Dear Darrelle: It's Not You, It's Me

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Dear Darrelle:

It has been a good run, buddy. I remember watching you back at Pittsburgh with that ridiculous punt return and keeping my fingers crossed the Jets would draft you in 2007. I knew we weren’t going anywhere with David Barrett, Hank Poteat, and Andre Dyson battling it out for reps at cornerback. When the Jets traded up for you, I wrote a glowing review of the move for MVN, which was probably read by 17 people. I could tell this was the start of something good.

Even though the 2007 Jets were one of the worst teams I ever watched on a weekly basis. It wasn’t hard to see Mike Tannenbaum had got it right by making the move to draft you. I saw your first career NFL interception in person, against the Bills. Yes, you ran into Abram Elam later in the game which let Lee Evans score a game winning 80 yard touchdown but still you put together a great rookie campaign.

You kept heading in the right direction in 2008. You clinched the game against the Dolphins in week one with an interception. You scored your first NFL touchdown when we beat down the Arizona Cardinals. You sealed our improbable late season win against Buffalo with an interception. We might have might melt down because Brett Favre quit on us but at least we had an All-Pro corner.

Photobucket2009? Wow, maybe the best individual season I ever saw a Jets player put together. I argued with people until my face turned blue that you deserved Defensive Player of the Year. Unless you watched every snap of the Jets season, you couldn’t understand just how well you played. Revis Island was no joke. You literally shut everybody down and just kept getting better as the playoffs got rolling. You embarrassed Chad Ochocinco, pulled in a crazy interception against Vincent Jackson. I can’t blame you for the Colts game. I just blame Dwight Lowery, who I now have to watch play major reps in 2010 because you aren’t going to show up.

I had your back early in this contract dispute. I was all for “Pay The Man”…check my twitter history, I swear. Yet, then you had a fake injury in minicamp and sat out a few plays. You can’t be lying to us like that. However, I gave you another chance.

Now, it is September and you are still holding out. Maybe you will still sign before the regular season starts, but I lost my faith in Revis Island. I can’t expect you to be shutting people down after taking the whole summer off. You are probably going to get hurt. Now, I am actually starting think we could see a “Ewing Theory” on the 2010 Jets. Rex Ryan and the rest of this defense is looking to prove they can survive without their best player. I think they can still get the job done.

It isn’t often the Jets are considered a legitimate Super Bowl contender and your holdout is messing with my optimism. It is messing with my universe. I can’t help but hope we start 2-0 and the Jets firmly dig in on their offer and you sit out the entire season, and we go on to win the Super Bowl without you. Then we can ship you off to Tampa Bay or St. Louis where you could wallow in irrelevancy on a terrible team and get all those Nike endorsements taken away.

Maybe, that’s harsh and if you sign in the next week I might be able to give you a second chance. You are hard to get over, #24. I can’t lie. Yet for now, I think we need to take some time off and I need to tuck away my Revis jersey in my drawer behind the old Santana Moss, Chad Pennington, and Jonathan Vilma jersey. I am sorry Revis Island, it’s not you…it’s me.

Sincerely,

Turn On The Jets

Ten Things August Taught Us About The Jets

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Opening night is less than two weeks away for the Jets, who only have to get “The Backup Bowl” out of the way this Thursday against the Eagles before preparation begins for the Baltimore Ravens. Here is ten things the month of August has taught us about the 2010 New York Jets:

1. Darrelle Revis Is A Stubborn SOB – When Revis said he wanted to be the highest paid cornerback in the NFL, he wasn’t playing. With his uncle in his ear, Revis hasn’t budged and appears ready to sit out the entire 2010 season unless the Jets cave in. At this point, even if Revis returns he can’t be expected to play at his 2009 level and has a high chance of getting hurt. I am sorry but getting trained by some random ex high school player in the Pittsburgh area isn’t proper preparation to face Anquan Boldin, Randy Moss, and Brandon Marshall. Revis has successfully turned public Jets opinion nearly 100 percent against him but for some reason I think we’d still see plenty of #24 jerseys week one, if he signs within the next few days.

