Starting Safety: Eric Smith or Brodney Pool?

One of the bigger questions on the Jets defense that will be answered in free agency, is who will start at safety opposite Jim Leonhard? It doesn’t seem likely that the team will bring back both free agents Eric Smith and Brodney Pool. Who would you prefer to see opposite Jim Leonhard next year?

Eric Smith

  • 28 years old, 6’1, 207 pounds
  • 2010 stats – 54 tackles, 1 sack, 1 blocked kick, 2 passes defensed, 3 games missed cause of injury

Smith is better in run support and is a more valuable special teams player. He has two years experience in Rex Ryan’s defense and the versatility to move around to different positions in different packages. He struggles in pass coverage and gets called for too many penalties.

Brodney Pool

  • 26 years old, 6’2, 214 pounds
  • 2010 stats – 53 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 1 interception, 11 passes defensed, 1 game missed cause of injury

Pool has more upside and is better in coverage. He came on strong in the second half of last season after a slow start. Even though he only missed one game last year, he has a history of concussion problems.

What’s it going to be? Personally, I’d like to see Pool as the full time starter for another year. I think he can develop in this system into a very good safety, if he can stay healthy.

New York Jets: Enough Free Agent DBs To Make Your Head Hurt

Who should stay and who should go?

When discussing the New York Jets free agents, it is easy to get caught up in the Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes and to a lesser extent, Brad Smith debate. They are big name players and everybody wants to make sure Mark Sanchez has the necessary weapons to succeed. However, don’t overlook how many free agents the Jets have in their secondary, which is priority number one on a Rex Ryan football team —

Antonio Cromartie

  • Starting Corner – 42 tackles, 17 passes defensed, 3 INTs
  • Physical freak, good compliment to Darrelle Revis
  • Always provides an intriguing quote
  • Inconsistent at times, can struggle with penalties
  • Still not a very good tackler

I won’t add too much on to the 1,000,000 words I have written this off-season about the importance of Cromartie returning. The bottom line is that Kyle Wilson isn’t ready to take over as a starter yet so the Jets need Cromartie back.

Drew Coleman

  • Nickel Corner – 41 tackles, 4 sacks, 1 INT, 5 Forced Fumbles
  • Nose for the football and making big plays
  • Valuable special teams player
  • Struggles in man coverage
  • Lacks ideal size

Say what you want about Coleman, he makes plays and he was the Jets third best corner last season, which is a big role in a Rex Ryan defense. Will the coaching staff let him walk to give Kyle Wilson more reps?

Brodney Pool

  • Starting Safety – 53 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT, 1 Forced Fumble
  • Came on strong at end of last year
  • Has tough time staying healthy
  • More reliable in pass coverage than Eric Smith

Pool probably has more upside than Eric Smith as a starting safety opposite Jim Leonhard, but can he stay healthy for 16 games?

Eric Smith

  • Starting Safety – 54 tackles, 1 sack
  • Smart, physical player
  • Excellent on special teams
  • Struggles in pass coverage
  • He has also dealt with injury issues

Smith is a more valuable all around player than Brodney Pool who Rex Ryan has grown to love. He is really better suited to be a #3 safety and a special teamer than a full time starter.

James Ihedigbo

  • Extra Defensive Back, Blitz Specialist – 22 tackles, 3 sacks
  • Very good special teams player
  • Physical and aggressive
  • Limited range in pass coverage

Ihedigbo has turned into a nice role player on the Jets defense, who remains a core special teams player. They should be able to work something out to bring him back. He is capable of being a #3 safety if Smith or Pool leaves.

Assessing Jets Needs Heading Into Draft

A quick run down as we are now less than a month away —

1. Defensive Line – If the season started today, the Jets would be starting Mike DeVito, Sione Pouha, and Marcus Dixon up front with Ropati Pitoitua and Matt Kroul as the top backups…enough said. They need another player or two here and will likely spend their first round pick on the defensive line unless an outside linebacker jumps off the board. The Jets should also work to bring back Shaun Ellis and Trevor Pryce to improve their depth and to mentor the rookies brought in.

