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Quarterbacks (B) – Mark Sanchez’s completion percentage still isn’t high enough and he was inconsistent for 3 and 1/2 quarters, yet continuing to demonstrate a positive trend, he stepped up when it mattered the most. He looked excellent in the two minute drill and led the Jets to another come from behind victory. It is hard to question his arm strength after the beautiful 74 yard touchdown pass to Braylon Edwards and the more chemistry he develops with Santonio Holmes, the more passing yards he will rack up. Hopefully, this will be the first of many 300 yard games.
Running Backs (B) – LaDainian Tomlinson’s yards per carry has been creeping lower and lower each week, while Shonn Greene’s have been steady or rising when given the chance. However, LT was clutch on the two minute drill and contributed 47 yards receiving. I would really like to see Greene be getting more than 10 carries though.
Wide Receivers (B+) – They demonstrated their big play capability on Edwards long touchdown reception and Holmes 52 yard reception in overtime. Yet, there were still struggles with ball security. Jerricho Cotchery is in a serious funk right now and has lost his starting job. Edwards has to protect the football when running with it.
Tight Ends (B+) – Dustin Keller made a few clutch receptions and provided a big play down the seam late in the fourth quarter.
Offensive Line (B+) – The running game has been disappointing the past few weeks but the pass protection was very good. Brandon Moore did a great job on Ndamukong Suh, furthering his case for a trip to Hawaii this year.
Defensive Line (B) – A quiet day for the guys up front but they were solid against the run. Where has Shaun Ellis been the past few weeks? Vernon Gholston didn’t take advantage of being given the start, as he recorded no stats.
Linebackers (C) – There were some flaws in pass coverage, missed tackles, and a stupid personal foul on Bart Scott, who did record his first sack of the season. Calvin Pace and Jason Taylor remained in the missing persons program, in terms of getting to the quarterback.
Secondary (B) – Revis Island is back in business. Drew Coleman had a brutal day trying to cover Nate Burleson. It could be time for Dwight Lowery or Marquice Cole to get more of a shot in the slot. Is it me or has Jim Leonhard been a huge liability in pass coverage this year? Beyond that, is Brodney Pool even out there? Seriously, the guy is playing starter’s reps and can barely even record a tackle.
Special Teams (A) – Nick Folk continued his strong season with the game tying and game winning kick. Kyle Wilson finally had a good looking punt return but of course he fumbled at the end of it.
Coaching (D) – The Jets are way too undisciplined right now on both sides of the football and there were more clock management issues. Rex Ryan needs to wake his team up out of the funk they have been in the past few weeks.
Highlights of Jets Win
Check out (http://bit.ly/SundaySweep) for information on the NFLRedZone Sunday Sweep Challenge being run by the NFL Network. Register as a New York Jets fan and compete for plenty of prizes.
First a few updates:
1. Listen to Turn On The Jets live tonight at 8PM on Football Reporters Online Presents: Pro Football NYC at this link (http://www.blogtalkradio.com/football-reporters/2010/08/19/football-reporters-online-presents-pro-football-nyc
2. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (@TurnOnTheJets).
3. The Jets have special teams practice at 4:15 today, an 8:20 AM practice tomorrow and then off on Friday in preparation of their pre-season game in Carolina Saturday Night at 8 PM. After how much the starters played on Monday night, don’t expect to see any first unit players get any reps outside of the first quarter.
4. Of course, Hard Knocks 10 PM tonight.
Thursday Practice Recap
The Good – Plenty of work for the second team today, with a few starters getting the day off and many getting limited reps. James Ihedigbo and Vernon Gholston both recorded sacks of Mark Brunell. Steve Weatherford got a shot to kick field goals today and hit all three (33, 38, 43 yards).
The Bad – There was another fight at practice today, this time between Matt Slauson and Matt Kroul. Rob Turner and Shaun Ellis were also exchanging some heated words…I think the players may be itching to leave Cortland full time. Marquice Cole was called for pass interference, extending the offenses’ two minute drive.
Play of the Day – Laveranues Coles had a one-handed grab of a Mark Brunell pass during the two minute drill.