2. Two For Four – Even though it is too early to place judgements, it appears the Jets went 2/4 in their 2010 draft picks…at least for this season. Kyle Wilson is likely going to be the week one starter at corner and has looked excellent throughout training camp and pre-season. The coaching staff has raved about his work ethic and knowledge of the defense. Fifth round pick John Conner has quickly developed into one of Rex Ryan’s favorite players because he is an absolute battering ram as a lead blocker. He should have a role on the Jets offense this year before taking over as the full time fullback next season. Second round pick Vlad Ducasse was overwhelmed in training camp and likely will spend the entire year on the inactive list unless Matt Slauson can’t handle the job at left guard. Fourth round pick Joe McKnight has looked good on punt returns but beyond that runs timid at running back and can’t hold on to the football. Come back, Leon Washington.

3. Still YoungMark Sanchez improved by leaps and bounds in the playoffs last season, yet judging by the pre-season there are still going to be inconsistencies from him in 2010. I am still confident Sanchez’s stat line will be substantially improved from 2009 but there are still going to be some moments from #6 that make you wince.

Photobucket4. Ground And PoundThe Jets were the league’s number one ranked rushing attack in 2009 and there is a good chance they will repeat in the number one spot in 2010. LaDainian Tomlinson looks motivated to prove he isn’t washed up and has shown a degree explosiveness this August that has surprised everybody. Shonn Greene looks like he is ready to pick up where he left off in the playoffs last season. The Jets may not have the same amount of rushing attempts as they did in 2009 but that doesn’t mean they still won’t be a run heavy offense.

5. Cookie Monster – I don’t know what was in those cookies Kris Jenkins ate all off-season to lose weight but the big fella looks like he is poised to be even more dominant than in 2008. Jenkins is all the way back from his off-season surgery and is moving around better than I have ever seen since he joined the Jets.

6. There May Be Hope Yet For Vernon Gholston – I don’t want to be get excited about anything related to Gholston at this point but the guy put together an impressive August. At the very least, it looks like he will be a quality backup defensive lineman. Hopefully, he can take advantage of the Calvin Pace injury and become a consistent contributor to the Jets pass rush. I am not sure how much time he will see at outside linebacker for the first four weeks or if he should even see any, considering how poorly he played there and how much better he has looked at defensive end.

7. Breakout Year I have consistently said it will be Jerricho Cotchery who will lead the Jets in receptions in 2010. Yet, the amount of times Mark Sanchez has been going to Dustin Keller this August has me contemplating changing my mind. It is feeling like Keller could be on the verge of a 65 reception season, with 6 or 7 touchdowns.

8. What The Folk?The Jets kicking situation might turn out to be okay after all. Nick Folk put together a good training camp and a better pre-season. Hopefully, Mike Westhoff has helped Folk find his 2007 All-Pro form again. While on the topic of kicking, punter Steve Weatherford has been solid all August also.

9. Danny Woodhead Won’t Go Away – It looks like the perpetual long shot will stick on the 53 man roster for the second straight year. Woodhead is versatile enough to play running back and receiver and has the skill set to be a competent special teams player.

10. We Have An Entertaining Team:

Monday Night Jets Roster Thoughts

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A few comments on the recent roster developments…

First off, I can’t say I disagree with the decision to release Laveranues Coles. The Jets are better off giving his roster spot to a young player, who can contribute on special teams. David Clowney is the obvious favorite to stick on the roster as the number five receiver, but don’t be shocked if Danny Woodhead or Larry Taylor bump him off if they can put together strong performances Thursday against Philadelphia.

I am not crazy about keeping four tight ends. Clearly, the Jets are very high on Jeff Cumberland. Yet, why not just stash him on the practice squad this year, let him develop a little more as a blocker and hope he can become the number two tight next year? I can’t see many scenarios when Cumberland will be active on Sundays. I just don’t think he has shown enough this pre-season to merit a spot on the 53 man roster.

It is a wise decision to keep Tony Richardson and John Conner. Let Conner get a full season working off the bench and soaking up as much information as possible from Richardson. The Jets need Richardson’s veteran presence in the huddle. Both of these guys will be active on a weekly basis, while we may not be able to say the same for Joe McKnight.

PhotobucketIt sounds like Kellen Clemens is going to make the final roster, which should have been a no-brainer. Clemens should be the #2 quarterback. Mark Brunell has done absolutely nothing this pre-season. He will get the starting nod this Thursday and if Clemens outplays him again, how could the Jets keep him as the number two quarterback?

