably the most talented, up and coming defensive line in the entire league by adding Floyd. I would personally buy everyone multiple rounds of top shelf drinks if this were to occur.
Mike Donnelly – I wouldn’t hate if a DT like Lotulelei or Floyd were drafted, but I wouldn’t love it either, as I think the defensive line is pretty set with Kenrick Ellis, Antonio Garay, and Damon Harrison at nose tackle, and there are more pressing needs on the roster. That being said, if you add someone like Star Lotulelei to the mix with Coples and WIlkerson, you’d be looking at a dominant defensive line. The other option would be to go offense and select Tavon Austin, who has a lot of Percy Harvin-like qualities and would give us our game-breaker on offense that we have lacked for years.
4.) Do you think there’s a possibility that Jarvis Jones could drop into the late 1st or early 2nd round? With the spinal stenosis concerns and poor pro day, he seems like a candidate to fall. If so, should the Jets trade back into the early 20s with someone like St. Louis or Minnesota to stockpile picks, while selecting Jones in that range? – Vin Fodera, Long Island (@Fodera80)
Joe Caporoso - Jones is a real wild-card in this draft and you are absolutely right, he could fall victim to a large slide. I’m not sure how high the Jets are on him but if they do trade back (a realistic possibility) and Jones is still on the board in the 17-25 range, he’d have to be somebody they take a long look at. He would provide excellent value in mid/late first round, much more so than at #9.
This is far from likely to happen and has plenty of logical flaws but I’d love to see the Jets trade back to the 15-17 range, acquire another high second round pick and then take Tavon Austin, Gio Bernard and Larry Warford with first three picks…that’s how you start rebuilding an offense! This team is so starved for playmakers and speed, that getting Austin and Bernard would be a thrilling (but unfortunately very unlikely) prospect.
Chris Gross – Jones is certainly one of those players who is falling victim to poor pre-draft testing performances. While the medical issue with him isn’t as big of a concern as it was a month ago, teams will still consider this as part of their evaluation process and there is no question that some teams will immediately be turned off. On the other hand, Jones was one of the most highly productive defensive players in college football last season, and had the draft been held on January 10th, he would probably would have been taken with one of the first three picks.
While his poor 40 time should not be as big of a concern as some are making it out to be, it is certainly an issue. A 4.9 for a pass rushing outside linebacker surely raises some valid questions about his initial burst and closing speed. However, Jones’ tape shows a player that is much faster in his first few steps than his 40 time would indicate. While there is a high possibility that he falls out of the top ten, I do not see him making it beyond New Orleans at 15. The overall talent and production will be far too great for a team like the Saints, who are desperate for an edge rusher, to pass up. Worst case scenario, he is selected by the Steelers at 17 or the Giants at 19. I still see him as a sure first rounder, and highly probable top 20 pick.
Mike Donnelly – He won’t fall to the 2nd round. I could see a team like the Steelers scooping him up in the middle of the first round and having a new dynamic pass rusher to replace James Harrison. It seems like some teams like the Steelers always have players like this fall into their laps and they look like geniuses. I hate it. I think his poor 40-time is being overblown and he’s a legit top-10 prospect.
5.) Could the Jets defense still be good without Revis in 2014? – Simon
Joe Caporoso - It depends how you define “good.” They won’t be the elite defense they were in 2009 and parts of 2010 without Revis and for a few other reasons, namely how thin they currently are at outside linebacker and safety. However, with Rex Ryan at helm and still some immensely talent pieces spread throughout their defense (Wilkerson, Cromartie, Coples), you can bank on the Jets trotting out at least a respectable unit. Defense is a less of a concern right now than offense by a fairly wide margin, even if Revis is traded. On paper, you can make an argument the Jets have the worst offense in the NFL and I don’t say that as a hyperbole.
Chris Gross – Anytime you are talking about losing a player like Darrelle Revis, it is nearly impossible to see the unit having more success without him. While the defense as a whole will surely be hurt in the short term by losing their best player, the picks returned in a potential trade could end up providing long term stability and quality for the future. Successful defenses in this league are generally built around a strong pass rush. For the Jets, this is a double edged sword. They have had success on defense because of the flexibility Revis has given Rex Ryan in terms of blitz scheme. Remember, New York has not had a dominant pass rusher in all of the years that Ryan has been the head coach. While losing Revis would be a terrible blow for the secondary, the picks obtained by trading him could return quality pass rushers to build around and bring success to the unit with an average group of secondary players. As for 2014, the unit can still be good without him due to the promise of players like Coples and Wilkerson, and the overall defensive coaching ability of Ryan, but it will surely not be as good as it would be with Revis. A trade of Revis will signify long term plans for this group, while sacrificing some overall quality for the immediate future.
