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.

TV Critic: Hard Knocks Episode #1

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A short and sweet review of episode 1 of Hard Knocks –

1. Overall, I was a little disappointed. Rex Ryan’s speech in the beginning had me ready to jump out of my seat and start fighting all the Giants fans around me (good thing I didn’t, or I wouldn’t be typing this right now). However, after that we spent a little too much time with Kevin Basped, Aaron Kia, Brashton Satele, and Jason Davis. I would’ve liked to see a little more Nick Mangold, Braylon Edwards, and Shonn Greene among others.

2. Kris Jenkins and Bart Scott didn’t disappoint. You have to love Jenkins passion on the field. He was going crazy during that goal-line drill. Scott was entertaining, as expected. I’m glad we got to hear his ribbing of Mark Brunell.

3. It sounds like the groundwork is being laid for John Conner to take Tony Richardson’s job. I would urge the Jets coaching staff to use extreme caution in this “battle.” It would be incredibly foolish to cut Tony Richardson, who is the strongest veteran presence in the huddle, especially with Thomas Jones and Alan Faneca now gone. It is one thing to gradually assimilate Conner into the offense but Richardson still has value on this team and should remain the de facto staring fullback, even if Conner eventually ends up taking more reps.

4. Broadway Joe…always fun to watch, although you certainly got the vibe everybody in the quarterback meeting room was humoring him and yessing him to death on his suggestions.

5. We didn’t see anything in this episode to make you think the Revis negotiations are ending anytime soon.

6. Nice catch Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards, and even you Mark Sanchez but work on those botched snaps.

7. Cafe Ryan? You knew the big guy would be sneaking pretzels and MMs, but at least he has a sense of humor about it.

8. Where were you? Kyle Wilson, Joe McKnight, Jerricho Cotchery, Jim Leonhard, David Harris and  D’Brickashaw Ferguson.

Next Week – A big helping of Mike Westhoff and Mark Brunell on Old Timer’s Day at Hard Knocks.

Jets Wednesday Morning Recap & Hard Knocks Preview

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The Good – Another strong day for Vernon Gholston, who collected praise from all the beat writers for constantly being in the backfield today, including back to back pressures on Kellen Clemens and a pressure on Mark Sanchez. Brodney Pool recorded a sack against Sanchez. Clemens hit Marcus Henry for a 50 yard touchdown (how about that connection?). Donovan Warren picked off Clemens. Vladimir Ducasse had one of this better days, while working with the ones. Kevin O’Connell hooked up with Larry Taylor for a 40 yard touchdown.

The Bad – Nick Mangold got his bell rung in individual drills while battling with Sione Pouha and didn’t participate in team drills. Kyle Wilson got called for a pass interference, which brought back a Jim Leonhard interception. It sounds like the defense beat up on the offense a little bit, especially when the second units were going against each other. Marquice Cole was beat by Larry Taylor for a long touchdown, a day after getting some work with the first team.

Play Of The Day – The long touchdown receptions by reserve receivers, Marcus Henry and Larry Taylor. Mark Brunell had one of his passes batted up in the air, caught it himself and took off for a short gain.

Played Who Helped Himself – The summer of Gholston continues

Player Who Hurt Himself – The extended missed time by Brashton Satele can’t be helping his case to make the roster. You hate to see Nick Folk missing field goals from under 45 yards.

Sanchez Stats – 8/15 in team drills. He was sacked once by Brodney Pool (stats courtesy of Manish Mehta).

Folk Stats – 4/6…misses from 42 and 44 yards.

Injury Brashton Satele and Brian Jackson were out of practice today. Jason Taylor was back on the field. Joe McKnight and Jim Leonhard had their legs wrapped but were practicing.

Depth ChartVladimir Ducasse worked with the first team at left guard today.

Rex Ryan Press Conference Highlights –

  • Ryan called for Darrelle Revis to come to the facility with anybody he wants and the entire organization will show up. He will cancel practice. Ryan thinks this is the only way to prevent any confusion over who is saying what, and that if they do it that way “I bet something gets done.”
  • He said it was a “blatant joke” that Revis’ agents called Mike Tannenbaum and Woody Johnson “blatant liars.”
  • Nick Mangold was held out for precautionary reasons after being hit on the head.
  • The Jets could still consider keeping four quarterbacks.
  • He wasn’t happy with the pass protection in today’s practice.
  • The player he has been most impressed with on the Jets defense so far has been Kyle Wilson, particularly his communication and studying skills…posturing?
  • He doesn’t think the Jets will run the ball as much as they did last year but will maintain a “Ground and Pound” mentality.