I think the Jets can survive without the addition of Adalius Thomas. Yes, it would be nice for depth purposes but I like what I have seen from Jamaal Westerman this pre-season and think he can adequately spell Jason Taylor. I also think, similar to last year, Bryan Thomas can handle most of Pace’s regular responsibilities. We’ll see how Vernon Gholston looks when he drops back to outside linebacker occasionally on Thursday. Yet, I would hate to see the progress he has been making at defensive end go to waste. He has actually looked like he could be a capable part of the line rotation in 2010.

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Jets Fans: Take A Deep Breath

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A short and friendly reminder to Jets fans who are quickly losing confidence in their team as a Super Bowl contender:

The games in August don’t count. This is the pre-season. There is no need to even recollect the countless examples of teams having strong pre-seasons and then being terrible or the reverse. Obviously, it would be nice to see Mark Sanchez play a little more consistent and the passing game connect on a few more big plays. Of course, Antonio Cromartie isn’t as good as Darrelle Revis. Yes, it is a big blow that Calvin Pace will miss the first four games.

Yet, I remember Sanchez playing god-awful in a pre-season game against the Baltimore Ravens last year before coming out of the gate on fire, en route to a 3-0 start for the Jets. After that, he started to struggle and then finished the year playing better. The thing about Sanchez is that he is a young quarterback who is going to be inconsistent at times. Hopefully, he will be less inconsistent in 2009 than he was in 2010. Don’t forget the Jets went to the AFC Championship Game with him throwing 12 touchdowns to 20 interceptions, while completing a little over 50 percent of his passes. He won’t be anywhere near that bad this season. The guy clearly has talent but you have to expect some inconsistencies to linger in his second year.

The Jets played four games without Calvin Pace last season and went 3-1. They are now better equipped to deal with his absence because of the Jason Taylor signing and because Vernon Gholston appears to be improved from last year.

Simply put, not having Darrelle Revis sucks. The Jets secondary is going to suffer without him but that doesn’t mean they are going to look like the Giants last year defending the pass, and be allowing 40 points a game. At this point, even if Revis returns he won’t be playing at his 2009 level until the middle of the season, if he doesn’t get hurt before. Revis Island is gone. Don’t expect to see that kind of play until late October, if he actually decides he can stomach playing football for 120 million dollars.

The Jets defense is still going to be very, very good this year. They can still run the football as well as any team in the league. These two things mean the Jets are going to be competitive every week and win more times than they lose, because they still have superior talent to just about all the teams they will face, even without Revis. It is a well-coached, highly motivated team that has quality veteran leadership (Richardson, Cotchery, Leonhard, Scott, Woody, Jenkins,) and plenty of skill spread across the roster.

Take a deep breath Jets fans, August is over and we survived with only key injury and the guy will be back for week 5. September is here and we are still a Super Bowl contender.

Mark Sanchez Will Be Fine

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Thoughts On Jets/Redskins: Looks Like 2009

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After watching the Jets starters get extended action last night, it is hard to think we won’t be seeing much of the same things we saw from the team in 2009. The Jets first defense has been rock solid. They can run football but inconsistencies remain in the passing game. Hopefully, the inconsistencies won’t show themselves as frequently as they did in 2009.

First off, it is a huge blow to the Jets defense to lose Calvin Pace. As of now, it sounds like he will only miss the first game or two but still you’d like to be at full strength coming out of the gate. Jason Taylor is nowhere near the complete player Pace is at this point of his career. Staying on the defense, there were definitely too many occasions where there were receivers running wide open down the field. The defense still played very well overall but you know every time one of the Redskins average receivers was running wide open, Mike Tannenbaum was thinking of caving on the Revis negotiations.

Over on the offensive side of the ball, how about LaDainian Tomlinson? It was looking like 2006 out there. You have to love seeing Tomlinson averaging 7.8 yards per carry and Shonn Greene at 4.7 yards per carry. Of course there was still Joe McKnight with his 5 carries for 9 yards and his lost fumble.

