Lockout Off-Season: Rounding Up Top Jets Defensive Storylines

Earlier today we looked at the top storylines on offense…now to the other side of the ball

Defensive Line

  • Draft Heavy, Veterans Leaving?

The Jets spent their first two draft picks on defensive lineman, Muhammad Wilkerson and Kenrick Ellis, and released Kris Jenkins. There is also speculation that both Shaun Ellis and Trevor Pryce won’t be brought back, with Ellis leaving via free agency and Pryce contemplating retirement. However, it would be smart for the Jets to keep at least one, hopefully Ellis who is the longest tenured player on the team, to help mentor the rookies and ease their transition into the NFL.

Linebackers

  • Draft Ignored, Free Agent Answers?

The Jets didn’t select any linebackers in the NFL Draft and as of right now have some depth concerns. Unless they are anticipating a bigger role for players like Jamaal Westerman or Josh Mauga, they may look to coax Jason Taylor out of retirement or sign a free agent like Matt Roth.

Secondary

  • Everybody’s A Free Agent

Seriously…Antonio Cromartie, Drew Coleman, Eric Smith, Brodney Pool, and James Ihedigbo all need new contracts and obviously some tough decisions will have to be made.

  • Jim Leonhard On The Mend

Leonhard has recovered well this off-season from his season-ending injury in the middle of last year.

  • Is Wilson Ready?

If Antonio Cromartie leaves via free agency, Kyle Wilson will likely have to step into the starting line-up. He struggled his rookie season, is he ready for a bigger role?

A Full Off-Season Of New York Jets Workouts

Click here for more information on the Jets team workouts over the past few months

With the conclusion of “Jets Camp Lockout” today, the team likely wrapped up their last informal workout during the lockout (hopefully). Since the end of the previous season, here is an unofficial look at the different workouts Jets players took part in —

Jets West – List of attendees – A collection of skill position players led by Mark Sanchez at his high school, Mission Viejo out in California. The camp was in early May and lasted roughly a week. It was highly organized and included on field work, film sessions, and various team activities.

Jets Southwest – Darelle Revis and Kyle Wilson spent a couple of weeks training together out in Arizona. It was very encouraging to see Revis take Wilson under his wing and Wilson to be smart enough to follow the lead of the best corner in the NFL.

Jets East – Bart Scott, Vladimir Ducasse, Jerricho Cotchery, Jamaal Westerman and a few others worked out together in Martinsville, New Jersey and then traveled to Miami to work out with fellow AFC East players.

Jets City Club – A group defensive lineman, led by Sione Pouha held a few days of workouts in North Jersey a couple of weeks ago. First round pick Muhammad Wilkerson was in attendance along with Mike DeVito, Ropati Pitoitua, and Westerman.

Jets Camp Lockout – Roughly 40 players attended team workouts the past three days at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Here is a partial list of attendees.

Lockout Off-Season: Rounding Up Top Jets Offensive Storylines

Despite the lack of formal workouts and traditional media access, there has still been plenty of storylines that have grown out of this New York Jets lockout infected off-season. Here is a round-up of them, check back later in the day for the top defensive storylines —

Quarterback

  • The continued development of Mark Sanchez’s leadership

Sanchez has further asserted himself as one of the leaders of the team by putting together both “Jets West” and “Jets Lockout Camp.” From what the other players have said this season, it is clear the amount of respect they have for Sanchez and the way he carries himself. One of his best traits is his work ethic and dedication to all things football, regardless of what else he has going on in his life, and his teammates clearly recognize that.

Running Back

  • Shonn Greene moving into the lead back role

Brian Schottenheimer, Rex Ryan, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Shonn Greene all agree that Greene is going to take over as the number one back this year and he is ready for the challenge. It remains to be seen how he can handle 18+ carries on a weekly basis but the only way to find out if you have a lead back is to give him the chance to be one.

  • LaDainian Tomlinson embracing the third down role

As he said in many interviews, including one right here with TOJ…Tomlinson has accepted and embraced the idea of being a third down back this year in the Jets offense. Considering his age and how he wore down at the end of last season, Tomlinson should maximize his effectiveness by being limited to this role.

  • John Conner announced as starting fullback

Nobody expected Tony Richardson back for another year, but this clinched that the fullback job would be handed off to Conner.

Wide Receiver

  • Free Agent Decisions

The endless debate over who the Jets should prioritize bringing back, Santonio Holmes or Braylon Edwards, has arguably been their biggest off-season storyline. Holmes has said he won’t sign a restricted free agent tender and would basically be looking for the most money possible. Edwards has been more diplomatic and discussed the potential of taking a hometown discount. Brad Smith is also a free agent and unless he agrees to come back for less than another team offers, probably won’t be back.

