Jets Training Camp: Five Things We Learned In Cortland

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A few highlights from this morning –

  • The defense dominated practice. Mark Sanchez struggled, going 5/11 with an INT, which was picked off by David Harris. Jason Taylor also swatted a pass up in the air and into the arms of D’Brickashaw Ferguson.
  • Nick Folk went 5/5 today, including making a 56 yarder.
  • Mark Brunell and Laveranues Coles hooked up 3 times in the two minute drill for the second offense. When is the last time you hear about David Clowney doing anything?
  • Jim Leonhard recorded a sack. Kyle Wilson and Dwight Lowery both had passes defensed against the first offense.
  • Sanchez and Braylon Edwards hooked up for a 55 yard bomb down the sideline.
  • Donovan Warren didn’t practice today, due to a head injury.
  • Rookie corner Brian Jackson was tied to the goalpost after practice and had two buckets of Gatorade dumped on him. The reason? Apparently, he complained to defensive backs coach Dennis Thurman about how he was being used in the defense.
  • Jamaal Westerman, Kenwin Cummings, and Matt Kroul all sat out practice as a reward for winning an “Iron Jet” award this off-season.
  • Rookie show and King Ugly contest in Jets camp tonight.
  • Expect to see plenty of Mark Brunell and Laveranues Coles on Saturday night.

Five Things We Learned In Cortland

After tonight’s practice the Jets will be packing it up and heading out of Cortland, New York. Next week they will have practices at their Florham Park facility and out at Hofstra.

Photobucket1. Tale of Two Rookie Running Backs – The Jets selected halfback Joe McKnight in the fourth round and fullback John Conner in the fifth round of this year’s NFL Draft. Most people assumed McKnight would move into a Leon Washington type role on the team, while Conner spent a year learning behind Tony Richardson. Yet, both players have made a distinctly different impression so far in training camp. Conner has quickly become a favorite of the coaching staff because of his physicality and now appears likely to be the opening day starter at fullback. McKnight has disappointed the coaching staff with his hesitancy to run inside and his attitude. If the Jets are going by on-field production, McKnight doesn’t deserve to be on the active roster as of right now.

2. The Underdog – Most people, including myself, believed Vladimir Ducasse would end up being the starting left guard on opening day. Shame on me for sleeping on Matt Slauson who has built a comfortable lead over Ducasse in the battle to replace Alan Faneca. The coaches love how physical Slauson has been playing and he obviously already had a jump on knowing the offense. I will be interested to see if the Jets begin grooming Ducasse to replace Damien Woody at right tackle, if he doesn’t end up beating out Slauson.

3. Thumbs Up On The Kyle Wilson Selection I guess there could be some propaganda behind the coaching staff hyping up Kyle Wilson but every report out of camp is that he looks like a seasoned veteran out there. Most importantly, he is demonstrating a strong knowledge of the defense and is very coachable. Could you imagine the luxury of having him in the nickel role, with Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie in front of him? We have also learned that Dwight Lowery hasn’t shaken off the AFC Championship Game yet and that Drew Coleman still can’t cover anybody.

4. Good RecoveriesKris Jenkins appears to be his old self after season ending ACL surgery last year, which is obviously a major boost to the Jets defense. Mark Sanchez hasn’t shown any signs of being slowed down by his off-season surgery either. I certainly hope Sanchez can keep building on his performance against the Giants, where outside of an early interception, he demonstrated accuracy, the ability to spread the ball around, and complete control of the offense.

5. Good Camp/Bad Camp –

  • Good – Antonio Cromartie, Braylon Edwards, LaDainian Tomlinson, Kyle Wilson, John Conner, Nick Folk, Kenwin Cummings, Jeff Cumberland, Matt Slauson, Dustin Keller, Santonio Holmes, Aundrae Allison, Danny Woodhead, Vernon Gholston
  • Bad – Dwight Lowery, Marquice Cole, Drew Coleman, Joe McKnight, David Clowney, Kevin O’Connell, Donovan Warren, Vlad Ducasse, Chauncey Washington

Jets Week 2 Training Camp Wrap-Up

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First a few updates:

1. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (@TurnOnTheJets). Also, you can now reach us via e-mail at JCaporoso@fanball.com…we are getting official over here.

Jets Week 2 Training Camp Wrap-Up

Two weeks are in the books in Cortland, New York for the Jets as they are now preparing for their pre-season opener against the suddenly chatty New York Giants tomorrow night. Here is a review of the highlights of the week, along with a recap of  how the rest of the AFC East did in their first pre-season game:

New York Jets

The Jets are going into tomorrow’s game nearly 100 percent healthy. Only reserve linebackers Josh Mauga and Brashton Satele wont’t play. Of course that Revis guy also won’t be on the field. We can only hope the Jets are doing an elaborate PR stunt and he will come running out of the tunnel with the defensive starters. Peter King will be writing about the Revis situation extensively in his MMQB column tomorrow so keep an eye out for that. I think Revis will end up signing before the third pre-season game. He won’t be able to take too many more episodes of Hard Knocks and the Jets won’t be able to stomach watching anybody catch a pass on their starting corners, without thinking “well if Revis was here…” Remember the Jets open the season with Anquan Boldin, Randy Moss, and Brandon Marshall.