Sanchez Stats – 6/11, No INTs, No TDs
Injury – Nick Mangold was back on the practice field today after missing the pre-season game against the Giants with a headache. John Conner (knee) and Jason Davis (ankle) both had limited reps at fullback. Donovan Warren has a head injury. Lance Laury got stitches on his lower lip after the Giants game. Bart Scott, Matthew Mulligan Mike DeVito and Brandon Moore were given the day off.
Depth Chart – With Brandon Moore out today, Vladimir Ducasse worked at left guard while Matt Slauson worked at right guard. Kenwin Cummings filled in for Bart Scott at inside linebacker. Mark Brunell was back to working with the second offense.
Rex Ryan Press Conference Highlights –
- Disappointed with practice, thought it was sluggish. Too many false starts penalties.
- No movement in left guard battle, thought both played well.
- Said Joe McKnight needs to learn sometimes to just “get three yards and give us what you got in between the tackles.”
- Praised Danny Woodhead’s courage and toughness.
- Praised Kyle Wilson’s ability to learn defense and how coachable he is.
- Would like to see more of Brashton Satele and Josh Mauga at linebacker.
- He has been impressed with Jason Taylor’s ability to stop the run.
- Said he believed Tony Dungy “unfairly judged him” and left him a message to call him and come visit camp.
Revis Update – Nada…and Dwight Lowery, Drew Coleman, and Marquice Cole are all still battling for the “David Barrett Award” given to the Jets corner who is beat at least 95% of the time the ball is thrown their way.
Venting On Secondary
I have been trying not to think about the Darrelle Revis holdout too frequently. Honestly, once the Jets got rolling with practice, unless it was explicitly brought up (like in Hard Knocks), it was easy to just focus on the players on the field. However, we were all served a cruel reminder on Monday night about the Jets corners, not named Cromartie and Wilson.
In case you forgot about Dwight Lowery getting beat like a drum up and down the field in the AFC Championship Game, he reminded you of his coverage abilities. In case you forgot about Drew Coleman miss timing his jump in the AFC Championship Game on a Peyton Manning deep ball before the half that should have been intercepted and his general awfulness that traces back to missing tackles that lead to 60 yard touchdowns in 2006 against the Bears, he reminded you. In case you forgot who Marquice Cole was, he reminded you that he shouldn’t be a name worth remembering on the Jets defensive depth chart.
Bottom line is the Jets can’t have players like that on the field in their nickel package against teams like the Patriots, Packers, Vikings, and if it comes to it, the Colts. The Jets spent the off-season building themselves to beat a team like the Colts, by improving their pass rush with Jason Taylor and more importantly improving the depth in their secondary by trading for Cromartie and drafting Wilson. Unfortunately, their depth is back to where it started when the league’s best corner isn’t in the lineup. I don’t know about you but I am not interested in seeing a repeat of last year’s AFC Championship Game in 2010. Darrelle Revis just intercepted some leverage from the Jets and he will likely get more if the Panthers carve up the Jets reserves on Saturday.
Guessing That Drew Coleman Won’t Be Featured In A Commercial Anytime Soon
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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:
Let’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.
The 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.
I recently saw Mike Reiss of ESPN rank the entire New England Patriots roster 1 – 82. Let’s try that on a smaller scale with the Jets starting with their offensive starters today.
1. Nick Mangold – The best player in the NFL at his respective position. Hopefully, the Jets will be locking him down to a long term deal in the coming weeks.
2. D’Brickashaw Ferguson – One of the best tackles in the NFL, who the Jets just gave a massive extension to.
3. Brandon Moore – Three offensive lineman in a row? Yes, Brandon Moore is in the top tier of guards in the NFL, despite flying under the radar.
4. Braylon Edwards – The most physically talented player on the Jets roster. However, he still lacks consistency.
5. Jerricho Cotchery – The most reliable receiver the Jets have. I believe he is a borderline #1 guy, but the Jets have the luxury of letting him be a #2/#3 when Santonio Holmes returns from suspension.
6. Dustin Keller – He had a promising rookie season and then finished his second season on fire in the playoffs. He has pro-bowl level talent but I don’t know if he can get enough looks in this offense to reach that level.
7. Damien Woody – He has been rock solid since the Jets signed him, starting every game at right tackle and playing at a consistently high level.
