With our beloved editor-in-chief, Joe Caporoso, away on business, scouting locations for the new Turn On The Jets headquarters, the normal Friday 12 pack will be replaced with a 12 part Q & A on all things Jets, NFL, and NFL Draft. We received some excellent questions via twitter last night, so let’s not waste any time getting into them. Thanks to everyone who participated!
What do you think the reasoning is, if true, for the Jets wanting this year’s 1st round pick (from Tampa Bay in a rumored trade for Darrelle Revis), as opposed to next year’s?
The reasoning behind this reported desire by the Jets can be for a number of factors. The first thing that comes to mind is the overall value of the pick. This year, Tampa Bay selects 13th overall in round one. As a team that is currently on the rise, adding a player like Darrelle Revis will almost guarantee them more wins during the regular season in 2013. Consequently, the first round selection from Tampa Bay in 2014 could be more toward the bottom half of the round, as opposed to this year’s selection, just outside the top ten.
The argument has been made that New York would be better off to take the picks for next year, as the class of quarterbacks is much greater. The thought process behind this is that the Jets could package both of their 2014 first rounders (their own and the one received from Tampa in this hypothetical scenario) to trade up and select one of next year’s top signal callers (Johnny Manizel, Teddy Bridgewater, etc). The problem with that is, while it is nice in theory, a lot can happen in a year. Players, particularly college quarterbacks, sometimes underwhelm after highly successful seasons. How often do we see players once thought of as potential top prospects drop after a follow up season of disappointment. Matt Barkley, Jake Locker, and Landry Jones all come to mind as recent names, among many others.
But let’s assume that doesn’t happen to any of next year’s quarterback prospects. Let’s assume they all have better years than they did in 2012. What if there are no trade partners for the Jets to make a deal with and move up? What if teams selecting in the first three spots in the 2014 draft are all teams with a need at quarterback such as the Oakland Raiders, Jacksonville Jaguars, and perhaps the Arizona Cardinals? Then you not only miss out on the higher first round pick from this year’s draft, but you also miss out on getting your quarterback.
The appeal to acquiring the picks for this year is because the Jets brain trust likely already has their board of top prospects put together. Surely, changes will be made to this over the next month, but the point is that they have an idea of the talent that will be attainable with the picks they would acquire this year. While next year’s picks could hold higher value, you just can’t be certain of that at this point.
Why did the Jets waste meaningful draft picks and cap room to acquire Tim Tebow last season? Can you just make him go away?
Unfortunately, I cannot. The reasoning for the Tim Tebow trade will probably never be truly revealed, but it is very fair to assume it was solely for publicity purposes. It was clear from the moment Mark Sanchez began to struggle that Tebow was never brought in here to replace him. Otherwise, he would have been made active for the week 16 game against the Arizona Cardinals, and he would have gotten the start instead of Greg McElroy. In fact, if Tebow truly was brought in to replace Sanchez in the event that he struggled, it is fair to argue that he would have been brought in in week 4 against San Francisco, week 8 against Miami, week 9 against Seattle, Thanksgiving against New England…you get the point.
While the Jets can claim that they had a role in mind for Tebow all they want, it is clear they acted sporadically upon hearing he was on the trade block, made the decision for the publicity, and then could never become creative enough to get him involved beyond his role as a personal protector on the punt team and some horribly timed wild cat plays.
With the recent signing of RB Mike Goodson, does Joe McKnight have a future with the Jets?
Many have deemed McKnight as good as gone already. I disagree with this notion. While the team is unlikely to carry anymore than 3 active tailbacks this season, I do believe it will be an open competition for those spots in training camp. Right now the depth chart is made up of Goodson, Bilal Powell, McKnight, and John Griffin. Assuming New York adds a back via the draft, two out of the five will likely be on the outside looking in. But competition is what John Idzik has preached since his hiring, and with 4-5 backs competing for the spots in camp, he will get the very best out of the 3 who win them.
One thing to keep in mind about McKnight is his value in the return game. While it is unlikely the team will carry more than three backs on the active roster, if McKnight can do enough to prove he can serve some type of role in the offense, it could be enough for them to hold onto four primarily for the special teams value. Don’t forget, McKnight has done some all purpose playing in the past, and if the team values his ability in the return game enough, they will do all they can to find a spot for him on the roster. Still, it is far too early to make any assumptions at this point.