Offensive Line

  • Right Tackle

Damien Woody was released early in the off-season but there is now speculation he could return because of concern about Vladimir Ducasse being ready to step in as a starter. Considering that Ducasse didn’t play a meaningful snap last year, I would think that is a reasonable concern.

New York Jets Have Finally Created An Appealing Situation

It is starting to sound like there may be a light at the end of this lockout tunnel and if everything breaks right in the coming weeks there is going to be a furious two to three week stretch of free agency in early July. No matter how the negotiations end up setting the framework for the rules in the 2011 season and the new CBA, the New York Jets are going to have their hands full. Yet, one of the positive things the Jets will have working for them is they have created an organizational culture that is appealing to players around the league.

Leading the New York Jets is an owner willing to spend money, on state of the art facilities and top tier talent, a general manager who is willing to pursue that top tier talent and remain aggressive to keep the Jets consistently competitive, and a head coach who is as popular with players as any in the NFL.

Say what you want about Hard Knocks but it was great advertising for the New York Jets. The days of this franchise being a clumsily run, bumbling second class NFL citizen are over. They have a brand new stadium, brand new training facilities, and most importantly an identity as a physical, talented football team that is developing into a consistent winner.

The Jets top concern in free agency will be bringing their own players back, yet if they have holes they need to fill, they should have the ability to recruit the necessary replacement pieces, which is a credit to Rex Ryan, Mike Tannenbaum, and Woody Johnson.

Thoughts On Jets Full Team Workouts

The New York Jets are currently holding workouts in North Jersey, it is being reported that somewhere around 40 players are in attendance, with a partial listing of who is there right here. Mark Sanchez had previously mentioned bringing together as much of the team as possible if the lockout extended into the middle of the June. These workouts are looking to serve as informal replacement for mini-camp, which would normally take place around this time.

I wouldn’t get too worked up about who does and doesn’t attend these workouts which are expected to last for three days. There seems to be increasing optimism that the lockout is going to end within a month or so to allow for a full training camp and a pre-season, preceded by an abbreviated free agency period. You can’t expect potential free agents to risk an injury so close to a time when they will be looking for a new contract, which is why players like Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes, and Antonio Cromartie are likely working out on their own during these days. It is worth noting that Brad Smith is in attendance despite being a free agent.

These few days will be good work for the rookies and younger players on the Jets roster who are expected to move into bigger roles. It is also another demonstration of Mark Sanchez’s leadership on this team, as he was able to gather up this many players for workouts. Sione Pouha said it a few weeks ago “when Mark makes the call…we’ll be there.”

Hopefully the amount of work Sanchez has put in participating, leading, and coaching these workouts will continue his development at a somewhat comparable pace to the work around the team facility he did last off-season.

The end may be finally be getting near for the lockout and on the whole it has been encouraging to see the amount of work the Jets players have put it in to stay in shape the previous few months.

Thoughts On Ongoing Jets Off-Season Workouts

Click here for more coverage of the New York Jets off-season workouts

1. Great work by Sione Pouha organizing the Jets defensive lineman for workouts in North Jersey. This is a group that will have some new pieces in the rotation with draft picks Muhammad Wilkerson and Kenrick Ellis, along with Ropati Pitoitua coming off season ending surgery now in the mix. It is also encouraging to hear that Shaun Ellis will join the workouts later in the week, considering his status with the team is up in the air. Let’s hope any work Wilkerson gets in the off-season will contribute to him making some type of immediate impact whenever the season starts.

2. It is encouraging to hear Mark Sanchez talk about putting together full team workouts, if the lockout continues to carry on. He stated he thinks somewhere around 50 players would show up, which would be great since New England only has around 40…every victory counts, right?

3. Speaking of New England, what is with the paranoia of keeping the media away from your team workouts? Did the secrecy pay off last year in January? Nobody is stealing the information about what routes you are running on air.

4. Jamaal Westerman is taking part in the defensive line workouts and had also worked out with Bart Scott and a few other Jets at the TEST facility in Martinsville, New Jersey earlier in the off-season. It is good to see Westerman getting after it, as he will have a chance to maybe contribute in some of the Jets defensive packages this season considering their depth chart at linebacker.

Click here for more coverage of the New York Jets off-season workouts

Best New York Jet To Have A Beer With?

