12 Pack Of Jets Off-Season Thoughts – Edition #14

After a one week hiatus for the NFL Draft, the 12 pack is back with twelve assorted thoughts about the New York Jets…

1. Rex, Rex, Rex – The guy is everywhere. He might have did about 4,000 interviews this past week to promote his new book, which I am currently working through. I can tell you already that it is a must read for any Jets fan or anybody who gets a kick out of Ryan’s personality. Yet, if you don’t like Rex, it will be just be more fuel to your fire. He remains true to himself in the book, which is no filter, borderline cocky, and brutally honest. Do I think it is a little much for Ryan to be writing a book two years into becoming a head coach, without a winning Super Bowl? Not necessarily, the guy has enough stories to tell with his long assistant coaching history, being Buddy Ryan’s son, and the amount that has happened in his first two years as a head coach to craft an interesting read, so more power to him.

Very glad to see that Rex didn’t go on Mike Francesa’s show by the way.

2. The People’s Champ – Braylon Edwards popularity with Jets fans has skyrocketed over the past year. His decision to show up for Jets West and even mention taking a hometown discount, when SantonioHolmes was nowhere to be found and has already made it clear he has no interest in signing the Jets tender and wants to go to the team where he can get the most money possible, has only helped Braylon’s popularity. Most fans seem to believe Braylon’s heart is truly in New York and admired the consistency and toughness of his play in 2010. Does that mean he will be back or will take a discount that will actually make a different? Only time will tell…

3. LT Glide – I am going to expand on this in an article for SB Nation later in the day, but you have to love the attitude of LaDainian Tomlinson. How about this first ballot hall of famer taking the time to attend Jets West with mostly rookies and also saying he will embrace being a third down back in 2011? Tomlinson has been a model teammate since joining the Jets and is beyond valuable with the leadership and experience he provides on offense.

4. Tiger Formation – It is was also impressive that Brad Smith decided to show up for Jets West without a contract. There is a good chance he won’t be back next year, as another team will probably offer him more money and a bigger role on offense, yet if he does end up back he will have a jump on getting more reps at receiver if Edwards or Holmes leaves.

5. Too Early On The Compliments – All the beat writers have been raving about fifth round pick Jeremy Kerley, by saying how quick and fluid he looks at receiver. Let’s see this guy in pads and with some defenders around him first before giving him too much credit. I do think he has good potential but you can’t get worked up over any thing you saw at these past workouts.

6. My Two Cents – On the Braylon/Santonio and defensive backs debate I posted earlier this week – I think Holmes is a better all-around receiver than Edwards, but if Edwards will come that much cheaper than it could be a smarter move to bring him back. Beyond that, if Holmes refuses to sign his one year tender as a restricted free agent (if he remains that under the new CBA), then try to work out a trade for him if he isn’t going to be reasonable on his long term contract demands. The Jets don’t need another holdout headache this summer. In terms of the DBs, I think Antonio Cromartie and Brodney Pool should be brought back as starters, and then you go from there depending how much money guys like Eric Smith and Drew Coleman are being offered. The Jets should be able to work out a fairly cheap deal with James Ihedigbo.

7. McKnight Anger – Glad to hear Joe McKnight is “pissed” and that it “added fuel to his fire” when the Jets selected Bilal Powell in the NFL Draft. McKnight should already be pissed about how he represented himself last year. If he has head on straight, he has an immense amount of talent and can be a dynamic playmaker in the Jets offense. Let’s hope the Powell selection helps push him even harder this off-season.

8. What About Powell? – You never know, especially with injuries but I think Powell will likely end up spending many games inactive this season. After LaDainian Tomlinson retires, hopefully he can become Shonn Greene’s primary backup, while McKnight moves into the third down role.

9. Entourage – How does everybody feel about the selection of Scotty McKnight? Does it bother you to see the Jets selecting Mark Sanchez’s buddy or do you think his chemistry with Sanchez and productivity at Colorado will lead to a successful NFL career?