Revis Update – The big story of the day was Gary Myers reporting the Jets and Revis are 40 million dollars apart in negotiations. Despite the Jets offering a 10 year, 120 million dollar contract, the Revis camp isn’t satisfied because of the lack of guaranteed money and signing bonus.

Hard Knocks Preview

Enough of all the Revis talk for a second and let’s get excited about HBO’s Hard Knocks premiering tonight, featuring the New York Jets. A few things to look for:

An All-Time Record – Bart Scott may break a record for most words spoken in a single hour of television. He will absolutely break the record for most trash talking in a single hour.

Revis (whoops) – Apparently we won’t see much of a focus on the Revis situation tonight but I am sure there will have to be at least a few quotes on him from some of the players and coaches. I just don’t want to see any camera footage of Mike Tannenbaum arguing on the phone or the faces of Revis’ agents.

The Beard – Interested to see Braylon Edwards’ beard in HD tonight…that thing has a life of its own.

The Meeting Room – Among my favorite parts of Hard Knocks is when they show the coaches discussing the depth chart and specific players in a meeting room. Let’s see who Rex Ryan and company are high on and who is on their way out the door.

Camera Hogs – I am guessing we are going to see plenty of Nick Mangold, Bart Scott, Mark Sanchez, Rex Ryan and to a slightly lesser extent Braylon Edwards, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Kyle Wilson.

QuotesI am sure Ryan will spend 15 – 20 minutes discussing a Super Bowl. Maybe he will take a shot at New England or Miami along the way.

Hard Knocks

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.

Why The Jets Are The Real Deal

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As the NFL season inevitably inches closer, more and more skepticism about the chances of the Jets having a successful season are becoming present. Fans of the team are reverting back to their usual pessimism. NFL analysts are nitpicking reasons to avoid picking the Jets as a serious contender. Giants fans can’t understand why nobody is talking about their team, leading to them arguing the Jets will be a let-down, have a tough schedule, can’t win with Sanchez, can’t overcome losing Faneca and Jones and on and on. Patriots and Dolphins fans feel the same way. Everybody in New England thinks the world is sleeping on Brady and Belichick, as if that was possible. All the fans in Miami are convinced Chad Henne is the next Dan Marino after the epic run he took the team on last season. I guess it was an impressive 7-9 season.

Anyway, you may hate the confidence the Jets carry themselves with. You might be tired of hearing Rex Ryan talk or seeing Darrelle Revis in those Nike commercials. Unfortunately for you though, the Jets have the talent to back up their words and outside of the team with Peyton Manning under center, they are the favorites to win the AFC. Here is why the Jets are the real deal:

PhotobucketLet’s start with the easiest part, the Jets have the best defense in NFL. They had the best defense in 2009 and substantially improved it over the off-season. You can start in the secondary where the two weak links of the league’s number one ranked passing defense (by 30 yards I might add), were replaced. Antonio Cromartie will take over for Lito Sheppard opposite Darrelle Revis, giving the Jets arguably the best pair of starting corners in the NFL. Kerry Rhodes is now gone and Brodney Pool will take his place. Anytime you can replace a matador with somebody who can tackle, it helps the situation. Dwight Lowery has been moved into the number four cornerback spot, with rookie first round pick Kyle Wilson now becoming the nickel back.

Outside of the improvements in the secondary, Jason Taylor was signed from Miami to enhance the Jets pass rush. The Jets did occasionally struggle against the run in 2009. However the return of All-Pro nose tackle Kris Jenkins should provide help, along with having the previously mentioned Rhodes now doing photo shoots and missing tackles in Arizona. Beyond that, the Jets will now be in the second year of Rex Ryan’s system. Calvin Pace, David Harris, Bryan Thomas, Darrelle Revis, Eric Smith, Mike DeVito, Sione Pouha, Shaun Ellis, and anybody else who played a substantial role in their first year of Ryan’s defense in 2009 will be that much more comfortable this season.

When you look at the additions and subtractions made to the Jets defensive depth chart and their familiarity with the system in year two, it is hard to argue the unit won’t be better in 2010. This should be a scary thought for the rest of the NFL, considering how good they were in 2009.

