New York Jets: Linebackers Need to Make Plays

The New York Jets have a solid, veteran group of starting linebackers. Calvin Pace, David Harris, Bart Scott, and Bryan Thomas are now entering their third year together as the 4 in Rex Ryan’s 3-4, and while the group has been instrumental in the defense’s success the past two years, it would be nice to see them increase their playmaking ability in 2011.

Scott and Thomas have roles that are more conducive to doing the dirty work and making plays that don’t always show up on the stat sheet, so it is more on Pace and Harris to come up with the game changing plays.

Pace was signed to a monster contract before the 2008 season and has been productive, but still hasn’t put together that one big season for the Jets. The past two years he has missed the first four games, once because of a suspension and once because of a foot injury. On the current depth chart, he is the guy most likely to pull in double digit sacks and now needs to put together a full 16 game season where he produces like he is being paid.

Harris is now one of the highest paid linebackers in the NFL, and after playing at an All-Pro/Pro-Bowl level in 2009, took a minor step back in 2010, coming up with less tackles, sacks, interceptions, and forced fumbles. Rex Ryan’s scheme is designed to free Harris up to make plays and he needs to take advantage of that. There is no reason he shouldn’t be able to match his 2009 production (127 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 2 INTs) on a consistent basis.

Even though backup linebackers like Josh Mauga have shown potential in the pre-season, it is especially important that this group stays healthy this year. The depth behind them is extremely young and inexperienced. A full, healthy season from all of them with a bump in plays made from Pace and Harris could propel the Jets back to being the NFL’s number one defense.

Waking Up From 4th Of July: Round-Up Of Jets News

After a five day hiatus to work on a few technical changes to the site in anticipation of football starting in the coming weeks and all that will come with that, TOJ is back with a quick round-up of recent Jets news…check back throughout the day for a new TOJ Top Five and Justin’s latest article…

Good interview with Bart Scott – The stats don’t jump off the page for Scott, especially since joining the Jets but he remains a key part of their defensive scheme and does a big chunk of the dirty work necessary for it to succeed. It is encouraging to hear that he thinks Jamaal Westerman is ready for a bigger role, as the Jets need improved depth at linebacker and could use another pass rusher. Scott also has praise for Ropati Pitoitua, Joe McKnight, and Vladimir Ducasse.

There has been plenty of hype around Pitoitua’s potential because of his size but we have never really seen him with the chance to flourish in a bigger role because of his injury last year. It will be interesting to see how much he will play this year, although it will largely depend on how quickly Muhammad Wilkerson and Kenrick Ellis adapt to the NFL and if the team brings back Shaun Ellis and Trevor Pryce.

McKnight is in desperate need of a strong training camp to show he learned from the mistakes he made during his rookie season. I think he can fill the void that will likely be left by Brad Smith in the Jets offense. He can take over those touches, except instead of working out of the Wildcat (which he could still do), he could take primarily outside handoffs and be an option in the screen game.

I am not sure if Ducasse will get much of a shot to start at right tackle. It sounds like the Jets are likely to bring Damien Woody back for another year, which could be good for Ducasse in the long run as he could spend a year learning the his new position behind Woody.

NFL Top Ten – The NFL Network’s top 100 player countdown concluded this past Sunday, with Darrelle Revis finishing at number eight. It isn’t worth getting worked up about lists like this but how is he behind Andre Johnson? I am pretty sure they have went head to head twice and Revis has completely shut him down both times.

Another Free Agent Thought – Roy Williams is likely going to be cut by the Dallas Cowboys. If the Jets can work out a low cost deal with him, which he may have to consider if there isn’t much interest in him on the market, he could be a potential replacement for Braylon Edwards if he leaves via free agency.

If You Haven’t Seen It Already – A great parody of Field of Dreams by Funny or Die, which features a cameo by Antonio Cromartie.