10. Jets/Giants – How much fun is Christmas Eve going to be? Personally, I think Rex stirring the pot on a rivalry that isn’t really there is a great thing and will just make their regular season meeting that much more entertaining. Since Rex has taken over, the Jets have been the better, more interesting, and more entertaining team…let’s just hope that will equal a Super Bowl sooner rather than later because it is going to take one of those for the Jets to truly dominate this town.

11. Lockout – stay…appeal…stay…8th circuit…deny…stay…appeal…the clock is ticking.

12. Weekend Video Clip – More Muhammad Edition

Braylon Or Santonio? Decisions, Decisions…

Where’s your vote going?

Braylon Edwards – 53 receptions, 904 yards, 7 TDs (16 regular season games) –  9 receptions, 164 yards, 1 TD in playoffs

  • 6’3, 214 pounds
  • Physical, strong blocker
  • Freakish combination of size and speed
  • Struggled with drops prior to 2010 season
  • DUI during 2010 season
  • Made selfish comments after AFC Championship Game loss in 2009

Santonio Holmes – 52 receptions, 746 yards, 6 TDs (12 regular season games) – 9 receptions, 127 yards, 2 TDs in playoffs

  • 5’11, 192 pounds
  • Former Super Bowl MVP
  • Bizarrely clutch, dynamic playmaker
  • Struggled with drops at times last season
  • Suspended 4 games to start 2010 season
  • Made selfish comments after AFC Championship Game loss in 2010 (A Jets WR tradition)

Brad Smith: Odd Man Out?

Not surprisingly, Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes have been dominating the free agency discussion surrounding the New York Jets this off-season. Mike Tannenbaum will have his hands full attempting to bring back both his receivers. However, the Jets have a third free agent wide receiver, who is appearing less and less likely to return, Brad Smith.

Smith doesn’t have the numbers or name recognition of players like Edwards, Holmes, or Antonio Cromartie, yet was still one of the most valuable members of the team last season. Despite not fitting into a conventional position, Smith racked up 299 rushing yards out of the Jets “Tiger” formation, returned two kicks for touchdowns, threw a touchdown, and had 44 receiving yards.

Most people are assuming his production as a returner will decline because of the new kickoff rules and while he is valuable on offense, is he worth Josh Cribbs type money, especially with Holmes and Edwards vying for big paydays?

The short answer is no. If the Jets can get Smith back on a relatively cap friendly deal after Holmes or Edwards walks, than more power to Mike Tannenabaum but the Jets can’t break the bank for a player like Smith with all their other free agents this off-season.

Smith basically functions as the team’s number three running back, even though his carries come mostly on direct snaps. Hopefully, Joe McKnight can develop into a big enough part of the offense to give them the 299 rushing yards, Smith had last season. In terms of the direct snaps, the Jets can work their other running backs into their version of the Wildcat. No, they aren’t the same threat to throw that Smith was but let’s be honest here, Smith completed 2 passes for 6 yards in 2010. The Jets can compensate for that.

As Mark Sanchez continues to develop and the Jets open up their passing attack more, there is going to be less of a need for gimmick plays on offense that put him on the side-line.

Brad Smith is a nice player but the Jets should be able to fill the void left by him this off-season if they can’t work out a new contract for him.

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

 weekly 12 pack is back, with no specific theme…just a bunch of random thoughts, links, and videos…enjoy it, you jabronis

1. If you aren’t excited about the NBA Playoffs, you should be. I can’t think of a better way to get through your NFL Lockout frustation then by enjoying the next couple of months of basketball. Yes, the draft will be fun but we have the 30th overall pick in the first round and no second round pick. Am I excited about improving our defensive line depth? Absolutely, but the only downfall of being a consistently very good team is that you don’t have much draft day drama.

