A Few Words On Braylon Edwards and Kyle Wilson

Two of the more contentious debates among Jets fans this off-season is whether to focus on keeping Braylon Edwards or Santonio Holmes at wide receiver and if the team can afford to let Antonio Cromartie leave via free agency because of the presence of Kyle Wilson. Personally, I have came down on the side of signing Holmes over Edwards and that bringing Cromartie back is a must.

This isn’t an indictment on the type of year Edwards had in 2010 and Wilson’s future as a NFL cornerback. Edwards was terrific for the Jets last year and you could make a very reasonable argument that he was more consistent than Holmes. Wilson is only entering his second year and still has plenty of potential to develop into a quality starter in this league.

However, looking at the Jets roster and considering they are ready to win a Super Bowl right now, consider the following…

Holmes is a more explosive playmaker and one of the most clutch players in the league. There is a reason for the general consensus that Holmes is a better player than Edwards and every report this off-season has the team prioritizing Holmes first: he is a better all-around wide receiver than Edwards. If the Jets end up being unable to afford Holmes and get Edwards back instead, would it be the end of the world? Of course not, the gap isn’t that substantial but the first priority should be Holmes. You can’t pass up giving your young quarterback a receiver that can change the game at any second the way he can.

In terms of cornerback, the Jets defense is built on primarily man to man coverage. They have a pass rush that struggles to get to the quarterback unless a blitz package is set up. It is too risky to hand a starting job to Wilson after the difficulties he encountered his rookie season, period. At a minimum you have to bring in another veteran to compete with him and provide better depth if Cromartie walks. You can’t allow yourself to be a pulled Revis hamstring away from Wilson and Drew Coleman (if he is even back) being your starting pair of corners.

Considering how much the Jets use three corners, it isn’t “giving up” on Kyle Wilson by asking him to be the nickel behind Revis and Cromartie, who I think is worth money considering how well he fits in the Jets man to man scheme.

In the end, I am a big fan of Braylon Edwards and what he brought to the team last year and do think Kyle Wilson has potential to develop into a reliable starter down the road, yet for the foreseeable future I think bringing Holmes and Cromartie back are the best decisions this team could make.

Just How Good Is Darrelle Revis?

In case you haven’t been following, the NFL Network has been ranking the top 100 players in the league through a 10 part series. D’Brickashaw Ferguson was ranked 79th, Santonio Holmes 76th, and Nick Mangold 47th. They are down to the final 10 players and Pro Football Talk has likely correctly assumed they will be: Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Andre Johnson, Ray Lewis, Julius Peppers, Adrian Peterson, Ed Reed, Troy Polamalu, and Darrelle Revis. How high will Revis end up in the top ten? Personally, I’d rank those ten in the following order —

  1. Brady
  2. Polamalu
  3. Manning
  4. Brees
  5. Reed
  6. Revis
  7. Peterson
  8. Lewis
  9. Johnson
  10. Peppers

Revis was good enough in 2009 and the second half of 2010 to seriously be in the discussion as the best defensive player in football. Considering their body of work, I’d still put both Reed and Polamalu in front of him I am not sure a cornerback will ever get ahead of the elite quarterbacks on a list like this, but then again Revis did still manage to end up ahead of Aaron Rodgers (the fact that he wasn’t a top ten player is a bit of a joke).

Overall, I don’t think anybody would debate Ferguson, Mangold, Holmes, and Revis ending up in the Top 100. I also wouldn’t hesitate to argue that David Harris and Brandon Moore deserved consideration as well. The Jets certainly aren’t short on talent, it will just be a matter of keeping as much of it as possible this off-season and then getting that talent over the hump and into the Super Bowl.

Potential Replacements For Antonio Cromartie

Despite writing nearly a million words this off-season in argument to keep Antonio Cromartie. There is a chance Mike Tannenbaum will ignore TOJ and allow him to leave via free agency. If this does occur, the Jets could look like to sign an available veteran to compete with Kyle Wilson and provide better depth in their secondary. Here is a look at a few names (and no I am not including Nnamdi Asomugha because that just isn’t happening)…

Jonathan Joseph, Cincinnati Bengals – He has been in the league for six years and has developed into a quality starter, good enough that there was actually some talk about him and Leon Hall being the league’s best duo of corners in 2009. Joseph is 5-11, 190 pounds and is coming 0ff a 42 tackle, 3 INT season and did pull in 6 interceptions back in 2009.

Carlos Rogers, Washington Redskins – A 7 year veteran, coming off a 54 tackle, 2 interception season. Rogers is 6-0, 189 pounds and a notch or two below Joseph talent-wise but should be a cheaper alternative.

Richard Marshall, Carolina Panthers – The Jets had some rumored interest in Marshall last off-season before trading for Cromartie. He is a 6 year veteran is coming off a few pretty good seasons in Carolina. Marshall had 3 interceptions and 88 tackles last year, and is 5-11 189 pounds. He should cost around the same as the Rogers.

