Recapping Jets GM Press Conference & Other Updates

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First a few updates:

1. Chad Johnson still refuses to give Darrelle Revis credit as you can read here (http://espn.go.com/blog/afceast/post/_/id/9859/ochocinco-on-revis-child-please), this guy is crazier than I already thought.

2. Another reminder to follow Turn On The Jets on facebook. I have a page up there that includes extra commentary and links to all the Jets coverage from other sources that you should be reading on a daily basis. We are at 171 fans right now, and I want that number doubled by the time the 2010 season starts.

3. Isn’t it great that Mark Sanchez already has more playoff wins than Tony Romo in his career? I am just saying since nobody likes those Maganelli Cowboys fans that are here in the area.

4. One of the main things I will be working on in the off-season is putting together a TOJ Podcast for the 2010 season, more details to follow.

5. Next week, I will be doing our usual updates and stuff if anything Jets related occurs. However, I will be focusing on the 2009 Season 1st Annual Turn On The Jets Awards. The best players, best moments, best games, best coaches and of course the worst players, worst moments, worst games, and wort coaches will all be recognized…so let’s hand out some hardware.

Recapping Jets GM Press Conference & Other Updates

Mike Tannenbaum (who we are a big fan of here at TOJ) took the podium today to discuss the Jets off-season, here are some highlights and analysis:

Mark Sanchez – Sanchez saw Dr. James Andrew yesterday to have his knee checked out. It sounds like he is going to have minor surgery to clean it up. The Jets haven’t made a final decision yet but Tannenbaum basically said he wanted to see Sanchez take part in some rehab and strengthen the knee, and that he would be back well before training camp if they decide to have him get surgery. Hopefully, he won’t have to miss any OTAs or mini-camp.

– Kellen Clemens  – Tannenbaum said the Jets are going to tender Kellen Clemens as a restricted free agent. I don’t know at what level he will be tendered but I would imagine it would be a very low pick (6 or 7) at the highest or maybe even without a pick. He also said just because they are going to tender him, doesn’t mean the Jets won’t look at a veteran quarterback.

Erik Ainge/Kevin O’ConnellTannenbaum said he likes both of them moving forward but the Jets would be crazy to proceed with them as the top two backups.

Thomas Jones – It certainly sounded like TJ will be back next year. The Jets are going to pay him his bonus and I am sure Jones will recognize he isn’t going to get big money anywhere else. Tannenbaum continually emphasized the importance of depth, especially at the running back position.

Leon Washington – The Jets are going to tender Leon as a restricted free agent. I would guess with a mid-round pick (2 or 3). It is hard to see any team making a big money offer to him for the Jets to match since he is coming off major knee surgery.

Braylon Edwards – Edwards will be back next year with a likely 1st and 3rd round pick tender. Tannenbaum pointed out how he was a big help in the Jets rushing game and has been a good fit in the locker room.

Kerry Rhodes – Many people have been speculating that the ongoing difference between Rhodes and the Jets is that they want him to take a pay cut. However, Tannenbaum made it clear there are no contractual issues between the two and that the key is they want Rhodes to commit to the Jets off-season program. It sounds like the organization wants more of Rhodes in the team facility and less of Rhodes posing for magazines and acting.

Vernon Gholston – Gholston is going to be back in 2010, although Tannenbaum is obviously not happy with his lack of production, they are going to give him another off-season to improve.

Secondary – Secondary was mentioned more than a few times as a key focus for the Jets off-season. Tannenbaum made it clear that Ryan loves defensive backs and he wants to give him as much depth as possible at the position. He didn’t say anything about Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland, although I’d be shocked to see either back next season.

– Thank you to reader Ret2ski, who pointed out the Jets do in fact have a 5th round pick. So to my knowledge they have a 1,2,5,6,7. Another thing about the Jets this off-season, if a player is cut by a team before his contract expires the Jets are free to sign him without restriction. Overall, I would still guess the Jets will be relatively quiet in free agency, focus on acquiring more draft picks and actively work on adding depth to the defense, especially at the defensive back position.

