Jets Area of Strength – Linebacker

Photobucket

First a few updates:

1. I always wonder why the NBA has such a quick turn around on their draft. They give no time for the hype to build up like it does for the NFL Draft. I guess it makes sense considering only the first 10 picks are interesting and after that 3/4 of the guys never even make it in the league. However, there is always a high amount of trades and I’m sure there will be a few interesting LeBron nuggets of information coming out tonight.

2. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets) and now on YouTube (Turn On The Jets channel).

3. I had a nice wake up call from the Jets organization this morning attempting to convince me to buy season tickets. Considering I already have tickets and the salary of a blogger doesn’t cover those club-level PSL seats, I had to decline. I was thinking they were calling to offer the job of running their web-site.

Jets Area of Strength – Linebacker

We touched on one of the Jets areas of concern yesterday by talking about their running back position, so let’s cheer you back up today by talking about one of their areas of strength heading int0 2010, the linebacker position.

The Jets are returning the same four starters from the 2009 season, all of whom had a very productive seasons considering their role on the team. Second team All-Pro linebacker David Harris led the way with 127 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 2 FF, and 2 INT. Despite not being a big name around the league because he isn’t a flashy player, Harris is one of the league’s best inside linebackers and the second most important player on the Jets defense behind Darrelle Revis.

Photobucket Scott and Calvin Pace are both a touch below being Pro-Bowl caliber players. Pace racked up 8 sacks, 55 tackles, and 3 FFs in only 12 games last season. There is no reason he shouldn’t be able to crack double digit sacks in a full season of play. Scott is the vocal leader of the defense and I am not sure if I have seen a player ever run his mouth on the field more. Yet, he had a very good season in 2009 to back up his words. Scott finished with 92 tackles, 1 sack, and an impressive 11 tackles for a loss. There are few teams in the league that you could argue have a better top three linebackers than Harris, Pace, and Scott.

Bryan Thomas didn’t have flashy numbers in 2009 but is an important part of the Jets defense because of his versatility and ability to do things that don’t show up on the stat sheet. He isn’t frequently given chances to make plays in the Jets scheme but still had 53 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 TFLs, and a FF in 2009.

This off-season, the Jets added Jason Taylor which gives a huge boost to their depth. Taylor will provide a needed pass rushing threat off the bench and should see a ton of time on third downs and in the Jets nickel package. He had 7 sacks for the Dolphins last season and he came to the Jets on Rex Ryan’s promise that he could get him at least 10 this season. It is hard not to have faith in Ryan’s ability to get his players after the quarterback. Taylor will have every chance to be a 10-12 sack guy this season

The linebacker group is rounded out by two young players, who are heading in the right direction. Jamaal Westerman managed to make an impact last year as a UDFA on both defense and special teams. The coaches love his versatility and he should be involved in a few defensive packages as both an inside and outside linebacker. Kenwin Cummings has been raved about by the coaches and players as one of the MVPs of the team’s off-season program. He should provide good depth behind Scott and Harris at the inside linebacker position and could contribute in a few packages and on special teams.

The Jets also added special teams ace Lance Laury from Seattle this season to help offset the loss of Wallace Wright and Larry Izzo. He will be listed as a backup at inside linebacker but his primary job on the team will be to lead the special team units.

Turn On The Jets TV – Mini Camp

Jets Area Of Concern – Running Back

Photobucket

First a few updates:

1. Check out the new updated “About Turn On The Jets” section…and remember to follow TOJ on Facebook, Twitter, and now YouTube.

2. Take a listen to my apperance on Marty Schupak’s Green Rewind, here (http://web.me.com/greenrewind/Site/Podcasts/Podcasts.html). Marty and myself primarily talk about the Jets defense but also spend a little time on the Darrelle Revis contract situation along with a few other things.

3. An interview I read today on NYJ Scout had an interview with Dwight Lowery, with him talking about getting more reps at safety this off-season. This is a move that has frequently been talked about by fans, considering Lowery’s lack of physical abilities to play corner full time but good ball instincts. It will be interesting to see if Lowery can get a good number of reps in the nickel or dime package as a safety.

Jets Area Of Concern – Running Back

Contrary to the belief of some fans, the Jets roster isn’t perfect. Like any team in the NFL, they have multiple areas of concern throughout their roster heading into the 2010 season. Today is our first look at one of these areas, the running back position:

Shonn Greene certainly looked the part of a number one back in the wild-card and divisional round of the playoffs last season. However, don’t be fooled into thinking two games is adequate proof that Greene is ready to be a full time number one back. My concerns about him are primarily his durability, fumbling issue, and lack of hands out of the backfield. A closer look at this statistics last season, also raise questions about his ability to be a full time starter for a 16 game schedule.