On offense, the Jets have released guard Marion Davis and replaced him with Chet Teofilo. Matt Slauson will begin the game as the starting left guard. Vladimir Ducasse should also get a shot with the first offense, which is expected to play the entire first quarter and maybe a series into the second quarter. It sounds like it is a foregone conclusion Slauson will end up being the starting guard, unless he craps the bed tomorrow night. Rex Ryan said Slauson has the potential to be the long term answer at LG, which could mean Ducasse could start being groomed to replace Damien Woody at right tackle.

The Jets have begun expanding their “Wildcat” package past Brad Smith to include LaDainian Tomlinson under center in the “Wild Horn Frog.” It sounds like Tomlinson will be the running back to open the game tomorrow night, which doesn’t really much. Shonn Greene is going to be the guy who is taking the majority of the carries when the regular season kicks off. I am interested to see how Tomlinson, who everyone has been raving about this August, looks tomorrow night. Also, if the Jets get into a goal-line situation, who will get the carries?

Judging from everything I read since camp started, Aundrae Allison and Marcus Henry have put together a better two weeks than David Clowney and Laveranues Coles. Clowney and Coles will have the first shot tomorrow to work behind the Jets big three at receiver, but they could use a little production before Allison and Henry start really pushing for their roster spots. Finally, I have a feeling Brian Schottenheimer is going to be dialing up an early deep ball to either Santonio Holmes or Braylon Edwards tomorrow.

PhotobucketOn defense, Kyle Wilson has continued to impress at cornerback while Dwight Lowery has been tumbling down the depth chart. Marquice Cole has been seeing extended action with the first and second team, on both the outside and in the slot. Ryan is also high on rookie UDFA, corner Brian Jackson. New acquisitions, Jason Taylor and Brodney Pool, have began to flash more in practice, while UDFA safety Donovan Warren has been struggling heavily. With the injuries to Mauga and Satele, inside linebackers Kenwin Cummings and Lance Laury should see a ton of reps behind David Harris and Bart Scott tomorrow. Rex Ryan has continued to effusively praise Vernon Gholston at defensive end, let’s see if he can make an impact in a game situation.

Buffalo Bills

Poor Buffalo. Their top two running backs, Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson are going to miss the rest of the pre-season, and in Jackson’s case maybe a little more. Buffalo took a healthy 42-17 whipping from the Washington Redskins the other night. Trent Edwards played relatively well and has all but locked down the starting quarterback position.

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins beat the Tampa Bay Bucs in their rainy, pre-season opener. However, their first defense did allow the Bucs to score on them. Considering Tampa’s talent level on offense, that can’t be an encouraging sign for the Dolphins defense. Chad Henne went 5/11 for 19 yards, while Brandon Marshall dropped two passes. Miami had a punt blocked.

New England Patriots

The Patriots have lost defensive lineman Ty Warren for the season with a hip injury. Julian Edelman looked good in the Patriots opener against the Saints, with 6 receptions for 90 yards. BenJarvus Green-Ellis started at running back for New England. Torry Holt has been placed on injured reserve with a leg injury. Rookie Devin McCourty started at corner opposite Leigh Bodden.

Jets Friday Afternoon Recap & The High Comedy Of Jealous Giants Fans

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A few highlights from this afternoon’s practice:

  • Sounds like Mark Brunell had a quality day at the office and could be well on his way to burying Kellen Clemens on the depth chart or knocking him off the roster. I have been anti-Brunell as the #2 all off-season but maybe the old veteran will prove me wrong. I am interested to see how he plays in extended action during the pre-season. He hit Santonio Holmes on a couple of long completions today and also had a nice connection with Dustin Keller.
  • Joe McKnight and Aundrae Allison were working alongside Kyle Wilson on returning punts. The Jets haven’t had an explosive punt returner in a long time, which makes the addition of Wilson a little extra exciting. It is always risky to have a rookie back there, though.
  • Throughout camp Mark Sanchez and Dustin Keller have been on the same page and have connected for a high amount of completions. Keller was a slight disappointment during the regular season in 2009 but much of that had to do with Sanchez’s struggles. We saw what this combination could do in the playoffs last year.
  • Marty Schottenheimer was in attendance today.
  • More Matt Slauson with the starters at LG.

A reminder the Jets will have their annual Green and White scrimmage tomorrow night at 6 PM. I will have a preview of the scrimmage either tomorrow morning or afternoon, followed by a recap on Sunday.

The High Comedy Of Jealous Giants Fans

I don’t know if fellow Jets fans have experienced the same increased bitterness towards their team from Giants fans this off-season as I have, but personally it has been overwhelming. Look at this recent post I had left on my Facebook wall:

I’m writing this to you as a wake up call to not only you but to all JETS fans that are acting like they already won the Superbowl when they haven’t won jack in our lifetimes. (You know the game that makes you the best team in the NFL for a single season like the NY Giants when they defeated the Patriots) I thought you should watch this video as a reminder that even after all the big name signings and TV contracts I want you to remember at the end of the day its the JETS and they’ll find a way to f— it up. (Note the video was the infamous ‘Jets Draft Blunders’)

I have seen plenty of this, along with hearing Giants players like Brandon “tip-toe” Jacobs and Justin Tuck take shots at the Jets this off-season. I have to say I find it very entertaining, not quite as entertaining as a Rex Ryan press conference, but close enough. We get it Giants fans, the Jets haven’t won a Super Bowl since 1969 and you guys won just two years ago. So, why do you care so much about the Jets dominating the headlines and receiving more national coverage than the Giants? Just worry about your team, their subpar defense, declining offensive line, and laundry list of injuries. There is no reason to be angry that Giants Stadium is now a pile of dust and the Jets are primed to make the New Meadowlands their own because they built a team on running the football and defense, the same things that won the G-Men three Super Bowls, and the same things they can no longer do.