What will the Jets do at the Safety position this year?
Like every position on the roster, you can expect competition. The current safeties on the roster are Josh Bush and Antonio Allen, last year’s fifth and seventh round draft picks, respectively. With last year’s starters, LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell, already signed to new deals elsewhere, the positions are wide open. Fortunately for the Jets, the draft is rich in safeties this year. I firmly believe a starter can be had at the position as late as round four. Names like Kenny Vacarro, Matt Elam, Jon Cyprien, Shamarko Thomas, Eric Reid, Bacarri Rambo, and T.J. McDonald are all in play for the Jets, among others. Depending on how the draft goes, look for New York to also add a veteran free agent in May, as they did with Bell last season, in the form of Dawan Landry, Gerald Sensabaugh, Tom Zbikowski, and perhaps Michael Huff. Landry, Sensabaugh, and Huff have starter ability, while someone like Zbikowski would be more of a low cost, depth signing with some special teams value, as well. The veteran approach at the position will likely depend on how the draft plays out.
Will Jarvis Jones fall out of the first round after a very poor pro-day performance, combined with lingering concerns over his health?
While the injury concerns have dialed down lately after further medical evaluation, the poor numbers from his pro-day are certainly alarming. However, Jones is still a very highly talented player. There are always guys who underwhelm in the testing during the pre-draft process who end up producing at the next level, particularly at the linebacker position (Terrell Suggs and Vontaze Burfict immediately come to mind). Playing linebacker in the NFL isn’t necessarily as much about being able to run down plays as it is about instinct, recognition, and reaction time.
That being said, as a pass rushing prospect, it is imperative that Jones does possess some burst and an excellent first step. While his film may not scream elite in either area, it certainly shows a player who is dynamic in getting after the quarterback, regardless. Jones also has some scheme versatility and will appeal to teams who use multi-front defenses. Overall, Jones is simply far too great a talent to fall completely out of round one, but his potential as a top ten selection is in serious jeopardy.
If the over/under for sacks by the Jets defensive front 7 was set at 15.45 for next season, where would you put your money?
If that bet was offered in Las Vegas, with that over/under, and I was a gambling man, I would bet everything I own on the over. Last season, the Jets front 7 accounted for 27 of the team’s 30 sacks. It is fair to assume that Quinton Coples will continue his growth and flirt with double digit sacks alone, while Muhammad Wilkerson should be good for anywhere between 5-10 himself. Replace Calvin Pace with Antwan Barnes, Bryan Thomas with a high draft pick, Bart Scott with DeMario Davis, and Sione Po’uha and Mike DeVito with Kenrick Ellis and Antonio Garay, and you’ve likely already surpassed last season’s total by a fair margin. Scheme wasn’t the issue for the pedestrian overall sack total last season. It was more a result of age and the overall lack of speed within the front 7. The Jets are determined to get younger and faster, and with the recent acquisitions, they have already taken a step in the right direction. Expect a better pass rush in 2013, one that certainly surpasses 15 sacks from the unit as a whole.
What would you predict for individual sack totals from each player at linebacker and along the defensive line?
This is a tough question to answer because we still don’t have a clear picture of what the depth chart at these positions will look like. If I had to guess right now, the totals would be as follows:
Quinton Coples: 8.5
Muhammad Wilkerson: 6.0
Kenrick Ellis: 1.5
Antonio Garay: 2.0
DeMario Davis: 4
Davis Harris: 2.5
Antwan Barnes: 5.5
Rookie Outside Linebacker (assuming one is drafted in the first two rounds): 7.5
Is it a bad idea for Rex Ryan to return to defensive play calling duty? Won’t that distract him from what’s going on with the team as a whole?
I do not think this is a bad idea at all. Rex has never fancied himself as the most knowlegeable coach when it comes to the offensive side of the ball. This is part of the reason why he brought in Marty Mornhinweg to replace Tony Sparano as Offensive Coordinator. Mornhinweg is a highly experienced coordinator, and one of the best offensive minds in the game, who also has some head coaching experience under his belt. Ryan wants coaches that he can trust, and he feels as though he got that in Mornhinweg.