PhotobucketGreene was a player who had injury issues in college and encountered similar problems in his rookie season. He missed time with an ankle injury and rib injury in the pre-season, had a banged up shoulder during the regular season, and then was knocked out of the AFC Championship with another rib injury. Obviously, not an encouraging sign considering he was far from a number one back until the playoff run, where he was knocked out after two games. How will he handle 20 carries a game for an entire regular season?

Despite only having 108 total carries in the regular season, Greene had three lost fumbles. He also lost another one in week 17 that was called back. If he gets the 331 carries Thomas Jones had last season and keeps up that type of fumble rate, it translates into 9 lost fumbles. His lack of hands was also evident in the passing game, where between the entire regular season and postseason, he only recorded 1 reception for 4 yards. Nobody is saying he has to become a major pass catching threat, but he needs to be a reliable outlet option and catch a screen pass every now and then, so it isn’t obvious when the offense could run a screen by pulling him out for LaDainian Tomlinson or Joe McKnight.

After Greene’s breakout performance against the Raiders in week 8, he followed with four concerning performances:

  • 8 carries, 18 yards, 1 lost fumble against Miami
  • 7 carries, 26 yards, against Jacksonville
  • 3 carries, -1 yards, against New England
  • 10 carries, 36 yards, against Carolina

Fortunately, he picked up his play down the stretch run of the season and began to perform with more consistency regardless of the number of carries he was getting. The main thing to remember with Greene is that the guy only had 108 regular season carries last year. It is far from a sure thing that he handle 300 plus carries and put up a 1200 yard type season. The talent is certainly there, but Greene has to stay healthy, protect the football, and become a more consistent player.

PhotobucketThe depth behind Shonn Greene is an even larger cause for concern. We all saw LaDainian Tomlinson play last season and it wasn’t pretty. He didn’t register a single 100 yard game. He only averaged more than 4 yards per carry in 2 games the entire season. He only ran for more than 70 yards in 4 games. I understand he will be playing behind a much better offensive line and he is motivated to prove he still has something left in the tank. However, the Jets would be foolish to think he can give them 12-15 carries a game on a consistent basis. Tomlinson could be a successful player for the Jets, only if he used in proper moderation. You let him spell Greene a series or two each half. You give him short yardage/goal-line carries. You throw him screen and swing passes a few times a game. Tomlinson can give them a productive 10 touches a game next year, if properly game planned. If Shonn Greene gets hurt though, they could be in big trouble.

Joe McKnight is an unproven, rookie fourth round draft pick. I think he can contribute early in the year as a pass catcher out of the backfield and in the slot. Yet, by all accounts he has a long way to go before he is ready to be counted on as a third down back or for significant numbers of carries. A Shonn Greene injury leaves the Jets with a scary prospect of splitting carries between Tomlinson and McKnight.

For a team known for their “ground and pound” approach in 2009. The Jets have an awfully high amount of questions about their running back position. They could be one injury away from very quickly becoming a pass first offense, which is an easy temptation to fall into because of their talent at receiver and tight end. Yet, forcing Mark Sanchez to throw that ball that often could lead to some ugly, turnover filled performances that don’t let the Jets defense win them football games.

New TOJ TV

LT Highlights

McKnight Highlights

Greene Highlights

12 Reasons Why The Jets Will Win 12 Games

Photobucket

First a few updates:

1. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets). Also check out the new episode of TOJ TV at the bottom…And now follow Turn On The Jets on YouTube at:

http://www.youtube.com/user/Turn0nTheJets

2. I will making an appearance on Marty Schupak’s Green Rewind Podcast tonight, I will post the link once he has it up and running.

3. The Jets signed 4th round pick Joe McKnight today. They still have to sign Kyle Wilson and Vladimir Ducasse to finish up their draft pick deals.

12 Reasons Why The Jets Will Win 12 Games

I was amazed by  how high the levels of optimism were when I was interviewing Jets fans at mini-camp practice this past week. Out of the 40 people we interviewed, not a single person put their record below 11-5. Personally, I share the optimism because I genuinely believe this is a 12 win, division winner type team this season just I like I genuinely believed they would be a 10 win, wild-card  type team last season (close enough on the win total). Am I being blinded by the fact I am a Jets fan? I don’t think so, why should I say a team that should win 12 games, shouldn’t? Here are 12 reasons, why the Jets will win 12 games in 2010

Photobucket 1. Familiar With Defensive System – This is year two in Rex Ryan’s defensive system, which means all of the returning starters will be substantially more comfortable. They were already number one in the league and now they will have the ability to expand into more complex packages and blitz schemes. The players will also be given more of a chance to freelance and create plays based on what they see from the offense.

