New York Jets: Is It Smart To Let Drew Coleman Walk?

One of the less heralded Jets free agents is cornerback Drew Coleman, who prior to the 2010 season was one of the least popular players on the team amongst fans. He struggled heavily in 2009, especially in single coverage and many didn’t even expect him to stick on the roster in 2010. However, Coleman responded by climbing the depth chart and putting together a career year as the Jets nickel back.

He finished with 41 tackles, 4 sacks, 4 passes defensed, 1 interception, and 5 forced fumbles. Despite occasional struggles in coverage, Coleman was still one of the Jets biggest playmakers on defense and one of their better special teams players.

This off-season the Jets have to deal with re-signing defensive backs Antonio Cromartie, Eric Smith, Brodney Pool, and James Ihedigbo along with Coleman. You can make an argument that it was Coleman who had the best overall season out of all those players, outside of Cromartie.

Should the Jets make a strong effort to bring Coleman back or should they let him walk and hope Kyle Wilson can take over his role? Bringing Coleman back becomes an easier decision if Cromartie walks because more money would be freed up and the Jets would badly need the depth. Yet, if Cromartie returns the coaching staff might want to let Wilson, last year’s first round draft pick, have the opportunity to get more reps at the nickel spot. Wilson has more size and upside than Coleman and should develop into a better player in coverage. However, does he have the same knack for getting to the quarterback and making big plays?

Drew Coleman was a valuable piece of the Jets defense last year and if he leaves via free agency, it will be up to a player like Wilson or maybe even Marquice Cole to fill his production.

New York Jets: A Few Target Free Agents?

Brian Bassett over at The Jets Blog did a nice round-up today of how the Jets could approach free agency. He hit on a few interesting names, considering most of the Jets free agency hype has been centered on players like Randy Moss and Nnamdi Asomugha, most likely because of their reputation of making a splash by adding big name guys. However, don’t discount Mike Tannenbaum’s ability to look down every possible avenue to improve his roster. Here is a run down of a few players they could target and how much sense they would make…

Wide Receiver – Bassett mentioned both Chansi Stuckey and James Jones as options. Jones jumps off the page to me because if the Jets do lose Braylon Edwards or Santonio Holmes, I believe they should target him before looking at a big name player with tons of baggage like Randy Moss, Chad Ochocinco, Plaxico Burress, or Steve Smith. Jones is 27 years old, coming off a productive season in Green Bay (679 yards, 5 touchdowns) and has the potential to develop into a long term starting receiver. He has played behind Greg Jennings and Donald Driver the past couple of years and could thrive in a starting role with more opportunities.

I am not as interested in Stuckey, whose skill set really limits him to being a slot receiver. He does know the offense and could be a good mentor to Jeremy Kerley, but I don’t think signing him comes anywhere adequately replacing Edwards or Holmes. If they were interested in just adding a slot receiver, I’d rather see them look at Lance Moore who has more big play potential than Stuckey.

Outside Linebacker – The Jets didn’t add a pass rusher through the draft, which has led some to think they will bring back Jason Taylor for another year. It seemed like he was done at the end of last season and I’d be surprised to see him back, unless the Jets get into camp (if that ever happens) and realize they desperately need depth. When the new Collective Bargaining Agree is figured out, Kamerion Wimbley could be a free agent and he has a skill set that could intrigue the Jets. Matt Roth is another player the Jets could target, although New England is rumored to be interested as well.

Cornerback – If Antonio Cromartie happens to get away (despite the 1,000,000 million words I have written against it this off-season) and Asomugha signs a huge deal somewhere else, the Jets could look at Jonathan Joseph or Ike Taylor. Both of those players would be a downgrade from Cromartie considering his athleticism and familiarity with the defense. Yet, the Jets would be foolish just to hand the starting job to Kyle Wilson so they would need to add somebody else to compete with him.

Offensive Line – Personally, I think if the Jets make sure both Wayne Hunter and Robert Turner are back. They will be in good enough shape next year. Hunter could hold down the fort at tackle if Vladimir Ducasse flames out and Turner provides good depth at both guard and center.

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

The Importance Of Bringing Shaun Ellis Back

Despite the New York Jets selecting defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson in the first round of the NFL Draft and then adding defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis in the third round, it still remains important to bring veteran Shaun Ellis back for the defensive line rotation.

Despite never being a truly great player, Ellis has been a consistently very good defensive end, against both the run and pass for his entire 12 year career with the Jets. We know he still has gas in the tank after the way he dominated the New England Patriots offensive line in the Jets divisional round win last year.

With the NFL having a shortened off-season (and maybe a shortened regular season for that matter), you can’t expect Wilkerson to be ready to step into a starting role from day one. Players like Ropati Pitoitua and Marcus Dixon also haven’t shown enough yet to be considered strong candidates for a starting defensive end spot. It would be beneficial for Wilkerson’s development to spend a year learning from Ellis and coming off the bench before taking over for him full time.

Ellis has spent his entire career with the Jets and is a leader in the locker room. However, that isn’t the primary reason to work something out with him. Ellis is still a productive player at a position the Jets need help at.