Just About That Time – July 15th is the supposed deadline for a deal to get done so a “normal” season can occur with a full training camp and pre-season. We are now only 9 days away from that date…and only 23 days away from when Jets training camp is supposed to open in Florham park.

Lockout Off-Season: Rounding Up Top Jets Defensive Storylines

Earlier today we looked at the top storylines on offense…now to the other side of the ball

Defensive Line

  • Draft Heavy, Veterans Leaving?

The Jets spent their first two draft picks on defensive lineman, Muhammad Wilkerson and Kenrick Ellis, and released Kris Jenkins. There is also speculation that both Shaun Ellis and Trevor Pryce won’t be brought back, with Ellis leaving via free agency and Pryce contemplating retirement. However, it would be smart for the Jets to keep at least one, hopefully Ellis who is the longest tenured player on the team, to help mentor the rookies and ease their transition into the NFL.

Linebackers

  • Draft Ignored, Free Agent Answers?

The Jets didn’t select any linebackers in the NFL Draft and as of right now have some depth concerns. Unless they are anticipating a bigger role for players like Jamaal Westerman or Josh Mauga, they may look to coax Jason Taylor out of retirement or sign a free agent like Matt Roth.

Secondary

  • Everybody’s A Free Agent

Seriously…Antonio Cromartie, Drew Coleman, Eric Smith, Brodney Pool, and James Ihedigbo all need new contracts and obviously some tough decisions will have to be made.

  • Jim Leonhard On The Mend

Leonhard has recovered well this off-season from his season-ending injury in the middle of last year.

  • Is Wilson Ready?

If Antonio Cromartie leaves via free agency, Kyle Wilson will likely have to step into the starting line-up. He struggled his rookie season, is he ready for a bigger role?

Thoughts On Ongoing Jets Off-Season Workouts

Click here for more coverage of the New York Jets off-season workouts

1. Great work by Sione Pouha organizing the Jets defensive lineman for workouts in North Jersey. This is a group that will have some new pieces in the rotation with draft picks Muhammad Wilkerson and Kenrick Ellis, along with Ropati Pitoitua coming off season ending surgery now in the mix. It is also encouraging to hear that Shaun Ellis will join the workouts later in the week, considering his status with the team is up in the air. Let’s hope any work Wilkerson gets in the off-season will contribute to him making some type of immediate impact whenever the season starts.

2. It is encouraging to hear Mark Sanchez talk about putting together full team workouts, if the lockout continues to carry on. He stated he thinks somewhere around 50 players would show up, which would be great since New England only has around 40…every victory counts, right?

3. Speaking of New England, what is with the paranoia of keeping the media away from your team workouts? Did the secrecy pay off last year in January? Nobody is stealing the information about what routes you are running on air.

4. Jamaal Westerman is taking part in the defensive line workouts and had also worked out with Bart Scott and a few other Jets at the TEST facility in Martinsville, New Jersey earlier in the off-season. It is good to see Westerman getting after it, as he will have a chance to maybe contribute in some of the Jets defensive packages this season considering their depth chart at linebacker.

Click here for more coverage of the New York Jets off-season workouts

Best New York Jet To Have A Beer With?

Can you tell we are in a lockout yet? Don’t worry, TOJ will be back at analyzing the more football centric aspects of the team tomorrow, but for tonight let’s explore this important question…

Which Jets player would the be most entertaining to spend a night on the town with, a few nominees in no particular order…

Nick Mangold – The Jets center seems to be a funny enough guy and you have to figure you’d be rolling with the other offensive lineman, which means you can get as rowdy as you want because who is messing with a bunch of NFL tackles, guards, and centers?

Mark Sanchez – You can’t not nominate him. He seems to be generous enough (think Jets West) and he can’t handle all those women at once, can he? I am pretty sure Sanchez’s scraps would be better than many players on the team top option.

This video still cracks me up…well done Sanchez, well done. Don’t be foolish enough to settle down with the girl from Heroes … do it Jeter style and stay single well into your 30s.