Nice Highlight Tape Of TJ and Shonn Greene

Quick Thoughts/Updates On Jets Off-Season

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1. Mike Tannenbaum is holding a press conference at 2 PM tomorrow. He has a rare talent for avoiding giving answers to questions and giving out no useful information but that is fine with me as long as keeps doing things like trading up for Darrelle Revis, David Harris, Shonn Greene, Mark Sanchez etc…regardless, we’ll have coverage if he does let anything interesting slip.

2. Really good article here about how the new free-agency rules affect the Jets (http://www.nyjetscap.com/2010finaleight.html), fortunately I think Tannenbaum is really built for this type of thing and will be smart enough to navigate the Jets through this off-season with some improvements at necessary areas.

3. Alot of people have been talking about moving Dwight Lowery to safety as a potential replacement for Kerry Rhodes, if he is traded. It is not an easy transition to go from corner to safety because it is a completely different mentality and type of game you have to play. Beyond that, I don’t think Lowery is the physical replacement Ryan would be looking for if Rhodes isn’t around. Speaking of Rhodes, he is supposed to make an announcement about his future tonight on SNY, so we’ll see what he has to say. Regardless, I still think the Jets are better off with Rhodes in 2010 unless they get a trade offer that blows them away. There is no need to create another hole in the secondary.

4. I am all for the Jets cutting ties with Vernon Gholston. There is an article in the Daily News today about the Jets considering it, which also quotes one of his teammates saying Gholston has shown no passion for the game. This isn’t the first time somebody has questioned his love of football, which is a bad sign. Gholston was also on record saying he is perfectly happy being a special teams player, even though he is a below average one at best. Has anybody ever noticed him get excited about anything on the field, even in pre-season games? It was clearly a huge mistake to draft him and it is now time to cut your losses.

5. With the limits on the Jets in free agency, they better hit on their 1st and 2nd round picks. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Tannenbaum trade down and try to end up with three 2nd round picks, or maybe pick up a third-rounder. The Jets need to add some young bodies to their offensive and defensive lines, which they won’t be able to do if they are concentrating on improving their secondary with their top picks (remember the Jets don’t have a 3, 4, or 5 as of right now).

6. Mel Kiper Jr. currently has the Jets taking Notre Dame wide receiver Golden Tate with their first roundpick. With Braylon, Cotchery, Keller, and Leon coming back, getting a slot receiver isn’t a top need for the Jets. Yes, it would be nice to have a productive #3 WR but Keller andhopefully Leon could fill that role if the Jets don’t add anybody. There is no need to spend a first round pick for one. Jason Avant is a free agent and could be an interesting option especially considering Assistant GM Scott Cohen’s ties to the Eagles.

7. Final list of the Jets in the Pro-Bowl: Darrelle Revis, Shaun Ellis, Nick Mangold, Alan Faneca, D’Brickashaw Ferguson…will anyone be watching? They are down to the 5th alternate at most positions because of injuries andpeople on the Colts/Saints not being able to play. Revis and Mangold obviously deserved to go as All-Pro players. Faneca had a very good year but is there on name recognition. Even though D’Brick got in as an alternate, I think he has a legit claim as a Pro-Bowl caliber player. Ellis is a bit of stretch but the guy has been productive for a such long time, I am glad he made it back this year.

8. I am keeping my fingers crossed that Tony Richardson comes back for another year. It is not easy to find a quality fullback like T-Rich. The Jets rushing game would take a serious hit without him.

