The New York Jets have wrapped up OTAs and will be heading into minicamp on June 19th before we enter a terrifying six week void without football. Here are 12 observations and thoughts on the current state of the team:
1. The release of Brandon Flowers by the Kansas City Chiefs has reignited the debate around the New York Jets cornerback position. At 28 years old and with a few strong seasons under his belt (despite a rough 2013), Flowers is an intriguing player and the Jets are likely to do their due diligence. However, I wouldn’t bank on the addition of him or any other “name” cornerbacks prior to training camp.
Internally, the Jets view Dimitri Patterson as a competent bridge to Dexter McDougle, with Darrin Walls and potentially Ras I-Dowling as insurance on the outside. It is fair to find that thinking flawed considering the injury history of Patterson and Dowling. They may view Flowers as a slight upgrade to Patterson but they likely won’t pursue him as aggressively as Atlanta, Houston or a few other teams will. Could it happen? On paper it is sensible move to improve depth and competition, and the Jets have the cap space to do it. Will it happen? I wouldn’t bet on it.
2. I’ve discussed this excessively this offseason but the debate around the Jets #2 wide receiver spot remains misguided. It seems to come from a “Madden-ized” mindset that every formation must have a “WR1 and WR2 on the outside, with a TE in a three point stance and a HB and FB in the backfield. The only time the WR3 or the slot is allowed to leave the bench is in 3 wide sets, to line up inside of WR1 or WR2.” Every player must be pigeonholed, like WR1 = Decker, WR2 = Nelson/Hill or WR 3 = HAS TO BE KERLEY). This is an incorrect and oversimplified way to analyze a NFL offense.
Just because Jeremy Kerley thrives in the slot, doesn’t mean he has to be “WR3″, he is allowed to be on the field with just one other receiver or by himself. He is allowed to have the second most reps and targets of any Jets receiver outside of Eric Decker. The Jets are very frequently going to feature a personnel group that has both Jeff Cumberland and Jace Amaro on the field. There will be times they are paired with two running backs and one receiver, two receivers and one running back or just three receivers. Expect to see plenty of a formation that features either Amaro or Cumberland split out, the other in the traditional tight end spot and Kerley/Decker also split out.
As of now, the Jets would rather give more reps to Jeff Cumberland than forcing Stephen Hill into more reps than he can handle, overburdening Jalen Saunders as a rookie or making David Nelson a 40-60 rep per game guy.
The Jets are going to be a relatively run heavy offense, after Decker, Kerley, Amaro and Chris Johnson there aren’t that many targets left. Cumberland, who the coaching staff is high on and the front office just signed to a new deal, is likely first in line behind those four, Nelson is probably after him. There is a reason they signed him to a two year contract last season. He is also easily the best overall and most accomplished receiver on the team as of now behind Decker and Kerley.
If you are forced to answer who is the team’s number two receiver, the most accurate answer is really some combination of Jeremy Kerley, Jeff Cumberland and Jace Amaro.
3. Many people seem to be assuming the Jets are going to keep six wide receivers because of the logjam on the depth chart after Decker and Kerley. Yet, I wouldn’t be surprised if they only kept five, considering they will likely be run heavy and have multiple running backs with injury concerns. Don’t be surprised if somebody like Quincy Enunwa finds his way to the IR, to prevent another team from poaching him off the practice squad if he doesn’t make the final 53.
4. Jacoby Ford is quickly becoming an offseason favorite for many Jets fans because he has some SERIOUS speed, which helps him look all that much better in shorts. I’d urge people to temper their expectations somewhat. Ford hasn’t done much of anything in the NFL since 2011 and has a serious uphill battle to making the roster. Jalen Saunders is making the final 53, barring an injury and he offers many of the things Ford would offer. Could Ford stick with a monster summer? Sure, but it would have to come at the expense of David Nelson or Stephen Hill, if not both, under the assumption that Shaq Evans will also make the final 53.
5. Dumbest OTA story – Eric Decker missing a couple of days to be with his wife at an award show. This is not a big deal, at all.
6. Most concerning OTA story – Dee Milliner’s hamstring. It is still early but Milliner is an immensely critical player for the Jets this season and after his injury struggles last offseason, it is disconcerting to hear about him being hurt already. Hopefully, he is a full go for minicamp.
7. ICYMI – Here are the links to our “Blogger Roundtable” appearances on the New York Jets site:
8. Has anybody ever been harder to find in the duration of their stay with a NFL team than Mike Goodson? Nobody ever knows where this guy is. He is like Desmond from LOST.
9. Despite an abysmal supporting cast and inconsistent quarterback play, Jeremy Kerley has caught 60% of his targeted passes as a NFL receiver.
10. I wonder if/when Santonio Holmes gets signed by a team? It may not be until mid-August, if at all.
11. Pro Football Focus graded the Jets roster, here are a few of my issues:
- Mike Goodson = Chris Johnson? Nah.
- Alex Green = Chris Ivory? Um, what?
- Kenrick Ellis/Dmitri Patterson = Nick Mangold/Eric Decker? Oh, really?
- Jermaine Cunningham/Garrett McIntyre = Quinton Coples/Antonio Allen? Nope.
- Mo Wilkerson = Not an elite starter at this position? Strongly, strongly disagree.
- Clyde Gates had 133 offensive snaps last season, Greg Salas had 156, Zach Sudfeld had 144. They are listed as not having enough information to be graded. Alex Green had 42 snaps, Mike Goodson had 30, Jermaine Cunningham had 7 defensive snaps. They are graded. (???)
12. Enjoy the weekend…and definitely DON’T do the Mark Sanchez…