By the way, the Giants also showed a ton of heart last season in those final two games.

Jets Thursday Training Camp Round-Up

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Some assorted thoughts on Jets training camp as we head towards the weekend –

First off, a friendly reminder to follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets).

The Jets early practice was cut short by rain this morning and they only had a special teams session in the afternoon. Hence, the normal avalanche of information about specific plays in practice wasn’t released today, however here is a run down of the biggest headlines:

  • Joe Namath graced the organization with his presence today and was quick to pronounce his belief the Jets were poised to win the Super Bowl. For some reason this was reported as a major story. I am not sure it is so shocking that a Jets legend who is involved in working with the organization is going to say he is confident the Jets will be really good in 2010. It is about as surprising as Rex Ryan saying he thinks the Jets will have the best defense in the NFL, which he says about 11 times a day.
  • Kris Jenkins had a scare today when he took a shot to his leg and admitted he had a similar feeling to when he tore his ligaments last year. However, everything held together and he said surviving that shot has boosted his confidence about the strength of his leg heading into this season. I would still expect Jenkins to have very limited reps in the pre-season. It will also be interesting to see the amount of playing time Jenkins gets in the beginning of the regular season as the Jets attempt to keep him fresh for the stretch run. Sione Pouha is a more than capable back-up, who can provide a high amount of quality reps off the bench.
  • Linebacker Brashton Satele’s injury isn’t that serious and he should be back at practice within in the next few days.
  • Steve Weatherford was rested for this afternoon’s special teams practice. Apparently punter TJ Conley has improved substantially from last season but it sounds like Weatherford still has a very strong hold on the job.
  • Mike Westhoff announced today that Kyle Wilson will be the Jets primary punt returner and Brad Smith will be the primary kick returner heading into the pre-season. I would still expect to see some Jim Leonhard on punt return for certain situations, along with Antonio Cromartie getting a few reps occasionally at both punt returner and kick returner. Aundrae Allison or Joe McKnight should also get some reps in the pre-season to be given a chance to make an impression.
  • Rex Ryan signed the Jets logo on Adam Schefter’s ESPN training camp tour bus “Soon To Be Champs.”…you have to love the big guy.

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  • From listening to every single interview on WFAN and ESPN Radio today at Jets camp (I was stuck working construction)…it sounds like there has been no tangible progress on the Revis deal and we should all be settling in for a long wait. In the meantime, Revis has been pairing up with old his buddy Chad Ochocino Johnson to work on the OCNN Network. All of his teammates said all the right things about supporting his decision and believing the team could be fine without him, while he sorts out his contract situation. Overall, I would say Rex Ryan has absolutely made his imprint across this roster. The confidence across the board from all the players is extremely encouraging.
  • It continues to sound like Matt Slauson has a very good shot of beating out rookie Vladimir Ducasse for the starting left guard position.

The Jets have a practice at 8:20 and 4:20 tomorrow and then have their annual Green and White scrimmage on Saturday at 6 PM.

A Few Shovel Fulls of TOJ TV

Jets Practice #4 Recap & Thoughts On Offensive Depth Chart

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Practice #4 Recap

The Good – LaDainian Tomlinson beating David Harris on a slant route and taking it all the way to the end-zone. Mark Sanchez drawing Kris Jenkins off-sides. Joe McKnight holding his own against Bart Scott in pass protection drills. John Conner getting another big hit in, this time on Calvin Pace. Braylon Edwards beating Dwight Lowery for a 20 yard touchdown in 7 on 7 drills. Sanchez squeezing one down the seam to Jerricho Cotchery for a touchdown. Kyle Wilson getting his first interception of camp, when he picked off a Mark Brunell pass headed towards David Clowney. Aundrae Allison catching a long touchdown from Kevin O’Connell. Antonio Cromartie pulling in two more interceptions from Sanchez.

The Bad – Dwight Lowery getting beat for a touchdown, where is our Island? Joe McKnight had yet another drop today. Mark Sanchez was picked off  twice by Antonio Cromartie in 11 on 11s. Kellen Clemens was picked off by Drew Coleman. Mark Brunell was picked off by Kyle Wilson. Sanchez botched a pitch to LaDainian Tomlinson. Nick Folk missing a 35 yard and 40 yard field goal.

Play of the Day – Braylon Edwards out jumped Antonio Cromartie for a one-handed reception that set up the game winning field goal in the two minute drill.

PhotobucketPlayer Who Helped Himself – John Conner is catching everybody’s attention at least once every practice. He might end up with a bigger role on the offense than Joe McKnight and his pan hands.  Antonio Cromartie has interceptions two consecutive days and from all accounts has put together a very good few days to start camp.