In terms of overall team preparation, while Ryan will be the play caller on game days, Defensive Coordinator Dennis Thurman will be responsible for game plans, team meetings, and running the defense at practice during the week. While Rex will consult in each of these decisions, he will likely be more of an observer and teacher of the entire team during the week, while assuming play calling duties during the games. Like Mornhinweg, Ryan feels as if he can trust Thurman to install his philosophy on a day to day basis. Remember, Rex made his bones in this league as a defensive coordinator and in a year where he must have success, he wants to be in complete control where he is most comfortable. This is a very smart move on his part.
Who will be the Jets starting quarterback in 2013?
I firmly believe that this is an open competition. While Mark Sanchez will get the first opportunity in mini-camp and training camp, whoever is on the roster at the position will have ample opportunity to prove their worth. It is difficult to gauge where David Garrard will stand at this point, considering he hasn’t played football since 2010. However, if healthy, Garrard is a tough player to bet against. He has an excellent head on his shoulders, and has been generally protective of the football over the course of the year. Assuming New York adds another quarterback by way of the draft or free agency, they too will have a chance to compete for the job. Tim Tebow will not be a quarterback with the Jets in 2013 and I do not see Greg McElroy taking any significant snaps based on what we saw in his sole start last season. Ultimately, I think Sanchez will be the opening day starter, but he will be on a much shorter leash this year than he was last season.
Why hasn’t Tim Tebow been released yet?
While it seems as if it is a near certainty that Tebow will eventually be released, there is no rush to do so right now. Yes, the Jets would save cap space by making the move, but if you’ve been paying attention, the team is not in a hurry to sign players to lucrative deals this year. John Idzik is likely doing his due diligence in allowing the new offensive staff to evaluate every player on the roster based off of previous film. Each player will be judged on a clean slate this year and it seems as if Idzik is waiting on word from Mornhinweg on which players are most likely to have significant roles this season. At that point, Idzik will make his personnel decisions.
If another quarterback is added, or if another player is added who will require some cap room, then Tebow will likely be cut loose. Until then, there is no foreseeable trade partner, so there is really no sense of urgency to make a decision one way or another at this point.
Another train of thought is that the Jets see value in Tebow as a football player and not as a quarterback. If this is the case, perhaps Idzik speaks with Tebow’s camp to gauge his interest in playing other positions. If the quarterback is reluctant to do so, it is then when his release will be made official. If he is open to it, perhaps he gains some trade value or some value to the team’s plans in 2013. Either way, Idzik has shown that he is a very patient man and will exhaust every option before making a final decision on any matter.
How many games will the Jets win next season?
Far too early to make any assumption. This estimation cannot be made until the roster is completely filled. While the team may seem void of talent as of right now, there are certainly some quality players here. If we’ve learned anything about the NFL over the past decade, quick turnarounds aren’t insanely uncommon. Anything can happen in this week to week league, but to estimate a win total in March is unfair to the organization and the fan base.
Will Darrelle Revis be a New York Jet in 2013?
There are still very many possibilities here. Idzik and owner Woody Johnson are clearly open to trading Revis, but on their terms. In this process of rebuilding, it is not so much that they want Revis gone as it is that they would prefer the compensation they are seeking instead. If they do not get an offer they feel good about replacing their best player with, they will not be trigger happy for the sake of making a deal. If nothing comes along before the beginning of the season, there is a chance Revis begins the year as a Jet and gets the chance to prove he is still the same player he was prior to tearing his ACL last year. At that point, there would likely be multiple teams interested in acquiring the All-Pro cornerback, and then the Jets can get multiple parties involved in a bidding war to receive the best possible compensation package and ship him out prior to this season’s trade deadline. Still, I firmly believe that although the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are bidding against only themselves as of right now, they need Revis more than the Jets need to trade him, particularly considering the fact that they play Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, and Cam Newton twice a year each. It is because of this that I think a deal gets done with Tampa Bay prior to the season, and Revis will no longer be a Jet in 2013.