Chris Carr, Baltimore Ravens – A 7 year veteran who was a solid, consistent starter for Baltimore last year. He finished with 61 tackles and 2 interceptions and is 5-10 182 pound. Carr also has value as a returner. He should be in the same price range as both Rogers and Marshall.

Fabian Washington, Baltimore Ravens – A 7 year veteran who would be a cheaper option and projects to more of a nickelback. He is 5’11 175 pounds and finished with 31 tackles and 8 passes defensed last year.

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…

NBA Draft Reaction: Knicks Surprise, Nets Get Steal, Kemba Hungry

TOJ at SB Nation NY with an interview with Kemba Walker on his thoughts on going to Charlotte and being passed over by 8 teams.

A closer look at Knicks picks Iman Shumpert and Josh Harrellson

Thoughts on the Nets trading for Marshon Brooks

Shumpert wasn’t initially a popular pick because he isn’t a big name guy and it seemed like a reach considering where he was being projected to be drafted. However, considering he won’t have the pressure to come in and immediately start, there is no reason he can’t develop properly behind Chauncey Billups while competing with Toney Douglas and Landry Fields for minutes. Shumpert has plenty of potential, especially to develop into a quality defender at 6-6 and with a 42 inch vertical.

Harrellson provides some much needed size at 6-10, 275 pounds. He doesn’t exactly have the strongest competition to make the roster, as the Knicks are thin on big men, so he may have a chance to stick.

Personally, I loved the Nets trade to get Brooks. They needed to provide a scorer in the backcourt with DeRon Williams and Brooks has a high ceiling, with the potential to develop in a star as the Nets move to Brooklyn.

New York Jets Need Breakout Season From Keller & Greene

For the past two years the New York Jets have been known for and for a large part, been carried by their defense…these are the type of things that happen when Rex Ryan is your head coach. However, the offense made substantial strides in last year behind quarterback Mark Sanchez, who was supported by one of the best offensive lines in football, a playmaking group of wide receivers and a better than expected season from running back LaDainian Tomlinson.

In year three of Sanchez’s career, with likely changes coming to his group of receivers and Tomlinson now a year older and ready to embrace a third-down role, he will need more production from tight end Dustin Keller and running back Shonn Greene.

In 2010, Greene was a mild disappointment only finishing with 766 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns. However, he never really received the chance to be a lead back on a week to week basis. This will be his year to prove he can carry the load as a number one back and considering his talent, the team’s willingness to run the ball, and the Jets offensive line, there is no reason he can’t run for 1200+ yards. With Tomlinson in a reduced role, Joe McKnight a question mark, and Bilal Powell only a rookie, the Jets need Greene to lead the way on the running game that has been their trademark the past two years.

When they throw ball, Dustin Keller should have the opportunity to become the number two option behind either Santonio Holmes or Braylon Edwards. When he had this chance in weeks 1-4 last year, Keller racked up 19 receptions, 254 yards, and 5 touchdowns. If he could produce at that level for an entire season, he will be the Pro-Bowl tight end, he has the talent to be. Keller struggled to get opportunities once Holmes returned from suspension last season and after week 4 didn’t score a single touchdown the rest of the year.

For the Jets offense to continue to move in the right direction, it is crucial young players like Keller and Greene reach their potential this season when provided with bigger roles.

NBA Draft: Where Will Kemba Walker End Up? Other Draft Rumors

TOJ at SB Nation NY on where local product Kemba Walker could end up in tonight’s draft.

The draft rumor mill is in full swing —

  • Walker could go anywhere from the Raptors at number 5 all the way to the Pacers at 15.
  • Despite Cleveland having the 1 and 4 pick, they are expected to be active for a third lottery pick. Good for them attempting to expedite their rebuilding process.
  • Tony Parker, Steve Nash, George Hill, Jonny Flynn, Monta Ellis, Andre Iguodala, and Eric Maynor are all names being thrown in around in trade rumors. However, I don’t expect the Knicks to make a move for a veteran.
  • There is such a wide range of players the Knicks could end up with at #17, it is hard to project. I wouldn’t be shocked if somebody like Jimmer Fredette or Walker fell to around 14 or 15, if they made a splash by moving up. However, I’d personally rather see them trade up to get Chris Singleton, who will probably be off the board by number 9.
  • It sounds like Cleveland is just about locked into Kyrie Irving with the first pick but Minnesota with the 2nd pick? Well, that is anybody’s guess…could be Derrick Williams, could be Enes Kanter, or they could trade out.

New York Jets Free Agency: The Other Guys

There has been no shortage of talk about the appropriate fates in free agency for Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards, Antonio Cromartie, and Brad Smith…but what about the other unrestricted free agents the New York Jets have to make decisions on?

