New York Jets – 49ers Collecting Revis Bait?

Is it only a matter of time before Darrelle Revis is traded to the San Francisco 49ers by the New York Jets?

The San Francisco 49ers traded quarterback Alex Smith to the ever-foolish Kansas City Chiefs for a 2013 second round pick and a 2014 conditional mid-round pick today, leaving them with an expected 15…yes 15 draft picks this April. Five of those picks are in the top 100 – 31st, 34th, 61st, 74th and 93rd overall. Darrelle Revis-Bait? It sure sounds like it.

Continue reading “New York Jets – 49ers Collecting Revis Bait?”

Film Room – Antonio Cromartie Lacks Shutdown Cornerback Ability

Steve Bateman goes back into the film room to break down why Antonio Cromartie does not have shut down corner ability

Note – This was written by former TOJ employee Steve Bateman

A few weeks ago I wrote a piece aimed at explaining why Antonio Cromartie will never be the great cornerback that some people believe he already is. Yet recently my Twitter timeline has repeatedly told me that the Jets can afford to trade Darrelle Revis because Cromartie can step in and fill his shoes. So I’m going to try again, only this time perhaps some pictures might be worth a few thousand words.

The first play that’s up for consideration is taken from the Jets’ Week 16 encounter with the San Diego Chargers. Philip Rivers and his men are trailing by four points in the 3rd quarter, and are facing a pivotal 3rd & 7 from the Jets 37-yard line (Picture 1). Cromartie is circled in yellow, and Chargers wide receiver Danario Alexander (who has only recently joined the team after being cut by the St Louis Rams) is circled in red.

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Picture 1

Despite Alexander throwing a double-move at him – something that has been a problem in the past – Cromartie’s coverage is initially good (Picture 2) and it’s worth noting that at this point he is focusing exclusively on the movement of his assigned man (inset).

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Picture 2

But when he sees Alexander turns to look over his shoulder, Cromartie decides to quit playing his man (Picture 3) and instead he seeks to locate the ball.

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Picture 3

Effectively, Cromartie has made a bad choice by gambling here but there’s still a chance that he might get lucky and hit the jackpot if Rivers comes up short on the pass. But unfortunately for the Jets no such thing happens and even Cromartie’s renowned athleticism is not enough to make up for his poor decision-making ability as Alexander hauls in the touchdown (Picture 4).

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Picture 4

To reinforce the point that while Cromartie is undoubtedly a fine athlete, his game will always be hurt by a lack of what Bill Belichick refers to as ‘FBI’ (Football Intelligence) let’s dig a little deeper into the archive and revisit Week 10’s game against the Seahawks. The ‘Hawks are up by two touchdowns with 8:08 to go in the fourth, and after two consecutive penalties they have a 1st and Goal from the Jets 23-yard line (Picture 5). If they’re to get back into the game, the Gang Green boys simply have to make a stop on this drive. The Seahawks come out with Golden Tate (turquoise) lined up at flanker, but prior to the snap he motions towards quarterback Russell Wilson and takes a handoff. Meanwhile, split end Sidney Rice (red) is ready to face off against Cromartie.

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Picture 5

Initially Cromartie does a great job of tying Rice up with press coverage but when he senses that Tate may be headed in his direction he decides to forget his coverage assignment (Picture 6) and – despite close run support from three unblocked teammates – he tentatively takes the first few steps towards tracking forwards.

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Picture 6

By the time Tate has cocked his arm to throw (Picture 7), the wide open Rice has a full six yards of separation between himself and Cromartie.

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Picture 7

Finally we’re left with the image of Cromartie gazing on helplessly as Rice pulls in the catch to plunge a final dagger into Jet hearts (Picture 8).

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Picture 8

As much as I wish it were true that Cromartie is a ‘Shutdown Corner’ the reality is that you don’t have to go through too much game tape in order to find repeated evidence of his inability to make the correct decision at the right time. He’s a tremendous athlete – that’s beyond question – but unless he suddenly develops some ‘FBI’ he will never be fit to wear the shoes of Revis and (maybe more importantly) despite how highly-prized he is by some Jets fans, GMs around the league will never be prepared to give up particularly high value in any attempt to trade for him. Like it or not, that’s the long and short of it all.

New York Jets: The Revis Debate

Revis

Outside of NFL Draft Prospects and potential free agent additions, the hottest debate topic circulating the New York Jets at the current time is undoubtedly the recent news that the Jets will look into trading Cornerback Darrelle Revis. When discussing a team’s best player, one who is arguably the best defensive player in the entire league, debates are destined to gain intensity. Unfortunately, there will not be much clarity on this situation until the new league year begins in March. However, there are certainly strong arguments that can be made both in favor of and against trading Revis. Here, the Turn On The Jets staff gives their take using three basic points –

1.) Position value vs. Contract Terms/Salary

2.) Possible Trade Compensation 

3.) Are Cornerbacks vital to success in today’s NFL?

Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments thread below or by giving us a shout on Twitter!

Chris Gross

1.) Position value vs. Contract Terms/Salary – It is surely difficult to argue against the value of a dominant cornerback in today’s NFL considering how offenses in the league have evolved over recent years. Darrelle Revis is surely more than just a cornerback, he is a player who consistently takes 1/11th of opposing offenses away on a weekly basis. When preparing for a Revis-led secondary, teams often need to adjust their game plans accordingly, taking away from time that would normally be spent on overall preparation against a team with two cornerbacks who are simply considered to be “good.”

Having said that, New York has two top tier cornerbacks on their roster. While Antonio Cromartie surely isn’t in the class that Revis consistently reminds us is occupied solely by number 24, he is a more than capable player who can be successful with money spent across the board to provide a better supporting cast.

The question here isn’t really whether or not the Jets should trade away their best player because, unfortunately, it runs much deeper than that. Speaking solely from a football standpoint, making Revis a Jet for life is a no brainer, something that 31 other teams would love to do, as well. However, this goes beyond what Revis can provide on the field. While it is easy to subscribe to the notion of “just pay the man,” the Jets would be foolish to commit $16 million per season to a cornerback, even if that cornerback has the potential to be among the greatest to ever play the position.

As noted above, offenses in the NFL are evolving into the most complex passing attacks that the sport has ever seen. The Jets, on the other hand, are well behind in this evolution. There is no denying how putrid New York’s offense was last season. In a nutshell, the Jets have been trying to invent the wheel while the rest of the league is nearing NASA like technology.

Yes, Tony Sparano proved to be a poor hire. The recent acquisition of Marty Mornhinweg as offensive coordinator has given some ray of hope for the Jets to begin to catch up with the remainder of the league in terms of offensive relevancy. Unfortunately, however, the Jets still lack vital components in their offensive personnel that can give them an offense capable of having success in today’s game. Paying that type of money to a cornerback would even further prohibit the Jets from acquiring the necessary players to put a competitive offensive unit on the field. The salary cap space that a long term contract like that would eat up would be crippling to a team that all but needs an entire offensive overhaul, outside of about 3-4 players.

