The Turn On The Jets 12 pack is back! Make sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for further analysis. Today, we will be talking the New York Jets rookie class, offensive formations, roster building philosophy and more…
1. Quick transaction update right off the top. The Jets have claimed RB Daryl Richardson off waivers from the St. Louis Rams. Over the past 2 seasons, he has accumulated 690 rushing yards, 287 receiving yards and a 4.1 yards per carry. I quickly spoke with our friend Will Horton of Rams Herd, who had this to say:
@TurnOnTheJets His best skills are soft hands in passing game and speed to the flat. Had a foot injury week 1 that killed his speed…
— RamsHerd (@RamsHerd) May 16, 2014
— RamsHerd (@RamsHerd) May 16, 2014
Here is the full article link he referred to. Richardson is relatively comparable to Bilal Powell in terms of style of play and talent. Powell is a more complete and better overall player but Richardson is more of a home run threat. It is going to be interesting to see the running backs battle it out this summer and what type of role Richardson can carve out for himself, if any.
2. A few snapshots from the Jets offense last season to emphasize positional versatility and their potential improvement in 2014.
The 3-3 Jets are in position to close out the New England Patriots at home for an upset victory with a first down. Obviously a critical play. Tommy Bohanon is the single back. They put tight Jeff Cumberland at X receiver (alone at the bottom of the screen). David Nelson as a flexed tight end, Stephen Hill as the Z receiver (at the top of screen) and Jeremy Kerley in the slot. The play is designed for Cumberland, who juggles and drops the pass after a good throw from Geno Smith.
A few observations: first off, it speaks to the Jets personnel issues in 2013 that they are going to Jeff Cumberland in this spot. Marty Morninhweg tried and tried to feature Cumberland last season but he never quite rose to the challenge. Second, notice how it is silly to get overly wrapped up in pigeonholing different players into rigid positions. Cumberland is playing wide receiver on this play, while Nelson is basically playing tight end. If you are a skill position player in this offense (and in many offenses), you need to be able to be able to line up all over the formation. This year, you’d have to image Jace Amaro, Chris Johnson and Eric Decker replacing Hill, Bohanon and Cumberland on this play which should be a substantial upgrade across the board.
3. Here is another example of positional versatility. Kellen Winslow is lined up as the Z receiver. Jeff Cumberland is the in-line tight end. Stephen Hill is in a three point stance as the team’s H-Back. Somehow Hill doesn’t manage to get the first down here. Next season, a Decker or Amaro in this position, is more than likely to find a way to prevent the Jets from punting.
…And now Winslow and Cumberland as slot receivers with Kerley and Nelson out wide. I would expect to see plenty of Amaro as the Z, X and slot receiver and a relatively limited amount of him as the in-line tight end. The Jets still have a need for a strong in-line blocking tight end on their roster, as it is not something Cumberland excels at…at all.
4. The point I want to re-emphasize from this piece during the week is this: The 2014 Jets offense is likely to be relatively run heavy. How many targets/catches do you think there is behind Eric Decker, Jace Amaro, Jeremy Kerley and Chris Johnson? It isn’t a big number. It is a number small that enough that it is more than adequate to have Jeff Cumberland, David Nelson, Stephen Hill, Jalen Saunders, Shaq Evans , Quincy Enunwa and Jacoby Ford battling it out for that number. Nelson and Cumberland would be perfectly adequate as those 5th and 6th options, nevermind if Hill finally puts it together or one of the Saunders/Evans/Enunwa trio has an impact rookie year.
5. Speaking of Saunders, my initial reaction to the pick was limited excitement. I saw him as the team’s returner in 2014, a speciality player on offense and Jeremy Kerley insurance. I was more of the of thinking that Evans could be a bigger factor on offense in 2014. While I do think Evans has potential to be in the mix this year and potentially be the team’s starting split end in 2015, it is Saunders who has really popped off the tape more. He has tremendous quickness, polished routes and a natural, smooth ability to catch the football. His size will always be questioned but he plays bigger than his height. It is hard to see him not being some type of regular contributor to the 2014 offense. There is too much playmaking ability there to keep him on the bench.
6. At first glance the draft picks who are going to have the toughest time making the final 53 are IK Enemkpali, Brandon Dixon and Quincy Enunwa. I think Tahj Boyd beats out Matt Simms for the 3rd quarterback job and Trevor Reilly is going to be an overachieving 7th round pick.
7. Remember about a year ago today how we all heard how much Tim Tebow was going to make the Jets PAY in New England?
8. Considering Tommy Bohanon wasn’t much of a blocker anyway, I wonder if the Jets would consider just carrying four halfbacks and no true fullbacks.
9. I would expect a handful of more roster tweaks from the Jets before training camp opens. Today’s Richardson move won’t be the last notable thing they do until the end of July.
10. It was somewhat surprising to hear Rex Ryan say outright that he expected Dimitri Patterson to start at corner. He mentioned Dexter McDougle as potential competition but what about Darrin Walls? I’d like to see all three of those guys battling for reps on the outside, along with getting a chance to push Kyle Wilson in the slot.
11. There has been some rumblings about the Jets potentially moving on from Dawan Landry. I don’t think there is a need to hurt your depth. It is good to have three capable starting safeties, even if Landry is an average starter at best. Hopefully, it will be Calvin Pryor and Antonio Allen playing the lion’s share of the reps in the back end, with Landry as a depth and rotational player. It bears watching if the Jets will keep four or five safeties. If they decide on keeping four, it will be between Josh Bush, Jaiquawn Jarrett and Rontez Miles for the final spot.
12. It is very exciting that the Jets have their top five rotational defensive lineman back (Wilkerson, Richardson, Harrison, Douzable, Ellis). IF Quinton Coples can play to his potential and IF Antwan Barnes can stay healthy…that front seven is going to be something else. David Harris and Demario Davis are adequate enough to handle another year with the major reps at inside linebacker.