Mike Donnelly - Yes, they could still be good if they use the #9 pick on a pass rusher who pays immediate dividends. In that scenario, the Jets would actually have a pretty fierce looking pass rush for the first time in years with the #9 pick and Antwan Barnes rushing from the outside, with Quinton Coples and Mo WIlkerson coming up the middle. I was high on Wilkerson since he was drafted and I love seeing him blossom into the stud he is now. I’m also extremely high on Coples, and I think he will approach 10 sacks next year while forming one of the most dangerous up front duos in the league with big Mo. Don’t forget, Rex Ryan is still one of, if not THE best defensive coaches in the NFL and he’s been able to cover up a lack of a pass rush for years now. Losing Revis would certainly suck, but it wouldn’t cripple the defense. That being said, I’m a staunch Revis supporter and I don’t think they should trade him at all.
6.) Hey Guys. First off, I love your site! It is pretty much the main three that I check for my Jets news. Its insightful and truthful without being blatantly slanted like others (*cough* Daily News *cough*). But my question is, what production/numbers or qualities would you need to see from Sanchez next season to feel that he is back on track to being, if not as a franchise quarterback, at least a quality starter? Thanks – Raynard Josephs (@PTE_Show)
Joe Caporoso - You mean you don’t enjoy 1700 word articles by Gary Myers about how Rex Ryan’s tattoos are leading to degradation of modern society? Or articles that are sourced by imaginary people?
As for Sanchez, the only way I think he is on the Jets beyond this season is if they make the playoffs and he has something like 24 touchdowns, 14 interceptions, 58 completion percentage…so basically a career year by a fairly sizable margin. I think a more realistic hope is that he can give you a 17 touchdown, 14 interception, 56 completion percentage type year where he is at least consistently serviceable. At that point, the Jets may be able to find a trade partner for him after the season for a team willing to take a shot on a former first round quarterback with 4 playoff wins under his belt. I think Sanchez has just about run his course here and John Idzik will want to start fresh at quarterback in 2014.
Chris Gross – Thanks a million! As far as Sanchez goes, I need to see him mature, mentally, more than anything else. We have seen the throws he is capable of making. We have seen the athleticism he has for the position. But will he ever grow out of his tendency to sink into a hole when things go bad and feel sorry for himself? If Sanchez wishes to have a future in New York, it is time for him to become the leader the team envisioned when they selected him back in 2009. Outside of Mangold and Ferguson, he is the longest tenured offensive player on this team. It is time he made the Jets his team, took command of the offense, and held players accountable. He needs to be able to show he can shake off a bad play, series, or game rather than going in the tank. Jets fans have become much too familiar with a player who seems to feel sorry for himself with every bump in the road. It is time for him to put his detractors in the motivation file, rise above the doubt, and prove that he is strong enough, mentally, to be the leader this offense and team needs. If he fails to do so, he will likely be watching his teammates from the sidelines beginning in week 5, while channeling his inner William Shatner and searching Priceline for the cheapest one way ticket out of New York.
Mike Donnelly - What sucks is that no matter what Sanchez does next year (short of winning the Super Bowl), the majority of this fan base will boo him and want him gone. If he goes 29 for 29 to start the game week 1, then throws an incomplete pass on his 30th throw, the crowd will boo and talk about what an awful player he is. (I’m aware that’s not going to happen, so please spare me the SANCHEZ SUCKS comments. I know.)
I know this puts me in the severe minority, and some Jets fans will hate me for even saying this, but I don’t think Mark Sanchez is a lost cause. If he gets Marty Mornhinweg’s playbook down, and the team surrounds him with some capable weapons, I think he can get back to the guy we all loved in 2010. You remember that guy, right? The one who went into Foxboro and outplayed Tom Brady to win a playoff game? The one who was the best player on the field in Pittsburgh in that second half and nearly sent us to the Super Bowl? I am not ready to fully give up on that guy. I think he will beat out David Garrard easily in training camp and surprise some people this season. Maybe something like 3,500 yards, 21 TD, and 15 interceptions. Yeah that seems good.
7.) The Jets have a lot of needs and are building through the draft. If you were in Idzik’s place, what seven positions would you like to draft most, without focusing on the rounds or specific prospects? – Oleg
Joe Caporoso - Without a focus on specific rounds – I’d want two outside linebackers, a guard, a quarterback, a wide receiver, a safety and running back. The Jets have so many needs that this is difficult but it is fair to assume the Jets are going to end up with more than 7 picks, whether it is from a trade down or moving Darrelle Revis. It is going to be very interesting to see what positions Idzik puts an emphasis on in the first Draft he runs.