Some quotes from Bart Scott earlier in the off-season on this issue…

“Now it’s not what the coaches can do more of, it’s what the players can do more of. Last year we were doing everything pretty much straight by the book. Now we can improvise…The only field coaches we had last year were me, Marques Douglas and Jim Leonhard.  Now you’ve got 22 people here that know the defense and can teach the defense.”

2. Improved Sanchez – I find it hard to believe after the solid postseason Mark Sanchez had, an off-season spent at the team facility, and a year of experience under his belt that he won’t improve on his 20 interceptions to 12 touchdowns from last season. The Jets won 9 games with Sanchez having a pretty awful statistical season, just imagine how many they could win if he makes the expected improvements to his touchdowns, interceptions, completion percentage, and QB rating.

3. Welcome Back – One of the top defensive lineman in the NFL will be returning to the Jets this season. They did struggle against the run at times last season, especially in the wild-card round against the Bengals but the return of Kris Jenkins should alleviate those problems. He will also provide a much better push on the pocket in passing situations.

4. First Down – The addition of Santonio Holmes will allow the Jets to run a wide variety of personnel groupings and formations with their three wide receivers, who are as good of a top three as any in the NFL. Watch for Jerricho Cotchery to become to one of the best slot receivers in the NFL on third downs this season, while all the attention is being paid to Holmes and Braylon Edwards on the outside.

5. No More Corner Problems – The Jets weak spot on defense last year was the cornerback position opposite Darelle Revis. How do you solve a problem like that? You trade for a former All-Pro corner who is one of the best overall athletes in the NFL and spend a first round pick on one of the draft’s top corners. I doubt you can name a team with four corners better than Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Kyle Wilson, and Dwight Lowery.

Photobucket6. A Mismatch NightmareThe Jets loaded receiver position and number one ranked rushing attack, makes you forget they have one of the better pass catching, and most athletic tight ends in the NFL in Dustin Keller. His regular season numbers weren’t overwhelming last season but in the playoffs, he caught a touchdown in every single game and appeared to finally be on the same page as Mark Sanchez. Keller will get plenty of favorable match-ups this season with attention focused on the Jets receivers and running backs.

7. Defensive Depth – The growth of young players Jamaal Westerman and Kenwin Cummings, along with the additions of veterans Jason Taylor and Lance Laury has given the Jets solid depth at the linebacker position. You already read about their corner depth, which is matched by quality depth at the safety position with Eric Smith, James Ihedigbo, and Donovan Warren. The defensive line could use a little more but that problem could be solved if they add Marques Douglas to the roster over the summer.

8. Safety Valve – The Jets have added two very good pass catching running backs, LaDainian Tomlinson and Joe McKnight which will benefit Mark Sanchez. Unlike previous years, the Jets screen game was nearly non-existent last season. Sanchez lacked a good outlet out of the backfield. The presence of Tomlinson and McKnight will help his completion percentage and also create some big plays in the screen game.

9. Playing For The Money – The Jets have three very, very talented players in Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes, and Antonio Cromartie playing for a contract that will secure them for the rest of their careers.

10. Safety Upgrade – Despite not having as big of a name, Brodney Pool will prove to be an upgrade for the Jets at the safety position over Kerry Rhodes, who was a major disappointment last season.

11. Offensive Line – Even with the subtraction of Alan Faneca, who was arguably the Jets fifth best lineman last year anyway, the Jets will still have a very good offensive line in 2010. Nick Mangold is an All-Pro. D’Brickashaw Ferguson is a Pro-Bowl player. Brandon Moore should have been a Pro-Bowl player last year. Damien Woody is a solid, consistent veteran. Their experience will help overcome the growing pains of Vladimir Ducasse.

12. Special Playmakers – The Jets have a serious collection of playmakers for their return game. Antonio Cromartie, Kyle Wilson, Joe McKnight, Brad Smith, Aundrae Allison, and David Clowney give Mike Westhoff plenty of options.

New TOJ TV

Jets Defense: Looking At The Bench

Photobucket

First a few updates:

1. The sun is shining a little brighter today because America’s favorite touch football team had a nice second round upset victory in their march to a title yesterday. Next stop is the AFC Championship Game and we won’t be repeating the Jets performance in that particular game this year.

2. I am not a big soccer guy, but when I sat down to eat breakfast this morning and saw Portugal put a 7-0 whooping on North Korea, it caught my attention. If there is one place you don’t want to be heading back to after losing by 7 goals in soccer, it is North Korea.

3. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets).