2. How much does the lockout suck by the way? Do you know at this time last year, the Jets had already signed LaDainian Tomlinson, Brodney Pool, traded Kerry Rhodes, released Thomas Jones, signed Nick Folk, and traded for Antonio Cromartie?

3. If I had to guess today, the Jets will take Phil Taylor in the first round, draft a safety in third round, and in rounds 4 through 7, add a corner, receiver, offensive lineman, and outside linebacker

4. Get excited for New York City playoff basketball returning

5. If I was Braylon Edwards publicist, I certainly wouldn’t want him calling his DUI “BS” …doesn’t exactly sound like he learned much from the incident. Regardless, he does sound much more interested in returning to the team than Santonio Holmes does. When the new CBA is finalized, I am fascinated to see how Mike Tannenbaum approaches re-signing these two, never mind Antonio Cromartie and Brad Smith.

6. Interesting that the Jets decided to work out TCU quarterback Andy Dalton, who some people think could sneak into the first round. Clearly the Jets front office is trying to create more interest in acquiring their 30th overall pick, although I don’t know who is going to buy it. Again, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Jets trade down, which will be sure to piss off all those Jets fans who attend the Draft on Thursday night.

7. Over the past two days, I have written pieces on three of the Jets four draft picks last year, Vladimir Ducasse, Joe McKnight, and Kyle Wilson. It is essential to the Jets 2011 success that these players begin to reach the potential the team drafted them for. Ducasse needs to develop into the starting right tackle, McKnight needs to become a contributor on offense and special teams as a returner, and Wilson needs to rise up to the challenge of being a starting corner if Antonio Cromartie doesn’t come back.

8. Sounds like all that Randy Moss talk was just a smokescreen to piss off Santonio Holmes…I wonder if Bart Scott talking about how the Jets would welcome Chad Ochocino was to…

9. Did I tell you how excited I was for Knicks playoff basketball?

10. Follow TOJ’s ongoing draft preview at SB Nation…

11. Very interested to see how New England handles their 120 draft picks this year, their defense, offensive line, and receiving core could all use a boost. I also wonder if Miami will officially throw in the towel on Chad Henne by drafting Ryan Mallett.

12. Enjoy your weekend…go New York, go New York, go…

New York Jets: Change Of Philosophy On The Way?

Arguably the greatest thing Rex Ryan has brought to the Jets organization has been an identity. An identity built around being a physical team who is led by their aggressive defense and running game. This identity has brought confidence and a long missing swagger to an organization desperately in need of it.

The Jets were about as “Ground and Pound” as you could be during their 2009 run to the AFC Championship Game. The less Mark Sanchez was throwing, the better their chances were of winning. Their defense was consistently coming after the quarterback in all situations and in all match-ups.

The 2010 Jets team that made it back to the AFC Championship Game took a step away from the 2009 “Ground and Pound” identity. Sanchez threw 143 more passes in the regular season and the Jets had 73 less rushing attempts. Rex Ryan showed an ability to win big games without a defensive game-plan built around the blitz, most notably against the Colts and Patriots in the playoffs.

Their off-season moves prior to the 2010 season indicated this step could be coming. They traded for Santonio Holmes, despite recently trading for Braylon Edwards. LaDainian Tomlinson was signed, partially because of his ability to catch the ball out of backfield better than Thomas Jones and Joe McKnight was drafted, who had a reputation for being a very good receiving running back.

What will be interesting to see on both sides of the ball in 2011, is if the Jets continue to become more pass happy on offense and more willing to occasionally embrace (gasp) zone concepts and a less aggressive approach on defense.

An early indication of this could be the priority given to bringing back wide receivers Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards compared to cornerback Antonio Cromartie. If the Jets are going to bring back their top two wide receivers and say bye to one of the better man to man corners in the league, you would guess they plan on throwing it a little more in 2011 and laying off the bump and run on defense somewhat.

The real question on offense, will be if Mark Sanchez can handle a more pass-centric attack. Can he become a guy that gets up around 4,000 yards and 25 touchdowns in a season, while limiting his turnovers?