Player Who Hurt Himself – Mark Sanchez hasn’t gotten off to the best start this summer. His completion numbers have been a little disappointing and he has thrown a few interceptions over the past couple of practices.

Sanchez Stats – 8/17, 2 INTs in 11 on 11s (both INTs by Cromartie)…thanks to Manish Mehta for the numbers.

Folk Stats – 6/8 (1 miss from 35 yards and 1 miss from 40 yards)

Roster Moves – Kris Jenkins was taken off the Active/PUP list and was back to practice. Don’t expect to see Erik Ainge anytime soon, since it was reported that he has been checked into a drug treatment/rehab facility. Ainge was suspended four games in 2008 for substance abuse. Kellen Clemens is back to practicing 100 percent. Santonio Holmes has to pass his conditioning test this morning and then is expected on the field this afternoon.

Injury – Shaun Ellis sat out of practice today because the coaches advised him to take a day off.

Depth Chart – John Conner saw some reps with the first team offense at fullback. Matt Slauson was back to working as the starting left guard. Ropati Pitoitua and Vernon Gholston both received first team reps at defensive end, as did Jason Taylor.

Rex Ryan Press Conference Highlights –

  • Called today the “Cromartie and Braylon Edwards” show.
  • Santonio Holmes will have to pass his conditioning test after his suspension and will be a full go in this afternoon’s practice.
  • Praised punter Steve Weatherford’s work this off-season, including his holding.
  • Said he hasn’t noticed the Hard Knocks cameras in meetings and that they have been discreet.
  • He praised Antonio Cromartie’s desire to learn how to do things “the Jets way.”
  • Jim Leonhard is the top “hands” option as a punt returner, meaning if there is any poor weather conditions he would be placed back there. However, he said the coaching staff wants Kyle Wilson to win the full time job.

Revis Update – In an interview yesterday, Peter King of SI said he believed Revis had more leverage than the Jets and that a deal wouldn’t be finalized until around Labor Day.

Thoughts On Offensive Depth Chart

It sounds like Matt Slauson has a much better chance at winning the starting left guard job  than most people (including myself) originally gave him. He has been rotating every practice with Vladimir Ducasse and got the nod in the Jets first practice. Rich Cimini of ESPN New York gave him a slight edge when asked about the battle. If Slauson does happen to win the job, it will be interesting to see if the Jets spend the season grooming Ducasse to replace Damien Woody at right tackle in 2011. Ducasse could also be given a role in some of the Jets short yardage packages, similar to Robert Turner and Wayne Hunter.

Photobucket Tomlinson is off to a strong start in camp and has been receiving a good amount of reps with the first team offense. I still don’t buy him competing with Shonn Greene for the starting job but he will get plenty of work in the pre-season to show the Jets he still has the necessary burst. Tomlinson is probably looking at 9-13 touches a game until Joe McKnight gets his act together and can become a bigger part of the offense. Also in the backfield, it sounds like John Conner is having one of the most impressive overall camps so far. He may actually carve out a little role for himself in the offense this year in certain situations or if he keeps playing so well, is it possible the Jets could release Tony Richardson at some point this summer? Going back to McKnight, if he keeps struggling it only increases the chances of Danny Woodhead sticking on the roster.

Santonio Holmes returns to the practice field this afternoon. I am anxious to hear about where Brian Schottenheimer is lining him up and if the Jets are trotting out any four and five receiver sets. There hasn’t been much talk about the Jets using their “Tiger” formation yet, however they could just be waiting until the more basic offensive installation is done.

Jets are back on the practice field at 4:20.

Jets Training Camp Sleepers

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Jets training camp sleepers for 2010, since I should still be sleeping at this time on a Saturday morning:

Aundrae Allison – I am a fan of David Clowney but I think Allison could make a run at the last roster spot at receiver. After the signing of Laveranues Coles, it is pretty clear the Jets weren’t looking for Clowney to see much time at receiver anyway, which means any receiver that makes the roster after Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, Santonio Holmes, Laveranues Coles, and Brad Smith has to be a big time special teams contributor. Allison was a very good kick returner for the Minnesota Vikings in 2007 and similar to Clowney has terrific speed. If Allison breaks a few big returns in the pre-season, he could end up on the Jets final 53.

Jeff Cumberland – Signed by the Jets as a UDFA, after a very quiet senior year at Illinois, the 6’4 250 pound Cumberland showed potential in mini-camp to develop into a decent pass catching tight end. I don’t think there is a roster spot available for him this year, considering the Jets #3 tight end roster spot will likely be reserved for their long snapper (Tanner Purdum or Matthew Mulligan) but I could see him having a strong August and getting put on the practice squad to have another year to develop.

Donovan Warren – Warren was talked about as being a 2nd round draft pick before a poor showing at the NFL Combine. He was a productive player at Michigan against a high level of competition as a cornerback. The Jets have opted to move him over to safety and considering his talent level, versatility, and Rex Ryan’s love of defensive backs, there is a decent chance of Warren making the final 53.

