Waking Up From 4th Of July: Round-Up Of Jets News

After a five day hiatus to work on a few technical changes to the site in anticipation of football starting in the coming weeks and all that will come with that, TOJ is back with a quick round-up of recent Jets news…check back throughout the day for a new TOJ Top Five and Justin’s latest article…

Good interview with Bart Scott – The stats don’t jump off the page for Scott, especially since joining the Jets but he remains a key part of their defensive scheme and does a big chunk of the dirty work necessary for it to succeed. It is encouraging to hear that he thinks Jamaal Westerman is ready for a bigger role, as the Jets need improved depth at linebacker and could use another pass rusher. Scott also has praise for Ropati Pitoitua, Joe McKnight, and Vladimir Ducasse.

There has been plenty of hype around Pitoitua’s potential because of his size but we have never really seen him with the chance to flourish in a bigger role because of his injury last year. It will be interesting to see how much he will play this year, although it will largely depend on how quickly Muhammad Wilkerson and Kenrick Ellis adapt to the NFL and if the team brings back Shaun Ellis and Trevor Pryce.

McKnight is in desperate need of a strong training camp to show he learned from the mistakes he made during his rookie season. I think he can fill the void that will likely be left by Brad Smith in the Jets offense. He can take over those touches, except instead of working out of the Wildcat (which he could still do), he could take primarily outside handoffs and be an option in the screen game.

I am not sure if Ducasse will get much of a shot to start at right tackle. It sounds like the Jets are likely to bring Damien Woody back for another year, which could be good for Ducasse in the long run as he could spend a year learning the his new position behind Woody.

NFL Top Ten – The NFL Network’s top 100 player countdown concluded this past Sunday, with Darrelle Revis finishing at number eight. It isn’t worth getting worked up about lists like this but how is he behind Andre Johnson? I am pretty sure they have went head to head twice and Revis has completely shut him down both times.

Another Free Agent Thought – Roy Williams is likely going to be cut by the Dallas Cowboys. If the Jets can work out a low cost deal with him, which he may have to consider if there isn’t much interest in him on the market, he could be a potential replacement for Braylon Edwards if he leaves via free agency.

If You Haven’t Seen It Already – A great parody of Field of Dreams by Funny or Die, which features a cameo by Antonio Cromartie.

Just About That Time – July 15th is the supposed deadline for a deal to get done so a “normal” season can occur with a full training camp and pre-season. We are now only 9 days away from that date…and only 23 days away from when Jets training camp is supposed to open in Florham park.

New York Jets Move Training Camp To Florham Park

As expected, the New York Jets have announced they will move this year’s training camp to the team facility in Florham Park, New Jersey instead of traveling to Cortland, New York for the third straight year. The decision makes sense considering how chaotic everything is expected to be in the coming weeks as the lockout ends. Unfortunately, Cortland will not receive the normal economic boom they do from the Jets coming to town, however the commute will now be easier for many local fans to see their team practice.

Rex Ryan has always been a big advocate of getting his team away from the local distractions, yet this is a necessary sacrifice that comes with such a long lockout. Many teams around the league will likely be making a similar decision.

The Jets are planning to resume their partnership with Cortland in 2012, which means a Florham Park training camp should be a one time thing.

Start looking for your hotels in Morristown and Hanover…

An Inside Look At Jets Camp Lockout

Enjoy the third episode of Sione Pouha’s “Life of a Lockout” series with an inside look at Jets Camp Lockout:

  • Good to hear that Mark Sanchez thinks Kyle Wilson was the most impressive player on the field.
  • Mike DeVito has some serious moves in touch football.
  • How good is your Bart Scott impression? Check out the his new contest…

Also check out some footage from Jerricho Cotchery’s recent surprise birthday party

As Football Gets Closer…

For a refreshing change of pace, the news associated with the NFL Lockout today seems to be positive. Maybe I am being an optimist but from everything being reported today, I’d be shocked if NFL free agency wasn’t kicking off within the next couple of weeks. A few of the more interesting tidbits coming out of the today’s discussions were the following:

  • Starting in 2012, there is going to be a full 16 game Thursday night schedule to help generate revenue.
  • The players apparently are going to agree to 48& of all revenue generated by the league, the details of changing the rookie wage scale aren’t in place but it will be tweaked.
  • All players with 4-6 years of service will be unrestricted free agents.