Darrelle Revis Making A Sick Interception In Last Year’s Pro-Bowl

Preliminary Look At Jets Off-Season

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First a few updates:

1. Rex Ryan ruffled some feathers yesterday by saying the Jets were going to be the best show in town next season. I listened to the press conference and think most people are taking it the wrong way as some big time shot at the Giants. Basically, Ryan said when the Jets were playing at home it was going to be Jets Stadium and when they were playing at home, they were going to be the biggest show in town. Giants fans really got their panties in a bunch yesterday on the local radio shows after hearing the press conference, which was pretty laughable. If they are so confident they are still the number one team in town (which they are until the Jets win or at least get to a Super Bowl) why are they so insecure about what a Jets coach says in a press conference? Maybe it is because their team quit on them the last two weeks of the year, has one of the NFL’s worst defenses, and is heading into 2010 as the third best team in their own division.

2. I am surprised the line is so high on the Super Bowl…the last I saw it was at 5.5 in favor of the Colts. I would imagine the Saints will be able to exploit the Colts secondary. However, I guess Peyton Manning is playing so well right now that nobody wants to bet against them. I will be pulling for the Saints, not out of bitterness but because they have never won one before and the Colts just got one in 2006.

3. I am still trying to find out where all the Jets draft picks are for April. Unless what I have read online is wrong (which is a definite possibility) the Jets only have a 1st round (#29 overall), 2nd, round, 6th round, and 7th round pick. They lost their 3, 4, and 5 from the Braylon Edwards and Lito Sheppard trades. This might be a year to trade down and stockpile some more picks.

4. Non-Jets Related Off-Season Talk – LOST premieres in a week and yes i am very excited about that, you want to fill your free time in the off-season go rent the DVDs and catch up…I was watching the Knicks before the AFC Championship Game and not only were they wearing ridiculously ugly orange socks, they also lost by 50 freakin’ points, it was like watching Marist play Syracuse, I mean c’mon now, we aren’t convincing LeBron to come play for a team that bad…Has anybody had a worse off-season in baseball than the Mets? Even though the Yankees won the World Series, they still did much more to improve their team. Have you seen their line-up and pitching rotation for 2010? Wow.

Preliminary Look At Jets Off-Season

There is nothing like the dead period from when your team is eliminated from the playoffs until the start of free agency (March 5th, my birthday by the way), plenty of time to enjoy mid-season NBA and NHL, and college basketball and off course look at all the potential things the Jets could do to improve in 2010. Make no mistake, the Jets have work to do this off-season. The playoff run was terrific. They found their identity. The future is bright. However, they only won nine games in the regular season. It is time to take the next step, which means becoming a 11-12 win division winner who is hosting playoff games and hopefully getting a bye. What are the issues facing the Jets this off-season and where could they improve? Let’s take a look:

Defense

PhotobucketThe early reports coming from the organization is that the Jets will be looking to revamp their secondary after it was torn to shreds by Peyton Manning. Rex Ryan didn’t sound too confident in Kerry Rhodes coming back in his press conference yesterday. Basically, he said he wasn’t going to beg anybody to come back who didn’t really want to be here and that he wants committed players on his defense. Ryan refused to give details about a discussion him and Rhodes had considering his future with the team. Personally, I think Rhodes improved after his benching and would be crazy to want to leave New York. I am not sure if a guy like him wants to move out of the biggest market in the country and what defensive player wouldn’t want to play for Rex Ryan? The Jets owe Rhodes a roster bonus in March and will likely explore trade options but I am not sure how big the market is going to be for him. Obviously, the Jets minor league team (Cleveland) will be interested but unless the Jets are getting good value back and have plan to replace him, I don’t want to see Rhodes go. The secondary isn’t improving by trading Rhodes for a 5th round pick and then having James Ihedigbo and Eric Smith split reps at safety.

Lito Sheppard is a goner. There is no way the Jets are paying him a roster bonus in March. It is also being reported that Jets are likely going to part ways with nickel back Donald Strickland, who was productive when healthy this past year but always seemed to be banged up. I’d also be shocked to see Drew Coleman back next year.