Jets Defense: Looking At The Bench

We basically know who the Jets starting eleven will on be on defense this season:

  • DE – Mike DeVito
  • DT – Kris Jenkins
  • DE – Shaun Ellis
  • OLB – Calvin Pace
  • ILB – David Harris
  • ILB – Bart Scott
  • OLB – Bryan Thomas
  • CB – Darrelle Revis
  • CB – Antonio Cromartie
  • S – Brodney Pool
  • S – Jim Leonhard

However, there is going to be major roles for players not listed above. After watching all that basketball over the past two months, you can’t count out the value of a solid bench. Rex Ryan loves to throw different personnel groups out there and bring in a variety of players. Here is a look at who the key players off the Jets bench should be on defense this season:

Secondary

Nickel Back – Kyle Wilson: Wilson was handed the starting nickel job on the day he was drafted. He will see plenty of action in the slot and I am guessing will quickly become one of Ryan’s favorite guys to blitz off the edge. The amount of reps Wilson plays will obviously be bumped up when the Jets play teams who like to spread it out (New England, Green Bay, Houston) but I am sure he will still be worked heavily into the game plan, even against offenses who are more run orientated.

Fourth Corner – Dwight Lowery: As a fourth guy, Lowery is a very good option. He has starting experience over the past two years. While he lacks the physical skills to be an every down starter, he has good ball anticipation skills and a knack for creating turnovers. Lowery is the type of guy who will likely see a bunch of reps in certain game plans and then be used less frequently against run heavy offenses. However, he does still have very good value as a depth player and special teams option.

Fifth Corner – Drew Coleman/Marquice Cole: I expect both of these guy to make the roster again, but only of them will probably be active on a weekly basis. Coleman has a ton of speed but has a knack for getting burnt whenever the ball is thrown at him. Cole looked pretty good last pre-season and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him leap over Coleman on the depth chart this season.

PhotobucketSafety – Eric Smith: A versatile player who became a key contributor off the bench last season. He has the ability to play both safety positions, be used in coverage on tight ends or running backs out of the backfield, and be used frequently as a blitzer off the edge. There will be some weeks where he plays near a starter’s amount of reps and some weeks where he won’t be as big as a factor. However, he is a core special teams player and a very good depth guy to have in the secondary.

Safety – James Ihedigbo: As the season went on last year, Ihedigbo gradually received a bigger role on the defense. He is a good blitzer off the edge and had a couple of sacks last season and a forced fumble. In the AFC Championship Game, he played a ton of reps for Bart Scott in the dime package. Similar to all the bench players, his number of reps will be game plan specific but I think overall you will seeing a decent amount of Ihedigbo.

Linebacker

Outside Linebacker – Jason Taylor: Taylor was brought in to provide energy to the Jets pass rush. Rex Ryan will be lining him up all over the place to get him the cleanest rush possible to the quarterback. Expect to see a ton of Taylor on third downs and when teams are in two minute mode against the Jets. He should also get some reps at defensive end in certain packages.

Outside/Inside Linebacker – Jamaal Westerman: Westerman had a nice sack in week one last year but was relatively quiet on defense after that. The coaches love his long term potential and versatility. He should find his way on to the field in a few different packages this season at both the inside and outside spot.

Inside Linebacker – Kenwin Cummings: The coaching staff has been raving about him this off-season but unless there is an injury, he shouldn’t see any type of substantial time on the defense. I could see him coming in a goal-line look when the Jets load up on defensive lineman and  linebackers or maybe if Bart Scott or David Harris need a quick break.

Defensive Line

PhotobucketDefensive Tackle/End – Sione Pouha: The Jets top defensive lineman off the bench, who will be a key player in the effort to keep Kris Jenkins fresh and healthy. Ryan could also experiment with some looks that have both Jenkins and Pouha on the field at the same time.

Defensive End – Vernon Gholston – It would be nice to get ten productive reps out of Gholston a game, to spell Shaun Ellis and Mike DeVito and to provide a boost to the pass rush.

Defensive End – Ropati Pitoitua – Similar to Gholston, it would be nice to see him contribute ten or so reps off the bench to improve the Jets defensive line depth.

Defensive Tackle/End – Matt Kroul – The coaches have hyped him up this off-season, let’s see if can turn into  Mike DeVito part two.

Overall, I would say Wilson and Pouha will get the most total reps off the bench with Taylor and Smith not too far behind. Yet, for the Jets defense to remain at the top of the league they will need all the guys listed above to settle into their roles as productive players. The Jets depth is key to throwing different schemes and personnel groups at offenses, along with keeping their starters fresh.

TOJ TV

Into The Break: Sunday Night Thoughts On Jets

Photobucket

A few Sunday night thoughts to kick off the first week of the Jets time off before training camp:

1. I am beginning to wonder if the Jets are planning on signing Mark Brunell, making him their number two quarterback, cutting Kellen Clemens and Erik Ainge, and then putting Kevin O’Connell on the practice squad. With the amount of work Brad Smith has been getting at quarterback, he could technically be their number three guy and save them a roster spot. If something happened to Sanchez, they could bump O’Connell up from the practice squad. If Ainge or O’Connell don’t step up in training camp, this idea makes plenty of sense. Why not keep another defensive back, defensive lineman, or receiver who could potentially contribute? You hear talk about the Jets defense messing around with schemes that have eight DBs on the field, so you know Rex Ryan is going to want to carry as many as possible each week.