When looking at the position value vs. money spent, consider the fact that only two quarterbacks, a position that is unquestionably the most important in the NFL today, make over $16 million per season, on average. Outside of Drew Brees and Peyton Manning, both of whom have won Super Bowls, Eli Manning (2 Super Bowls), Tom Brady (3 Super Bowls), Ben Roethlisberger (2 Super Bowls), and every other signal caller in the league make less money per year, on average, than what Revis is asking for. Tying up so much money at a position that, although important, could certainly be won with above average players at, would set this franchise back even further than the 6-10 mess that was on display this past season.

2.) Possible Trade Compensation – The notion that Revis’s value will be hindered by his ACL injury last season is a valid concern. However, the reality of the situation is that, with so many holes all over the roster, the Jets simply cannot afford to have two top tier cornerbacks eating up so much cap space.

The idea of trading Antonio Cromartie has been floated for a few reasons. First, it is easy to look at the numbers for next season and realize that Cromartie counts more toward the cap than Revis does. This is true. However, beyond 2013, Revis’s number will grow astronomically if given the salary he is reportedly seeking.

Look at some of the biggest contracts around the league and consider how much those annual salaries counted toward the cap last year. Peyton Manning had a 2012 base salary of $18 million, all of which counted against the cap. Drew Brees had a base salary of just $3 million, but counted for $10.4 million against the cap, a number likely to jump significantly next season. Eli Manning’s base was only $1.75 million, but counted for $9.6 million against the cap, a number that will likely increase as he enters the years of his contract with a larger base salary. Simply put, there is no way around the cap hit of a contract similar to the one Revis is looking to land. Terms can be altered and adjusted so some years are less than others, but the bottom line is that, at some point, that cap number is going to be a problem for whoever ends up paying Revis when they’re looking to spend money on the other 52 roster spots. If you’re a well balanced, strongly built team, this is not as significant of an issue. Unfortunately, the Jets are anything but.

Beyond the cap number, a growing desire to trade Cromartie seems to be out of the idea that, with Revis coming off of an ACL injury, the two players will have equal trade value. This could not be further from the truth. While Cromartie is certainly coming off one of the best, if not the best, years of his career, no team would be willing to part with more than a 2nd round pick for him. An injured Revis will likely garner not only a 1st rounder, but multiple other picks, and possibly players as well. As one General Manager has reportedly claimed, the interest in Revis could be “one of the biggest potential trade markets for a player ever.” Regardless of the season Cromartie had, it was in no way, shape, or form comparable to what a healthy Revis could provide. It is capable to win with a cornerback like Cromartie on a roster where money is spent to improve other positions, but alone, there is simply no way that his market is equivalent to that of Revis.

The amount of compensation that the Jets will get in return for Revis is surely a big factor in this decision, regardless of how anyone looks at it. Unfortunately, however, without a long term solution to keeping Revis, the trade needs to be done. The Jets can absolutely not allow Revis to enter a contract year, return to form, and then walk at the conclusion of the season, leaving them with nothing but a compensatory pick in return.

Revis is surely a once in a generation type player, but in terms of the current situation, that is a double-edged sword. Yes, it would be a tough decision to trade a player of his caliber. But at the same time, for a team looking to completely restructure their roster over the course of the next few years, there is no better trade piece to use outside of an elite quarterback or pass rusher.

Consider history for a moment. Prior to the 2009 season, then New England Patriot Richard Seymour found himself entering a contract year with the team that used the 6th overall pick to select him, only a few years prior. With no long term solution in place, and fear of losing him to free agency following the season with nothing in return, the Patriots traded the 3 time Super Bowl Champion, 5 time Pro Bowler, and 3 time 1st team All-Pro to the Oakland Raiders for a 1st round draft pick. Seymour was a player in his prime who had been a vital piece to the championships that New England had won earlier in the decade. How could the Patriots trade him away?

The answer is simple. New England had a long term vision for the overall well being of the franchise. The situation with Seymour was no part of that plan in anyway. For the Patriots, it was either let him play out his remaining year, let him hit the open market, and sign with another team, for absolutely nothing in return, or resign him to a long extension, and allow the one position to eat up a tremendous amount of salary cap space (Remember, Seymour was made the highest paid defensive player in the league in 2011 when the Raiders gave him a 2 year $30 million extension). To New England, there was really no positive solution to keeping Seymour, regardless of how vital he had been to the team’s past success. Instead, Bill Belichick and the Patriots front office jumped on such a significant offer from Oakland without blinking.

So, how did it work out? Since acquiring Seymour, Oakland has gone 25-39 over four seasons, while sacrificing a significant chunk of cap space and money to him, depriving other spots throughout the roster. Although Seymour was selected to 2 Pro Bowls as a Raider, the team never finished better than third in the AFC West since the trade was made.

The Patriots, on the other hand, used the 1st round pick sent from Oakland to select Nate Solder, a young offensive tackle who has been a key part to an offensive unit that has been among the best the league has seen in recent years. Since shipping Seymour to Oakland, New England has gone 49-15 with 4 divisional crowns and 1 Conference title. At the present time, the Patriots remain a few pieces away from a return to the Super Bowl, while Oakland will likely allow Seymour to walk as a free agent this year, with nothing to show for it outside of a third place divisional finish.

This is not to compare Seymour to Revis. Was Seymour the caliber of player that Revis was at the time of the trade? No, but he is certainly no slouch. Seymour had 3 championships, 5 Pro Bowl appearances, and was selected to 3 All-Pro teams. Unfortunately for him, however, his demands were not in the best interest of the franchise. New England sold high, and it paid off significantly. Coming off a serious injury, trading Revis now may not return the same compensation that trading him following the 2009 season would have, but with no long term solution in place, this is the highest his value will be while under contract with the Jets.

3.) Are Cornerbacks vital to success in today’s NFL? – Yes and no. With how the league is trending, having an elite, shutdown cornerback would presumably give any team a monstrous defensive advantage. This is certainly tough to argue, but in relevancy to other vital positions, cornerback ranks 4th behind quarterback, offensive line, and pass rushing defensive front 7 personnel.

Look to the final four team’s of this year’s playoff tournament. Not one of them sent a cornerback to the Pro Bowl, nor did anyone of them see a cornerback reach the All-Pro team. Conversely, when lumping quarterback, offensive line, and defensive front 7 personnel into one category, the Ravens, 49ers, Falcons, and Patriots collectively sent 13 players to the Pro Bowl, including 5 to the All-Pro 1st team, and 6 to the All-Pro 2nd team.

Is this to say team’s with quality cornerbacks are not successful? Of course not. Champ Bailey, a Pro Bowler and 2nd team All-Pro selection, was part of a Denver Broncos team that finished with a regular season record of 13-3, earning the AFC’s top seed. Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks, who made the Pro Bowl and was a 1st Team All-Pro selection, was a vital piece to his team’s success that included a divisional crown and finished one poor defensive drive short of reaching the NFC Championship Game. Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings of the Chicago Bears were both voted to the Pro Bowl, and received 1st and 2nd team All-Pro accolades, respectively. Chicago was tremendous at taking the ball away this season, and finished a respectable 10-6 in a tough division, but fell just short of the playoffs before seeing Head Coach Lovie Smith receive his pink slip.