Bart Scott – I know Scott is a married guy who claims to never really leave the house on weekends, but you have to figure if he could get out of the cage it would be a great time rolling with him and the Jets linebackers. First off, invite all your friends who are Giants and Patriots fans because who is going to out trash talk Scott? Second, they are making a movie about Scott’s life so you know he will have some interesting stories to tell.

Darrelle Revis – Revis and best friend John Geiger seem like a knock off of Rob and Big and like they’d be an interesting crew to roll with. Beyond that, you know Revis isn’t short on cash and apparently he is dating Olivia from G-Unit, so maybe you can get some hang time in with 50 Cent and Lloyd Banks as well.

I guess it ultimately depends what type of night you are looking for. Let me know your thoughts here or on the Facebook and Twitter page. Also weigh in on our Forums

12 Pack Of Jets Off-Season Thoughts – Edition #15

A quick, refreshing 12 pack of off-season thoughts on the New York Jets

1. Adam Schefter stirred the pot on the Plaxico Burress to the Jets rumors again this week by mentioning it in his insider column. I think Plax could be a good low cost option to replace Braylon Edwards for a year or two. It is hard to picture Burress being anything but on his best behavior in the next couple of years after the amount of time he spent in jail and the Jets will need to replace Edwards’ size if he leaves.

2. We all know about Jets West but don’t forget about Jets Southwest, where Darrelle Revis and Kyle Wilson have been workigt out. It is great to see Revis taking Wilson under his wing because if Antonio Cromartie leaves via free agency, Wilson will be taking over one of the hardest defensive spots in football…the man opposite Revis Island. Also don’t forget about Jets East, which features players like Jerricho Cotchery, Bart Scott, and Vladimir Ducasse. We have Jets getting better all over the country…

3. Good debate on 1050 ESPN Radio today about the better rivalry at the moment: Yankees/Red Sox or Jets/Patriots. Obviously historically Yanks/Sox will always take the cake but the past couple of years, Jets/Pats has been a more bitter and entertaining match-up. The headlines don’t even compare. Yankees and Rex Sox are too damn respectful of each other these days. Somebody get in a fight or something.

4. Random Jets offensive prediction for 2011 – Joe McKnight will have over 500 total offensive yards from scrimmage. I think Brian Schottenheimer will turn him into an effective weapon on screens and outside handoffs.

5. Random Jets defensive prediction for 2011 – The Jets defensive line rotation will turn into one of the team’s major strengths, led by strong rookie years from both Muhammad Wilkerson and Kenrick Ellis, along with improved performances from Marcus Dixon and a healthy Ropati Pitoiuta.

6. Random Jets special teams prediction for 2011 – It will be Kyle Wilson who ends up taking over the punt return job and showing the production we all expected from him last year at that position.

7. Great move by the Jets taking quarterback Greg McElroy in the seventh round. They needed a long term backup to develop and he should learn plenty from both Mark Sanchez and Mark Brunell this year. McElroy is a proven winner with the right mental make-up to handle a backup role.

8. Remember to join the discussion at TOJ’s Forum Page

9. Similar to how the Bilal Powell selection should serve notice to Joe McKnight, it should serve notice to Shonn Greene. This is the year for Greene to show he can be the number one back he was during the Jets 2009 playoff run. Rex Ryan already called him his “bell cow” so now let’s see it.

10. Nick Mangold passing time during the lockout…

11. Congratulations on a great career to Alan Faneca who is a sure fire Hall of Famer. Faneca was very good for the Jets in his two seasons with the team and was important in the development of Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson.

12. May 16th and we are still waiting for words on appeals, stays, complete shutdowns, and 8th circuits when we should be talking OTAs, trades, and free agency, sad and confusing how such a good thing could be messed up by greed and money.