2. It is easy for him to get lost in the shuffle a little bit with the additions around him but I think Jerricho Cotchery is going to be a lethal weapon out of the slot this season. Between the chemistry he has with Sanchez, his quickness, hands, and route-running…he is going to be converting a ton of third downs this season. His overall numbers may not be gaudy, but he will consistently be coming up with big catches when the Jets need to move the chains. If I was drafting a Jets receiver for my fantasy team this season, it would be Braylon Edwards though. You get the impression he has been particularly locked in this off-season and he lit it up in OTAs and minicamp. The guy is in a contract year and he is still trying to prove that 17 touchdown season wasn’t a fluke. Beyond that, he needs to score as soon as possible so he could shave that beard he has going on right now.

3. I am really fascinated to see how the reps on defense are going to be divided up and how the touches on offense are going to be divided up. On defense, you know Ryan is going to be itching to get his defensive backs off the bench and into the game. Yet when Kyle Wilson, Eric Smith, James Ihedigbo, Dwight Lowery, or Drew Coleman come in off the bench, who will be sitting the bulk of those reps out? How many times will the Jets slide Jason Taylor down to the defensive line in a three point stance? How often will be they put Sione Pouha in at nose tackle and bump Kris Jenkins out to defensive end? If you think about, the Jets could really come up with some interesting personnel combinations with their current depth chart.

On offense, it is really mind-boggling to go over the combinations, personnel groups, and formations the Jets could use, especially now with Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards learning all three receiver sports. You have three wide receivers, a tight end, and two running backs (Tomlinson and McKnight) who could basically line up anywhere in the set. One of the funnier things i noticed at minicamp was the Jets had 4 wide set out there, with a single back. So they have Edwards split out to one side, with Cotchery in the slot. Keller in the slot on the other side of the field, Tomlinson in the backfield releasing on a quick out but split out wide on Keller’s side, they have Matthew Mulligan (filling in for Ben Hartsock as the number two tight end). You know Mulligan was looking in and thinking “there is no way I am getting this ball, why should I even bother running a route.”

Watch That New TOJ TV…That Intro Has To Get You Pumped

A Video That Only Enhances Your Hate Of Both Our Rivals

New TOJ TV: Live Footage From Jets Minicamp

Photobucket

First a few updates:

1. Congrats to the Lakers on repeating as NBA Champions. I thoroughly enjoyed the Celtics choking and blowing a 13 point second half lead. Don’t compare LeBron to Kobe. Kobe has five championships. However, please still come to New York, LeBron.

New TOJ TV: Live Footage From Jets Minicamp

Enjoy our new episode of TOJ TV, featuring a terrific new intro, footage of the new stadium, minicamp practice, interviews with numerous Jets fans, and much more. Special thanks to Damien Woody’s entire family for shouting out Turn On The Jets at the end of the video:

A Closer Look At The Jets Defensive Line

Photobucket

First a few updates:

1. I have to say I am feeling pretty good about the Lakers taking game 7 tonight.  The Celtics are going to have a tough time getting over the Perkins injury and the Lakers obviously have the advantage of playing at home. It will be a tight game but in the end, I think the Lakers will escape with the title.

2. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets)…live NBA Finals commentary starting at 9 PM tonight.

3. The Jets are now on break until July 29th when the rookies report for training camp. The veterans report on August 1st. Hard Knocks starts on August 11th. This means there were will a downturn in the amounts of coverage they receive from the beat writers, unless there is an article on somebody’s contract negotiations or it is Manish Mehta, who is beat writing beast these days. However, TOJ will be in full swing the next six weeks, with the normal amount of articles and coverage. We are in the process of getting a press pass for training camp and pre-season and working on a few more interviews.

A Closer Look At The Jets Defensive Line

The general consensus for the weakest spot on an otherwise loaded Jets roster is the defensive line position. Outside of Kris Jenkins returning from injury and Vernon Gholston moving to defensive end from outside linebacker, the Jets haven’t made any major additions to the group from last year. They also let defensive end Marques Douglas walk, who was a productive starter for them last season. Here is a look at what the Jets will more than likely head into the 2010 season with:

The Starters

Defensive End – Shaun Ellis – Despite getting up there in age, Ellis had a good overall season in 2009. He finished with 53 tackles and 6.5 sacks, which is a solid number for a 3-4 defensive end. He is the longest-tenured player on the team and a valuable leader in the locker room. His primary value on the field comes from his ability to play both the run and the pass at a relatively high level. The Jets do need a long term replacement for him and this might very well be his last season in green and white. However, Ellis should be fine this year in a starting role and post numbers similar to the ones he did in 2009, when he only played in 15 games because of a suspension.