The last point is a key one for the Jets because it means Santonio Holmes, Antonio Cromartie, and Brad Smith will all be unrestricted free agents, instead of restricted. The Jets won’t be able to keep them with a one year deal and all three are going to command substantial money on the open market, especially Holmes and Cromartie.

Braylon Edwards is also an unrestricted free agent.

It is going to be a furious few weeks of free agency when it kicks off and it will be a few weeks filled with tough decisions for Mike Tannenbaum and the Jets front office. How do you prioritize Holmes, Edwards, Cromartie, and Smith?

Personally, I rank them in the following order —

  1. Santonio Holmes – The best overall player of the group, who will also command the most money. He comes with off the field risks (including a new pending casino investigation) but he is a uniquely talented playmaker who is one of the most clutch players in the sport.
  2. Antonio Cromartie – The Jets are a defensive minded team, which means you don’t prioritize two receivers before a cornerback, regardless of how well Braylon Edwards played last year. Cromartie did an admirable job in 2010 opposite Darrelle Revis and unfortunately Kyle Wilson didn’t show enough in his rookie year to make anybody believe he is ready for the role opposite The Island.
  3. Braylon Edwards – He is coming off a terrific year and adds a physical dimension to the Jets offense in both the passing and running game. However, you can’t keep everybody and I doubt the Jets will have the money to bring him back after paying Holmes. I think Dustin Keller could replace a large degree of his production if used properly and that Jerricho Cotchery will be much better in 2011 because his back will be healthy. Also if the Jets are desperate for more height on the outside, they could pursue Plaxico Burress or Randy Moss on a short term, cheap deal.
  4. Brad Smith – An incredibly versatile player, but obviously the fourth most valuable. A team will likely offer him more money and a bigger role on offense, making it very hard for the Jets to bring him back.

Jets Front Office & Coaching Staff Staying Sharp Through Lockout

It has been impressive to see how dedicated and organized the New York Jets players have been throughout the lockout. From “Jets West” to Darrelle Revis taking Kyle Wilson under his wing, all the way to their recent “Camp Lockout,” they have maintained a sense of organization and dedication needed to remain a Super Bowl contender. Fortunately, the team’s front office and coaching staff hasn’t been slacking off either.

In an effort to hear new ideas and stay sharp, the team has brought in a variety of coaches and executives to pick their brain on new concepts both on and off the field moving forward. Dan Reeves, who played and coached in nine Super Bowls, was recently at the Jets complex and before him, former Washington Redskins coach, Joe Gibbs spent time with the coaching staff.

Former Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator, Tom Moore came to Florham Park to break down offensive film and there is now a rumor he could join the team as a consultant, which will surely make all those Brian Schottenheimer haters out there happy.

Mike Tannenbaum took it upon himself to meet with Bill McDermott, who is the co-CEO of SAP AG, a leading provider of business software and Kevin Plank, the CEO and founder of Under Armour to pick their brain on running an organization. It is a savvy move by the Jets GM to take time to learn from successful, talented people and work to constantly improve.

It remains to be seen how much all of these visits will help in the upcoming season but it is encouraging to see the entire organization not resting on their success from the previous two years.

Where Will The Jets Go Cheap?

There will inevitably be some tough decisions the New York Jets front office will have to make when free agency starts. Certain positions are going to see a higher concentration of money spent, while others will be forced to be handled more cheaply with hopes of younger players stepping up. Where will Mike Tannebaum decide to invest the most?