So, on the question of whether or not cornerbacks are vital to success in today’s NFL, the answer depends on how an organization defines success. Is success a top seed in the playoffs, a divisional title, or a winning record? Or is success conference championships and Super Bowls? The majority of those employed by NFL teams will surely choose the latter.

Looking at recent Super Bowl champion teams, even the most dedicated football fan will have trouble naming each team’s starting cornerbacks. Conversely, when asked to name the quarterbacks or pass rushers on those teams, that same fan will rattle off names like Eli Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and Ben Roethlisberger, along with Jason Pierre-Paul, Osi Umenyiora, Michael Strahan, Clay Matthews, Will Smith, James Harrison, and LaMarr Woodley, among others. In fact, a 1st team All-Pro cornerback has not won a Super Bowl since Ty Law did it with the New England Patriots in 2003.

The bottom line is that while Revis is undoubtedly one of the best players in the NFL, his price tag is simply going to be too much for the Jets. This isn’t a matter of being too cheap to pay him. Woody Johnson has been bashed by countless fans and analysts over the past year for caring only about ticket sales and revenue. Why then, would he trade away his biggest attraction, rather than paying him his price? It is because this is a cap space issue. Simply put, Revis is worthy of some type of big pay day, there is no doubt about it. Will some team give him his record breaking contract? Probably. But that team will likely have nowhere near the amount of holes on their roster that the Jets do.

New York has been criticized for not investing enough into the offensive side of the ball, something that has been widely viewed as being the sole factor that has held them back from being consistently competitive over the past decade or so. For the Jets to end their streak of offensive ineptitude, they need to trade Revis and receive the proper compensation and salary cap relief that is needed to build a strong 53 man roster. The Jets have been top heavy in terms of player salary over the past few seasons, leading to average at best and very poor players occupying the remainder of the roster. New York cannot fix this by giving out the largest contract for a defensive player in the history of the NFL. Even if that player is Darrelle Revis.

Mike Donnelly

First, let me start out by saying I am firmly in the #KeepRevis camp, and I think John Idzik and the Jets brain trust should do everything in their power to keep their best player wearing the green and white in 2013 and beyond…like, until the day he steps into Canton as a Hall of Famer-type beyond. Let me tell you why.

1.) Position value vs. Contract Terms/Salary – I don’t buy into the whole “You can’t pay a CB that much money” line of thinking because to me, Darrelle Revis is far more than “just a corner”. He is not only the best corner in the league, he may very well be the best player in the league, and as such, he has a tremendous impact in each and every game he plays. I think he’s completely justified asking for a contract in line with what the top defenders are getting paid. I’m not saying to write him a blank check and break the bank to keep him, but with all the terrible contracts on this team, I think the front office should look to make changes elsewhere and find a way to keep the GOOD players, like Darrelle.

Currently, Mario Williams is the highest paid defender in the NFL. It’s not unrealistic for Revis to get paid in the same ballpark, because he does more for a defense than a guy like Williams. Offenses have to completely game plan around Revis each week and know where he is on every play. It’s not easy going into a game knowing that throwing to your best wide receiver isn’t going to be an option that day, but that’s exactly what #24 brings to the table. Remember in the 2010-11 playoffs when the Jets played the Colts? Peyton Manning refused to even look in Reggie Wayne’s direction. That’s a Hall of Fame QB-to-WR connection, and it was completely erased from the game. Again, he’s not just a corner. He’s an elite player and does things for a team that nobody else in the league can match. He deserves to get paid, and with a ton of money able to come off the books in the next two years (Pace, Scott, Harris, Holmes, Po’uha, Sanchez), there’s no reason Revis can’t be kept while the team is rebuilt around him by drafting and developing players.

2.) Possible Trade Compensation – I think this is where a lot of Jets fans are getting jaded. Many seem to think that trading Revis is going to bring in this great haul of draft picks that will allow the team to rebuild right away and build a dynasty like the Cowboys did by trading Hershel Walker. Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there is no Walker-type haul coming our way. The best we can hope for is a mid-to-late-1st round pick and a mid-round pick thrown in. Revis is coming off a torn ACL and is going to demand huge money from his new team, which will severely limit his trade value. I’m not an economist or anything, but I’m pretty sure the “sell while value is lowest” strategy isn’t going to get us very far. Oh, and for the people kicking around trade proposals involving established players (I’ve seen Elvis Dumervil mentioned), that’s not going to happen either. If you’re going to trade for a guy who is going to get paid handsomely, why not just keep Revis?

Here’s another newsflash: Trading away Revis isn’t going to magically get us a franchise QB who is going to lead the team to prominence. Having extra picks is good, but the draft is a major crapshoot, where more players fail than succeed. More than likely, that extra 3rd or 4th round pick we pull in will at best give us a useful role player, while the 1st round pick will give us a good player that will hopefully one day grow up to be HALF as good as the guy we are giving away.

3.) Are Cornerbacks vital to success in today’s NFL? – I’m not going to say that if you were building a team cornerback would be the most important position to fill, but what I will say is that you would probably want a superstar defender who terrifies even the best quarterbacks in the league, and that is exactly what Darrelle Revis brings to the table. He shouldn’t be viewed strictly as a corner, but rather as a superstar defensive player who makes everyone around him better. Look what happens when he’s on the field: the #2 CB never has to worry about facing the other team’s best receiver; there’s no need for safety help, which enables the safety to come up and defend against the run more (something we lacked this year), or help out against tight ends and slot receivers since Revis is on his Island; the D can send an extra blitzer if need be.

I keep hearing “There are no Pro Bowl Corners in the Super Bowl” as a reason to trade Revis, and I don’t understand that at all. There’s a major difference between “great corner” and “Revis corner”, so it’s basically a moot point. The last corner to play on Revis’s level was Deion Sanders, and last time I checked, he had a few rings on his hand and nobody was trying to trade him for pennies on the dollar. I don’t see any All-Pro receivers playing in this year’s Super Bowl either by the way, does that mean the Lions should trade Calvin Johnson too? Players who perform at that high of a level transcend their position, and should be viewed as more. In my mind, when you have a Hall of Fame-type player, you keep him and do whatever it takes to build around him, even if he’s “just a cornerback”. The Patriots win every year not because they don’t invest big money in cornerbacks; they win because they have Tom Brady. We don’t have Tom Brady, and like I said, trading Revis isn’t going to magically fix that. It’s just going to make the defense–and the team–worse.

Some may say that there being no star CB’s in this year’s Super Bowl proves that Revis is expendable. I look at it the other way and see two excellent defenses battling it out, and I don’t think there’s any reason the Jets defense can’t be just as good or better than them in the coming years, like it was in 2009 and 2010. And the number 1 reason for that being possible is Darrelle Revis. Pay the man. #KeepRevis.

TJ Rosenthal

1.) Position value vs. Contract Terms/Salary

A healthy Darrelle Revis will make the Jets entire team better. Except if he holds out for, and obtains the type of money that will hurt John Idzik’s chances to gain a plethora of affordable useful pieces as a result.