Turn On The Jets 2010/2011 Report Cards – Bart Scott

Today we continue our series of evaluating how each player on the Jets performed this past season, along with looking forward to what their role on the team will be next year…up today, linebacker Bart Scott –

Stat Line – 81 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble

Playoff Stat Line – 9 tackles, 1 pass defended, 1 all-time interview

Best Moment – Is there even a question? I prefer the auto-tune version…

Best Game –Scott didn’t have any that really jumped off the page. He is more of a steady, consistent player who doesn’t really fill up the stat sheet but is a key component of the Jets run defense. He did have a particularly strong stretch in week 8 and 9 against the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions. Over the course of those two games, he had 13 tackles and one sack.

Overall Evaluation – Scott doesn’t make big plays in this defense and probably talks more than his productivity merits. However, he is an emotional leader on the defense and is very good in run support. Don’t underestimate his overall importance just because of his low sack totals or because he doesn’t lead the team in tackles. (B)

Future: Scott got a monster contract before the 2009 season and isn’t going anywhere any time soon, which is good for the Jets run defense and for reporters covering the team.

Random Update — I tweeted Peter King of Sports Illustrated today to prioritize Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards, and Antonio Cromartie if he was Mike Tannenbaum…he responded “Cro-Holmes-Bray, remember Rex LOVES cbs“…take it for what you will but he makes a good point.

12 Pack of Jets Off-Season Thoughts – Edition #2

Put it on your calendar, every Friday the rest of the off-season (however long that takes) for your 12 pack of Jets thoughts…

Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter

1. Backup Issues – It will be interesting to see how the Jets handle their backup quarterback situation in 2011. You can’t expect Mark Brunell back for another year. The Jets were lucky to make it through the season without an injury to Mark Sanchez because I still hold firm in the belief that Brunell isn’t capable at his age to hold the fort down for a few weeks if Sanchez was hurt. Kellen Clemens doesn’t appear to have the confidence of the coaching staff and I’d be surprised if they let him compete for the number two spot. The Jets need to find a quality long term backup for their franchise quarterback who has been occasionally banged up over the first two years of his career. Fortunately, it has now been revealed that Sanchez won’t need off-season shoulder surgery. It is never good when your quarterback needs surgery the first two years of his career.

2. Safety Decision – There is likely going to be a decision made at whom to keep at safety between Eric Smith and Brodney Pool. This isn’t necessarily an easy choice since both began to play better towards the end of the season. Smith has slowly developed into one of Rex Ryan’s favorite players after he was initially skeptical about him. He also has the advantage of being a core special team player. Pool might fit better alongside Jim Leonhard and did provide more big plays than Smith last year. I could honestly see this decision going either way but the reality is the Jets still need to finda bigger playmaker to pair with Leonhard long term.

3. Prime-Time – Despite not making the Super Bowl, I still wouldn’t be shocked to see the Jets end up with the most prime-time games of any team in 2011. They have become a national team and a running headline since Rex Ryan has taken over and there are plenty of intriguing match-ups to consider. Jets/Giants and one of the Jets/Patriots games both seem like prime-time locks. I also wouldn’t be surprised if the Jets/Cowboys, Jets/Eagles, Jets/Ravens, or one of the Jets/Dolphins games were on a Sunday, Thursday, or Monday night.

4. Youth Movement – Remember how much panic there was last season when Alan Faneca, Thomas Jones, Leon Washington, Kenyon Coleman, Jay Feely, and Kerry Rhodes (well maybe not him) all left the team? I expect a similar reaction this year when the Jets inevitably lose a fairly sizable group of contributors from the 2010 team. You can’t keep everybody and that is why it is important for young players to step up and to draft well. This past year Wayne Hunter, James Ihedigbo, Drew Coleman, and Mike DeVito all stepped up in bigger roles. In 2011, players like Joe McKnight, John Conner, Kyle Wilson, Patrick Turner, and Jeff Cumberland may need to do the same.