Chris Gross – Rounds and specific players aside, with those 7 picks I would look to acquire two outside linebackers, two safeties, a tight end, a guard, and a defensive lineman. I’d prefer the team add another quarterback via free agency, while looking to address the position for the long term next offseason. It is unlikely that the Jets will be able to find a player to upgrade the position this year, but there may be more players capable of immediate impact in next year’s free agency or draft classes. Wide Receiver is surely a possibility and a need, but there are low cost veterans available that could provide solid value for the team this year, namely Julian Edelman, Braylon Edwards, and perhaps Darrius Heyward-Bey.
With the only current safeties on the roster with any type of experience being Antonio Allen and Josh Bush, I do not think it is crazy to target two players at the position in a safety rich draft class. The Jets could effectively find both of their long term starters this year, while allowing Bush to contribute for CB depth, and Allen playing situationally, similar to how James Ihedigbo was used in the past.
While defensive line is probably the most talented overall unit on the team (assuming Darrelle Revis is eventually traded), depth is key. The Jets lost a key part of their rotation in Mike DeVito, so there needs to be a player added to help spell Coples and Wilkerson at defensive end. Antonio Garay has the potential to be that guy, but on a one year deal, it would be nice to find that player for the long term. Defensive line depth is absolutely crucial, particularly in the fourth quarter of a close game, when having fresh bodies against an embattled and tired offensive line could be the difference between a win and a loss.
Mike Donnelly - In order I think the position needs on this team (not counting QB) are OLB, Safety, Safety, TE, Guard, OLB, WR, RB. It seems like Idzik is trying to plug the safety and TE spots before the draft with low-cost veterans such as Dawan Landry and Fred Davis, which would be great and allow the team to focus on the other needs come draft time.
8.) I used to love the Jets Beat Writer Power Rankings that you did, but I can see why that would be hard to keep doing. My question is if you had to pick a best and worst beat writer who would it be? How about for the national media when it comes to football or Jets talk? – Ryan, Weehawken
Mike Donnelly – Well you’re definitely right that it’s hard to do a weekly Beat Writer Power Rankings, because that means I have to keep up with all of their terrible lounge comedian-style jokes every day, and that is just excruciating. Every once in a while though, you wade your way through all the crappy snarky jokes and find some good, useful information. Lately, my favorite beat writer of the bunch has been Connor Orr (@ConnorTOrr on twitter) because he gives you what you’re looking for. He has a sense of humor about things but doesn’t beat you over the head with it and rush to his keyboard to be the first to type up some lame Jets joke whenever some kind of news breaks. Also, now that Idzik has gotten rid of the Florham Park leaks, he’s one of the few that actually provides some news and useful information that we look for, which is after all their job.
As for the national or other New York media, it’s hard to pick a best because quite frankly I think they’re all terrible for the most part. I guess I would pick Gregg Rosenthal as the best. He does a really good job, actually. Nationally, Mike Florio is probably the worst, but there are lots of contenders for his throne. Kim Jones is brutal and doesn’t seem to know the difference between a wide receiver post route or a post up in basketball, but that doesn’t stop her from spewing her nonsense. Evan Silva is an epic Jets troll, but I kind of like him, especially after fading all of his football prediction scores last year bought me a new TV. You know, if gambling were legal.
Joe Caporoso - On the beat, I think Orr and Brian Costello have been doing the best work as of late. The worst is easily the Daily News which has devolved into a train wreck of unreadable, poorly sourced garbage. Nationally? I agree with Mike about Gregg Rosenthal and always enjoy reading Bill Barnwell’s work over at Grantland.
Chris Gross - For the Jets beat, Connor Orr of the Newark Star-Ledger, or Brian Costello of the NY Post usually maintain the best work, without the snarky, played out jokes you see so often from just about everyone else. The Daily News is slightly above the National Enquirer in terms of quality and validity when it comes to the Jets. I’ve completely stopped even glancing at their site or paper.
As far as national media goes, I’d have to say I really enjoy reading Chris Sprow on ESPN.com. A little lesser known than the big names at ESPN, he consistently does the best, most researched work on the site and it is likely only a matter of time until he is featured more prominently. I also enjoy Mike Garafalo of USA Today. My least favorites include Jason Cole of Yahoo Sports and James Walker of the ESPN AFC East Blog. Reasoning for each would likely exceed the character limit on this page, if there is one.