The Jets defense can hold teams to under 23 (23.4 avg in 2012) points or so often enough without him, that it makes the notion of dealing him at least understandable. This, if Idzik believes he can help boost the Jets 17.6 scoring average by sending him elsewhere. If the new GM can add offensive guys who can contribute to one more TD a game, to a 24.0 scoring average in 2013, imagine what the Jets win loss record could be then.

Those are the numbers that we care about the most when it comes to the notion of Revis: Points scored and points given up. Will his exit help the Jets score more?

2.) Possible Trade Compensation 

Revis on two strong knees, if the Jets also throw a few perimeter guys in along with him, is worth a few first rounders..or a first and second rounder, and some vets in return. As it stands now, he’s worth less.

Maybe a club gambles away a first on Revis before seeing hos he looks in July, but we are looking more likely at a second and fourth or so for him right now. Which we believe is not enough to pull the trigger.

The bigger question comes down to, what does the Revis team want? What are they willing to fight for? We hear the “100 million dollar long term deal” rumors, but what is the truth? Once that is made known to the front office, then a clearer view can be had as to what is the more prudent path for Gang Green to take.

3.) Are Cornerbacks vital to success in today’s NFL?

Considering the type of style that Revis employs on the field Yes. Revis is not a clutcher, or a grabber. He’s a WR shadow thanks to great instinct and footwork. A guy who shuts down top threats outside, and who doesn’t get flagged for headhunting, or PI’s at all.

We are now entering a finesse phase of defense in the NFL, as the league tries to adapt to the increase of size and speed in it’s players, while concussions are being treated with the utmost caution.

Revis fits seemlessly into this new modern world that is built for passing games to succeed. He is one of the few who owns the skill set to slow it down.

He should not be dealt solely to alleviate a future cap issue. He should be dealt first and foremost, to reverse that seven point scoring differential we previously mentioned. Any other benefits of dealing him should be secondary.

We hope Revis stays, and that other solutions as to how to attack the personnel issues on offense are taken. We fear that they will not be. We worry on top of that, that Woody Johnson remembers the last two holdouts and is not in the mood for another one from the same player. Even if it is the great Revis Island.

Steve Bateman

1.) Position value vs. Contract Terms/Salary – If you want the top players you have to pay top dollar – that may sound blindingly obvious but it really is the bottom line in this whole debate. But here’s where it gets tough, because what applies to cornerbacks applies equally – if not moreso – to running backs, wide receivers, guards, and the myriad other offensive positions where the Jets need to reinvest during this off-season. So for me it’s not so much a question of can we afford to keep Revis, it’s more a case of whether or not we can afford to keep shovelling so much of our salary cap into a position which has become fundamentally devalued in the modern NFL (more of which later).

2.) Possible Trade Compensation – This is a team in transition. Or at least I hope to goodness that it is. If the Jets are going to become competitive again they have to address so many position needs that it would take a miracle for it to be achieved in one season through free agency. Consequently draft picks are going to be valuable beyond all measure over the coming years, and although I wouldn’t expect much more than maybe a third-rounder in 2013 with a conditional first in 2014, it’s sensible to look at the situation logically and build for the future by saying farewell.

3.) Are Cornerbacks vital to success in today’s NFL? – Darrelle Revis is way beyond great. In fact, he’s better than most people realize, because not only is he one of the three genuinely elite modern-day cornerbacks who can lay claim to the title of “Shutdown Corner” (add Rod Woodson and Deion Sanders) but he’s also plying his trade in a league where the odds have been stacked against him. Quite honestly, I find it hard to convince myself that he’s not one of the greatest players to have ever set foot on a gridiron.

But ironically, what makes him great is what also makes him expendable. In the modern game there’s a growing trend towards sacrificing cornerbacks at the expense of developing an effective pass rush. Why? Because with recent changes to pass interference rules, any team that tries to defend the pass by relying on its secondary is fighting a losing battle from the outset.

Therefore my preference – and the path I think the team will in fact take – would be to ditch Revis in order to bring in a couple of pass-rushing OLBs who are able to capitalize on the awesome two-gapping work of Mo Wilkerson. If Quinton Coples also continues to develop as a 3-4 defensive end – and there’s no reason to think that he won’t – then this is by far the Jets best chance of building an effective pass defense going forward.

In cap terms the Jets are down to their bare bones, and like it or not, Revis is a luxury that they simply can’t afford.

12 Pack Of New York Jets Off-Season Thoughts – All Revis Edition

An all Darrelle Revis 12 Pack of off-season thoughts from Turn On The Jets

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We briefly touched on the Darrelle Revis trade rumors earlier in the week but with this report about a “Revis Gold Rush” forming and the ensuing insanity on Twitter, it seemed appropriate to put together an All Revis 12 pack…

1. Let’s start here – Darrelle Revis is an unique talent. He is the best cornerback in football when healthy by a wide margin. He is on pace to be a Hall of Fame player and his 2009 was the best individual season any New York Jet has ever put together. Revis has represented the team well off the field and is a homegrown best player on the roster. There is nothing easy about a decision to trade him and there is a credible argument for keeping him, regardless of the financial constraints.

2. However, the prospect of giving him a 15-16 million per year contract heading into this season has potentially dangerous long term ramifications for a needed rebuilding process. It is an exorbitant amount of money to sink into a position that isn’t quarterback, particularly when you have so many other holes in your current roster.

3. Do not kid yourself into thinking the New York Jets are not full of holes and do not need a complete roster makeover. This cannot be stressed enough. This team needs a starting quarterback. The top running back under contract is Bilal Powell. The top tight end under contract is Jeff Cumberland. The only guard under contract is Vladimir Ducasse. The only linebacker returning with starting experience is David Harris. The only two safeties under contract are Antonio Allen and Josh Bush. This is a team that currently has a CFL caliber roster. Do you want Revis at 16 million per year or four capable starters at 4 million per year, so you can field an offense that can score more than 6 points per game?

4. Revis is also coming off ACL surgery. Yes, with modern medicine that is not as daunting as it once was. Look at Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles. However, there is always an enormous risk in sinking that much money into a player coming off that type of injury.

5. If you don’t trade Revis now and he comes back healthy with a strong year in 2013, what if he walks away in free agency before the 2014 season? The Jets have a poor relationship with his agents (as evidenced by his previous two holdouts) and even with Mike Tannenbaum gone, they could still be difficult to deal with and bitter Revis wasn’t take care of before his walk year. It would be a crippling blow to lose a player of Revis’ caliber with zero compensation.

6. Cornerbacks are not that valuable. The San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens do not have an All-Pro corner between them. The Ravens lost their top corner, Lardarius Webb, back in week 6 and have been fine. The Chicago Bears had two All-Pro corners, Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings, and didn’t make the playoffs this year. The Jets finished second in the NFL this past season in passing yards allowed per game and Darrelle Revis played in 7 quarters.

7. Potential Trade Partner #1 – The Denver Broncos – They have done business with the Jets recently. They have a small window to win a championship with Peyton Manning. Their secondary was torched by the Baltimore Ravens in their divisional round loss. They have a low first round pick they wouldn’t be hesitant to part with and extra mid-round picks to spare. They also have a competent cornerback to spare (Chris Harris) and a running back who’d be a nice fit in the West Coast Offense (Ronnie Hillman). How about Revis for a 2013 first rounder, 2013 third rounder and Chris Harris? The Jets will have five picks in the first three rounds, which allows them to address their many needs and have flexibility if they want to move up for somebody.