Kevin Basped – The coaching staff was raving about Basped’s athleticism and long term potential after mini-camp. Basped was a defensive end at Nevada, where he recorded 9.5 sacks his senior year, yet the Jets have moved him to outside linebacker in their 3-4 scheme. At the worst, it sounds like the 6’4 249 pound Basped will make the practice squad so the Jets can continue to develop him. However, it isn’t out of the question for him to grab a roster spot, if he shows he can contribute on special teams during his rookie season.

Cory Reamer – Another linebacker who impressed the coaching staff in the spring, especially with his knowledge of the Jets defense. He is competing at a stacked position, but he is another guy who could be a candidate for the practice squad.

A few others

  • Britt Davis – Receiver with good size who had a strong training camp in 2009. Tough position to be competing for a roster spot at on the Jets.
  • Larry Taylor – Another receiver who caught my eye during mini-camp. I doubt he can get a roster spot but I bet he turns some heads this August.
  • TJ Conley – He could give Steve Weatherford a run for the punter job.

TOJ TV

New York Jets Training Camp Preview: Position Battles

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First a few updates:

1. Nick Mangold has already announced he won’t hold out of training camp because of his contract. You can only hope the Jets will do the right and make sure he is properly compensated at some point in the near future. It doesn’t sound like a deal with Darrelle Revis is imminent and there remains a reasonable chance he holds out of training camp for a period of time, regardless of the guaranteed money he would be giving up by choosing that route. Every move Revis makes will face insane amount of scrutiny if he does show up. It is going to take a little bend from both sides to make this deal happen but unfortunately it sounds like everybody is firmly dug in at the moment.

2. There still has been no movement on the Mark Brunell signing. Hopefully, the Jets are considering keeping Kellen Clemens alongside Brunell. I’d much rather see Erik Ainge or Kevin O’Connell released.

3. A reminder there will be a 12 minute preview of Hard Knocks this Wednesday on HBO at 11 PM.

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

New York Jets Training Camp Preview: Position Battles

In the first part of our training camp preview, we look at the position battles across the Jets roster –

There isn’t a high amount of intriguing battles for starting jobs on the Jets heading into this August. However, many players will be fighting it out for reps off the bench and to create a bigger role for themselves.

Left Guard – Vladimir Ducasse vs. Matt Slauson: The battle to replace Alan Faneca doesn’t sound like it is going to be much of a fight. Every indication from OTAs and mini-camp is that unless Ducasse is a complete disaster, he will end up being the starter. The Jets didn’t spend a second round pick on somebody to stash away on the bench for a 2009 sixth round pick with no experience.

PhotobucketSafety – Brodney Pool vs. Eric Smith: Another battle that isn’t really a battle. Rex Ryan has already stated he wants Pool in the starting lineup, so he can use Smith off the bench in a variety of roles and so that he can remain a core special teams player. Pool has impressed the coaching staff and it would be a huge surprise to not see him opposite Jim Leonhard in week one, with Smith coming off the bench in the nickel and sub packages.

Running Back – Shonn Greene vs. LaDainian Tomlinson: Only Tomlinson seems to think this an open competition. Unless he gets hurt, Shonn Greene will be the opening day starter at running back.

Defensive Line Rotation – Ropati Pitoitua vs.  Matt Kroul vs. Vernon Gholston: Shaun Ellis, Kris Jenkins, and Mike DeVito will be the starters with Sione Pouha getting plenty of work off the bench to spell Jenkins. However, the reps behind those four will be battled out between Pitoitua, Kroul, and Gholston. Pitoitua is mammoth at 6 foot 8 and 310 pounds. He played a little bit in 2009 but the coaching staff likes his potential. Kroul was stashed away on the practice squad last season after being signed as an undrafted free agent, yet defensive coordinator Mike Pettine raved about him this off-season and basically guaranteed he’d have a spot in the rotation. Gholston was only the six overall pick in the NFL Draft ,who looked clueless at outside linebacker. The Jets are hoping he can at least use his strength to give them something off the bench.

Wide Receiver – Brad Smith vs. David Clowney vs. Aundrae Allison: Somebody has to play the majority of the number three receiver reps while Santonio Holmes is suspended. Smith isn’t really a traditional receiver. Clowney made a few big plays last season and has the inside track to the majority of the reps. Similar to Clowney, Allison has great speed and could provide a deep threat. Britt Davis and Danny Woodhead could also push for a roster spot and these reps.

Turn On the Jets TV

Jets Area of Strength – Wide Receiver

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 First a few updates:

1. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets) and now also follow us on YouTube.

2. The big story of the day is that the Jets have an interest in JaMarcus Russell. I said this on the Facebook page and I will say it again here, I would love to have Russell as a backup…to Kris Jenkins. Maybe, even bring him in to compete with Vladimir Ducasse and Matt Slauson at the left guard spot. Wherever he is playing, he better not be throwing any footballs in green and white next season.

3. Speaking of Ducasse, the Jets are apparently near signing him to his rookie deal. How about some positive contract news for the Jets?

4. Let me throw out some final guesses on where the major free agents end up: I am going with LeBron and Bosh to Chicago, Carlos Boozer to Miami, Joe Johnson and Amare Stoudemaire to the Knicks, Rudy Gay and David Lee to the Nets, and that’s all I got for right now.