8. Tony Richardson – Still one of the better fullbacks in the game. Yet, I wonder if he will see a dip in reps this season after Holmes returns in week 5.
9. Mark Sanchez – He had a roller coaster rookie season but finished strong in the playoffs. There is no doubt he has the potential to be a franchise quarterback but he has to be more consistent.
10. Shonn Greene – Similar to Sanchez, came on strong in the playoffs. Greene has the tools to be a number one back but has to stay healthy and protect the football.
11. Vladimir Ducasse – The newcomer to the offensive line. He will have a major jump from I-AA to the NFL.
Cheer Up Knicks Fans…At least we don’t live in Cleveland:
Of Course, TOJ TV
First a few updates (and yes another comment on the comments)
1. A friendly reminder that comments from people who never had a comment go through before the past week are locked in pending. The ones you see going through are from people who had posted before that. Until the Fanball technical crew fixes this, I will transcribe your comments myself under my name but with a POST FROM ___ above, as you can see in our recent articles. Keep the comments coming and keep the conversation going, and for god’s sake follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets).
How To Spot Bandwagon Jets Fans
Who would have thought the New York Jets…the ugly stepchild of New York football would ever have bandwagon fans? Well it is starting to happen, as the Jets have climbed into relevancy thanks to a run to the AFC Championship Game, a collection of flashy trades/free agent signings/ draft picks, the most entertaining coach in professional sports, and now a spot on HBO’s Hard Knocks. How can you separate these fans who just decided to come along for the party now, without paying their dues of suffering and misery. TOJ has the guide:
– They are wearing either a Brett Favre or LaDainian Tomlinson jersey – First off, if you expected Favre to be on the Jets for more than one year, you were out of your mind and wasted your money on a jersey. Second, anybody wearing the Favre jersey likely hopped on in 2008 because “I’ve always loved Favre man” or because they thought he would carry the Jets to a Super Bowl…guess again, he flamed out in December. This is the Jets we are talking about and again this is Brett Favre we are talking about, who has now made a career of melting down in big spots. Tomlinson jerseys? Really? You really think he is going to be on the team for more than 1 season? A smarter investment would have been any other of the Jets new acquisitions or maybe their starting running back who is entering his second season in the NFL. Hey, at least you didn’t get a tattoo of “LT” on your calf or anything.
– They think Mark Sanchez is awesome – Look, I am as excited about Sanchez’s potential as the next fan and loved the way he played in the playoffs but you can’t be walking around going “bro, Sanchez is awesome.” I am sorry but if you watched the Jets last year, you know Sanchez threw 8 more interceptions than TDs and still has to prove himself as a franchise quarterback or anything near “awesome.” If you are talking about the caliber of women Sanchez dates…then yes he is “awesome.”
– They don’t know who Sione Pouha, Mike DeVito, or Brandon Moore are – If you start talking about any of these guys and a “Jets fan” tells you they don’t know who you are talking about, then you have spotted one. Or, if you are watching a game and one of the three does something or gets mentioned, and you get a “who the hell is that, anyway?” you found one. Sione Pouha started every game after week 6 last season and was terrific at nose tackle. Mike DeVito is going to be a starter this year and played a ton last season. Brandon Moore is one of the best guards in the NFL. He was better than Alan Faneca last season.
– They cheer against the Jets on a particular play because somebody on their fantasy roster made a big play – Sorry guy, I don’t care how much you paid to get into your fantasy league, you don’t cheer when Maurice Jones-Drew rumbles in for a touchdown against the Jets defense. You don’t cheer when anybody scores or makes a big play against the Jets defense. You don’t cheer when Sanchez throws an interception. You don’t cheer when Nick Folk shanks a 28 yard field goal because the kid you are playing is starting him at kicker.
– They agree with anything Mike Francesa or Mike Florio says about the Jets – Two chronic Jets haters who always go out of their way to find a negative angle about the team and take a shot at Rex Ryan (Francesa) or Mike Tannenbaum (Florio). Francesa is just bitter and likes to bother people because it is entertaining radio and I think Florio was beaten up for his lunch money by Jets fans when he was a kid.