Can you tell we are in a lockout yet? Don’t worry, TOJ will be back at analyzing the more football centric aspects of the team tomorrow, but for tonight let’s explore this important question…

Which Jets player would the be most entertaining to spend a night on the town with, a few nominees in no particular order…

Nick Mangold – The Jets center seems to be a funny enough guy and you have to figure you’d be rolling with the other offensive lineman, which means you can get as rowdy as you want because who is messing with a bunch of NFL tackles, guards, and centers?

Mark Sanchez – You can’t not nominate him. He seems to be generous enough (think Jets West) and he can’t handle all those women at once, can he? I am pretty sure Sanchez’s scraps would be better than many players on the team top option.

This video still cracks me up…well done Sanchez, well done. Don’t be foolish enough to settle down with the girl from Heroes … do it Jeter style and stay single well into your 30s.

Bart Scott – I know Scott is a married guy who claims to never really leave the house on weekends, but you have to figure if he could get out of the cage it would be a great time rolling with him and the Jets linebackers. First off, invite all your friends who are Giants and Patriots fans because who is going to out trash talk Scott? Second, they are making a movie about Scott’s life so you know he will have some interesting stories to tell.

Darrelle Revis – Revis and best friend John Geiger seem like a knock off of Rob and Big and like they’d be an interesting crew to roll with. Beyond that, you know Revis isn’t short on cash and apparently he is dating Olivia from G-Unit, so maybe you can get some hang time in with 50 Cent and Lloyd Banks as well.

I guess it ultimately depends what type of night you are looking for. Let me know your thoughts here or on the Facebook and Twitter page. Also weigh in on our Forums

Lockout Blues: Ways For Jets Fans To Pass The Time

What can you say? The NFL Lockout sucks. It has been an endless cycle of litigation and mediation, which has now been delayed again until a June 3rd hearing. It is becoming more of a reality with each passing day that part of training camp and probably even the regular season will be lost, which is a damn tragedy. The NFL was so popular last year that it could have put the Cardinals and Panthers in prime-time against a championship game in another major sport and destroyed it in the ratings. Unfortunately, greed and money have a way of ruining even the best of things.

Here at Turn On The Jets, we will keep writing as if there will be a 2011 season and will never run out of the topics to discuss on this team, even if I am forced to break down the battle for the third tight end spot or write a feature length story on long snapper Tanner Purdum’s background.

Regardless, here are a few ways for Jets fans to pass the time while we wait for this lockout to finally come to an end —

  • Read Rex Ryan’s book

A quick, easy, and entertaining read for any Jets fan. There is no shortage of smack and snack talk.

  • Channel your Dolphins hate to the Heat

Let’s go Bulls!

  • Remember how foolish you are capable of acting when you are rooting for the Jets
  • Join a touch football or softball league

TOJ Lockout Education

I wish I had a better understanding of all the ins and outs of the issues at stake in the current labor negotiations. Fortunately, my good friend at Pro Football NYC John Fennelly put together this fact sheet, which breaks down everything in a concise manner —

Make sure you give John a follow on Twitter (@John_Fennelly) and follow Pro Football NYC on Facebook and Twitter (@ProFootballNYC)

All of the following is from Fennelly —

Current CBA

$9,000,000,000 billion in annual revenue

Owners get $1,000,000,000 billion ($31,250,000 million per team) off the top

Players Currently Get = $4,800,000,000 billion ($1,900,000 million per player – 2,500 active players)

Current Remaining Revenue = $2,200,000,000 billion (this likely goes to the league for operating expenses and salaries)

NFL & Owners Want

18 game season

Rookie Wage Scale

NFL & Owners Propose Additional Cut for Operating Costs = $1,000,000,000 billion ($31, 250,000 million per team)

NFL & Owners Proposes Player Reduction to = $4,200,000,000 billion or $1,680,000 million per player (total of 2,500 active players)

NFL & Owners Propose Increase to $2,800,000,000 billion

NFLPA

No 18 Game Season

Increased chance of injuries (Current average number of players on Injured Reserved each season is 20%)

Reduction of Average Career from 3.3 years to 2.8 years

Average player will not achieve Free Agency (Player is eligible for Free Agency after 3 years)

Decrease in Health Care – Players eligible for post career health care after 3 years in the league

Potential Lost Revenue to NFL and Teams if there is a Work Stoppage

Revenue lost as of March 4th = $120,000,000 million

Revenue lost as of August = $350,000,000 million

Revenue lost as of September = $1,000,000,000 billion

Revenue per lost game for the season = $400,000,000 million

Total Potential Revenues Lost

League

$6.8 Billion Dollars

Players

$4.2 Billion Dollars