The biggest concern for the Jets this Monday night is slowing down New England’s two rookie tight ends, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. I say this because of how awful the Jets have been at defending the tight end throughout the year and how productive the two players have been, including a 100 yard performance from Hernandez in week two against the Jets.
Wes Welker is obviously dangerous in the slot, but the Jets can move Darrelle Revis over to him in key third downs or even have him track Welker for the bulk of the game. Deion Branch has been very good since coming over from Seattle but is nothing Antonio Cromartie can’t handle. It is Gronkowski and Hernandez who really have the potential to keep the New England offense on the field, chewing up yards and racking up points.
The two tight ends are part of an impressive rookie class the Patriots have assembled, which is even more disconcerting considering how the Jets 2010 draft class is looking so far.
Look at the comparison –
- Corner – Devin McCourty – 61 tackles, 5 INTs, 12 PDs
- Tight End – Rob Gronkowski – 25 receptions, 310 yards, 6 TDs
- Tight End – Aaron Hernandez – 36 receptions, 462 yards, 3 TDs
- Linebacker – Brandon Spikes – 54 tackles
- Punter – Zoltan Mesko – 43.7 yards net average
- Linebacker – Jermaine Cunningham – 26 tackles, 1 sack
- Corner – Kyle Wilson – 20 tackles, 4 PDs
- Guard – Vladimir Ducasse – Inactive every week but one
- Running Back – Joe McKnight – Normally inactive, 4 carries, 12 yards
- Fullback – John Conner – 2 receptions, 9 yards
Let’s be honest, to this point Wilson, Ducasse, and McKnight have all been major disappointments. Drew Coleman has outplayed Wilson all season, who has struggled both at corner and punt returner. Ducasse was easily beaten out by Matt Slauson in training camp for the starting guard job and is the team’s 3rd backup OL behind Wayne Hunter and Robert Turner. McKnight…well, what can you even say about him? At least we have The Terminator leading the way for years to come at fullback.
You have to give the Patriots credit for putting together a strong group of selections in 2009. The last time I checked they have about 49 picks in the first 3 rounds next year, so we can only hope they will go back to drafting the Chad Jacksons and Laurence Maroneys of the world.
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