Wide Receiver – We know money is going to be spent to keep either Santonio Holmes or Braylon Edwards, but would the Jets invest enough in the receiver position to keep both, or perhaps one along with Brad Smith? It doesn’t seem likely considering this is a run first offense, but they may want to insure Mark Sanchez has the best weapons possible at his disposal to help him flourish into a top-tier quarterback in the NFL.

Defensive Line – The Jets could go young and not pay up to bring Shaun Ellis back and also not work to coax Trevor Pryce out of retirement. However, they will be putting a high amount of pressure on first-round pick Muhammad Wilkerson to produce immediately and relying on unproven players like Ropati Pitoitua and Marcus Dixon to play large roles on the defensive line rotation. If they can’t work something out with Ellis, it would be smart to at least bring Pryce back on a cheap, one-year deal as insurance.

Offensive Line – When the Jets released Damien Woody this off-season, the original plan seemed to be allowing second year player Vladimir Ducasse battle with veteran Wayne Hunter to take over at right tackle. Hunter filled in for Woody a few games at the end of last season and is also a free agent, but would cost less to bring back. Now with the way this off-season has been affected by the lockout, can the Jets risk thinking Ducasse is ready to compete for a starting job and have somebody like Hunter as the only alternative or will they pay up to bring Woody back for another year? They also need to decide if they are going to bring back versatile back-up Robert Turner.

Secondary – Antonio Cromartie is going to be a highly sought after free agent and if the Jets decide to let him walk, they will be taking a risk at corner opposite Darrelle Revis by hoping Kyle Wilson is ready to step in as a starter. The Jets could always look to sign a free agent to compete with him but if they are going to spend money on a veteran, why not just stick with Cromartie who is comfortable in the system and handled the job well last year? They also need to make a decision at safety, where Brodney Pool will probably cost more than Eric Smith but provides better range and long-term potential next to Jim Leonhard.

Linebacker – The Jets could go into the year with their current depth chart and hope a player like Jamaal Westerman or Josh Mauga steps up as an option in certain packages and as reliable backups or look to bring back Jason Taylor or sign a free agent to support a position that is relatively thin.

Why Are You Shaking? Continued Coverage Of The NFL Lockout

America needs football. Why? When you are away from football, you start taking up causes that you don’t have the foresight to know are going to ruin you. Like David Tyree, NY Giant headcatcher who recently came out against gay marriage, something that will have him torn apart in almost every NY tabloid from the Daily News to the New York Times.

Then you have Plaxico Burress, who is fresh out of jail and looking like he’s trying to hide his aging body, recently tore apart Tom Coughlin. He may be mean and old, but the guy knows how to win. Oh yes, and then you have LeSean Mccoy, who claimed that Osi Umenyora (who also happens to be suing the NY Giants), is “soft and overrated”. Have fun trying to run the ball next year.

So what news do we have about the Jets. Well…they have been working out…that is good. What I like more is the fact that Darrelle Revis took Kyle Wilson under his wing, probably under pressure from Rex and Mike Tannenbaum, who uttered something like “listen man, we can’t have this blow up in our face…I’m still having nightmares about the Gholston deal”

I also like to see Vladimir Ducasse putting the work in. They’re going to need him at multiple position s,so they probably needed his rookie year to bench him (somewhat demeaning for a second round pick) to see if he was mentally tough enough to make it at either tackle or guard.

Looking at free agency, you can’t assume though, that Plaxico Burress, Randy Moss or Terrell Owens will actually fit in with the system that Brian Schottenheimer runs. Especially because they won’t be the prime receivers. Sometimes the Jets play long, sometimes they play short. The Holmes/Edwards combination is perfect because one is a short burster, and one is a long strider. Edwards on the vertical, and Holmes on the stick. Why change something that is vital to Mark Sanchez’s development when you can just shrug off a few DB’s?

There’s a good chance Holmes and Edwards will take a pay cut if they sign, and Cromartie will get more money than he deserves, but hopefully it is a short term, two year deal in case his head gets too big. Which it will if the Jets ever win a Super Bowl.

