The TOJ staff discusses how the New York Jets should handle their defensive line this off-season
Welcome to our off-season review of the New York Jets roster at Turn On The Jets. Each week we are going to attack a different position. We will have a roundtable discussion on it, Steve Bateman will submit a film breakdown examining it and our draft staff will look at potential prospects the Jets could add. So far we have covered quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and offensive line This week we move to defensive line –
How should the New York Jets handle defensive line this off-season?
Joe Caporoso – Defensive line is one of the few spots on the New York Jets roster that the team can feel good about, not just for the upcoming season but for the foreseeable future. Muhammad Wilkerson was one of the league’s top defensive lineman in 2012 and gives the team an elite player against the run who commands a double team, while providing a good push on the pocket during passing downs. Instead of hitting a rookie wall, Quinton Coples actually got stronger down the stretch with 10 tackles and 3.5 sacks over the final quarter of the season. He is a natural freak who showed more polish to his game later in the year and should be ready to become a full time player in 2013. Kenrick Ellis was off a strong start but dealt with injury issues as the season progressed. He has the physical ability to be a full-time nose tackle but is he durable enough?
Outside of the three young guns (all currently 25 or under), Mike DeVito had a strong season as a versatile, run-stuffing tackle/end hybrid. The Jets will push hard to bring him back but he might fall out of their price range. There is undeniable value to having DeVito as a piece of the defensive line rotation and in the locker room but Jets fans should prepare for the reality of him leaving. Second year player Damon Harrison will need to step into a bigger role, particularly if Sione Pou’ha ends up being a salary cap causality, another reality the team may have to face. You can’t hang on to a 30+ year old defensive lineman with back issues at Pou’ha’s price tag.
2013 will be an exciting year for this group. It might not be long until it is the Jets, not the New York Giants, who have the defensive line that is talk of the area.
An overview of what to expect from the New York Jets off-season
With the Super Bowl in the rear-view mirror, the off-season rumor mill is going to pick up speed and begin to be overflowed with endless amounts of crap being thrown against the wall. Remember that before you get yourself in a huff about the Jets contemplating the possibility of trading Darrelle Revis for Alex Smith or thinking any team will have interest in Tim Tebow.
Considering the New York Jets have a new GM and it is unclear what the power dynamic in the front office will shake out to be, it is hard to project what will happen. We can discuss what needs to happen or just how many issues there truly are but there isn’t much concrete information available right now. What can we piece together at this point?
With the salary cap situation, the release of Bart Scott, Calvin Pace, Eric Smith and Jason Smith is a foregone conclusion. There is also a reasonable chance that Sione Pou’ha will be cut. The team will try to trade Tim Tebow but realistically the trade market for him is non-existent, which will also likely lead to him being cut. Trade markets will similarly be gauged for Mark Sanchez, Santonio Holmes and David Harris but there won’t be any takers. The only trade pieces teams are going to be interested in are Antonio Cromartie or Darrelle Revis.
The Jets will assess the type of offers received for both players, along with their confidence level in signing Revis long term. If it becomes clear that isn’t happening, they are taking a deal for Revis. The San Francisco 49ers are going to join the Denver Broncos at the top of the list in teams pursuing him, particularly after seeing their secondary ripped apart last night and with the knowledge they have 14 draft picks. If negotiations with Revis are more amicable, there will still be a strong market for Cromartie and the chance for the Jets to acquire a pair of mid-round picks for him.
In free agency, it is hard to see the Jets making a hard push to bring LaRon Landry back. It should become apparent early on that he will land outside of their price range. Similarly, don’t expect the Jets to give much of an effort, if any, to bring back Matt Slauson or Shonn Greene. Despite being a Restricted Free Agent, the Jets will probably do what it takes to bring Austin Howard back. The team will also look to sign Brandon Moore to a short term deal. Braylon Edwards would be smart to bring back and won’t cost much more than the veteran minimum. The same goes for Yeremiah Bell. The most interesting players to watch will be Dustin Keller and Mike DeVito.
The Jets will want to use their franchise tag on Keller, who likely isn’t going to be happy about that desire. This could turn into an ugly situation where Keller refuses to report without a new contract and the Jets look into trading him post Franchise Tag. Keller would be a nice fit in Marty Mornhinweg’s offense but the Jets aren’t going to give him a monster contract after such an injury plagued and inconsistent season. This has prolonged dispute written all over it.