On offense, you could question Mark Sanchez all you want. His regular season statistics justify thequestioning. However, don’t ignore that he won two road playoffs games in his rookie year and played a terrific game on the road in the AFC Championship Game. Also, consider if the Jets could manage an AFC Championship Game trip with him throwing 20 interceptions to 12 touchdowns, what they could do if he makes the likely year two improvements.

PhotobucketThe Jets have questions at running back. Shonn Greene has to prove he is a lead back but he certainly looked the part down the stretch in the regular season and in the playoffs. At worst LaDainian Tomlinson can catch the ball out of the backfield and be a quality goal-line back. Outside of that, the Jets offense is stacked. Even without Alan Faneca, who was awful in pass protection last year by the way, they still have a top five offensive line in the NFL. At receiver, they have three guys capable of being a number one. They have an athletic tight end, who can stretch the field and is a mismatch against most defenses.

What about the competition in the AFC East? What did New England do to make sure they aren’t run off the field by teams like Baltimore again in 2010? Who is their lead running back? Is there defense any good? Who is filling for Wes Welker until he comes back? Will Welker get back to 100 percent this season?

Is Brandon Marshall enough to improve Miami from a 7-9 team that was two Ted Ginn Jr led victories against the Jets away from being 5-11? Can Ronnie Brown ever play a full season? Can Chad Henne win a late season game? Who is going to catch passes for the Dolphins when Marshall is safely locked away on Revis Island?

Yes, I think the Jets talent backs up their words. They do have the best corner and center in the NFL, along with one of the best tackles (D’Brickashaw Ferguson), guards (Brandon Moore), defensive tackles (Kris Jenkins), and linebackers (David Harris). It is always a good sign when people like Calvin Pace, Bart Scott, Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, Dustin Keller, and Antonio Cromartie are in your second tier of talented players. It is also positive when you can sign players like Jason Taylor and LaDainian Tomlinson be backups.

You can make excuses about why the Jets won’t be good in 2010 or you can just accept that they are going to be one of the best teams in the NFL and right in the mix for a Super Bowl. It would probably be better to make up your mind now instead of changing your story mid-season.

“DARRELLE REVIS!”

New York Jets Defense – Three Layers Of Excellence

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The New York Jets had the NFL’s number one ranked defense last season and there is plenty of reasons to believe they will improve in 2010. Whether it is the increased familiarity the returning players have with Rex Ryan’s system or the influx of talent through trades, free agency, and the NFL draft; the Jets are position to improve their defensive weaknesses from 2009 and become an even more dominant unit.

PhotobucketThe Jets had the number one ranked total defense thanks to their number one ranked passing defense, which blew away the rest of the NFL by allowing 153.7 yards per game. The second place team was over 30 yards behind. There is no reason to think the Jets pass coverage should suffer in 2010, considering they upgraded their second, third and fourth cornerback and replaced the underachieving Kerry Rhodes with Brodney Pool.

Despite having such an exceptional pass defense, the Jets didn’t rack up impressive sack totals in 2009. They finished tied for 18th in the league with 32.0 sacks. This number should improve in 2010 because of the addition of Jason Taylor, who Rex Ryan will use as a pass rush specialist. The return of a healthy Kris Jenkins will also help push the pocket on the quarterback. Finally, the Jets will have their returning sack leader, Calvin Pace, for 16 games instead of the 12 they had him for in 2009.

The Jets had the 8th ranked rushing defense in the NFL in 2010, nothing to be ashamed of but also nowhere near the level of their pass defense. Again the return of Jenkins at nose tackle should lead to improvement and having Pool at safety instead Rhodes, who struggled in run support and tackling in general last season, will help.

PhotobucketThe return of Kris Jenkins at nose tackle gives the Jets a legitimate All-Pro caliber player at all three levels of their defense. Jenkins on the defensive line, David Harris at linebacker, and Darrelle Revis in the secondary. This is a luxury few teams in the NFL currently have and means you need to have exceptional talent on the offensive line, running back, and receiver position to handle all three of these players.

Jenkins is flanked by a collection of blue-collar players who fit well into Ryan’s system. Shaun Ellis is the most well-know of the rest of the bunch and is one of the better 3-4 defensive ends in the league. He has the ability to stop the run and provide a solid pass rush. Sione Pouha and Mike DeVito aren’t household names but they did more than an adequate job when Jenkins went down last season and are good run stopping defensive lineman.

PhotobucketHarris is surrounded by two borderline pro-bowl caliber players in Bart Scott and Calvin Pace at linebacker, along with Taylor who is a former All-Pro that should benefit from only having to focus on rushing the passer and from Ryan’s aggressive scheme overall. Bryan Thomas is the lowest profile player in the linebacker group but remains a competent starter who does many of the little things for this defense that don’t show up on the stat sheet.