What else is there to hope for? The best running game in the league? Greene, McKnight, Powell and Tomlinson? Sounds like all points covered. Greene power running. Tomlinson 3rd down. Powell the Thomas Jones replacement, McKnight the Reggie Bush type to keep the linebackers on their toes.

Is it possible to have rookies unused for 2 years in a row? We all know how useful Kyle Wilson, Joe Mcknight and Vladimir Ducasse were their rookie season. Remember, Buddy Ryan hated rookies, and Rex probably does as well. Too much to learn, especially this year. Good thing is, there are going to be a few rookie players and coaches on the Jets schedule, which will be a whole bunch of fun for all the Jets DB’s, none of whom are rookies.

In other news the Yankees pitching is doomed, the Knicks future is doomed, and the Rangers and Islanders arouse little to no of my interest. I meant to say something nice about soccer but I lost the paper I scribbled it on. Off to the Casey Anthony trial, this stuff is better than Days of Our Lives. God bless Long Island, where you can barely hear the shrieks of madness from the inferno of Manhattan.

TOJ’s 32 Thoughts On 32 Teams

A quick thought on each team in the NFL, as the lockout hopefully nears a conclusion —

New England Patriots – I’ll go with this picture

Miami Dolphins – You aren’t confident in your quarterback if there are rumors of signing Matt Moore to compete with him.

Buffalo Bills – I think they will improve to around a .500 team this season, with a decent collection of young talent on both sides of the ball.

Pittsburgh Steelers – If only Antonio Brown would have dropped that pass on third down..

Baltimore Ravens – I think Jimmy Smith has a good chance to be Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Cincinnati Bengals – Apparently, Carson Palmer doesn’t want to play for them…in case you haven’t heard. I would guess Andy Dalton starts week one.

Cleveland Browns – There whole season is already cursed by having Peyton Hillis end up on the Madden Cover.

Houston Texans – I have an irrational hate for them because of all the hype they receive every year and how they never live up to it.

Tennessee Titans – Somewhere Kenny Britt was just arrested again…

Indiannapolis Colts – 1 reception for 1 yard by Reggie Wayne in the playoffs against the Jets last year.

Jacksonville Jaguars – I wonder if the Blaine Gabbert era will start by week two when they play the Jets?

Oakland Raiders – The division is wide open this year, so maybe they finally get over the hump.

Kansas City Chiefs – There is no way I see them back in the playoffs this year.

San Diego Chargers – If they can stay healthy, they will be handful as usual…looking forward to LaDainian Tomlinson getting a shot at them.

Denver Broncos – You have to start Tebow, right?

Philadelphia Eagles – It sounds like they are going to do some major damage in free agency.

New York Giants – Whoops…

Dallas Cowboys – Can’t wait to see Rex Ryan blitz the hell out of Tony Romo in week one.

Washington Redskins – How much did they pay Albert Haynesworth again?

Green Bay Packers – They have enough young talent to have a great shot at defending the belt.

Chicago Bears – How the hell did this team make it to the NFC Championship Game?

Detriot Lions – For once, they seem to be moving in the right direction.

Minnesota Vikings – Still can’t believe how high they selected Christian Ponder.

Atlanta Falcons – I am not sure if they have a draft pick for another five years…let’s see if Julio Jones is worth it.

Carolina Panthers – Can you blame Steve Smith for wanting to leave town?

New Orleans Saints – Marshawn Lynch is still breaking tackles…

Tampa Bay Bucs – Raheem Morris is the man

San Francisco 49ers – I am going to miss Mike Singletary press conferences.

Seattle Seahawks – Sounds like they aren’t going to bring Matt Hasselbeck back…not sure why.

St. Louis Rams – Ask Will…

Arizona Cardinals – Can we find somebody to throw Larry Fitzgerald the ball?

New York Jets – Look up, down, left and right.