PhotobucketDefensive End – Mike DeVito – A guy who has worked his way up from a UDFA, to a reserve, to a rotational player, and now to a starter. DeVito had his best season in 2009 with 28 tackles and 1 TFL. He has a reputation for being one of the strongest players on the team and Rex Ryan likes his ability to stop the run. The Jets apparently believe DeVito can give them what Douglas gave them last season (64 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 4 TFLs) if he is given a full time starting role. It remains to be seen if that is the case, but at worst DeVito should be a steady player against the run.

Nose Tackle – Kris Jenkins – Jenkins was a dominant pro-bowl player in 2008 but had his 2009 season cut short by a torn ACL in week 6. He has worked his way back to participate in minicamp the past three days, but the Jets will be very cautious with his reps this season to get the most out of him. He ran out of steam towards the end of 2008 and the team needs him fresh for the stretch run and the playoffs. Jenkins obviously has the ability to be one of the best defensive lineman in the league when healthy and properly rested. Hopefully, the Jets will get the Jenkins from the first 12 games of 2008 for an entire season in 2010. If they do, the defensive line won’t be considered a weakness.

The Backups

Nose Tackle – Sione Pouha –Pouha had a terrific season last year filling in for Kris Jenkins after his injury. He finished with 45 tackles and 3 TFLs and was stout against the run. The Jets will rely on him to spell Jenkins frequently this season to help keep him fresh. Don’t be surprised if the Jets also use looks on defense that have Pouha and Jenkins on the field at the same time, with one of them sliding to defensive end. Pouha is the team’s top backup and should see near a starter’s amount of reps off the bench.

Defensive End – Vernon Gholston – The first round bust at outside linebacker has now been moved to defensive end. Gholston has the strength and size to be a productive end in the 3-4 system, but it remains to be seen whether he can successfully make the transition. The Jets would likely be satisfied if he became an adequate rotational player, who does a good job against the run and can provide some energy to the pass rush…not exactly what you want to be hoping for from the #6 overall player in the draft, but it is better than nothing.

Defensive End – Ropati Pitoitua – A guy with ridiculous size (6 foot 8, 310 pounds) who worked his way into the rotation for a couple of games last season. The Jets are hoping he can develop into a reliable player off the bench, similar to how DeVito did last year. It would be a nice boost to the Jets depth if Pitoitua can give them more than 3 tackles this season.

Defensive End/Defensive Tackle – Matt Kroul – Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has raved about Kroul this off-season and basically made it sound like he was a guaranteed roster player. Kroul is a UDFA heading into his second year, who spent his first season on the practice squad. It sounds like he will be given every chance to be a rotational player this season.

Defensive End – Rodrique Wright – The Jets added Wright this off-season who was a seventh round pick of the Miami Dolphins in 2006. Wright spent most of his time there inactive or injured, but did actually see action in the team’s playoff game against the Ravens a few years ago. He will be battling for a roster spot with Kroul and Pitoitua.

 Collection of Non-Football Jets D-Line Highlights

April Fools Joke

Don’t Ever Throw Snow At Shaun Ellis

Don’t Ever Taunt Kris Jenkins

Wednesday Minicamp Review: A Day At The New Stadium

Photobucket

First a few updates:

1. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets)…There is no logical reason for you not to do it.

2. Game 7 here we come…should be fun. I was little surprised at the extent Boston just laid down and died last night.

3. Another thank you to David Clowney and Donovan Warren for taking the time to do interviews with Turn On The Jets. We are working on future interviews with Jerricho Cotchery, Dustin Keller, and James Ihedigbo.

Wednesday Minicamp Review: A Day At The New Stadium

Our video producer, James Corbett and myself made the trip out to the New Meadowlands Stadium today for minicamp. We arrived about 15 minutes late for the 11:30 practice, and the first thing I noticed was how many people had turned out for a Wednesday morning. There were people in full tailgate mode and I can’t argue with finding an excuse to play beer pong in a parking lot on a Wednesday morning in June. As usual, there was plenty of energy from the fans. The new stadium is enormous compared to the old one.

I doubt it will be like this on game days, but they had it set up that you could basically walk right up behind the sideline at the ground level and watch behind a small fence. You could literally stand about 10 yards from the field. We pushed to the front and got a spot right in front of the defensive back drills, where Darrelle Revis was receiving plenty of support. There were constant “Please Pay Revis” chants and a bunch of signs saying “Pay Revis.” Antonio Cromartie is huge in person. He either bulked up or the television makes him look skinnier than he really is. He was getting a ton of love from the fans and turned about five times to wave to everybody.