DeVito is a valuable cog in the defensive line rotation because of his versatility. Yet, he might be a luxury the Jets cannot afford, particularly after spending a first round pick on Quinton Coples last year and a third round pick on Kenrick Ellis two years ago. The Jets will probably engage him aggressively in the coming weeks about returning but he might leave for more money elsewhere.
People anticipating a big name brought in at quarterback are going to be disappointed. Alex Smith is going to be out of the team’s price range and that isn’t a bad thing. Smith is going to get vastly overpaid somewhere by a team who is ignoring that he needs an elite supporting cast around him to be successful. Matt Flynn is more realistic than Smith, only because the price tag will be lower and because of Idzik’s ties with Seattle but he will still likely be out of the team’s price range and is far from a proven commodity. Expect the Jets to look at names like Tavaris Jackson, Matt Moore and Jason Campbell.
The no big name approach won’t be limited to quarterback as the Jets are going to be relegated to second tier free agent options at linebacker, wide receiver and running back as well. Don’t waste your time thinking about Reggie Bush or Greg Jennings. This doesn’t mean the Jets can’t find value but it won’t be headline players.
Draft weekend will be particularly critical for the Jets this year. The team currently has a pick in every single round, including the 9th overall selection. Hopefully, via trades they find a way to end up with a few more picks. Mid-round contributors are a must this season and is the only away depth can slowly be reestablished on this team. Heading into the summer, it will be interesting to watch “Tannenbaum era” players battle it out with new selections for the all the open jobs on the roster.
Without question the headline stories this off-season will be how the Jets approach finding competition for Mark Sanchez and how they handle Darrelle Revis. Expect to see Sanchez pitted against one of the previously mentioned veterans and a mid-round draft pick, while endless speculation swirls about how he is handling this off-season and how “open” the competition truly is. With Revis, things could move fast once we get into March. The Jets are going to have to quickly evaluate how realistic a long term deal is while a barrage of stories are leaked from both sides about contract demands and trade options. Expect a new rumor per hour on contract value and what teams are offering.
We know the Jets never give us a dull day but let’s hope these next few months are productive steps in the necessary rebuilding process.
The Turn On The Jets 12 pack looks back at the lows…and lows of the 2012 season
The Super Bowl is only two days away, which sadly means we are about to enter a dark period of no football. Gone are the days when you could disappear for 12 hour chunks of the day surrounded by multiple TVs and enough wings/beer to make you look like Vince Wilfork. I have really enjoyed using this blog as a consistent “work” crutch to gain freedom Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays from September to February. “Babe, I’d love to come to brunch and shop for cutlery but I HAVE to work today. Goddamn Jets are at 1 and then I have to keep an eye on the Patriots game at 4, and it is important I tweet during the Sunday night game. This BLOG IS SO HARD SOMETIMES!” She will usually rebuttal by asking why don’t I have one of our 8 other writers take care of it, at which point I have to throw Chris Gross under the bus despite him being a terrific writer and fully capable of it. “LEAVE IT TO HIM? HE CAN”T EVEN FIGURE OUT HOW TO OPEN WORPRESS! HE ISN’T READY!”…And with that I’m free for 12 hours of this paradise
I’m not sure how the rest of you consume your NFL but I have developed a nice little system.
Big TV set to Jets game with volume on LOUD because I am immature and embarrassed of my exaggerated claps and yells for 4 yard Bilal Powell gains, which is pathetic until you realize a 4 yard Powell run looks like a 96 yard Adrian Peterson run to a Jets fan who has been watching Shonn Greene average .089 yards per carry the past three years.
Little TV muted with NFL Red-Zone on…you don’t see many touchdowns or red-zone action watching the Jets so I take in all I can from Red-Zone. Tony Sparano must HATE the Red-zZne channel. His preference would be repeated punts and 48 yard field goal attempts followed by fist pumps and BOOMS for all!
When the Jets aren’t on, I get the red-zone on the big TV with whatever other game is airing locally on the little TV. Nothing like watching Eli Manning skittish his way through a mediocre season with the knowledge that every 3-4 years he is going to randomly become Joe Montana for 6 weeks in December and January leading to another Giants Super Bowl. ELITE ALL-IN!