Mark Sanchez played great against the Giants after his early interception and has been erratic since then, very similar to 2009. He still continues to lock on his first target occasionally and gets a little jumpy in the pocket. However, there were still some positive sings and he did bounce back with a fourth quarter touchdown pass. Dustin Keller is certainly looking like his favorite target, while he did finally hook up with Santonio Holmes, #10 forgot to tuck the football away. The offensive line also needs to improve in pass protection. I can’t be watching Mark Sanchez rolling around on the ground anymore with geriatric Mark Brunell waiting in the wings.

Despite his shank on the extra point, you still have to be encouraged by Nick Folk’s pre-season. Joe McKnight has looked good on punt returns, which will probably knock Larry Taylor off the roster.

Jets vs. Redskins: What We Need To See

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First a few updates:

1. There is a ton of buzz about the Jets depth chart, which was displayed on Hard Knocks last night. What we saw is still subject to change, especially after the upcoming two pre-season games. However, a few comments :

  • It is a joke if Kellen Clemens gets cut to keep Kevin O’Connell on the roster. It is bad enough that Mark Brunell is being handed the backup job, when he doesn’t deserve it over Clemens but to keep O’Connell on the roster over Clemens is insane. O’Connell has been awful this pre-season, while Clemens has been the Jets best second quarterback.
  • It is a wise decision by the Jets to keep Tony Richardson on the roster. He is a valuable veteran to have in the offensive huddle, especially with Thomas Jones and Alan Faneca no longer around.
  • I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jets changed their mind about keeping four tight ends. It makes more sense to put a guy like Jeff Cumberland on the practice squad and keep a Danny Woodhead, Chauncey Washington, David Clowney, or Lance Laury on the active roster.
  • The Jets may have to look at roster cuts from another team to fill that sixth defensive lineman spot.

Jets vs. Redskins: What We Need To See

The third pre-season game provides the most extended look at a team’s starters, while the fourth pre-season game is for sorting out the final roster spots. Unfortunately, the Jets defense won’t really be tested tomorrow considering Donovan McNabb won’t be playing, and the geriatric collection of running backs and receivers the Redskins have. However, Washington usually runs out a solid defense, which will provide a good test for a Jets offense that needs a bounce-back performance after an ugly showing in Carolina.

PhotobucketMark Sanchez needs to demonstrate the accuracy he displayed against the Giants in the pre-season opener, while continuing to spread the ball around. It appears that Brad Smith is going to primarily be the number three receiver until Santonio Holmes returns from suspension, unless Laveranues Coles can have a head turning performance tomorrow night. Sanchez and Dustin Keller have displayed good chemistry all summer and he looks in sync with Jerricho Cotchery, like he was last season. However, Sanchez hasn’t connected with Santonio Holmes yet in a pre-seaosn game. I want to see them connect a few times in August, considering they won’t be playing together again until October 11th. Finally, the Jets haven’t hit on a deep ball. How about a downfield completion to Braylon Edwards from Sanchez, and a bomb from Mark Brunell to David Clowney?

Speaking of Brunell and Clowney, they are two players who need a strong performance tomorrow night. Clowney is on the verge of being cut and of course losing his “Mr. August” title. Brunell has done nothing to inspire confidence as being the number two quarterback. Hopefully he can actually string together a few completions and move the Jets offense a little bit.

I am interested to see the division of reps between Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson. Greene has been solid this August, but I’d like to see him get 9 – 11 carries and get rolling a little bit. LT will be looking to continue to build on a strong August. Danny Woodhead and Chauncey Washington will be battling for a roster spot in the fourth quarter, while Joe McKnight continues his quest to stop every Jets fan from disliking him and wanting Leon Washington back.

I don’t buy the left guard competition anymore. Let’s just see Matt Slauson go three quarters without a holding penalty or allowing a snack.

On defense, I would like to see Kyle Wilson be tested a little bit. Yet, I don’t think Rex Grossman and Joey Galloway are up to the challenge. We can only hope that Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman build on what they did last week and aren’t beat like a drum by the Redskins reserves. Also, how about a Jason Taylor sighting? I am not sure I have heard a single word about our former enemy this August making any kind of impact on defense. Yes, Taylor is a veteran and pacing himself but at least a quarterback pressure would be nice.

Beyond that, Vernon Gholston needs to keep up his surprisingly high level of play. Kris Jenkins needs to stay healthy and I’d like to see Brodney Pool flash a little more out there.