– They don’t think Jerricho Cotchery is a good receiver – If you have actually watched every Jets game since 2006, you would never say something like “thank god, they got Holmes, Cotchery can’t handle being a starting receiver.” Actually, yes he can and he was handling being a number one receiver just fine before the Braylon trade last year. I admit he is a better fit as a #2 but anybody who thinks he isn’t a more than capable starter just hasn’t watched him play.
– They own a Giants jersey – Should I have to say anything? You can get jerseys from other teams, if you were younger and just wanted to get all the best players at the position you played but those other teams can’t include the Giants, Dolphins, Patriots, or Bills. I remember back in 8th grade, I had a sweet Issac Bruce Rams jersey because I was a monster on those recreation football fields at receiver. Of course, I also had a Chrebet and Keyshawn Johnson jersey but there was nothing wrong with wearing the ‘Ike back in the day. However, once you are over 16 you should be committing money to only your favorite team. I remember my one friend had a Kevin Johnson Browns jersey in high school. Yes, it was cool and rare at the time but where is that jersey now?
First a few updates:
1. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets). Also check out the new episode of TOJ TV at the bottom…And now follow Turn On The Jets on YouTube at:
2. I will making an appearance on Marty Schupak’s Green Rewind Podcast tonight, I will post the link once he has it up and running.
3. The Jets signed 4th round pick Joe McKnight today. They still have to sign Kyle Wilson and Vladimir Ducasse to finish up their draft pick deals.
12 Reasons Why The Jets Will Win 12 Games
I was amazed by how high the levels of optimism were when I was interviewing Jets fans at mini-camp practice this past week. Out of the 40 people we interviewed, not a single person put their record below 11-5. Personally, I share the optimism because I genuinely believe this is a 12 win, division winner type team this season just I like I genuinely believed they would be a 10 win, wild-card type team last season (close enough on the win total). Am I being blinded by the fact I am a Jets fan? I don’t think so, why should I say a team that should win 12 games, shouldn’t? Here are 12 reasons, why the Jets will win 12 games in 2010
1. Familiar With Defensive System – This is year two in Rex Ryan’s defensive system, which means all of the returning starters will be substantially more comfortable. They were already number one in the league and now they will have the ability to expand into more complex packages and blitz schemes. The players will also be given more of a chance to freelance and create plays based on what they see from the offense.
Some quotes from Bart Scott earlier in the off-season on this issue…
“Now it’s not what the coaches can do more of, it’s what the players can do more of. Last year we were doing everything pretty much straight by the book. Now we can improvise…The only field coaches we had last year were me, Marques Douglas and Jim Leonhard. Now you’ve got 22 people here that know the defense and can teach the defense.”
2. Improved Sanchez – I find it hard to believe after the solid postseason Mark Sanchez had, an off-season spent at the team facility, and a year of experience under his belt that he won’t improve on his 20 interceptions to 12 touchdowns from last season. The Jets won 9 games with Sanchez having a pretty awful statistical season, just imagine how many they could win if he makes the expected improvements to his touchdowns, interceptions, completion percentage, and QB rating.
3. Welcome Back – One of the top defensive lineman in the NFL will be returning to the Jets this season. They did struggle against the run at times last season, especially in the wild-card round against the Bengals but the return of Kris Jenkins should alleviate those problems. He will also provide a much better push on the pocket in passing situations.
4. First Down – The addition of Santonio Holmes will allow the Jets to run a wide variety of personnel groupings and formations with their three wide receivers, who are as good of a top three as any in the NFL. Watch for Jerricho Cotchery to become to one of the best slot receivers in the NFL on third downs this season, while all the attention is being paid to Holmes and Braylon Edwards on the outside.
5. No More Corner Problems – The Jets weak spot on defense last year was the cornerback position opposite Darelle Revis. How do you solve a problem like that? You trade for a former All-Pro corner who is one of the best overall athletes in the NFL and spend a first round pick on one of the draft’s top corners. I doubt you can name a team with four corners better than Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Kyle Wilson, and Dwight Lowery.
6. A Mismatch Nightmare – The Jets loaded receiver position and number one ranked rushing attack, makes you forget they have one of the better pass catching, and most athletic tight ends in the NFL in Dustin Keller. His regular season numbers weren’t overwhelming last season but in the playoffs, he caught a touchdown in every single game and appeared to finally be on the same page as Mark Sanchez. Keller will get plenty of favorable match-ups this season with attention focused on the Jets receivers and running backs.