5. Road Warriors – This is fairly obvious but the Jets need to find a way to win their division next year so they can get some home playoff games. They haven’t played one since 2002, which means they have played 8 straight on the road. There certainly wasn’t a home-field advantage defined by this team in the new stadium and until they can improve on their 5-3 home record, they will have to do the tough sledding on the road in the playoffs. Regardless of the past success of wild-card teams, it is such an easier road to have a bye and then host a playoff game instead of trying to string together 3 straight road wins.

6. Scary Stats – The Jets didn’t have a 1,000 yard rusher or receiver, a player with double digit sacks, or anybody with more than 55 receptions. They didn’t score a touchdown in any of their three home losses. My poor cousin went to three games this year since we split the season tickets and saw a grand total of 5 Nick Folk field goals as the Jets scoring.

7. Poetic Justice – I am pretty sure the Bart Scott post-game interview has exceeded Joe Namath’s “I want to kiss you” interview as the most popular in team history. I already have the auto-tune version on my I-Pod and if you think I won’t be celebrating every touchdown in my flag football league this spring with the airplane arms, you are crazy.

8. Super Bowl – Check out my Super Bowl XLV predictions on SeatGeek. SeatGeek is the leading ticket search engine that enables fans to discover the best deals for sports and concerts — Check out SeatGeek next season when you’re looking for NFL tickets.

9. 2011 Draft – In case you weren’t aware, the Jets have a draft pick in every single round this year except for the 2nd, which they lost in the Antonio Cromartie trade. They pick 30thoverall in the first round.

10.  Under the Radar – A few players who don’t get a ton of press but put together very good years – Brandon Moore, who many thought would finally get a chance at a Pro-Bowl in 2010 due to his consistently high level of play…Sione Pouha, who has been rock solid filling in for an injured Kris Jenkins the past two seasons…Tony Richardson who held off John Conner all year and kept paving the way for one of the NFL’s top rushing attacks…Ben Hartsock who cut down on the penalties and is a key part of the running game.

11. Here is hoping Curtis Martin gets in the Hall of Fame on the first ballot, like he deserves to

12. Video Weekend Clips – Swaggerlicious edition

12 Pack of Jets Off-Season Thoughts – Edition #1

We can’t just stop the 12 pack because the Jets decided to only play one half in the AFC Championship Game. On to edition #1 of the off-season 12 pack, but not before a friendly reminder to follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (@TurnOnTheJets)…check out that new Twitter bar on the side of the home page, not bad right? A special thanks to Will Horton who migrated TOJ off the Fanball server and on to our new one.

1. The Running Backs – I am certainly not against LaDainian Tomlinson coming back for another year with the New York Jets. He is a valuable outlet for Mark Sanchez and provides necessary leadership on the offensive side of the football. However, the Jets have to be careful to not let him stunt the growth of Joe McKnight and especially Shonn Greene. Due to Tomlinson’s strong start, Greene never really received the chance to develop into the number one back we all envisioned him as. Down the stretch when he started to play better, he still wasn’t getting enough carries because Tomlinson maintained a big role in the offense.

Joe McKnight wasn’t ready to contribute this past season but did show signs of hope towards the end of the year. The coaching staff apparently loves his skill set and the only way to see if he can become a part of this offense is to give him a chance. If Tomlinson returns, it needs to be in a reduced role that allows Greene to get 17-20 carries a game and McKnight to get 7-9 offensive touches himself at running back and receiver. The future of this backfield is Greene, McKnight, and John Conner at fullback and the future should start in 2011.

2. The Mark Sanchez Question – I am still amazed at how hesitant some people are to give Sanchez credit for the type of season he put together in 2010. There is no question he struggles with inaccuracy at times and hits stretches of inconsistency, however on the whole he threw 5 more touchdowns and 7 less interceptions, along with over 800 more yards than he did his rookie year. He took major strides forward in his second year as a starting quarterback and is developing into one of the best quarterbacks in the league at avoiding the pass rush and making a play outside of the pocket. Most importantly, he has the necessary intangibles to be a leader of a team and consistently plays well in big spots. The guy has four road playoff victories in his first two years and has a bright future as the Jets offense becomes more aggressive.