Nick Folk…just keep pretending it is 2007.

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TV Critic: Hard Knocks Episode #3

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Thoughts on episode #3

1. I could watch Mike Westhoff coach all day. It sure looks like David Clowney is far from a lock to make the roster. I understand the guy’s frustration about not being part of the offense but he has to find a niche on special teams to stick around. Westhoff was pretty hard on Brashton Satele but coaches have no tolerance for injured players. Poor TJ Conley by the way.

2. Good to see Matt Slauson and Matt Kroul go at it with each other…a couple of hungry players who are anxious to prove themselves. Kroul is going to become a bigger part of the Jets defensive line rotation with the season ending injury to Ropati Pitoitua, which was a real shame because you got the impression he was ready to become a consistent contributor to the Jets defense.

3. “Boy, don’t get indifferent with me” — Welcome to the NFL rookie, Brian Jackson (King Ugly). You hsve to appreciate the rookie hazing when it is due. You know you aren’t getting away when Kris Jenkins has you in the bear hug.

4. If you could give some of Danny Woodhead and Larry Taylor’s attitude to Joe McKnight…the Jets would be on to something with their fourth round pick. It is hard not to root for guys like Woodhead and Taylor.

5. Rookie night? Fond memories…I had to sing “Total Eclipse of the Heart” in front of the whole team my freshman year of college.

6. Where was the Jets version of “The Decision” with Darrelle Revis? I am still confident #24 will sign a new contract by the end of the week. Perhaps if I say it enough times, it will come true.

7. Good to see Schotty get going a little bit, as he should have after that ugly performance by the Jets offense. I love the passion Rex Ryan has on the sideline, especially his reaction after the hit by Chauncey Washington, who Ryan seems to be taking a liking to. The guy runs hard and all of a sudden could have a chance to sneak on the roster. Beyond that, I love how competitive he is by keeping the number twos in to make sure the Jets still won a pre-season game.

8. I was loving that ending montage with the Jets coming back to Florham Park.

Your Hard Knocks Parody

Revis, Come On Home

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1. The Jets will be on the practice field at 6 PM tonight at Hofstra University and of course Hard Knocks is on at 10 PM tonight.

2. Listen in at this exceptionally long link http://www.blogtalkradio.com/football-reporters/2010/08/26/football-reporters-online-presents-pro-football-nyc — at 8 PM, to hear TOJ talk Mangold, Revis, and every other Jets topic you could possibly imagine.

Revis, Come On Home

I am fully on the bandwagon of Darrelle Revis signing a new contract by the end of the day on Thursday. I don’t care if every Jets beat writer is reporting Revis and the team didn’t meet last night. All I know is I am seeing:

  • The TIm Cowlishaw initial report about Revis signing this week.
  • ESPN 105o’s Bill Daughtry confirming the Cowlishaw report with a separate source.
  • AOL Fanhouse confirming the report with a separate source.
  • The New York Post – Revis is close to signing a 10 year, $150 million dollar deal, with $65 million dollars guaranteed.
  • CBS New York/WFAN – Revis is close to signing the above mentioned deal.
  • Pittsburgh KDKA – Reporting the above mentioned deal.
  • Multiple sources are reporting Revis recorded a television interview last night.
  • A source from OCNN giving me a strong impression that a Revis deal is coming by the end of the week.

PhotobucketWishful thinking? I don’t know but to me, it seems like where there is smoke, there is fire. I am not expecting some type of announcement syncing up with Hard Knocks. However, whether it will be tonight, tomorrow during the day, or some time tomorrow night, Revis will sign a contract somewhat near the parameters being reported by multiple media outlets. The Jets and Revis have reached their breaking point and are going to get him in by the point where he still has a chance to play at his normal level in 2010. If we start getting late into next week or after the fourth pre-season game, Revis isn’t going to be an island, for at least the beginning part of the season. He is either going to get hurt (and he still may get hurt from missing 24 days) or struggle to maintain his high level of play. Wishful thinking? Maybe, but I think Revis is ready to get back to football and the Jets are ready to cough up the money and get their best player in.