7. Defensive Depth – The growth of young players Jamaal Westerman and Kenwin Cummings, along with the additions of veterans Jason Taylor and Lance Laury has given the Jets solid depth at the linebacker position. You already read about their corner depth, which is matched by quality depth at the safety position with Eric Smith, James Ihedigbo, and Donovan Warren. The defensive line could use a little more but that problem could be solved if they add Marques Douglas to the roster over the summer.
8. Safety Valve – The Jets have added two very good pass catching running backs, LaDainian Tomlinson and Joe McKnight which will benefit Mark Sanchez. Unlike previous years, the Jets screen game was nearly non-existent last season. Sanchez lacked a good outlet out of the backfield. The presence of Tomlinson and McKnight will help his completion percentage and also create some big plays in the screen game.
9. Playing For The Money – The Jets have three very, very talented players in Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes, and Antonio Cromartie playing for a contract that will secure them for the rest of their careers.
10. Safety Upgrade – Despite not having as big of a name, Brodney Pool will prove to be an upgrade for the Jets at the safety position over Kerry Rhodes, who was a major disappointment last season.
11. Offensive Line – Even with the subtraction of Alan Faneca, who was arguably the Jets fifth best lineman last year anyway, the Jets will still have a very good offensive line in 2010. Nick Mangold is an All-Pro. D’Brickashaw Ferguson is a Pro-Bowl player. Brandon Moore should have been a Pro-Bowl player last year. Damien Woody is a solid, consistent veteran. Their experience will help overcome the growing pains of Vladimir Ducasse.
12. Special Playmakers – The Jets have a serious collection of playmakers for their return game. Antonio Cromartie, Kyle Wilson, Joe McKnight, Brad Smith, Aundrae Allison, and David Clowney give Mike Westhoff plenty of options.
New TOJ TV
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.
Kick 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
First a few updates:
1. Jason Taylor practiced with the team today and was wearing #95. I guess he hasn’t been able to pay off Bryan Thomas yet for a number switch to #99 or Thomas has decided to hang on to his number.
2. The Jets will have the day off tomorrow and then be back at practice on Thursday with full media availability. They will have the same schedule next week.
3. How about those Yankees last night?
4. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets).
The Not So Big Name Jets Starters
When most people think about the New York Jets in 2010, they will refer to their number one ranked rushing attack and number one ranked defense. They have some big name lineman in Nick Mangold, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, and Damien Woody. Any NFL fan who watched the playoffs should know all about Shonn Greene. Despite not having a big time passing attack, Mark Sanchez, Braylon Edwards, and Dustin Keller are well known names. On defense, Darrelle Revis, Bart Scott, David Harris are the big names associated with the Jets, along with Kris Jenkins. Calvin Pace got a big contract and Shaun Ellis is a respected veteran. The Jets also added some big name backups this off-season in Jason Taylor and LaDainian Tomlinson. Santonio Holmes and Antonio Cromartie are also big name players who were added. However, lesser known starters on the Jets will be a major factor in determining whether or not the team can reach their goal of a Super Bowl this season. When looking at all the big names on the Jets roster, don’t forget about these players who will be running out of the tunnel as starters this season.
Brandon Moore – Moore quietly has been a very good player on the Jets offensive line at the right guard position. He has started 94 games for the team since 2004. After nearly letting him walk, the Jets smartly signed him to an extension before last season. Even though Alan Faneca made the Pro Bowl last year, it is arguable that Brandon Moore had a better year in 2009. He turns 30 this year and will hopefully be able to give the Jets 4-6 more seasons of his consistent play.
Bryan Thomas – Thomas has put together an up and down career with the Jets since being a first round draft pick 9 years ago. He had a breakout season in 2006 with 8.5 sacks but hasn’t approached those numbers since. In year one of Rex Ryan’s defense, Thomas started 16 games and had 53 tackles, 2 sacks, and 1 forced fumble. However, he is constantly cited by defensive coordinator Mike Pettine for doing the little things that don’t show up in the stat sheet. Thomas is a versatile player who does a good job on run contain, coverage, and can occasionally get after the quarterback. He will lose some reps to Jason Taylor this year but is still the starter at outside linebacker and a big part of the defense.