You can’t assume a rookie or a player coming off an Achilles injury can start on one of the league’s best defenses, especially after this off-season. Hopefully, Mike Tannenbaum can work out a short term deal with Ellis to ease Wilkerson’s transition to the NFL and give the Jets better depth on their defensive line.

New York Jets: Smith, Moss, Ocho, or Plax?

One of the ongoing themes of the off-season…or whatever you want to call the endless cycle of appeals, stays, and mediation, has been the New York Jets being linked to any big name receiver who could potentially be available. Most people are under the assumption that either Santonio Holmes or Braylon Edwards won’t return next year, which is likely correct. Brad Smith is also likely to leave for more money and a bigger role on offense somewhere else. The Jets did add two potential slot receivers in the draft by selecting Jeremy Kerley and Scotty McKnight but could use another free agent if Edwards or Holmes leaves along with Smith. If the Jets had to add one of these big name players at the receiver position, who would you prefer to see them sign?

Randy Moss

  • Plays when he wants to play
  • Two different teams got rid of him last year and he looked done in Tennessee
  • Still a vertical threat and was good enough to beat both Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie deep for touchdowns last year
  • He isn’t going to bring much over the middle or with his blocking.
  • Can probably get him on a cheap one or two year deal.

Chad Ochocinco

  • Very entertaining on Twitter
  • Basically got himself kicked out of Cincinnati
  • Coming off one of his least productive seasons
  • Vertical threat who is more consistently passionate about the game than Moss.
  • Jets would have to trade for him and he wouldn’t come as cheap as Moss or Burress.

Plaxico Burress

  • He hasn’t played a snap in two full seasons while sitting in jail and is going to be 34 years old
  • Should be able to be signed on a relatively cheap, short-term deal
  • Excellent size and red-zone presence

Steve Smith

  • Jets would have to trade for him and he would be the most costly out of any of these receivers
  • Just turned 32 years old and is coming off a down season (although much of that blame could go to Jimmy Clausen)
  • Passionate player but does have history of erratic (and violent) behavoir towards teammates

What Role Players Will Step Up For Jets In 2011?

I have decided that if I write enough of articles about the 2011 season, it actually has to happen, right?

Let’s take a look at a few role players for the Jets, who should have the opportunity to take on a bigger role in 2011 than they had in 2010.

Marquice Cole – A reserve corner who has carved out a small role in some of the Jets nickel and dime packages. He has played well in his limited duty on both defense and special teams. Antonio Cromartie and Drew Coleman are both free agents and Dwight Lowery could be seeing more time at safety, which should lead to more reps for Cole.

Jamaal Westerman – An undrafted free agent before the 2009 season who impressed his rookie year in a limited role on defense but had a disappointing second year. Westerman dealt with a few injuries and frequently ended up on the inactive list. He has shown an ability to rush the quarterback in pre-season and did have a sack in 2009 against Houston. The Jets are thin at both inside and outside linebacker. Westerman is versatile enough to play both, and could see a bigger role in a few defensive packages this year.

Ropati Pitoitua – At 6 foot 8, 315 pounds you can understand why the coaching staff is excited about Pitoitua’s potential. Unfortunately, he missed the entire 2010 season with a pre-season Achilles injury after occasionally working his way into the defensive line rotation in 2009. Pitoitua should be a prominent part of their rotation this season if he recovers well from his injury.

Marcus Dixon – Another defensive lineman who the coaching staff appears to be high on. Dixon worked his way into the rotation late last season and recorded a sack against the Chicago Bears. Mike Tannenbaum has mentioned him potentially moving down to defensive tackle. Whether it is at end or tackle, Dixon will have a good chance to get some reps on the defensive line rotation this year.

Jeff Cumberland – The Jets held on to Cumberland as a backup tight end all of last season without making him active until their meaningless week 17 game. They are obviously intrigued by what he can bring to the offense. He looked good as a pass catching threat in the pre-season and has good size. Cumberland might be able to contribute near the red-zone and in certain formations, especially if the Jets lose a couple of receivers in free agency.

Patrick Turner – A receiver with some height, who has a history with Mark Sanchez at USC. Turner was on the active roster for a few games last season and recorded a couple of receptions. He will now be competing with rookies Jeremy Kerley and Scotty McKnight for reps behind whomever the Jets starting receivers end up being.

Joe McKnight – There has been no shortage of words written on McKnight this off-season but hopefully he is ready to reach his potential in year two and become a contributor on the Jets offense.

12 Pack Of Jets Off-Season Thoughts – Edition #15

A quick, refreshing 12 pack of off-season thoughts on the New York Jets

1. Adam Schefter stirred the pot on the Plaxico Burress to the Jets rumors again this week by mentioning it in his insider column. I think Plax could be a good low cost option to replace Braylon Edwards for a year or two. It is hard to picture Burress being anything but on his best behavior in the next couple of years after the amount of time he spent in jail and the Jets will need to replace Edwards’ size if he leaves.