Remember the Jets are limited in free agency because of the rules under the old CBA. They can only sign the same number of free agents that they lose. Regardless, Mike Tannenbaum is a creative guy with trades and with Strickland, Sheppard, and potentially Rhodes all likely ending up with new teams the Jets will have some room to operate.

Remember the Jets spent all three draft picks on offense last year, so you can bet Rex Ryan will be pushing for defensive help in the first two rounds of the draft. The Jets need a corner to pair with Darrelle Revis and a guy to compete for nickel reps. You have to expect at least one of their draft picks to be on a defensive back and trade options to be explored. The cornerback market isn’t loaded with talent although there are some quality guys (Richard Marshall, Carlos Rogers, Fabian Washington). If the Jets get rid of Rhodes, Roman Harper, Nick Collins, and Antoine Bethea are all free agents.

Outside of the secondary, the Jets need a pass rusher. Everybody knows this but finding a big time pass rusher isn’t exactly the easiest thing to do. If the Jets don’t spend their first round pick on a corner, it will be on on outside linebacker/defensive end pass rushing prospect. Vernon Gholston will likely be cut this year and even if he isn’t, he has proven to be a bust. The Jets are pretty old along the defensive front, so don’t be surprised to see more than one new face added through the draft, free agency, or a trade.

Offense

PhotobucketDespite the defense carrying the Jets this past season, it needs more help than the offense does. The Jets are young at key positions and have a talented core to build around (Sanchez, Greene, Washington, Edwards, Keller, Mangold, Ferguson, Cotchery, Smith). Braylon Edwards is going to be given the highest tender as a restricted free agent, so he will be back. Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, and Dustin Keller are a pretty good trio of targets for Sanchez to grow with. However, the Jets could still use a slot receiver. Brad Smith is a valuable offensive weapon but isn’t a wide receiver and David Clowney is no better than a number 4/5. Chansi Stuckey would really be the perfect guy to fill this role but unfortunately the Jets had to give him up to acquire Edwards. The Jets could also use a better #2 tight end. Ben Hartsock is a good blocker but is no threat as a receiver and has too many costly penalties called on him.

On the offensive line, the Jets need to start thinking about their long term replacements for Alan Faneca and Damien Woody. I am confident the Jets will pay Faneca his roster bonus in February because he has started every game since signing his contract and maintained a high level of play. Yet, the Jets could really only bank on one or maybe if they are lucky two more seasons from the Faneca/Woody combination before they break down or their level of play falls off. Hopefully, guys like Matt Slauson, Robert Turner, and Wayne Hunter are developing into potential starters but it wouldn’t hurt to spend another late round pick on an offensive lineman.

Running back will be an interesting thing to keep an eye on. Will Tony Richardson want to come back for another year? If not, the Jets will have a big hole to fill at fullback. I think it is the right call to bring Thomas Jones back for the final year of his contract. You don’t know how Leon Washington is going to respond from his injury and Shonn Greene was banged up alot this year. With the way the Jets run their offense, there is no problem with having three backs getting carries. Hopefully, Jones can accept becoming option 1B, since Greene should clearly be the Jets 1A option at running back next year. Despite having a great regular season, there won’t be a huge market for Jones because of his age and because of how his production fell off in the playoffs so it makes sense for both sides to have Jones return.

The Jets also need a veteran backup at quarterback. Kellen Clemens is gone and they would be crazy to go into the year with Erik Ainge and Kevin O’Connell as their top backups. How about Chad Pennington? Seriously, who would be a better mentor for Sanchez and be better equipped to manage the Jets ground and pound if Sanchez was hurt?

Overall

If I had to list the Jets off-season needs as right of now it would look something like this:

  1. Secondary (#2 and #3 corner, potentially safety to replace Rhodes)
  2. Defensive Line/Outside Linebacker (Pass Rusher, Youth on defensive line)
  3. Veteran Backup Quarterback
  4. Offensive Line (Eventual replacements for Faneca/Woody)
  5. #3 Receiver
  6. #2 Tight End