TOJ Top Five: Meaningless Lockout Stories

Today’s edition of the TOJ Top Five, will look at the five dumbest New York Jets stories that became a bigger deal than they should have because of the lockout…

5. Schotty’s ExcusesWe aren’t interested in your side of the story, just find a way to get the ball into the end-zone on four tries from the 2 yard line…yes, I am still bitter about this. How about four straight handoffs to Shonn Greene who was a bowling ball in this game?

4. The Receiver Procession Line – I am all for free agency speculation and I gladly took part in it, but the considering it was pushed back three months (and counting) the amount of names linked to the Jets at wide receiver and the amount of coverage they received was a bit much. Randy Moss, Plaxico Burress, Terrell Owens, Chad Ochocinco, Steve Smith…I’d think we’d all sign up for just having Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards back, let’s hope Mike Tannenbaum can work magic.

3. Scotty McKnight’s High School Essay – When the back cover of the New York Post is about a rookie 7th round pick writing an inappropriate essay as a high school student, you know it is a slow day in the sports world.

2. Rex’s Guarantees – If you haven’t noticed by now, Rex Ryan thinks the Jets are going to win the Super Bowl every single year. It isn’t a story anymore when he is interviewed and he comments that he thinks his team is going to win it all. I am pretty sure he has made the exact same comment in every interview he took this off-season.

1. Sanchez vs. McKnight vs. Klitschko – There were rumors floating around all off-season that Mark Sanchez was dating Vladimir Klitschko’s girlfriend, Hayden Panetierre…yet in the end, it turned out that it was Scotty McKnight who was dating her. First off, for a rookie 7th round pick…that is pretty good work. Second, if Klitschko is coming after anybody, I’d rather it be McKnight than Sanchez…sorry, Scotty.

TOJ As Tannenbaum: Free Agent Decisions For New York Jets

I am trying to be an optimist with this whole lockout thing, so if free agency does actually start some time in the next month here is TOJ sitting in the big chair as Mike Tannenbaum and making personnel decisions for the Jets this off-season:

1. Sign Santonio Holmes to a long term deal – Yes, this will likely mean the end of Braylon Edwards and Brad Smith’s stay in New York but in the long run making sure Holmes remains a Jet is the right decision. He is a uniquely gifted and clutch playmaker who can change a game at any second.

2. Sign Antonio Cromartie to a long term deal – You need a consistent, athletic corner opposite Darrelle Revis. Antonio Cromartie handled the job well last season. He is already familiar with the defense and it is too risky to hand the starting job over to Kyle Wilson or a free agent. If the Jets want a bigger role for Wilson in year two, they should let Drew Coleman walk.

3. Bring back Damien Woody – Don’t risk the right tackle spot to Vladimir Ducasse after he didn’t have a proper off-season. Let him spend a full year learning behind Woody at the position and have him take over next year. Wayne Hunter will likely walk in free agency if this happens but the Jets should at least make sure they bring back the versatile Robert Turner for depth.

4. Bring back Shaun Ellis – He is a longest tenured player on the team, a leader on the defense and would be a perfect mentor to Muhammad Wilkerson. The Jets should be able to work a short term deal to allow him to retire in green and white.

5. Bring back Brodney Pool – Pool began to develop into the playmaker most of us thought he would be at the end of last season. With a year of this system under his belt, he should flourish in his second year. Eric Smith likely won’t be back if this happens, but if the Jets can bring back James Ihedigbo and if a young player like Emmanuel Cook steps up, their depth should be fine.

6. Veteran Stopgap Receiver – We all have heard all kinds of name thrown around but if Braylon Edwards leaves, I expect the Jets to sign either Randy Moss or Plaxico Burress. Personally, I would sign Burress to a short, incentive-laden deal. He is a more physical player that should be able to do many of the things Edwards did for the Jets offense last season.

7. Linebacker Depth – The Jets need to add another linebacker to their depth chart, whether it requires bringing Jason Taylor back or signing somebody on the cheap like Matt Roth.