8. Potential Trade Partner #2 – The Seattle Seahawks – (Pushed by our good friend Jeff Capellini) – They have a very good corner to offer back in Brandon Browner, along with a quarterback the Jets could have interest in with Matt Flynn. Seattle also had 10 draft picks this year and oh by the way…new GM John Idzik worked there last year.

9. Potential Trade Partner #3 – The Washington Redskins – Always willing to make a splash and badly need to improve their defense. They need a cornerback to deal with Dez Bryant, Victor Cruz and Chip Kelly’s new offense in Philadelphia. They have a few intriguing running backs on their roster in Evan Royster and Roy Helu that could be thrown in to sweeten a package of draft picks.

9. Yes, you could trade Antonio Cromartie instead but you will get less value back and less long term financial help, along with still facing the reality of paying a defensive player who isn’t a pass rusher 16 million per year.

10. The difficulty of this situation comes from so much guaranteed money being locked up for Mark Sanchez, David Harris and Santonio Holmes which cripples the Jets flexibility and makes embracing a rebuild a necessary evil. Thanks Mike Tannenbaum!

11. A reminder of the point differential in all the Jets losses last year in case you think they are a player or two away from being a contender – 17, 34, 6, 3, 21, 21, 30, 4, 10, 19. That is an average margin of defeat of 16.5 points. They won 6 games, 4 against teams drafting in the top 12 this April and 1 against a team with a winning record.

12. Usually where there this is smoke, there is fire with these things…Jets fans should prepare for the reality of Revis being traded.

New York Jets – A Few Comments On Revis Trade Rumors

A few comments on the rumors about the New York Jets trading Darrelle Revis

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The Internet almost exploded last night from this report from Jason La Canfora, which in a nutshell said the New York Jets would consider trading Darrelle Revis this off-season out of a fear of being unable to sign him long term.

First off, the sourcing on this report likely comes from the recent GM interviews, considering candidate Ted Sundquist has leaked what Woody Johnson said about Tim Tebow and his relationship with Rex Ryan. It makes sense that when interviewing prospective candidates Woody Johnson would broach the subject of Revis and say something along the lines of “we need a solution to Revis considering he is going to be a free agent after next year, we can’t franchise him and he will likely be commanding to be the highest paid defensive player in the league…and he is coming off ACL surgery.” Of course this gets reported like the Jets have been calling every team in the league begging them to take Revis in a trade.

It is called doing your due diligence. Every option is on the table with every player on the Jets roster. It doesn’t mean that Revis will actually get traded, it just means it is an option that needs to be researched and explored.

Is there a strong argument to trading Revis? Yes. Are you going to pay him 16 million per year right now coming off ACL surgery, when you have no quarterback, running back, linebackers or guards? Are you going to let him play out this season and then watch him walk away in free agency for nothing? There is a short term cap hit in trading Revis but it would return value, likely in the form of draft picks and free up money long term.

Revis is a terrific player. The best cornerback in football and one of the best players in Jets history. There is nothing wrong with having a strong sentiment to keep him but if you do, Antonio Cromartie must be traded and LaRon Landry is walking in free agency (and this probably happening regardless of what happens with Revis).

Sooner or later, Jets fans need to accept the reality that you don’t build around two cornerbacks. The Jets roster is completely depleted on offense and at linebacker. It doesn’t matter how great your cornerback duo is if you can’t score points or rush the passer. Who are the 49ers corners? Who are the Ravens corners? What about the Patriots and Falcons? Teams don’t win paying 25 million dollars to two cornerbacks annually.

We have broached the subject of trading Revis here before. It is a reasonable option to explore. There is nothing wrong with doing the proper research. The Jets are rebuilding. The sonner people accept it, the better.

Initial Reaction – Buffalo Embarrassment, Fitting End to 2012

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The New York Jets final regular season game, a 28-9 embarrassing loss to the Buffalo Bills, was an accurate microcosm of the entire 2012 season. Mark Sanchez looked as pitiful as he has all year. While he finished 17/35 with 205 yards, the player once viewed as the franchise quarterback for this organization represented exactly what he has become through 4 seasons in the NFL. A first quarter interception returned for a touchdown, over looking wide open receivers down field, badly missing open targets, and an overall demeanor that sums up what has become a sorry excuse for a career. Shonn Greene ran very hard, but finished with his typical 3.9 yards per carry average, Bilal Powell was under utilized, receiving just 12 carries while averaging 4.7 YPC, and Joe McKnight continued to be ignored as a member of the roster, as he had just one touch on offense.

Jeremy Kerley finished his impressive season at wide receiver with a strong effort, considering the circumstances, finishing with 3 receptions for 88 yards. Braylon Edwards continued to highlight the poor decision by Mike Tannenbaum to let him leave following the 2010 season, as he hauled in 4 balls for 42 yards, while more importantly establishing a leadership presence that was clearly absent from this team throughout the duration of the past two years.

Defensively, the Jets were stout against the run, limiting CJ Spiller to just 2.5 YPC, and allowing only 109 total rushing yards. However, New York witnessed a first hand account of irony as former Jet Brad Smith scored a fourth quarter touchdown out of the wildcat formation, surpassing Tim Tebow’s season touchdown total out of that very formation in a single play. The Jets secondary seemingly mailed in the final game of 2012, allowing Ryan Fitzpatrick to pass for 225 yards and a touchdown, with wide receiver Stevie Johnson leading Buffalo’s receiving effort with 6 receptions for 111 yards. Fitzpatrick was hit 4 times, but was never sacked, representing the pass rush woes that have haunted the Jets since Ryan took over in 2009.

While the outcome of this game was basically meaningless due to the fact that neither team was alive for postseason play, the effort that the Jets turned in today leaves no one within the organization with any sense of job security. Heads will begin to roll as early as Monday. Offensive Coordinator Tony Sparano will reportedly be fired after just one season in New York. General Manager Mike Tannenbaum is sure to be relieved of his duties, but it is still rather unclear whether he will be outright fired or reassigned to a salary cap management role. Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine’s future is extremely uncertain, as he has already turned down a contract extension offered to him earlier this season. Rex Ryan has been believed to be safe for the majority of the year, but after such an uninspiring loss to finish his second consecutive season of missing the post season, there are absolutely no guarantees that he will be retained as of right now.

Lisa Zimmerman of CBS Sports has reported that owner Woody Johnson has hired Jed Hughes of Korn/Ferry International to assist in leading New York’s search for a new General Manager, assuming Tannenbaum is officially removed from the position. Hughes has a background in coaching and scouting, having served under five Hall of Fame coaches throughout his 20 years of prior coaching experience. Hughes is no stranger to leading efforts to install officials into leadership positions for football teams at the professional and college level, as he has previously played a significant role in the hirings of current Jets President Neil Glat, Green Bay Packers CEO Mark Murphy, and the University of Michigan’s head football coach, Brady Hoke. Changes are sure to be made within this organization, likely as early as tomorrow, and you can rest assured that there are absolutely no guarantees with this team as of right now.