Mike DeVito – The Jets are confident in DeVito’s ability to fill in for Marques Douglas at defensive end after he put together a strong year off the bench in 2009. DeVito won’t put up gaudy numbers but seems to have a good grasp on what Rex Ryan wants out of his ends and does a good job in the running game.
Brodney Pool – The Jets are talking up Pool as a big off-season acquisition that is being overlooked by everybody. It is worth pointing out that Pool did have more sacks and interceptions than Kerry Rhodes in six less games last season. The real question about Pool is whether he can stay healthy or not. He has a history of concussions and if he gets another one, that could be it for him. However, it looks like he will get the first crack at replacing Rhodes alongside Jim Leonhard.
April’s Fools Joke on The Jets D-Line
First a few updates:
1. The Patriots have finally cut ties with outside linebacker Adalius Thomas. Will the Jets still puruse Thomas, who excelled in Rex Ryan’s system during his time in Baltimore? Initially you would think not, considering they just signed Jason Taylor and still have Calvin Pace and Bryan Thoams in place as starters. However, you could never have enough pass rushers, especially in this defensive system. The Jets may be able to get Thomas at a low price depending on the amount of interest he generates around the league and his desire to reunite with Ryan and stick it to the Patriots for cutting him. I say if they can get him at a reasonable price, then why not? Also keep in mind Thomas is versatile enough to play multiple positions in Rex Ryan’s defense. Overall, don’t be shocked to see the Jets add yet another big name in the next few days.
2. The Jets have restructured Vernon Gholston’s contract to make it primarily incentive based. Apparently, Gholston approached the team about redoing the deal in an attempt to actually earn his contract money. If that is true, than it is a very admirable move by Gholston who will hopefully begin to turn his career around somewhat at the defensive end position.
3. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook…Good links today on the Jets/Giants business relationship and Peter King’s inside information of what went down before the Leon Washington deal.
A Defense Of The Jets Off-Season
I have been caught off guard by the amount of negativity expressed by many Jets fans after their draft weekend decisions. On the whole most people who follow and write about the NFL initially praised the Jets pro-active approach this off-season, however there is starting to be some questions asked about adding too many big name players, destroying team chemistry, and an overall skepticism about the direction Mike Tannenbaum/Rex Ryan have taken this team. You can poke holes in any team’s roster and any personnel decision they make, yet I have this to say to people who haven’t liked the Jets off-season: are you kidding me?
Let’s start with the defense. The consensus weakest part of the Jets defense last year was their secondary outside of Darrelle Revis. Everybody agreed they needed a major upgrade at corner after Revis and that Kerry Rhodes was a disappointment in Rex Ryan’s system who wasn’t a good fit in the locker room with his “Hollywood” personality and selfish anger over Jim Leonhard calling the shots in the defensive backfield. What did the Jets do? They replaced Lito Sheppard with Antonio Cromartie as the other starter at corner. They replaced Dwight Lowery with Kyle Wilson as the nickel back and they shipped Rhodes to Arizona for two draft picks.
Cromartie and Wilson should be substantial upgrades over the players they replaced. Cromartie is out to prove he can return to his all-pro level in Ryan’s man to man scheme and validate the Jets decision to give him a chance, along with a nice advance on his contract to help pay his child support. Wilson was a steal at #29 in the first round and should immediately be one of the most talented nickel backs in the NFL. Everybody wants to criticize the Jets chemistry for this upcoming year but didn’t they improve it by shipping out the disgruntled Rhodes? Brodney Pool has been tabbed as his replacement and had more sacks and interceptions than Rhodes last year, despite only playing in 11 games. Yes, Pool has injury concerns but if he gets hurt, wasn’t Eric Smith just as productive as Rhodes last season. Beyond that the Jets didn’t break the bank for Cromartie, Pool, or Wilson considering where he was selected.