It remains to be seen if the Jets truly have a number one back. Shonn Greene still has to prove he can carry the load, LaDainian Tomlinson is a year older and ready for a limited role, and Joe McKnight has accomplished nothing at the NFL level yet.

The last two years we watched Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers throw their teams to Super Bowl victories, will the Jets attempt another step closer to that approach or go back to their 2009 “Ground and Pound” ways?

12 Pack Of Jets Off-Season Thoughts – Edition #9

The 12 pack is back on Friday where it belongs, after a special Thursday edition last week. As always, a friendly reminder to follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter. Today, I will be summarizing where I think the Jets stand at each position and what the appropriate moves would be at those positions this off-season. Check back a little later in the day for a mock draft round-up as well.

1. Quarterback – Mark Sanchez took major strides in the right direction in the second year of his career. Despite his inaccuracy and inconsistency, he has the “it” quality all great quarterbacks need to succeed. He plays better when the spot is bigger and has quickly developed into a leader on the team. The Jets plan to bring Mark Brunell back as his primary backup, which is a foolish and shortsighted decision that could kill their 2011 season (if it ever occurs). They should investigate a better, younger veteran option like Bruce Gradkowski, Tyler Thigpen, or Billy Volek.

 2. Running Back – Despite a somewhat disappointing 2010 season, I remain confident that if given the proper amount of carries on a weekly basis, Shonn Greene can be a capable lead back. LaDainian Tomlinson should move into being the primary third down back and occasionally spell Greene. Joe McKnight also needs a shot on offense this year and should be given a few series as the third down back, split out wide occasionally, and have a package of plays to get him involved. John Conner will be the starting fullback, which means Tony Richardson will likely announce his retirement sometime relatively soon.

3. Wide Receiver – The Jets should prioritize getting Santonio Holmes back before Braylon Edwards, which they seem to have. Getting Edwards back would be a nice luxury but it shouldn’t come at the cost of Antonio Cromartie returning to the team. It has now been revealed that Jerricho Cotchery played through last season with a herniated disc in his back, explaining some of his struggles. He can handle the starting role if needed and I think will bounce back with a big year in 2011. It sounds like the Jets are interested in Brad Smith returning, but if the price gets too high they can afford to let him leave. My guess is that it is about 50/50 on seeing him back next year.

4. Tight End – One of the main reasons I think the Jets can handle Braylon Edwards departing is Dustin Keller. He can assume a bigger role in the passing game and provide the size on the outside that Edwards did last year. Matthew Mulligan is poised to become the primary blocking tight end with Ben Hartsock not returning, and should see plenty of playing time. Jeff Cumberland remains an intriguing prospect, who could factor into the Jets plans, especially if Edwards doesn’t return.

5. Offensive Line – Thank god we have Nick Mangold, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, and Brandon Moore. I believe Matt Slauson will continue to develop into a quality starter at guard. The battle for right tackle will be one of the biggest in camp, between Wayne Hunter and Vladimir Ducasse. Hopefully, Ducasse can pull it out or it means the Jets wasted a second round pick on him last year.

6. Defensive Line – The Jets need to add two or three players to their defensive line rotation, while getting younger and faster. Sione Pouha and Mike DeVito will return as starters and I’d like to see the Jets get Shaun Ellis back on a short term deal so he can finish his career where he started it, and can mentor whomever the Jets draft to replace him. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kris Jenkins return at a cheaper price. Marcus Dixon and Ropati Pitoitua will both be given chances to become part of the rotation and both have flashed potential.

7. Linebacker – The Jets need to improve their depth and find a long term replacement for Bryan Thomas, who can rush the passer. I don’t expect Jason Taylor to return to the team. Calvin Pace needs to put together a full 16 game season and reach his double digit sack potential. It would be nice to see more impact plays from both David Harris and Bart Scott, but especially Scott.

