Turn On The Jets 12 Pack, Offseason Edition: Volume 1

Joe Caporoso with 12 observations on the New York Jets in the first true week of the offseason

The Turn On The Jets 12 Pack is back and in full offseason mode. Cheer up, it is only a little less than 7 months until football starts again! Stay with us on Twitter and Facebook to keep the discussion going…

1. The NFL Draft is still very, very far away. Remember at this time last year, Geno Smith was the consensus #1 overall pick to the Kansas City Chiefs. The point is that things are going to change. However, after an initial look through the projected top prospects, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jets waited until the 2nd or 3rd round to target a receiver. It seems a little more likely the best player available at #18 will be a tight end, safety or linebacker. This draft is DEEP at receiver and the team may be content to supplement the position through free agency and with a second day pick.

2. Speaking of free agent receivers, I wouldn’t put too much stock in today’s New York Daily News report about the team having interest in Jeremy Maclin and Emmanuel Sanders. Why? Take a look through the names the Daily News linked with the Jets around this time last year and then notice how none of them are on the team. We know John Idzik is keeping things under a tight wrap in Florham Park (considering we haven’t seen a transaction broken by anybody but the @NYJets official Twitter account since he took over). The report is likely based on guesswork and assumption, which is fine but don’t take it as some inside lead that the Jets are leaning towards those players.

Maclin is highly unlikely to leave Philadelphia. Coming off an injury, he will be looking for a one year “show me” type deal and there is no reason he’d leave the Eagles for it. Philadelphia will be happy to pay him instead of Riley Cooper (who isn’t very good) and Maclin will be in a system that will inflate his numbers before he looks for another bigger contract in free agency. As for Sanders, he is coming off a disappointing season where he was basically outproduced by Jerricho Cotchery despite the Steelers having high hopes for him. He only caught 67 of the 112 passes thrown to him last season with a 11.0 YPC. I’d rather pay Julian Edelman than Emmanuel Sanders.

In my opinion, the Jets top target should be Golden Tate. This article does an excellent job explaining why. If Maclin shook free, he’d be my number two option, followed by Edelman.

3. Many Jets fans remain adamant about Mark Sanchez coming back. You can argue until your mouth falls off about how he could be productive in Marty Mornhinweg’s system but you are ultimately wasting your breath on a player who is likely to be cut well before the NFL Draft. I truly believe Sanchez missing an entire season has improved him in the eyes of many Jets fans, who don’t remember over the last eight NFL games he started, he had the following stats: 4 touchdowns, 11 interceptions and five games with a completion percentage under 52…he produced like that as a 4th year veteran, which is scary. As for the Mornhinweg argument, Sanchez was average at best in training camp and the pre-season in his offense, still producing an ugly turnover in each of the three games he played in.

In the right situation and after a couple more years of coaching up, I do think Sanchez could be a productive game manager with a talented supporting cast around him. The ship has sailed here…on both sides of the relationship.

4. So, who then at veteran quarterback? I don’t anticipate the Jets spending the money on Josh McCown. There has been Mike Vick chatter but he left Philadelphia on bad terms with Marty Mornhinweg. Tavaris Jackson, Shaun Hill or Matt Cassel could be all targets along with Chad Henne. Personally, I’d prefer Henne or Hill. Both can push Geno in training camp and both can step in to start a few games or come in for relief if necessary.

5. I wouldn’t go too overboard on the Jets duplicating the Seattle blueprint. Both teams have a physical running game and a low cost starting quarterback (and obviously Geno Smith has a LONG way to go to being anywhere Russell Wilson)…outside of that, I don’t see too many similarities yet. Remember, Seattle runs predominantly a strict, traditional cover 3 scheme. Rex Ryan doesn’t do anything predominantly, strict or traditional. He is constantly mixing and matching everything on defense. The Seahawks defense is unique and special because they have the best safety in the NFL in Earl Thomas and the best overall safety duo with Thomas and Kam Chancellor. One thing to learn from Seattle’s defense? The value of the safety position. I’m not sure they are willing to spend the money but a duo of Jairus Byrd and Antonio Allen full time at safety could go a long way to improving the Jets pass defense issues.

6. For all the concerns about the Jets rookie class last season, it is overwhelmingly likely that four of them will be opening day starters in 2014 (Geno Smith, Sheldon Richardson, Brian Winters and Dee Milliner). It is also likely both Oday Aboushi and Will Campbell will be bumped into prominent backup roles. Richardson should be nothing short of a serious All-Pro candidate next season while if Milliner, Geno and Winters build on their progress the final four weeks of 2013, all should be somewhere in-between competent and above average starters (particularly, Milliner).

7. If Demario Davis cannot take strides with his pass coverage this season, it is fair to wonder what his true ceiling is. He is blessed with a terrific skillset for an inside linebacker and is already a powerful presence within the team’s locker room but he remains an average overall player because of his liability in the passing game.

8. A part of the appeal of players like Tate and Edelman in free agency is their ability to immediately upgrade the punt return position. Statistically, they were the top two punt returners in football last season. The Jets were AWFUL in this department in 2013 and it shouldn’t be slept on how valuable it would be to drastically upgrade the position.

9. I don’t think either Austin Howard or Nick Folk will get anywhere near sniffing free agency. Look for the Jets to handle both their contracts well in advance of other teams having an opportunity to after them.

10. Quinton Coples might be the biggest physical freak on the Jets roster. There is no reason he shouldn’t be a double digit sack guy every season. Let’s hope he can put it together and stay healthy for 16 games in 2014. The team still needs a speed rusher off the edge, outside of Antwan Barnes coming back, but if Coples can reach potential it will knock the Jets defense up to the next level.

11. I think we’ve seen the last of Kellen Winslow Jr, Jeff Cumberland and Konrad Reuland. Outside of Zach Sudfeld, the entire tight end position is going to be revamped this offseason through the draft and free agency.

12. My current top four WRs in the NFL Draft: Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Odell Beckham Jr, Marqise Lee.

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the VP of Social Media at Whistle Sports