Jets Area of Strength – Wide Receiver

Here at TOJ, we have been going through the various areas of concern and strength for the Jets heading into the 2010 season. So far the areas of concern have been quarterback and running back, while the area of strength has been linebacker. Today we add another area of strength with the Jets group of wide receivers:

Links to previous “Areas of Concern” and “Areas of Strength” articles

http://turnonthejets.com/2010/06/24/jets-area-of-strength-linebacker/

http://turnonthejets.com/2010/06/23/jets-area-of-concern-running-back/

http://turnonthejets.com/2010/06/28/jets-area-of-concern-quarterback/

The Jets have come a long way from Chansi Stuckey battling David Clowney and Brad Smith for a starting spot opposite of Jerricho Cotchery last summer. There may not be a team in football with a better top three receivers than the Jets this season. Yes, they will be without Santonio Holmes for the first four games because of a suspension but for the 3/4 of the season they are at full strength, their top three options are going to give defensive coordinators nightmares.

Here is the production of Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, and Santonio Holmes last year:

  • Edwards – 45 receptions, 680 yards, 4 touchdowns
  • Cotchery – 57 receptions, 821 yards, 4 touchdowns
  • Holmes – 79 receptions, 1248 yards, 5 touchdowns

Initially, those numbers are nothing to go crazy over especially since Holmes is coming off his best season ever and can’t possibly match those numbers in only 12 games this season (except the touchdowns). Yet, keep in mind Edwards spent 4 games with a quarterback disaster in Cleveland and arrived just in time for the rough patch of Mark Sanchez’s season. Cotchery missed two and half games with an injury and was a likely 1,000 yard guy without that missed time. He produced at a high level, even with a rookie quarterback. As I said before, 2009 was Holmes best season. Here is the stat lines from Edwards and Cotchery’s best season:

  • Edwards (2007) 80 receptions, 1299 yards, 17 touchdowns
  • Cotchery (2007) 82 receptions, 1130 yards, 2 touchdowns (or you could argue for 2006 when he had 82 receptions, 961 yards and 6 touchdowns).

PhotobucketAll three of these guys are capable of being 1,000 yard receivers. Edwards is the most physically gifted of the three and seems poised for a big year after a great off-season and the expected improvement of Mark Sanchez. Holmes is just entering his prime as a legitimate number one receiver, and is the best overall receiver of the group. Cotchery will get looked over by people but he was doing just fine as the Jets number one receiver before the Edwards trade last  year and is going to kill teams out of the slot this season. He has the best hands out of the group, is the most precise route runner, and has the best chemistry with Sanchez. If you had to bet which of these three guys will have the most receptions, I would go with Cotchery.

The depth behind the Edwards, Cotchery, and Holmes is solid. Brad Smith is more of a do everything guy than a receiver, but as a #4/5 option is about as solid as you will get in the NFL. David Clowney flashed at times last season and is capable of being the number three receiver while Holmes serves his suspension. Aundrae Allison is a burner who could push for a roster spot because of his kick return and deep threat ability. Also keep an eye on Britt Davis who has good size and impressed the coaches last training camp, along with Larry Taylor who looked like a good slot receiver in the making at mini-camp.

Overall, the production of players like Edwards, Cotchery, and Holmes will depend on Sanchez’s progression in year two. However, if he takes the expected steps forward, all three will have plenty of opportunities to make plays. I don’t know if there will be a 1,000 yard receiver out of this group because of the division of looks between them, Dustin Keller, and the running backs but Edwards and Cotchery should get close. Holmes should still put up a big chunk of receiving yards because of his big play capability and will hopefully find the end-zone 4-6 times.

TOJ TV

New York Jets Special Teams Questions

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First a few updates:

1. The NBA Playoffs is finally coming around a little bit. How can you not enjoy watching the Phoenix Suns play? They are like a #15 seed in the NCAA Tournament going for a upset with the amount of energy they play with. I just hope the Magic can overcome the corpse of Vince Carter dragging himself around the court to get another win tonight.

2. Some highlights from Rex Ryan’s video chat with fans today:

  • He was adamant that Nick Mangold isn’t going anywhere and that the organization will do what it takes to keep him a Jet for a long time.
  • He talked up Brandon Moore as one of the best guards in the NFL.
  • When discussing the running backs, he deflected a question about there being a battle for the starting running back job but said there would be weeks when Shonn Greene will have more carries and weeks when LaDainian Tomlinson will have more carries and that Tomlinson would also be the third-down back while Joe McKnight gets up to speed. He also raved about John Conner and discussed how he pushed for Mike Tannenbaum to draft him.
  • Ryan shot down the chemistry concerns and joked that nobody on the team but Eric Smith could pass a chemistry class.
  • He again penciled in Kyle Wilson as the starting nickel but said Dwight Lowery would still be used frequently at both corner and safety.
  • If the season started today Eric Smith would start at safety because of his knowledge of the defense but he expects Brodney Pool to be the opening day starter.
  • He talked up Brad Smith and the Jets use of the “Tiger” formation this year.
  • The player who has made the biggest improvements since he arrived is Mark Sanchez.
  • The biggest surprise and guy who has jumped out the most at OTAs has been Kenwin Cummings at inside linebacker and as of today he is the team’s #3 inside linebacker.

3. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets), I need all the ammunition I can when I talk with the Jets media relations guy in the coming weeks about getting a press pass for training camp and the pre-season games.

New York Jets Special Teams Questions

Hey, it is one-third of the game. No Jets fans can sleep on the importance of special teams after watching the negatives of Ted Ginn Jr. take two kicks back for a touchdown in a single game last season and Jay Feely miss three kicks versus Atlanta along with the positives of Brad Smith taking a kick back to the house in Indy and the Jets executing four successful fake punts in 2009. The Jets were up and down last season despite having one of the best special teams coaches in the business with Mike Westhoff and they still have plenty of questions heading into this year.

Kicker – The Jets got a problem here. Jay Feely was a reliable kicker the past two seasons and the Jets decided not to bring him back and replace him with Dallas castoff Nick Folk, who was an ugly 18/28 last season before being cut. Apparently Folk had an ugly start to his Jets career last week by missing just about every kick he took during OTAs. I know I don’t feel confident in Folk lining up for a big kick this season and if he continues to struggle this off-season look for Matt Stover to be added to the roster sooner rather than later. Stover might not have the greatest leg strength at this stage of his career but he is reliable in the 40-45 yard range and you can’t say the same for Folk right now.

Punter – Steve Weatherford managed to keep his job throughout the entire 2009 season and did an okay job. It looks like he will be the Jets guy going forward and hey the guy averaged 21 yards per carry last season. Hopefully a full off-season of working with Westhoff will improve Weatherford’s consistency in 2010.

PhotobucketKick Return – It will be very interesting to see what the Jets do here. Brad Smith did a pretty gob job in this role last season. Antonio Cromartie got some reps in OTAs and was impressive. Rookies Kyle Wilson and Joe McKnight will likely get some opportunities in training camp and the pre-season. David Clowney could get a shot. Aundrae Allison was impressive last pre-season and is probably the fastest guy on the team. Dwight Lowery took some reps last year before Smith locked the job down. If I had to guess today, Smith and McKnight will be the primary guys with Cromartie getting occasional reps. However, keep an eye on Allison during training camp as a dark horse.

Punt Return – This will be Kyle Wilson’s job to lose, although I could see Jim Leonhard or Jerricho Cotchery getting some reps in a big spot or when a team is kicking from around mid-field, when it would be better to have an experienced veteran back there.

Coverage – The Jets lost valuable special teams players like Wallace Wright, Larry Izzo, and Ryan Fowler this off-season but did sign Lance Laury who was a stand out special teams player in Seattle. They will also look to guys like Kenwin Cummings, Jamaal Westerman, and Marquice Cole to fill the void. Eric Smith, Brad Smith, and John Conner should all also be core special teams players.

Maybe the play that saved the Jets season in 2009

Ten Monday Thoughts On The Jets Offense

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First a few updates:

1. A reminder to check out Turn On The Jets, new site (http://web.me.com/turnonthejets/Site/Podcast/Podcast.html), where you could find our Podcast and eventually a few other things. It is in the early stages of construction but episode 1 of The Podcast is up and running so give it a listen.

2. Congratulations to Chris Embree and Shawn Perincheril for winning the TOJ DVD Contest, both will be receiving free copies of “New York Jets Best Games of 2009” from Warner Home Video.

3. The final week of LOST is under way and the real question is now what show should I start watching when it is over. I think my plan is to watch “The Wire” from start to finish, followed by the “The West Wing” but I am open to suggestions on shows currently on TV.

4. I have read some bad Power Rankings in my day…but Peter King putting the Dolphins at #6 in his power poll and the Carolina Panthers at #8 has to be up there among the worst.

Photobucket5. Let me just throw in some quick commentary on the Jets PSL/Parking Lot situation – It was bad enough when Deadspin released this story about how the Jets hosted their draft party (http://deadspin.com/5533012/tell-me-how-my-class-tastes-scenes-from-the-worst-nfl-draft-party-ever) but now the reports about the Jets dividing up parking lots based on whether you own a PSL or not have taken the organization’s arrogance to a new level. We knew PSLs were coming for the Jets and they managed to keep out of the upper levels (where my family has their season tickets) but telling people they can’t park near the stadium because they sit in the upper level is a joke. They are breaking up groups of people who have been tailgating together for years and diminishing the game day experience for fans who look forward to hanging out with their friends in the parking lot before and after games. I don’t mind the long walk to the stadium from the parking lot but plenty of older fans and people with younger children certainly will. The Jets have a predominantly working class fanbase and the team has done a spectacular job of alienating them as much as possible with their decisions on the new stadium. The fact that the team is nowhere near selling all the PSLs after one of the best season’s in franchise history, one of the best off-seasons in franchise history, and the rise of the team to one of the biggest stories in the NFL, speaks to that point.

Ten Monday Thoughts On The Jets Offense

1. You have to wonder how many reps Erik Ainge and Kevin O’Connell will get during OTAs with the first team offense. Mark Sanchez won’t be participating until mid-June and even though Kellen Clemens is still technically number two on the depth chart, there is a good chance he won’t be with the team when week 1 comes around. Obviously, the Jets think O’Connell has potential since they carried four quarterbacks last season and Ainge had a very good pre-season in 2009. If either of these guys can play well during OTAs, it could expedite the process of getting rid of Clemens. The Jets will also likely sign Mark Brunell after July 22nd to be the backup for this season but in the long term, Ainge and O’Connell are battling to be Sanchez’s backup. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them get an extended look with the starters while Sanchez continues to rehab.