Revis is now paired with Antonio Cromartie at cornerback, who could have made the claim to being the best corner in the NFL after the 2007 season. I don’t know if Cromartie will ever play at that level again but he will certainly have opportunity to flourish in New York because of how his skill set matches up to the Jets defensive system and because of how many balls will be thrown his way. Rookie first round pick Kyle Wilson will be asked to step into the nickel role, which speaks to the talent in front of him. Former starter/nickel back Dwight Lowery can now slide into the #4 corner/extra safety in certain packages role, which best suits him. The Jets don’t have big names at safety in Jim Leonhard and Brondey Pool, but Leonhard is consistent and won’t give up the big play and Pool will have the chance to shine the way Rhodes was supposed to in 2009. Reserve safeties Eric Smith and James Ihedigbo are also key contributing members to this unit off the bench.

There are questions about the Jets heading into the 2010 season but it is hard to see their defense not being an elite unit in the NFL again. Considering what they did last year and their influx of talent, it would be a legitimate disappointment if they didn’t have the NFL’s number one ranked unit.

What To Watch

Projecting The Jets Defensive Statistics

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First a few updates:

1. RIP George Steinbrenner and Bob Sheppard. The greatest owner and PA announcer both gone in back to back days…sad stuff. It will make the Yankees inevitable 28th championship a little sweeter when they win it for both of them though.

2. NBA Free Agency Thoughts – Despite my intense hatred of the Miami Heat, bringing back Udonis Haslem and adding Mike Miller were both solid moves. Miller is going to have insane amounts of open looks from three point range and Haslem is a solid all-around role player. However, they are still behind the Lakers in my mind, especially since Derek Fisher decided to head back to LA and will now pair with Steve Blake at point guard. Also if the Lakers pick up Raja Bell, it will be a big addition for them. It will give them three top level on ball defenders with him, Kobe, and Ron Artest. The Heat will score points in bunches but can they stop anybody? Despite not getting LeBron or Wade, the Chicago Bulls have quietly upgraded their roster substantially. Carlos Boozer up front to pair with Joakim Noah and Kyle Korver and JJ Redick to boost their backcourt. They have more than enough all around talent to give the Heat a serious run. It was obviously a dissapointing off-season for the Knicks. However, they have a young, talented roster in place and should compete for a 7 or 8 seed in the East season after adding Amare Stoudemire, Raymond Felton, and Anthony Randolph. Now we are just holding out hope for Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony to eventually come on board. For all the hype about the Nets during the first couple of weeks of free agency, they ended up having Travis Outlaw and Jordan Farmar to show for it.

3. It seems to be a foregone conclusion that Mark Brunell will be joining the Jets on July 22nd and that move will be coupled by the release of Kellen Clemens. Again, I agree with decision to sign Brunell but not the decision to cut Clemens. Why not keep Clemens as the #2 and let Brunell be the #3? It is a better depth chart than having Brunell as the #2 and Kevin O’Connell or Erik Ainge as the #3. I am also holding out hope that the Jets will bring back defensive end Marques Douglas. Why not have the rich get richer on defense?

Projecting The Jets Defensive Statistics

Depsite having a notoriously aggressive pass rush, the Jets didn’t have impressive overall sack numbers in 2009. They looked to remedy that this year by adding Jason Taylor, who should primarily play on third downs and passing situations. I trust Ryan’s ability to utilize Taylor’s ability to rush the passer and think he will end up in the 9 -11 sack range in 2010. I also think Calvin Pace will crack double digits, based on the fact he had 8 sacks in only 12 games during his first season in Ryan’s defense. Outside of that, Shaun Ellis should be good for his usual 5 – 7 sacks and the defensive backs should rack up a decent amount, considering how much Ryan loves sending them off the edge at the quarterback. Look for Kyle Wilson, Eric Smith, James Ihedigbo, and Dwight Lowery to all get plenty of opportunities to pull in a few sacks each. If Kris Jenkins is kept fresh by rotating with Sione Pouha, he should also be good for a handful of sacks.