Woody Johnson has a history of making knee jerk reactions, and following a two year post season drought, there is no doubt that significant pieces of this organization will be replaced. The rumor mill has been extremely active over the past few days, but outside of the firing of Sparano, and the potential firing of Tannenbaum, the majority of these rumors can be dismissed until the powers that be are sorted out. There has been plenty of discussion about Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow being moved this offseason. While these are likely scenarios, there are far too many pieces that need to fall into place before decisions like these will be made. It will surely be a hectic week in Jets land, but make no mistake, an overhaul is coming in some way, shape, or form.

Heading into “Black Monday,” plenty of activity is on the horizon. The most likely departures include Sparano, Tannenbaum, Sanchez and Tebow at some point, and a surplus of other players including, but not limited to, Calvin Pace, Bart Scott, Eric Smith, Bryan Thomas, Sione Pouha, Dustin Keller, Shonn Greene, Brandon Moore, Matt Slauson, Jason Smith, Clyde Gates, Lex Hilliard, Mike DeVito, and LaRon Landry, to name some. Depending on what changes are made, Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie certainly do not have a clear future with this organization either.

Where this team is headed from here on out depends largely on the approach that will be taken by Johnson and the newly appointed Hughes. If they decide to take the rebuild approach, expect the entire coaching staff to be relieved, along with efforts to move any high priced players on the roster. If the retool approach is taken, many players will still be let go, but Ryan could remain as the Head Coach of a roster that will likely look nothing like what was on the field in Buffalo today.

It is certainly a dark time for the New York Jets, who have just posted their worst overall record since 2007 when the club finished 4-12. There will be plenty to discuss in the coming days, and Turn On The Jets will be bringing you updates and analysis every step of the way, so be sure to stay with us. Until then, there is no need to lose sleep speculating the changes that will be made due to the high level of uncertainty as explained above. 2012 was as bad as it gets for New York, but one positive we can all take from this season is that change is on the horizon for an organization that desperately needs to rid themselves of the immense amount of drama and overall abysmal play that have plagued this once promising team since 2010. Rest easy, Jets nation. Changes are on the way.

New York Jets: Don’t Give Up on Rex Ryan Just Yet

Chris Gross on why Rex Ryan shouldn’t be the fall guy for the New York Jets struggles this year

Over the past few weeks, the New York Jets have seen their season come undone in front of their very eyes. The Jets have lost 4 out of their last 5 games, 2 of which came in blowout fashion in their home stadium. Many have attributed this to poor coaching. Analysts, fans, writers, and even casual football observers have suggested that perhaps Rex Ryan is not quite head coaching material yet, that maybe he is better served as a coordinator. The same groups of people have also suggested that the Jets need to go after a former head coach with championship pedigree, someone like Bill Cowher or John Gruden.

However, the issues with the New York Jets go far beyond the coaching staff. The front office of this franchise has put this team in hole that could likely set it up for another year of poor play and mediocrity. General Manager Mike Tannenbaum and those who work within the department have maliciously restructured and back loaded a surplus of player contracts, guaranteeing the salaries for this season and beyond to guys who would have likely been released due to their dip in performance over the past two seasons. Bart Scott, Calvin Pace, and even David Harris have all played mediocre at their best this season, and absolutely horrible at their worst. Yet, Scott and Pace, who began to slide last year, had guaranteed salaries for 2012, so they were not expendable for the Jets. Remember when Tannenbaum supposedly gave Scott permission to seek a trade this past offseason? Other teams likely laughed at the notion. Who would be foolish enough to take on the guaranteed salary of a player past his prime, clearly on the downside of his career?

Fortunately for the Jets, Scott and Pace can be released next season without any serious financial repercussions. Harris, on the other hand, is guaranteed just over $9 million for 2013; so unless the Jets can do what the Yankees did to David Justice when they traded him to Oakland, don’t expect Harris to be playing elsewhere next season. The reason these guaranteed contracts are tied into the current state of affairs with the Jets is because they limit the money that can be spent elsewhere throughout the roster. This is why you are seeing this team, who was an AFC Championship contender just two seasons ago, fall so far from grace that they are the laughing stock of the league. So poorly General Manager Mike Tannenbaum has constructed this roster, that the Jets are stuck starting players who likely would not see the field, or possibly make the active roster, on some quality teams around the league.

The Jets have lost a total of 7 games so far this season. While people continue to point to the coaching as the primary reason for these losses, many are forgetting just how depleted and shallow this roster really is. Let’s take a look at how the Jets talent compares to the teams that they have lost to this season, starting with the offensive personnel.

The information in green in the above chart represents the Jets offensive season statistics up until this point in the year. Based on the team’s depth chart, players are inserted into their proper position (Sanchez at QB, Greene at RB1, Powell at RB2, and so on and so forth). The information on the right side of the chart (in white) represents the season average of all of the Jets opponents’ statistics at their respective positions. The idea here is to give a representation of how truly overmatched the Jets have been, in terms of talent, against the teams that they have lost to this season.

Let’s start by looking at the quarterback. Mark Sanchez is performing statistically below average, in comparison to his opponents that have defeated him, in every single category. His completion percentage is nearly a full 9 points lower than the average completion percentage of that group, while his turnover ratio is much higher, touchdowns are much lower, and QBR and passer rating aren’t even comparable.

Now, the obvious argument here is that he has faced Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger, two Super Bowl winning quarterbacks who alter the average because of their inflated numbers. Well, that assertion is false. Also included in that group are two rookies in Ryan Tannehill and Russell Wilson, a quarterback in Alex Smith who has just been replaced in San Francisco, and Matt Schaub who is good, but is certainly not the next Joe Montana. This is an average based off of two great, one decent, and 3 below average quarterbacks. An argument could certainly be made if these numbers were somewhat close, but for the most part they aren’t even comparable. Sanchez’s QBR isn’t even half of the average of that of his opponents, and his passer rating is nearly a full 20 points lower, as well. The level that he has played at for Rex Ryan and the Jets this year, would surely render him a backup if placed on any of these teams, and possibly in a third string role in some cases (New England, San Francisco, Seattle, and perhaps even Miami). The NFL is a quarterback driven league, as everyone is well aware of, and when you’re quarterback is performing well below the average of his competition, it is a miracle that you are able to win any games, never mind four.

Onto the running back situation. It’s no surprise that Shonn Greene is below the average of opposing starting running backs. This is an assertion most people who have observed the Jets this season have come to terms with. Greene is not a feature NFL back. He would be most productive in a stable of effective backs, primarily as a downhill runner late in games, as he was in the early stages of his career.

Unfortunately, though, Greene clearly is not in a solid stable of backs with the roster currently in place in New York. Take Bilal Powell for example. Although Powell has gotten one carry less than the average of RB2 on the teams the Jets have fallen to this season, he is still well below in total rushing yards, and is averaging nearly a full yard less per carry. His 24.4 yards per game and 0 carries of 20 or more yards are just not the numbers of a solid number two back capable of spelling a solid lead runner. His 3 touchdowns are impressive by comparison, but remember two of those came by clever play calling by Tony Sparano in St. Louis. Powell can be better if given a bigger role, but he has not performed to the average of his counterparts thus far.