Shaun Ellis – Personally, I think it is a smart investment to bring Ellis back on a one or two year deal to help him mentor rookie Muhammad Wilkerson. He is also a leader in the locker room who clearly has plenty left in tank, as evidenced by his performance against New England in the playoffs last year. Unfortunately, I could see the Jets not matching his contract demands, especially after his request for a restructured deal last season didn’t happen.

  • TOJ Votes – Bring him back.
  • TOJ Predicts – Jets let him walk.

Brodney Pool – He came on strong at the end of last year and finally began to look like the playmaker the Jets signed him to be. Pool should command a good amount of interest in the open market, so it will be up to the Jets to determine how much of an upgrade he is over Eric Smith.

  • TOJ Votes – Bring him back.
  • TOJ Predicts – Jets bring him back.

Trevor Pryce – Rex Ryan compared Muhammad Wilkerson to a young Trevor Pryce and he would be a cheaper, although less productive, mentor to the rookie than Shaun Ellis. I could very easily see the Jets choosing to bring him back over Ellis in order to save money.

  • TOJ Votes – Let him walk.
  • TOJ Predicts – Jets bring him back.

Tony Richardson – Likely to retire and if he decides not to, the Jets aren’t going to bring him back considering they have John Conner ready to step into the starting role.

  • TOJ Votes – Retire T-Rich, you had a great career.
  • TOJ Predicts – T-Rich retires.

Steve Weatherford – Despite an inconsistent performance in the playoffs, Weatherford was still pretty good overall last year, especially at pinning teams deep. Considering the musical chairs they played at punter before Weatherford, I think the Jets will bring him back…besides, who else is bringing the shake weights to camp?

  • TOJ Votes – Bring him back.
  • TOJ Predicts – Jets bring him back.

Wayne Hunter – Originally it looked like he could compete with Vladimir Ducasse for the starting right tackle spot. I now think because of the lockout, the Jets will opt to bring Damien Woody back and have Ducasse spend a year learning behind him at the position, which likely means good-bye to Hunter.

  • TOJ Votes – Let him walk, spend the money on Woody instead.
  • TOJ Predicts – Jets let him walk.

Lance Laury – A special teamer, who was fairly quiet on special teams for the Jets last season. However, they are very thin at linebacker.

  • TOJ Votes – Bring him back.
  • TOJ Predicts – Jets let him walk to give more of a chance to players like Josh Mauga.

Eric Smith – A versatile safety, who is also very good at special teams. The Jets will ultimately have to choose between him and Brodney Pool and I think Pool projects better as a starter opposite Jim Leonhard.

  • TOJ Votes – Let him walk.
  • TOJ Predicts – Jets let him walk.

Drew Coleman – Struggles in coverage, but he is a playmaker at the nickel back position. The decision on Antonio Cromartie could go a long way to determining his fate. He isn’t helped by the fact that the coaching staff likely wants to give more reps to Kyle Wilson, who was a first round pick last year.

  • TOJ Votes – Bring him back.
  • TOJ Predicts – Jets let him walk to give Kyle Wilson and Marquice Cole more playing time.

James Ihedigbo – An effective blitzer in many of the Jets packages and a good special teams player, who seems to be a Rex Ryan guy.

  • TOJ Votes – Bring him back.
  • TOJ Predicts – Jets bring him back.

Nick Folk – Inconsistent at times last year but I don’t see the Jets just handing the job off to Nick Novak.

  • TOJ Votes – Bring him back.
  • TOJ Predicts – Jets bring him back.

As for Kellen Clemens, I think we all know he is gone. Perhaps if Justin McCariens didn’t have a bad day back in 2007, things would have went differently…

NBA Draft Preview: Will Knicks Make A Major Move?

A whole mess of NBA Draft Coverage

TOJ at SB Nation NY on why the lack of elite talent should make for an eventful night tomorrow

The Knicks plans for the 17 pick remain up in the air

Could the Knicks deal for a veteran point guard?

Personally, I don’t think the Knicks will make a move for a veteran point guard. I am not crazy about the thought of trading Toney Douglas for Jonny Flynn, as I think Douglas is already comfortable with the system and can the hold the fort better for another year as Chauncey Billups’ backup. Flynn has injury concerns and hasn’t been anywhere near as productive the past two years as Douglas.

Even though his scoring would be exciting, the Knicks can’t be giving up assets to move up to obtain Jimmer Fredette. They can’t afford another major defensive liability. If they are adamant about going with a scorer, I’d rather see them go with Marshon Brooks who has more potential to develop into a somewhat decent defender.

Considering their need and who will likely be available, Chris Singleton out of Florida State probably makes the most sense for the Knicks. If he is gone, I don’t have a problem with them looking to Alec Burks or Josh Selby, who Carmelo Anthony is apparently pushing very hard for as fall-backs.