Morning Cup Of Coffee: Jets Expresso Shot

5

It is the “slow season” for not only the New York Jets, but the entire NFL. After a long draft season and overall offseason, I usually take a break this time of the year. This year is different though. 

Early Roster Battle:

One of the early, noticeable battles at OTA’s that will carry on into training camp is at the fullback position.

Last year’s starter Tommy Bohanon was less than spectacular. Undrafted free agent Chad Young out of San Diego State will be given every chance possible to unseat him as the team’s fullback.

Young is built like a boulder (5’10, 240 pounds) and has displayed excellent hands in limited practices. Bohanon already knows the offensive system and may show improvement this year. I’m looking forward to watching these two battle it out.

The Logjams:

The fullback position is a one vs. one battle, but wide receiver and cornerback is a royal rumble.

Let’s assume the Jets keep six wide receivers. Eric Decker, Jeremy Kerley, Jalen Saunders, and Shaq Evans are most likely locks. Stephen Hill and David Nelson would have to be injured or show absolutely nothing in training camp to not make the team.

This leaves off recent signing Jacoby Ford, recent sixth round pick Quincy Enunwa (who has a high ceiling), and even Greg Salas who flashed at times last year as a back up slot option.

As for the cornerbacks, this group is a more even field. After starters Dee Milliner and Dimitri Patterson, the locks seem to be recent third round pick Dexter McDougle, last year’s slot corner Kyle Wilson (who Rex recently called a leader on this defense), and former undrafted free agent Darrin Walls.

That would leave the roster with five “locks” at corner. If they keep seven, that leaves two spots between special teams demon Ellis Lankster, offseason signee’s Johnny Patrick and Jeremy Reeves (Rex has been gushing about the 5’8 speedster Reeves), 2014 sixth round draft pick Brandon Dixon, and Ras-I Dowling who has seen time with starters during OTA’s while Milliner is out.

Warning Label:

As I follow OTA’s closely and hear who is “flashing”, I tend to not get as high on bottom of the roster speedsters as others do.

For instance, Jacoby Ford has caught the eye of many throughout this year’s OTA’s. Ford is a proven NFL kick returner, but there is a reason the Oakland Raiders of all teams were willing to let him go (and it has nothing to do with money).

In fourteen games last year, Ford had thirteen catches for 99 yards and no touchdowns. Clyde Gates was making noise last year much similar to what Ford has done this year.

I hope he flashes the same way when pads come on, but these guys are stars in shorts and non-contact practices. Training camp will be much more telling, once again.

Around The League:

I understand a lot of fans excited about Andre Johnson possibly being on the trading block, but buyer beware.

Johnson will be 33 this season and his cap hit is between $14 and $17 million in each of the next three seasons. If cut, he is owed dead money in the following order:

2014: $11,964,166

2015: $7,319,583

2016: $2,675,000

Does this fit Idzik’s mantra of cap flexibility? I do not believe so. The Jets are hoping to develop young talent like Jalen Saunders and Jace Amaro, while having Eric Decker (who makes about half of what Johnson makes) and Jeremy Kerley penciled in as the main targets.

  • KAsh

    I am one of those people that never think a prospect is as safe as he seems. If there are six spots on the roster and six candidates for the last one – good, serious candidates, each with their own benefits, skills, and things they bring to the table – how safe is the “lock” for fifth because he was not run off the field when we had to start him last year? There is this battle royal at the tail end of the wide receivers, but Nelson, Hill, and Evans should feel safe because the coaches love what they can do? Walls gets a spot because he was good in backup duty last year, while there is a huge melee behind him between special team stars, talented cast offs from other rosters, and newly drafted rookies with upside? How safe can Walls be, if Dowling seems to be taking what should have been Walls’s spot in the absense of Milliner?

    Competition at the bottom of the roster forces itself higher, as the middle feels threatened, and that shakes the weak starters. No one is getting on this team at corner or at wide receiver that does not help the team or deserve to be on an NFL roster. I believe Walls will win a roster spot, but only because he beats out Dowling and Patrick and Dixon. I do not think Wilson is that safe either. Saunders is skilled and versatile and the team expects so much of him that I think he makes the roster, but Hill and Nelson will have to prove their worth, while Evans still has to get to the practice field before we can make any prognostications about what he is going to be. But you never know. Maybe this year, Walls finally pushes for a starting spot. Maybe Saunders relegates Kerley to backup duty. Early summer is the time of possibilities in the NFL.

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    While T-Bo was likely an improvement over Lex Hilliard, I cant recall being impressed by him last year. His blocking was unimpressive, & he seemed slow, without being particularly powerful, as a runner & receiver. While a year in an NFL strength & conditioning program may help improve his effectiveness, that seems far from certain. I don’t know much about Young, but the competition for the FB roster spot should be interesting.

    The warning about guys who have a lot of speed & quickness excelling without pads in no-contact practices is a very good point.

  • Gavin.

    @Jeremiah,

    I was very high on Chad Young on seeing his highlight video on Youtube, not sure I have seen T-Bo pancake anyone like Young has. If you have 10 minutes, check it out. He seems like he extremely physical and opens wide holes for running backs. The link is…..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ux3vX2bzhg

    I am rooting for him.

  • jetOrange

    Chad Young better lead blocker, toughness and special teams give him an edge over Bohannon. I think you can only have 6 CB’s and 4 Safeties. Millner, Patterson, Wilson, Mac with Lankster because of ST and Dowling because of his ability to take on big receivers. Look at what Marty did with De Sean Jackson, could he have a role for Ford and/or Saunders

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    That Chad Young highlight video is pretty impressive. While it might be fair to question his level of competition, he seems to play with power as he de-cleated more than a few defenders, & seemed to continually be on the lookout for who to block next. He might have potential as a short yardage runner & looked like a reliable receiver, as well.