The other big problem on the Jets defense last year was their lack of a pass rush. In order to improve this they added Jason Taylor, who notched seven sacks last year despite not being put in the best position to rush the passer in Miami’s defense. Rex Ryan should be able to put together enough schemes and blitz packages to get somebody with Taylor’s talent 9-12 sacks. Also don’t forget Kris Jenkins is coming back from injury and while he won’t ever rack up monster sack numbers his presence on the line will open up things for everybody else. Beyond that, there is a decent chance Adalius Thomas will also be thrown in the mix as a pass rusher at outside linebacker, inside linebacker, and defensive end.
So on defense the Jets replaced three starters: Kerry Rhodes, Lito Sheppard, and Marques Douglas with three younger players in Brodney Pool, Antonio Cromartie, and Mike DeVito. They removed the biggest personality/chemistry problem by getting rid of Rhodes. Yes, Douglas was a quality player and it remains to be seen if DeVito can be a full time starter but the Jets defense isn’t dropping from the number one spot in the league because they removed the 60 tackles and 1.5 sacks from Douglas. On top of that, they now have Jason Taylor as their top reserve at linebacker instead of Vernnon Gholston and Kyle Wilson at nickel back instead of Dwight Lowery. So tell me what the problem is again? It sounds to me like there is a good chance the Jets will be repeating as the league’s #1 defense.
Now let’s look at the offense where there is a popular misconception that the Jets signed LaDainian Tomlinson to replace Thomas Jones. Actually it will be Shonn Greene replacing Thomas Jones, with LaDainian Tomlinson taking over the #2 role and stepping in as the goal-line/short yardage back. The Jets also replaced Leon Washington, who may have begun the season on the PUP list with a player who has the skill set to be a young, healthier version of him in Joe McKnight. Washington also would have been leaving the Jets after this season anyway because of his contract situation, while the Jets now have McKnight for the next 4-6 years at a minimum.
Most people agreed the Jets needed to upgrade their receiving core. They responded by adding Santonio Holmes for a fifth round pick. Holmes has the talent to be a #1 receiver on many teams in this league, yet will basically be the Jets #3 receiver when he begins playing in week five. They will also be benefitted by having Braylon Edwards spend a full off-season with the team and having both Edwards and Holmes looking to prove they deserve long term contracts from the Jets or another team.
Yes the Jets had to make the tough choice of parting ways with Alan Faneca. However, considering they just gave Brandon Moore a long term deal and will have to give Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson ones after this season, did they really have a choice? Let’s have a little faith in Bill Callahan, widely considered one of the best offensive line coaches in the game, to develop Vladimir Ducasse or Matt Slauson into capable starters this year and long term quality players for the team.
So on offense the Jets replaced two starters: Thomas Jones and Alan Faneca. Two guys who were productive last year and well-respected in the locker room, yet two guys who are 31 and 33 years old, respectively. Shonn Greene certainly looked the part of a a number one back in the playoffs last year and if he struggles the Jets have quality depth behind him in LaDainian Tomlinson and Joe McKnight. Ducasse and Slauson are unproven but will be surrounded by four high quality players and a great offensive line coach. Beyond that, they moved from having their number three receiver either being Brad Smith or David Clowney to being Santonio Holmes. Mark Sanchez should also be better in his second year but hey the Jets went to the AFC Championship game with him throwing 20 INTs to 12 TDs, along with a 53 completion percentage, so imagine what they could do if he makes strides this season.
I am sure players hated to see people like Faneca, Jones, and Washington leave the team. Yet, let’s not go crazy with the chemistry or leadership concerns. Last time I checked on offense the Jets will still have Tony Richardson, Jerricho Cotchery, and Damien Woody in the huddle, along with the same quarterback, three other returning starters on the offensive line, the same top two tight ends, and a new strong veteran presence in LaDainian Tomlinson. On defense Bart Scott, Jim Leonhard, Darrelle Revis, David Harris, and Shaun Ellis will still be out there along with Kris Jenkins returning to the huddle.
You want to criticize the Jets for something? Fine, they downgraded at kicker by replacing Jay Feely with Nick Folk, yet somehow I think Tannenbaum will find a way to add another kicker at some point this summer.
Like I said before, you can poke holes in any roster or personnel decision. Yet, sometimes you just have to call things as you see them. The Jets are loaded right now, on both sides of the football. This team is built to be a legit Super Bowl contender and in my mind are the second best team in the AFC right now and a top five overall team in the NFL.