3. Changing Faces – Marcus Dixon, Marquice Cole and James Ihedigbo are three role players who I expect to see more playing time on defense in 2011. They all showed potential in limited reps and with at least a few defensive backs and defensive lineman leaving as free agents or being released, should get an opportunity to create bigger roles for themselves.

4. Bye, Vernon – Mike Tannenbaum made it pretty clear today that we shouldn’t expect to see Vernon Gholston back in 2011. Why would the team even bother at this point? Three seasons, zero sacks, and limitless hype and “Gholston is finally getting it” stories…it is time to move on.

5. Let’s Not Repeat – Let’s face the reality that Kyle Wilson showed signs of being a bust in his rookie year. He seemed overwhelmed by the NFL game and was out-played by Drew Coleman and Dwight Lowery all season. Wilson will be given every opportunity to be at least the nickel back if not the starter opposite Darrelle Revis (if Antonio Cromartie leaves) and he needs to take advantage of it. Hopefully, he will learn from his rookie mistakes instead of losing confidence from his struggles.

6. Scary Stats Part 1 – Bart Scott has 2 sacks and 1 forced fumble in two seasons with the Jets. Drew Coleman had 4 sacks and 5 forced fumbles this season for the Jets…Bryan Thomas had less than 40 total tackles this season despite starting every game at outside linebacker…Dwight Lowery had the same amount of regular season touchdowns this season as Shonn Greene.

7. Preparing For Life Without Brad – We all want him back and we all know how valuable he is, but I have hard time seeing the Jets pay Brad Smith, Josh Cribbs type money in a year they have to pay David Harris, Antonio Cromartie, and Santonio Holmes. Joe McKnight needs to pick up the slack on kick return and as an option running the football. Patrick Turner can help fill the void at receiver and will get more playing time any way with Braylon Edwards likely leaving.

8. To Shaun Ellis and Mike Tannenbaum – Let’s have cooler heads prevail this off-season and work something out. Nobody wants to see Ellis finish his career in a different color jersey than Green and White and he would be a great mentor to whatever young defensive lineman the Jets draft this year.

9. Already Excited – New York’s current JV team (the Giants) at New York’s finest this season…you know that game has Monday or Sunday night football written all over it.

10. Plax and Aso – There has been plenty of chatter about both Plaxico Burress and Nnamdi Asomugha joining the Jets this year. However, I would say there is less than a ten percent chance of either happening. Asomugha is only coming here if he agrees to take much less than he is worth, which I doubt he will do. I could see the Jets exploring Burress but I’d be surprised to see them add another sideshow especially since there is no guarantee he’d be anywhere near the player he once was considering his time off.

11. Anybody Else – Been spending time wondering what would have happened if Ben Roethlisberger didn’t complete that third and six pass to Antonio Brown?

12. Video Therapy (Wide Receiver Edition) —

Enjoy your weekend…

TOJ Mid-Season Awards

Photobucket

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

Here we are half way through the 2010 regular season already. The Jets sit at 6-2 and are on pace for the 12-4 record that many predicted for them. It hasn’t always been pretty but overall it is hard to complain at this point. Out of the final 8 games, only 3 are against teams who are currently under .500, so the Jets still have plenty of work to do. However, here is what our awards are looking like heading into week 10 –

Offense

MVP – Mark Sanchez – Yes, you can make a strong case for LaDainian Tomlinson but I am going with our quarterback who has taken major strides in the right direction so far in year two. At this time last year, the Jets were 4-4 and Sanchez had 8 touchdowns to 10 interceptions, currently the Jets are 6-2 and he has 10 touchdowns to 5 interceptions. Beyond that, he has led the team to two late comeback victories, something he never did in 2009.

Make TOJ Look Like An Idiot – LaDainian Tomlinson – I predicted before the season that Tomlinson would only have 900-1,000 yards of total offense for the Jets and be a clear cut #2 to Shonn Greene…whoops. Tomlinson already has 790 yards of total offense, 5 touchdowns, and is clearly the Jets #1 back. However, he has slowed the previous few weeks and I still believe Greene needs a bigger role in the offense.