2. We all know about Jets West but don’t forget about Jets Southwest, where Darrelle Revis and Kyle Wilson have been workigt out. It is great to see Revis taking Wilson under his wing because if Antonio Cromartie leaves via free agency, Wilson will be taking over one of the hardest defensive spots in football…the man opposite Revis Island. Also don’t forget about Jets East, which features players like Jerricho Cotchery, Bart Scott, and Vladimir Ducasse. We have Jets getting better all over the country…

3. Good debate on 1050 ESPN Radio today about the better rivalry at the moment: Yankees/Red Sox or Jets/Patriots. Obviously historically Yanks/Sox will always take the cake but the past couple of years, Jets/Pats has been a more bitter and entertaining match-up. The headlines don’t even compare. Yankees and Rex Sox are too damn respectful of each other these days. Somebody get in a fight or something.

4. Random Jets offensive prediction for 2011 – Joe McKnight will have over 500 total offensive yards from scrimmage. I think Brian Schottenheimer will turn him into an effective weapon on screens and outside handoffs.

5. Random Jets defensive prediction for 2011 – The Jets defensive line rotation will turn into one of the team’s major strengths, led by strong rookie years from both Muhammad Wilkerson and Kenrick Ellis, along with improved performances from Marcus Dixon and a healthy Ropati Pitoiuta.

6. Random Jets special teams prediction for 2011 – It will be Kyle Wilson who ends up taking over the punt return job and showing the production we all expected from him last year at that position.

7. Great move by the Jets taking quarterback Greg McElroy in the seventh round. They needed a long term backup to develop and he should learn plenty from both Mark Sanchez and Mark Brunell this year. McElroy is a proven winner with the right mental make-up to handle a backup role.

8. Remember to join the discussion at TOJ’s Forum Page

9. Similar to how the Bilal Powell selection should serve notice to Joe McKnight, it should serve notice to Shonn Greene. This is the year for Greene to show he can be the number one back he was during the Jets 2009 playoff run. Rex Ryan already called him his “bell cow” so now let’s see it.

10. Nick Mangold passing time during the lockout…

11. Congratulations on a great career to Alan Faneca who is a sure fire Hall of Famer. Faneca was very good for the Jets in his two seasons with the team and was important in the development of Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson.

12. May 16th and we are still waiting for words on appeals, stays, complete shutdowns, and 8th circuits when we should be talking OTAs, trades, and free agency, sad and confusing how such a good thing could be messed up by greed and money.

Jets West vs. Camp Eli: How Much Do Off-Season Workouts Matter?

Steve Politi had a funny comparison between Jets West and Camp Eli in today’s Star Ledger. Basically, while the Jets were enjoying the California sun in a highly organized camp, complete with film sessions, guest accommodations, sponsorships, team contests and field trips…the Giants were slumming around Hoboken high school like a touch football team getting ready for an adult league. (Hey, don’t knock those, I play in one. Go Spirits!)

Just about every team around the league is taking part in some organized workout to stay in shape during the lockout. However, how much of a difference will the quality of the off-season workouts make on the 2011 season? The answer is probably not all that much. Even the best run sessions are still lacking enough attendance to adequately replace OTAs…Basically, you won’t be saying the Jets beat the Giants on December 24th because of Jets West.

Yet, that doesn’t mean Mark Sanchez doesn’t deserve credit for putting the camp together. He is a young quarterback cementing his leadership role on his team. Good for him for taking such good care of his teammates. There is no reason to take anything at all away from the Jets camp because it received so much media attention…like most things the Jets do, it deserved it.

Eli Manning isn’t going to lose any of his teammates respect for the lack of effort he put into “Camp Eli,” which was basically walking down the street from his apartment and saying “hey, come meet me here if you can, bring your own water and orange slices.” It is funny to see the differences between the two camps but getting too deep into their impact is only a result of lockout boredom.

Jerricho Cotchery Poised For Rebound In 2011

We all know 2010 was a disappointing season for New York Jets receiver Jerricho Cotchery. He dropped passes he never drops, struggled to stay healthy, and was overshadowed by the big plays of Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes, and Dustin Keller.

The reason for Cotchery’s struggles became apparent when it was revealed he played throughout most the season with a herniated disc in his back, which was operated on this past February. Nobody should be surprised by Cotchery’s toughness in playing through his injury, as he made this unforgettable catch during the Cleveland game last year:

Despite his regular season struggles, Cotchery came up biggest when it mattered the most with 5 receptions for 96 yards in the Jets playoff upset over the New England Patriots. He also added a touchdown in the AFC Championship Game to aid the Jets furious comeback attempt.

It is very likely the Jets are going to lose either Braylon Edwards or Santonio Holmes this off-season, opening a spot for Cotchery in the starting line-up and giving him more opportunities to make plays. He has always been a productive player for the Jets since entering the starting line-up in 2006, so with a healthy back in 2011, he should easily exceed his output from last season.

Cotchery isn’t a game breaker or a number one receiver but he is an ideal compliment to either Holmes or Edwards, with his reliability, and ability to find soft spots in the defense and then run after the catch.