PhotobucketWe then relocated to seats on the 50 yard line for 11 on 11 drills. Sanchez hit Braylon on dig route but then had to run a penalty lap because half of the offensive line jumped offsides. Kellen Clemens came in and promptly threw an interception on a deep ball to Antonio Cromartie who had a long run back and looks scary elusive in the open field. Later in the 11 on 11s, Sanchez hit Cotchery on a nice deep crossing route, where he beat Kyle Wilson.

A few other observations, from that period: Brad Smith is getting a ton of work at quarterback and he isn’t just running Wildcat stuff. He was basically the number two today and received more reps than Clemens, Kevin O’Connell, and Erik Ainge (who barely played and appears to be falling behind O’Connell). Smith actually had a few nice throws, including hitting a deep in route to Marcus Henry. He also ran a few options with Danny Woodhead. Another guy who impressed me was receiver Larry Taylor. He is a small, shifty guy who looked very good out of the slot.

The Jets then moved to 7 on 7s. The first thing to notice is how many different looks the Jets can run with their personnel. Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes, and Jerricho Cotchery were being moved all over the place. When the Jets go to three wide, Cotchery primarily works out of the slot. However, Braylon was being sent in motion frequently. The Jets were also showing plenty of looks with Keller split out, and Joe McKnight or LaDainian Tomlinson in the slot.

During this period, Brodney Pool and Darrelle Revis had nice pass breakups. Dustin Keller just beat Bart Scott for a short touchdown. LaDainian Tomlinson had a pretty grab out of the backfield that he took in for a 20 yard touchdown. When the backups were in, James Ihedigbo broke up a corner route to rookie tight end Jeff Cumberland, who looked pretty good out there, right in front of us.

In the last 11 on 11 drills, Cotchery had a rare drop but was consoled by Sanchez right as a plane flew over, which said “Happy Birthday Jerricho.” All of the fans sang a few verses of Happy Birthday to J-Co, who turned and waved. The Jets also ran their patented sideline comeback to Cotchery but Revis was all over him and broke it up, which was followed by another “Please Pay Revis” chant.

At the end of the practice, the entire team took a lap to high five the fans. We got some great footage of this as the new episode of TOJ TV will show. On the way out, we got some interviews with fans and funny enough got an interview with Damien Woody’s whole family by accident. We were simply approaching fans asking what they thought the team’s record would be, so we approached Woody’s wife and kids (unknown to us). They answered our questions and shouted out the site, when I complimented his son’s jersey (a Titans white Woody jersey), she said “well we better be Woody fans, I am his wife.” So that was interesting.

Finally, we drove by the player exit and caught Jason Taylor walking out. Nobody has hated on Taylor more than me, but I give him credit for taking his time and signing every single person’s autograph and taking about 35 pictures. Good work JT. (And no I didn’t ask for an autograph, but Corbett did get good footage of him).

Some other loose-end observations: Dwight Lowery was particularly active and had some nice pass break-ups…John Conner is quicker than I expected…Joe McKnight looked like he is going to be a serious weapon out of the slot…Brian Schottenheimer is loud…Nick Mangold got some reps at safety against the second offense and had a few nice blitzes off the edge…Braylon Edwards beard is nasty looking but Edwards was the most impressive offensive player on the field by a good margin.

Anyway, that was it. Keep an eye for new TOJ TV, which will have great footage of the new stadium, practice, and plenty more.

Get Hyped For This Season

Turn On The Jets Exclusive Interview: Donovan Warren

Photobucket

Turn On The Jets Exclusive Interview: Donovan Warren

One of the first moves by the Jets after the draft was pouncing on undrafted free agent Donovan Warren from Michigan. Originally projected to be a mid round pick by draft pundits, Warren fell down draft boards when an ankle injury led to a slow 40 time at the NFL Combine. However, Warren was one of the top cornerbacks in the Big Ten last season and has a very good chance to stick on the Jets roster as a safety, where he has been working since joining the team.  His godfather, Mark Carrier is an assistant on the Jets coaching staff, helping his transition to the NFL.

TOJ: How much personal motivation do you have to prove all the teams who passed on you in the NFL Draft wrong?

Warren: It is a lot of motivation to just go out everyday and work hard. It will motivate me to keep working hard and get the opportunity to show that I am something special.

TOJ: Do you think there is too much of an emphasis on combine workouts, instead of focusing on a player’s production on the field?

Warren: Yea, I feel as if there is a lot of emphasis on workouts but it is just part of the business. It is what it is. When the pads get on and your on the field it is football. Football is football and not everyone has the chance to play at this high of a level.