Laptop on the lap all day (probably doesn’t speak well to my future as a procreator) with the following windows open – Twitter (#LOLSANCHEZ), The running box score from the Jets game (Wait, it is the 3rd quarter and we still only have 19 yards of total offense?), A running conversation thread with a group of my friends from home who are all Giants fans (LOLSANCHEZ), My fantasy match-up (C’mon CROMARTIE’S KIDS!), and a running draft for my Initial Reaction at Turn On The Jets (Usually something cheerful like this)
Cell phone in constant contact with dismayed fellow Jets fans (I DON”T KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING?!)
Anyway, this season saw plenty of this from your editor, let’s recap some of this year’s greatest hits –
1. Way back in week 2, we had the apartment packed with Jets fans including fellow writers Chris Gross, Rob Celletti and Chris Celletti. Here were the Jets 1-0, coming off a beat-down victory over the Fredo Buffalo Bills and rolling down the field to a 7-3 lead against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Did you know through the first 5 quarters of the Jets season Mark Sanchez was 23/32, 344 yards, 4 TDs and 1 INT?! Then this happened –
It is like Lawrence Timmons knocked the hope out of this franchise. From that point on the game went south and early shock/excitement in the room wore off into anticipated depression about the season.
2. A few weeks later the Jets had a devastating overtime loss to the New England Patriots. I’m not sure about you but the loudest I cheered all season was when Antonio Allen recovered Devin McCourty’s kick return with only a few minutes left in the fourth quarter. The game (and hope for the season) was there for the taking but was of course not taken advantage of. As soon as Stephen Hill dropped that pass, most Jets fans knew the door was left open too far for New England and they were right.
3. In retrospect, the real season ender was the drubbing they took at home to Miami the following week…that was when radio personality/special teams savant Mike Westhoff’s unit allowed a blocked punt, blocked field goal and onside recovery in ONE HALF! I set a record for uses of the word “Awful” in Initial Reaction headlines this year.
4. The latter part of the season was a mash-up of boring wins and ugly losses until the Jets somehow found their way to 6-7 and relevant in the playoff race thanks to a thrilling 1 point win over Arizona and a heart-stopping 7 point win over the mighty Jacksonville Jaguars in front of 82 TEEEE-BOW fans who passed out in joy over the thought of seeing him run for 2 yards on 2nd and 14 and flex in conquest! SUCH INTANGIBLES!
5. In a miserable year, you had no choice but to get excited for the Monday Night game against the Tennessee Titans when the Jets still had a chance at the playoffs. Their offense and Sanchez in particular were such an unmitigated disaster that it truly reached levels of comedy. Even when they scored their only touchdown of the night (on a short pass to Jeff Cumberland), you couldn’t help but laugh because everybody looked so confused and awkward at how it happened.
6. The last two games were a picture perfect edition of how to play out the string awfully. Needless to say I wasn’t surprised when MCELROY-SANITY didn’t pan out considering he has zero arm strength or pocket presence. I’ve seen plenty of bad quarterbacking in recent years as a Jets fan and he fits right in.
7. Around this point you are probably saying, what about Thanksgiving? And to that I say…I have no idea what you are talking about. I remember turkey and some exciting day games…that’s it.
8. At least a couple of weeks ago we got to enjoy New England bombing out at home in the AFC Championship Game while Jim Nantz quietly wept in the background. Shocking how RAWBY NINKOVICH and company could be so awful on defense when the Patriots only draft captains! Don’t worry bandwagon Boston fans, you turn back to the Celtics…err…the Red Sox…err. Well Hockey is back!
9. What we’ll remember this season for –
Mark Sanchez turnovers
Tim Tebow irrelevance
Stephen Hill drops
Kyle Wilson Finger Wags
Calvin Pace being the slowest defensive player in the NFL
Shonn Greene being the slowest offensive player in the NFL
10. In fairness, let’s list Jets who had highly respectable NFL seasons in 2012 – Jeremy Kerley, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Nick Mangold, Muhammad Wilkerson, Quinton Coples, LaRon Landry, Antonio Cromartie, Mike DeVito, Yeremiah Bell.
11. Snacks of the Year – Snyder’s Jalapeno Pretzels, Lime Tostitos, Cool Ranch Doritos (8 years running!) Atomic Wings, The chicken salad sandwich from Blue Moon Deli on 91st and 1st, Chicky’s on 86th, and East Side Eatery’s Steak Wrap.