C’mon Man – Shonn Greene, Jerricho Cotchery, Brian Schottenheimer – Shonn Greene got off to a slow start but has looked better as of late. Yet, he still isn’t being given enough touches by offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer who has been inconsistent at best with his playcalling this year and downright infuriating at worst. Jerricho Cotchery leads the team in drops and really who could have saw that coming. He is also only averaging 10.5 yards per catch, en route to a weak 272 receiving yards.

Make TOJ Look Smart – Braylon Edwards- I did predict Braylon Edwards would lead the team in receiving yards and put together a better than expected year and so far he is making me look good with a team leading 453 yards, along with 5 touchdowns.

Pleasant Surprise – Matt Slauson – Slauson has been very good so far at left guard and made sure none of us miss Alan Faneca all that much.

Pro-Bowl CaliberBrandon Moore, Dustin Keller (447 yards, 5 TD’s), D’Brickashaw Ferguson, and Nick Mangold are all putting together excellent years so far.

Getting The Job Done – Ben Hartsock and Tony Richardson aren’t pro-bowl caliber but they are getting the job done also at their respective positions. Brad Smith remains a valuable, versatile weapon for the Jets.

Defense

PhotobucketMVP – David Harris – Most people have been saying Antonio Cromartie, but I am going with the Jets middle linebacker who never gets any respect. Harris has been rock solid in the middle and is a huge part of why the Jets are 4th in rushing yards allowed. He leads the team in tackles and is tied for the lead in tackles for a loss, along with recording a sack and having 2 passes defensed.

Make TOJ Look Like An Idiot – Brodney Pool – I spent plenty of time in the off-season hyping up Pool as quietly being the Jets best addition this off-season…um, what? After missing week one, Pool has been average at best for the Jets alongside Jim Leonhard at safety. So far through 8 games he has recorded 19 tackles, 0 sacks, 5 passes defensed, and 1 INT.

C’mon Man – Jim Leonhard, Jason Taylor, Darrelle Revis, Kyle Wilson – I know the Island is back now but you can’t let him off the hook for contributing nothing the first 6 weeks of the season. Jim Leonhard has been a liability in pass coverage and hasn’t made any impact plays yet. Jason Taylor had a pretty good start but has been invisible the past few weeks. Kyle Wilson apparently doesn’t know how to find the football in the air or when to turn around, which isn’t good for a first round draft pick. He doesn’t even play on defense anymore, as the immortal Drew Coleman and Dwight Lowery jumped him on the depth chart.

Make TOJ Look Smart – Sione Pouha – I have always loved the big fella and he is putting together a great all-around season. He is 4th on the team with 32 tackles, recorded a sack, and somehow has 3 passes defensed.

Pleasant Surprise – Mike DeVito – DeVito has shown that without question he is capable of being a full time starting defensive end. He has also racked up 32 tackles, along with 3 tackles for a loss and is a huge reason the Jets are 4th in rushing yards allowed.

Pro-Bowl Caliber – David Harris and Antonio Cromartie have both played at a Pro-Bowl level to this point of the season, although Cromartie’s lack of big plays could keep him from getting the national respect.

Getting The Job Done – I don’t know if he will ever be a pro-bowler but Pouha has been terrific this year. Shaun Ellis, Bart Scott and Bryan Thomas have been steady as usual. Dwight Lowery has been good in his role so far in 2010.

Special Teams

Just a paragraph to offer high praise to this entire unit. Nick Folk has been unbelievably consistent this year, especially considering how he played in 2009. Steve Weatheford, fake punt aside, has been booming the football and great at pinning teams inside their 20. Brad Smith has developed into a quality kick returner. Eric Smith, Lance Laury, and Marquice Cole have led the way on the coverage units.

First Half Highlights