TOJ: Even though you were a UDFA, you appear to have come into a very good situation. Your godfather is an assistant coach with the team, your physical style of play fits well with Rex Ryan’s scheme, and it has been well documented that Ryan loves his defensive backs and loves to carry as many as possible on the roster. How excited are you to be part of this defense and what can you bring to it?

Warren: Yea I feel as though the coaches and players on the team have the right mindset, just going on chipping away day by day. I am blessed to be in this position and I am taking advantage daily.

TOJ: After spending the overwhelming majority of your time in college at corner, you have primarily been working at safety since joining the team, what is your comfort level at this position?

Warren: Yea, it is very different. I am just learning the daily nuisances of the position and trying to soak in as much as possible from my teammates and coaches around me.

TOJ: Can you talk about how big of a help Jim Leonhard has been in your transition to the NFL and if he is inspirational considering he was a UDFA and now is a starter and one of the leaders of the NFL’s best defense?

Warren: As for Jim Leonhard, he is an inspiration coming up as an undrafted free agent and just someone who I can relate to on the same team.

TOJ: What can you bring to the Jets on special teams?

Warren: On special teams, I am willing to do whatever it is to help this team get to the Superbowl and make history.

Pro Draft Party Warren Draft Tape

Post-Game Interview

Tuesday Minicamp Review: Defense Still Ahead of Offense

Photobucket

First a few updates:

1. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets). Also if you make it out to practice tomorrow keep an eye out for TOJ TV, we will be interviewing fans and getting footage of practice. What Jets fan doesn’t want to make a guest appearance on TOJ TV?

Photobucket2. A quick comment on Darrelle Revis since I caught some flak for being critical of him yesterday…I have always been in favor of paying Revis (look no further than an article I wrote last week called “Pay The Man” with a huge picture of Revis on top). However, I didn’t like the mini protest by walking off the practice field. If you are going to show up to practice, you go 100 percent. I also didn’t like the feed my family comments for obvious reasons. I just think the more Revis has talked the worse he has come off, especially while the Jets are making him the number one priority in negotiations with fellow All-Pro players Nick Mangold and David Harris having one year left on their deal.

Tuesday Minicamp Review: Defense Still Ahead of Offense

The impression you got from reading the notes on today’s practice was that there were ton of defensive players making big plays. Yes, Santonio Holmes made a ridiculous touchdown catch down the sideline to end a two minute drill and LaDainian Tomlinson also had a nice sideline grab (you can see the footage from practice on the TOJ Facebook Page). However, Mark Sanchez didn’t have a good overall day. His final stats in the morning practice were 7/17 with a TD and INT. There is no need to panic since it is June, Sanchez is still young, and he is going against the best defense in the NFL…

Speaking of that defense, they were all over the place today. Kyle Wilson pulled in his first interception in team drills. Turn On The Jets favorite for best new addition to the team, Brodney Pool, recorded two interceptions and had a bunch of passes defensed. Dwight Lowery had a pick six. Darrelle Revis broke up a deep ball for Braylon Edwards and later had a pick six. Marquice Cole had an interception. Kris Jenkins and Bart Scott were yapping with excessive amounts of trash talk, even for them.

PhotobucketI know everybody is excited about the Jets offense with the addition of Holmes and Tomlinson, along with Sanchez being a year older but let’s not forget about how good the Jets defense could be this year. They were already number one in the NFL last year and it was the first year in Rex Ryan’s system. Now, the overwhelming majority of starters and key reserves are experienced in his defense. Beyond that, Antonio Cromartie is going to be an upgrade over Lito Sheppard at the #2 corner. Kyle Wilson is going to be an upgrade over Dwight Lowery as the #3 corner. Dwight Lowery is going to be an upgrade over Drew Coleman as the #4 corner. Brodney Pool is going to be an upgrade over Kerry Rhodes. Jason Taylor is going to upgrade the depth at linebacker, along with the continued improvements of players like Kenwin Cummings and Jamaal Westerman.

Oh and Kris Jenkins is also coming back to the defensive line…The pieces are in place for them to have an historically great defense. I don’t say that lightly either. There is a legit All-Pro caliber player at all three levels (Jenkins, Harris, Revis). A player two seasons removed from being an All-Pro (Cromartie). A player three seasons removed from being Defensive Player of the Year (Taylor). Two linebackers with borderline pro-bowl talent (Scott and Pace). A group of quality veterans who are consistent (Leonhard, Ellis, B. Thomas). Finally, they have a first round talent at corner. starting out as their nickel back.

Rex Ryan must be salivating at the thought of the schemes he can come up with for these guys. Hopefully, he is only salivating at that or he won’t be winning that weight loss contest.

Jets Defensive Highlights From Last Year