2. The Jets may be better off if Matt Slauson can beat out Vladimir Ducasse in training camp for the starting left guard position. If this happens, Ducasse can spend time learning behind Damien Woody to take over at right tackle, when Woody is no longer with the team which is coming sooner rather than later. If Slauson has a good camp and pre-season, wins the job and can hold his own in 2010, the Jets will be heading into 2011 with a young group on the offensive line, and will have effectively replaced Alan Faneca and Damien Woody which has been a concern since they both were brought in before 2008. Ducasse might also benefit from having a season coming off the bench and slowly working into the Jets offense in short yardage packages, considering he is raw coming out of a I-AA school and won’t have to deal with the pressure in his rookie year of filling Alan Faneca’s shoes. Slauson has a year of learning in the Jets system already and gained valuable experience playing behind Faneca and Brandon Moore in his rookie season.

Photobucket3. It will be very interesting to see how the Jets integrate Santonio Holmes into their offense starting in week five. Unless somebody is really struggling or gets hurt, the Jets aren’t going to pull Jerricho Cotchery or Braylon Edwards from the starting line-up but obviously as the weeks pass with Holmes in the lineup he is gradually going to build up more reps. Cotchery is a team player and won’t have a negative public reaction to losing reps but will Braylon be able to keep his mouth shut if his playing time starts to decrease substantially in his contract year? His best remedy to the problem is to simply catch the football when it is thrown to him.

4. The decision to trade Leon Washington is going to increase LaDainian Tomlinson’s reps on the Jets offense, especially if Joe McKnight can’t get his feet under him in the early part of the season. The Jets can’t trust McKnight in the third down role right out of the gate, so Tomlinson will have to take the bulk of those reps, along with spelling Shonn Greene, and being the Jets likely short-yardage and goal-line back. If Tomlinson is as washed up as he looked towards the end of last season, the Jets could have serious problems with their Ground and Pound approach. Maybe, rookie fullback John Conner will take some short yardage carries to lighten the load on Tomlinson. I am not writing off McKnight in his rookie year but remember it took Shonn Greene awhile to get involved in the Jets offense last year.

5. Speaking of Greene, what are fair expecations for him this season? Honestly, I just want to see him stay healthy for 16 games, protect the football, and make some strides as a pass catcher. If he can do those three things, nobody is going to miss Thomas Jones. I also don’t doubt if he can do those three things, he won’t duplicate the number of yards Jones had rushing in 2009, although I doubt he comes near the 14 touchdowns because Tomlinson will be taking away goal-line carries.

6. If Mark Sanchez makes the expected strides in his second year, how much of the Jets “Tiger” formation will we see? The Jets won’t be helping their offense if Sanchez is in rhythm with Braylon, Cotchery, and Santonio by pulling him out and sticking Brad Smith in to run the option. That being said, Smith is still a valuable big-play weapon so it benefits to find a way to involve him in the game plan in some way on a weekly basis…it is just a matter of having the proper timing and using the proper plays.

Photobucket7. It is easy to lose him in the shuffle when talking about all the Jets wide receivers and running backs but Dustin Keller remains a potential x-factor on the Jets offense. He should be a primary target whenever the Jets get near the end-zone because of his ability to create mismatches. Keller is also benefited by Mark Sanchez’s ability to throw on the run because the Jets love calling the play action bootleg for him, in which Keller is normally the number one option. I don’t know if Keller will have the stats to be a pro-bowl tight end but he should be able to provide the Jets with a big play or two each week.

8. The Jets are going to throw the football more this season than they did last year but will they have a smooth transition into a more balanced offense? We all know Rex Ryan loves to run the football and allow his defense to win games but what happens if the Jets throw the ball 30 times in one week and that leads to a couple of Sanchez interceptions. Will the color code system go back into effect, with the Jets throwing the ball 14 times a game? How much rope will Brian Schottenheimer have with the offense in 2010?

9. Names to remember…Chauncey Washington, if one of the Jets running backs gets hurt he could get called up to the active roster and see some substantial playing time. Britt Davis, had a strong training camp last year and could push for a roster spot at receiver. Matthew Mulligan, the Jets number three tight end who is battling for long snapper job with Tanner Purdum. Aundrae Allison, maybe the Jets fastest player who could push for a roster spot at receiver and kick returner.

10. If you assumed the Jets had 60 plays in a game, how would you ideally divide up the touches as of right now? (assuming it is week 5 and Holmes is back)…here is my crack at it:

  • Sanchez – 24 pass attempts, hopefully 16-18 completions. Let’s say 17 for the sake of this.
  • Greene – 21 carries.
  • Tomlinson – 9 carries.
  • McKnight – 4 carries.
  • Smith – 2 carries
  • Cotchery – 4 catches
  • Holmes – 4 catches
  • Keller – 3 catches
  • Edwards – 3 catches
  • Tomlinson – 2 catches
  • McKnight – 1 catch

Let Us Tailgate In Peace