2. Outside Linebacker – The Jets need to improve their pass rush and in the 3-4 that means having outside linebackers who can get after the quarterback. Bryan Thomas is a solid, consistent all-around player but the Jets need more speed and athleticism off the edge to compliment Calvin Pace.

3. Secondary – The Jets could still use a play-making safety to pair with Jim Leonhard. Kerry Rhodes was a bust in Rex Ryan’s first year and the Eric Smith/Brodney Pool platoon from last year could stand to be improved. If Antonio Cromartie leaves via free agency, the Jets may also need to look at the corner position due to Kyle Wilson’s struggles last year.

4. Wide Receiver – This is under the assumption that either Braylon Edwards or Santonio Holmes isn’t on the team next year. The offense could use a player with some upside to develop behind Jerricho Cotchery.

5. Backup quarterback – They need a long term answer to the question of who will be Mark Sanchez’s backup, especially since he has had more than one injury issue in his brief NFL career.

6. Offensive Line Depth – With either Wayne Hunter or Vladimir Ducasse moving into the starting line-up to replace Damien Woody and Robert Turner’s status uncertain for next year, the Jets could use another lineman who is versatile between the tackle and guard spots to provide depth.

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

Quick Thoughts On Bob Sanders and Jets Safety Position

It is being reported today that the New York Jets had former Colts safety Bob Sanders in for a visit. Any time you have a former Defensive Player of the Year in the building at a position that needs improvement, it is going to generate some excitement.

However, let’s not lose sight of the fact that Sanders has played nine regular season games in the past three years…yes, nine. The thought of signing Sanders to anything more than a heavily incentive based contract that has a base salary near the veterans minimum is insane. If Sanders was willing to play under those terms, it is worth a shot because the Jets currently only have one true safety  under contract, Jim Leonhard, who is coming off season ending surgery.

Ever since Rex Ryan has taken over, the Jets haven’t had much production out of the safety position. Leonhard is a steady but unspectacular quarterback of the secondary who needs to be complimented by a playmaker.

The Jets will have decisions to make on Brodney Pool, Eric Smith, and James Ihedigbo this off-season. Smith and Ihedigbo are better suited as role players and special teams contributors. Pool came on strong at the end of last year but I am not sure you can rely on him to be the long term answer at the position.

Unfortunately, playmaking safeties aren’t easy to come by. The Jets could look at one with their first or third round pick in the upcoming draft but that would mean they are neglecting their defensive front seven.

It could very well be Pool or Smith alongside Leonhard again in 2011 and while I think Pool has more upside, Smith provides more all around value. It will be interesting to see who Mike Tannenbaum settles on bringing back, along with if they make room for Ihedigbo who is valuable in blitz packages.

Leonhard with his lone interception last year

Turn On The Jets 2010/2011 Report Cards – Brodney Pool

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, safety Brodney Pool –

Stat Line – 53 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumbled, 1 interception, 11 passes defended

Playoff Stat Line – 20 tackles, 1 interception, 1 pass defended

Best Moment – It is hard to argue with his second half interception of Ben Roethlisberger in the AFC Championship Game, which helped the Jets nearly pull off their comeback. Pool also had two big stop on third and short early in the Wild-Card game against the Colts.

Best Game – Pool had a monster game in week 14 against the Miami Dolphins, finishing with 4 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.

Overall Evaluation – Pool is another player who it is hard not to be somewhat disappointed with on the Jets defense. Personally, I thought he was flying under the radar in the off-season and would turn into one of their biggest acquisitions, if not their biggest. Unfortunately, Rex Ryan still must continue to search for his playmaking safety. Pool played better as the season went on but his body of work on the whole was a let-down. He simply didn’t make enough impact plays and was inconsistent in both pass coverage and run defense. (C)

Future: Pool is a free agent and there is a very real chance he won’t come back in 2011. The Jets will basically have to decide between him and Eric Smith for who will start at safety opposite Jim Leonhard. Ultimately, a long term replacement is needed for either Pool or Smith, unless one of them picks it up in a big way next year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

12. Video Weekend Clips – Swaggerlicious edition

Time For Jets New Acquisitions To Shine

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The Jets didn’t hesitate this past off-season to add players who would improve their roster. There has been generally mixed results from the team’s new additions but the Jets need all of them to have big games Saturday night —

Santonio Holmes – 52 receptions, 746 yards, 6 TDs

The addition who made the most positive impact. Holmes made the game winning play in three games this season and has been everything the Jets traded for him to be. However, “Tone Time” as he likes to call it needs to carry over into Saturday night. Let’s be honest here, the Colts can’t double team Holmes because of the presence of Braylon Edwards and Dustin Keller, and if he is consistently left one on one, he should shred up the Indy secondary.