Joe McKnight is, not shockingly, the only back outplaying his roster spot in comparison to RB3 on teams New York has lost to. Turn On The Jets has been a McKnight advocate all season long. His 22 carries are almost 5 less than the average at his position, however he has attained over 25 more yards than the average third back has. His yardage per game is only slightly above average, but remember, as the weeks continue to pass without him getting carries, that number is out of his control. By comparison, this position is the only one on the Jets offensive depth chart that they hold an advantage to over their opponents – the third running back spot.

As far as the wide receivers on this team go, the numbers speak for themselves. First, note that Santonio Holmes, who has been inactive since week 4, is still second among this group of receivers in receiving yards, and third on the team, overall. Now, let’s break into the current depth on the active roster.

Jeremy Kerley has been solid for the Jets this year, as the only real viable option in the entire corps. Unfortunately, though, Kerley just simply isn’t a number one receiver, a role he has been forced to take on due to injury and (what do you know) a lack of depth. As the chart displays, Kerley would be a solid number 2 receiver by comparison to the average of those opponents. As a primary target, though, he is, like his teammates, well below average. With nearly ten fewer catches, over 67 fewer total receiving yards, and just about 10 fewer yards per game, Kerley is a number 2 option that has been forced into a number 1 option due to poor roster depth.

Now, observing the remaining three receiver spots, you will find that New York has three players that play to the level of the average third wide receiver on those opponents. Gates is slightly below that average, but slightly above the average of the fourth receiver, outside of yards per catch and yards per game. Schillens and Hill would both be decent third receivers at this point, which Schillens basically is, but neither are even close to being an average number 2. In other words, the Jets have one number 2 and three number 3’s or 4’s on their roster. Combine that with the QB play that is well below average by comparison, and again, it is a miracle that this team is able to accumulate any type of passing offense.

The Tight End numbers are a bit altered because of injury, with Keller missing reps and Cumberland having to fill the void of TE1, but what you’ll see is New York is, once again, far below average at the position. It his hard to judge whether or not Keller would be better, statistically, and Cumberland worse, if Keller never missed time due to injury, but the bottom line is, neither of these Tight Ends are playing up to par at their respective positions.

Offensively, this team’s lack of talent is a true display of how hard it has been for the Jets to scratch out four wins so far. You have below average starters at every position, many of whom aren’t even playing at the level of opposing backups. Look at the opponents on that list and go through their rosters position by position, comparing them to the players on the Jets. Many players on this roster would not make some of those teams – Clyde Gates (who actually didn’t make one of those teams), Cumberland, and perhaps even Dustin Keller (NE, SF). When observing this personnel and the level each player has performed at thus far, is it really surprising that the Jets have lost seven games, or is it shocking that they have won four?

Onto the defensive side of the ball – Below is a chart similar to that of the one that represents the Jets offensive personnel in comparison to the opponents that they have lost to, position by position. The numbers in the orange represent the average numbers of the top three players at each position on opponents the Jets have lost to, with the exception of defensive tackle, where the average has used the top two spots on the depth chart from each of those teams. In the green, each defensive player on the Jets is represented. The number of players used coincides with the number of players used to determine the average of the opponents, to give you an accurate representation of where each player stands.

First, let’s observe defensive end. It should come as a surprise to no one that Muhammad Wilkerson is playing far above the average of opposing defensive ends. Wilkerson is superior in every statistical category, with the exception of sacks. Coples is only slightly below in terms of tackles, but is well above in tackles for loss. Sack wise, unfortunately, is where he, like Wilkerson, is below average. DeVito, is well above the average number of tackles, but again, lacks in sacks and even tackles for loss.

At defensive tackle, Sione Pouha has performed slightly above average, despite missing time, while Kenrick Ellis has been hampered by injury, causing his numbers to be below average. Taking the two of them into account, the Jets have had fairly average to slightly below average play at the NT position this year, a position that is vital to a successful 3-4 defense.

Another vital position in this scheme is outside linebacker. Here, the play is below average in nearly every statistic, at every spot on the depth chart. As far as sacks go, it isn’t even close. The defensive line is hampered by the inability to rush the passer from the OLB position. Often times, as our film breakdowns have revealed, teams can easily block one of these player using only one lineman or back, resulting in a great amount of double teams to Wilkerson and Coples. In other words, the OLB’s inability to rush the passer is preventing the defensive line from rushing the passer. This is a vicious cycle in this scheme, but a true representation of why this team has struggled so mightily in the area.

To finish out the front seven, we move to inside linebacker. David Harris is well above average in his run support, but far behind against the pass (only 2 PD vs. the average of 4, and 0 INT vs. the average of 0.7). This should come as a surprise to no one, considering how Harris’s struggles in coverage have been noted throughout the season. Behind Harris is Bart Scott and rookie DeMario Davis. Scott is clearly a well below average LB at this point in his career, and is making a strong push for the “poor” category. Scott likely doesn’t make the active roster in San Francisco, New England, Miami, Seattle, or Pittsburgh. Davis is promising as a rookie, but clearly he hasn’t performed up to par as well. Basically, this team has four starting linebackers who would be backups at best if placed on one of these opposing teams.

In the secondary, Landry and Bell have played excellent in run support, as the numbers indicate. Landry has performed better than Bell in the coverage area, but is still slightly below average, which tells you what you need to know about Bell’s play in coverage thus far. Eric Smith has been in and out of the active lineup because of injury, but considering he is the third safety on the roster, he hasn’t played insanely bad.

As far as the corners go, the only player worthy of any type of recognition is Antonio Cromartie. Cromartie has three more passes defended than the average opponent, and nearly 2 more interceptions. His touchdown separates him from a majority of the group as well. Kyle Wilson and Ellis Lankster have been decent in terms of tackling, both still below average, but not necessarily horrible. However, in terms of coverage, it is rather embarrassing. Wilson has defended less than half of the average number of passes than his opponents, and he is a starter. Lankster isn’t quite as bad, but remember he has a lot more passes thrown his way when in the game, so that number is likely inflated.

In Short, this defense is solid at about 3 positions – defensive end, strong safety, and cornerback. You have about three players on the entire unit that are playing above the average of those players on opponents that have beaten the Jets. Combining this lack of talent, with the clear lack of talent on the offensive side of the ball, is a clear indication of how poorly this roster has been built.

Most people want to put the blame on Rex, and their motives are certainly justified. Rex is far from perfect as a head coach. His lack of holding players accountable, particularly Mark Sanchez, needs to be altered if he wishes to have any success as a head coach in this league. However, Tom Coughlin altered his coaching style from a pure disciplinarian, with little personal connection to his players, to more of an emotional coach, back in 2007. This slight tweak in his coaching philosophy has led to two Super Bowl wins. Now, no one here is comparing Ryan to Coughlin. Coughlin is surely the superior head coach, and will be for some time. The point is, coaches can adjust and achieve success. Rex is more than capable of this adjustment. The true question is whether or not he is willing to do it.