Photobucket– In the defensive backfield, it isn’t out of the question for Darrelle Revis to exceed his 6 interceptions from last year. The beauty of Rex Ryan’s system is that it forces opposing offenses to challenge Revis and the overwhelming majority of the time, he wins the battle. Revis is basically always going to be covering the team’s top option, which sometimes includes sliding in the slot to cover their primary third down target. For example, against the Chargers last year he spent time on Vincent Jackson, Antonio Gates, and LaDainian Tomlinson out of the backfield depending on the situation. He also slid inside to cover Legedu Naanee on some third downs, because he was a favorite target of Philip Rivers in that particular situation. Ryan makes it nearly impossible to avoid throwing at Revis at least a few times a game. Antonio Cromartie should see plenty of balls come his way also when teams attempt to work away from Revis and he has the athleticism to make teams pay for challenging him, especially if he is covering their second or third option. Honestly, there is no reason Revis and Cromartie can’t both pull in 6 – 8 interceptions in 2010. Beyond that, I think Brodney Pool will have the third most. He had 4 interceptions in 11 games last year on a relatively poor defense, so it will be interesting to see how many he grabs on this team.

– Unless there is an injury, David Harris is going to lead the team in tackles by a good margin with Bart Scott finishing up in second place. Harris filled up the stat line last year (127 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 2 INTs, 2 FFs) and those numbers should only increase as he gets more comfortable in Ryan’s system. Scott had an impressive 11 tackles for loss last season but hopefully he can cause a few more turnovers and get to the quarterback more in 2010. He had 0 FFs and INTs in 2009, along with only 1 sack.

– It will be interesting to see how the Jets rotation off the bench works on defense. You know Taylor and Wilson will see a good amount of reps and will almost always be in on third downs and passing situations. Depending on the game plan, Eric Smith should be on the field frequently to match-up with tight ends, running backs, or be used as a blitzer. Ryan also showed last year that he likes to use James Ihedigbo in pass rush situations. Dwight Lowery is working both at safety and corner now, which will help increase his reps. He will likely only get substantial playing time against teams who spread the field. On the defensive line, Sione Pouha will play near a starter’s amount of reps to help keep Kris Jenkins fresh and to occasionally pair up with him. Hopefully, either Vernon Gholston, Ropati Pitoitua, or Matt Kroul can step up to also give some quality reps off the bench.

That’s How You Come After the QB

What To Watch

Ranking The Jets Defensive Starters

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First a few updates:

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

2. I was surprised how many people on Facebook and Twitter responded to the TOJ Question of the Day “Who do you think will lead the team in receptions this season” with Santonio Holmes. The guy is only playing in 12 games, I doubt he can catch Cotchery or Edwards after their four game head start. I agree Holmes is probably the best overall receiver of the three but in this offense, this season…I will stay with Cotchery having the most receptions.

Ranking The Jets Defensive Starters

Since I ranked the Jets offensive starters on Friday, I had to finish the job by heading over to the other side of the ball.

1. Darrelle Revis – The best corner in football and the number one headline going into training camp because of his contract dispute.

2. David Harris – A top five inside linebacker in the NFL, who deserves a new contract and will hopefully get it soon for staying quiet about an extension similar to D’Brickashaw Ferguson.

3. Kris Jenkins – When Jenkins is healthy, he has the ability to take over football games and be a premier defensive lineman in the NFL. In 2010, he will be benefited from having Sione Pouha able to spell him and keep him fresh the entire season.

4. Antonio Cromartie – On pure talent and potential, I am placing him above Bart Scott and Calvin Pace, who are coming off better seasons. Cromartie has shown the ability to be a top flight corner in the NFL. Hopefully the move to New York will rejuvenate his career.

5. Calvin Pace – There were plenty of questions about the Jets giving Pace a monster contract two years ago but he has given them two very productive seasons. I expect him to have over 10 sacks this season.

6. Bart Scott – The loudest player on the field and an emotional leader on the team. Scott had a very good first season in New York and will look to build on it in 2010.

7. Shaun Ellis – The longest tenured Jet, remains one of the better all-around 3-4 defensive ends in the NFL.

8. Jim Leonhard – Consistent player who knows the ins and outs of Rex Ryan’s defense.

9. Bryan Thomas – His numbers from last year won’t blow anybody away but Ryan and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine swear by his value to the defensive unit as an all-around solid player who does all the little things well.

10. Brodney Pool – I am excited to see what this guy can do in Ryan’s defense. Kerry who?

11. Mike DeVito – The UDFA from the University of Maine has come a long way. The Jets like his ability to stop the run.

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Jets Area of Strength – Linebacker

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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 Defense: Looking At The Bench

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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.

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