Yes, Woody Johnson isn’t commenting on the situation and either are people around the team. They did go into a media silence over the negotiations. They probably didn’t meet last night with Revis’ representatives but that doesn’t mean this offer wasn’t floated out there by one of the two sides recently and the other side saw around this date as the time to give in.

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Change Of Perspective: Jets Training Camp

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In case you have been living under a rock…

1. The Jets officially locked down Nick Mangold today with a 7 year, 55 million dollar contract with 22.5 million dollars guaranteed. Anytime you can lock down the best center in the NFL, along with one of the best left tackles in the NFL within a few months of each other, it is a job well done.

2. The “Darrelle Revis…he says, she says” battle waged on today, with Tim Cowlishaw’s report picking up a little more support. Fanhouse is also now reporting a deal should be done in the next few days, as is Bill Daughtry of ESPN 1050 Radio, along with ESPN News. Beyond that, I get the impression from a OCNN representative I am in contact with that a deal is going to happen sometime this week (OCNN = OchcoCinco News Network, which Darrelle Revis recently became a part of). I would strongly advise Twitter users to closely monitor the following accounts @OGOochoCinco, @ocnnfeed, and @Revis24.

3. Also, Turn On The Jets will be appearing on the New York Sports Exchange tonight http://www.themirl.com/nyse.html at 9:20 PM to talk Mangold, Revis and plenty of other Jets related topics.

4. The Jets have signed wide receiver Brooks Foster and safety Keith Fitzhugh, along with releasing offensive tackle Adam Tadish and receiver Vic Hall.

5. Rex Ryan strongly implied the Jets will keep both Tony Richardson and John Conner on their 53 man roster and that Jason Davis even might have a chance to stick. It is a very smart move by the Jets to keep Richardson around.

Change Of Perspective: Jets Training Camp

As the Jets head into their third pre-season game, my perspective on a few issues surrounding the team has begun to shift, while others have been reinforced —

Matt Slauson/Vladimir Ducasse – Prior to training camp it seemed like Vladimir Ducasse would basically be handed the starting left guard job. Rex Ryan has spoken before about his desire to play high draft picks and I didn’t think the Jets were about to sit their second round pick (and a guy they nearly took in the first round) for a 6th round pick from 2009 with no experience. However, it now appears the battle is all but over and Slauson will be the opening day starter at left guard. You have to give credit to Slauson, who took advantage of his knowledge of the offense and Ducasse’s difficult transition to the NFL from Division I-AA. The real question is if the Jets will now begin grooming Ducasse to take over for Damien Woody at right tackle and are comfortable with Slauson as the long term answer at guard.

Kellen Clemens/Mark Brunell – Prior to camp, I adamantly stated that Kellen Clemens should remain the number two quarterback, while Mark Brunell fills the #3/mentor to Mark Sanchez position. I still feel the exact same way, even though Rex Ryan refuses to budge on Brunell being the primary backup. Brunell hasn’t thrown a meaningful pass in three full seasons and is going to be 40 years old. Kellen Clemens knows the offensive system better, can move around better, and has easily outplayed Brunell in both pre-season games.

PhotobucketJoe McKnightI was skeptical to judge McKnight so early after his rough start in rookie minicamp. However, he hasn’t given Jets fans much to be optimistic about this summer. I don’t know about you but I already miss Leon Washington. There were signs of life from him against the Carolina Panthers, including an electric punt return but he struggled to hold on to the football. Hopefully, it will click for McKnight sooner rather than later.

LaDainian Tomlinson – I was hesitant about how much Tomlinson would be able to give the Jets offense this season. Let’s be honest, the guy looked pretty much done in 2009. Yet, Tomlinson has had a strong camp by all accounts and looked like he had plenty left in both pre-season games. It appears Tomlinson is going to get more carries and playing time than I initially expected and he looks up to it. I am thinking he can give the Jets over 900 total offensive yards and maybe 6-9 total touchdowns.

Backup Wide Receivers – I thought David Clowney would have a lock on one of the final roster spots, although Aundrae Allison would push him. However, Danny Woodhead and Larry Taylor are putting together strong summers and I wouldn’t be shocked if either made the roster over Clowney. Yes, I know Woodhead is technically a running back but he still lines up at receiver frequently and if he does make the roster, it will be at the expense of Clowney and the other backup receivers.

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