8. Secondary – I don’t know if there is a Jets writer out there who is more pro bringing back Antonio Cromartie than me. I am not the number one person in his fan club but in terms of how this team is constructed, he is needed back before Braylon Edwards is. Kyle Wilson gave no indication that he is ready to start and Drew Coleman and Dwight Lowery are better suited to be role players. Personally, I don’t think the Jets can swing Nnamdi Asomugha in the free agent market and why go get somebody else besides him when Cromartie is already comfortable in the system? They also need to decide what they are doing at safety opposite Jim Leonhard. The team will likely pick between Brodney Pool and Eric Smith to return, and I’d go with Pool because of his upside. I also wouldn’t object to taking a long look at UCLA’s Rahim Moore with the 30th overall pick.

9. Special Teams – The new kick return rules could arguably limit Brad Smith’s value as a returner and might make somebody like Cromartie or Joe McKnight a better fit. Rex Ryan has said Jim Leonhard won’t return punts anymore and that the job will be split between McKnight and Jerricho Cotchery, which I agree with. Leonhard needs to stay healthy for defense. I expect Nick Folk to remain the Jets kicker in 2011 and for Steve Weatherford to eventually return.

10. Coaching – My guess is that this will be the last year for Brian Schottenheimer before Bill Callahan takes over as the offensive coordinator and Mike Pettine’s last year before he gets a head coaching job, leaving the defensive coordinator position to Dennis Thurman.

11. Front Office – There is no reason not to be confident in Mike Tannenbaum’s ability to navigate through this difficult off-season. However, he needs to get the most out of his six draft picks this year, after the Jets have only walked away with seven players in the past two years, many with question marks still around them.

12. Weekend Video Clips – Sanchise Edition

Concerning Personnel Decisions On The Horizon?

http://newyork.sbnation.com/2011/3/23/2068325/new-york-jets-concerning-personnel-decisions-on-the-horizon

TOJ at SB Nation on why it would be foolish for the Jets to bring both Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards back before Antonio Cromartie. Yes, I am going to keep harping on this all off-season

Braylon Edwards Back In 2011?

Although it is hard to speculate what will happen this off-season, Incarcerated Bob had this to say last night on Twitter about the New York Jets and Braylon Edwards. If you don’t follow him on Twitter, he has a good enough track record that this merits mentioning.

Personally, I never thought the Jets would find a way to bring Edwards back with Santonio Holmes, who received a first and third round tender. However, you can never count out Mike Tannenbaum and obviously if he could swing this, it is great news for the future of the Jets offense and Mark Sanchez. Edwards is coming off a terrific year and provides excellent size on the outside. This also probably doesn’t bear well for Antonio Cromartie’s future with the team, it is true.

Turn On The Jets 2010/2011 Report Cards – Jerricho Cotchery

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, wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery

Stat Line – 41 receptions, 433 yards, 2 touchdowns

Playoff Stat Line – 12 receptions, 146 yards, 1 touchdown

Best Moment – Cotchery had a huge, momentum swinging 58 yard reception on the first play of the fourth quarter in the Jets divisional round win over the New England Patriots. However, without question his most memorable play from the 2010 season is below —

Best Game – Cotchery’s 5 reception, 96 yard performance against New England in the playoffs was his best game of the year by a fairly wide margin.

Overall Evaluation – It was a disappointing season for Cotchery, who struggled with injuries and drops throughout the year. Normally possessing the team’s most reliable hands, he actually led the team in drops this season highlighted by three drops in the fourth quarter of the team’s loss to the Green Bay Packers. He did have to deal with being demoted from the starting role after Santonio Holmes returned from suspension but handled it with class. Cotchery had an encouraging end to the season by putting together a strong run in the playoffs. (C)

Future – Cotchery is under contract and will be back with the team next year. There is also a good chance he will be back in the starting lineup, since the the Jets will likely be unable to retain both Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes. I would count on Cotchery to have a nice bounce-back season after his least productive year since 2005.