Jason Taylor – 36 tackles, 5 sacks, 3 TFLs, 2 FFs, 2 FRs

It was a somewhat disappointing season from Taylor, despite him having his moments like a game clinching sack against New England and a key safety against Pittsburgh. Regardless, the Jets need to put some type of pressure on Peyton Manning and Taylor remains arguably their best pure pass rusher. The Jets can’t afford to have him no show Saturday night. A big time effort against Indy makes his signing entirely worth it.

Antonio Cromartie – 42 tackles, 3 INTs, 17 passes defensed

Cromartie had a pretty good overall year for the Jets defense and did admirable work while Darrelle Revis banged up, covering the opposing team’s number one receiver. There hasn’t been a ton of big plays but Cromartie has a positive history against Manning and is a major upgrade over what the Jets had opposite Revis last year. A strong game from Cromartie is going to severely limit what the Colts can do on offense.

Brodney Pool – 53 tackles, 1 sack, 11 passes defensed, 1 INT, 1 TFL

Personally I was very disappointed with Pool for a large chunk of the year, yet he has played better as of late. Kerry Rhodes was torched all over the field against the Colts last year and the Jets need Pool to play a disciplined game alongside Eric Smith at safety.

LaDainian Tomlinson – 914 rushing yards, 368 receiving yards, 6 TDs

Tomlinson exceeded most of our expectations this year with nearly 1300 total offensive yards and 6 touchdowns. He remains valuable in the passing game and should be a good change of pace from Shonn Greene, who is better fit for the bulk of carries this week. All I know is that LT better not being standing on that sideline with his jacket and helmet on, like we always remember him doing in San Diego.

New York Jets: Can Somebody Cover The Damn Tight End?

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A big reason the Jets pass defense has struggled so much this season (they are currently ranked 20thin the NFL) has been their inability to stop opposing team’s tight ends. The overwhelming bulk of this blame falls on safeties Jim Leonhard, Eric Smith, and Brodney Pool, who are all having disappointing seasons on the defensive side of the football.

First off, here is a quick run through of what opposing team’s tight ends have done to the Jets this year –

  • Week 1 – Todd Heap – 6 receptions, 72 yards
  • Week 2 – Aaron Hernandez – 6 receptions, 101 yards
  • Week 3– Anthony Fasano – 2 receptions, 14 yards, 1 TD
  • Week 4 – David Nelson – 4 receptions, 75 yards/David Martin – 1 reception, 4 yards, 1 TD
  • Week 9– Brandon Pettigrew – 3 receptions, 18 yards, 1 TD/Tony Scheffler – 2 receptions, 22 yards
  • Week 10 – Benjamin Watson – 5 receptions, 74 yards

So while it appeared the Jets had solved this problem with a three game streak of shutting down the tight end against Minnesota, Denver, and Green Bay, the problem has now reappeared. Teams aren’t hesitating to throw on the Jets safeties and with good reason.

Jim Leonhard has been scrappy as usual and good in run support. Yet he only has 2 passes defensed and 0 interceptions. It is difficult for him to match-up on most tight ends because of his height. Eric Smith has 1 pass defensed and 0 interceptions. Both have been called on numerous pass interference and illegal contact penalties this season. Brodney Pool does have 5 passes defensed and an interception (back in week 2) but doesn’t seem to be around the football enough, with only 22 tackles.

One the pieces that is still missing in Rex Ryan’s defense is a big time, playmaking safety.

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TOJ Mid-Season Awards

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

Offense

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Defense

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Special Teams

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

First Half Highlights