Aside from this flaw, Rex is the right man for this head coaching job, at least for the next year. Among the head coaches in Jets history, Ryan ranks second in winning percentage behind only Bill Parcells. Ryan also has the most playoff victories of any of these coaches. Is this more of a reflection of how poor the coaching has been in this franchise’s history? Perhaps, but the point is, when you get a guy who has shown that he can win games, you don’t kick him out the door at the first sign of struggle. All coaches struggle at some point; it is part of the business.

Now the next argument that is often made against Ryan is that he inherited a loaded roster in his first two years, which is the only reason for his early success. This is another assertion that is very narrow-minded. Remember, there were only 4 new starters from the 2008 roster during Rex’s first year. Brett Favre, who made the pro bowl in ’09, was replaced with a rookie from Southern California who had only one year of college starting experience under his belt. Braylon Edwards was brought in after the team had already won three games, and proved to be a useful weapon to the rookie Sanchez. Defensively, the only two additions that were made to the starting unit were two free agents in Bart Scott and Jim Leonhard, who happen to have been previously coached under Ryan in Baltimore. With these minor additions, Ryan propelled this defense from 16th to 1st in a year. Offensively, Ryan’s strong rushing philosophy kick started a run game that jumped from 9th in 2008 to 1st in 2009.

Most importantly, though, Ryan changed the culture of this franchise. For years, the Jets had accepted mediocrity, often hovering around .500, or sneaking into the playoffs and being bounced in the first or second round. No one in the league seriously feared the Jets, but when Ryan arrived he installed a bloodthirsty attitude throughout his team. Suddenly, the Jets went from the hunted to the hunters. In 2009 we saw a Jets team that displayed a higher sense of urgency and team bond than he had seen in years, for some of us, a lifetime.

Ryan came in and did what no other coach in the history of this franchise has been able to do – win 4 playoff games. Never mind the fact that he did this in his first two seasons; that number currently ranks first in playoff wins by a Jets head coach, as previously noted. Unfortunately for the Jets, after 2009, the personnel department slowly began to dismantle the roster, resulting in the current lack of talent and depth that we have gone over.

In 2010, the Jets drafted Kyle Wilson in the first round. Wilson has played at the level of about a 4th rounder for the majority of his career. Many people want to blame Rex for this pick, but remember this decision was made in anticipation of a Darrelle Revis holdout. The front office likely wanted to have insurance and leverage over the looming Revis extension. So while it is easy to think that Wilson was Rex’s choice, remember that Mike Tannenbaum likely wanted to cover his rear end in the event that he could not structure a new deal for Revis.

Since then, the front office has done its best to dismantle this team. They have let key pieces leave, while replacing them with far inferior players. Tannenbaum has given guaranteed contracts to players in the tale end of their careers, who haven’t lived up to their ends of the bargain. Blame Ryan all you want, but don’t forget that the General Manager has the final say in all personnel decisions. Is it a surprise that teams run by Jerry Jones and the late Al Davis have had so much trouble keeping a head coach and finding adequate talent? This isn’t to compare Tannenbaum to either of those two, but the point is that head coaches are there to coach the players given to them by their front office, and that is exactly what has happened with the Jets.

Rex Ryan, although flawed, is not at fault for the troubles of this season. He has been given a well below average roster, and has still mustered up 4 wins, while coming very close to beating two of his conference’s best teams. The 2009 and 2010 teams, although talented, did not really have any superior players, other than Darrelle Revis, and Ryan brought each of those teams within a play or two from the Super Bowl. Rex has what it takes to get this team its first championship in over 40 years, but based on the numbers and clear lack of talent, not even the best of coaches could get this team above .500.

The front office of this organization is to blame for the misfortune you have all witnessed, not the coach. Based on the information presented here, Ryan has exceeded the talent on this team, and at only four wins, that tells you all you need to know about the poor work done by the front office in recent years. The common desire is for New York to bring in a head coach with championship pedigree, like Gruden or Cowher, as mentioned above. But remember this very true statistic – no coach in the history of the NFL has ever won a Super Bowl with two different teams.

Rex has the ability to lead this team to a championship, and most importantly he has the hunger to do so, as well. Give him average talent, not even great, and this team will be able to compete for a championship. As the roster stands now, the Jets are not only below the top performers at each position, but they are well below average. No coach is winning with what Rex has to work with. Changes need to be made, but Head Coach is the one spot that needs to remain intact for the Jets to get where they want to be in the quickest manner.

 

New York Jets Fact Or False: Week 4 Edition

As we enter the final week of the first quarter of the 2012 NFL season, we still aren’t necessarily sure who this New York Jets team is just yet. For a team striving to be built primarily through strong defense and a ground and pound offensive philosophy, the 2012 Jets have been anything but that. New York currently ranks 21st in overall defense this season, a ranking that could certainly grow worse with the loss of the team’s best overall player, CB Darrelle Revis. Offensively, the Jets rank 22nd overall, but are 29th in rushing yards per carry, with an abysmal average of 3.3. Shockingly, however, New York’s offense ranks just outside of the top ten in points scored, standing at 11th overall, only one spot behind Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, with 81 total points.

Translation? All is not lost for New York just yet, despite countless fans and media members declaring them dead without Revis lurking in the defensive secondary. For a team ranking in the bottom tier in defense and rushing offense, New York still stands at 2-1 and first in the AFC East. However, it is no secret that this team needs vast improvements in most aspects of the game, otherwise they will in fact suffer the complete landslide that everyone seems to be waiting for.

How can the Jets get back into that upper tier of teams without Revis? It begins with a few things. First, the Jets need to begin to limit Shonn Greene’s touches. By now, it is no secret that Greene is not the feature back New York thought he was going to turn into. Averaging an extremely disappointing 3.1 YPC this season, Greene has been arguably the most boring running back in the NFL this year. His lack of ability to make defenders miss and break tackles is noticeable to even the most fair weather fans. It is time Tony Sparano begins to divide his workload amongst the other backs on the Jets roster, namely Bilal Powell, who averaged 4.5 YPC last week in Miami, and (you guess it) Tim Tebow. Rex Ryan will also need to prove how great of a defensive mind he really is. Without Revis eliminating a player from opposing offenses, Ryan is going to need to show what made him such a successful defensive coordinator during his days in Baltimore. He will need to be very creative both schematically and personnel wise in order for this defense to assert itself as one of the league’s best again.

This week is sure to be a daunting test for each area of improvement for the Jets. Will New York be able to make the necessary adjustments in all phases of the game to overcome the powerhouse that is the San Francisco 49ers? Find out how it all will shake out in this week’s New York Jets Fact Or False.

Quinton Coples will register his 1st NFL sack. Fact. As good as San Francisco’s offensive line is in the running game, they have struggled so far in protecting quarterback Alex Smith this season. Smith has been sacked 10 times through the first three games this year. While Green Bay, Detroit, and Minnesota certainly have better pass rushes than the Jets, don’t be surprised to see New York’s first round selection get himself his first career sack this Sunday.

Although he has seen limited reps in his first few games, Rex Ryan proclaimed today that he expects the rookie out of North Carolina to take on a heavier workload this week. Coples has been an absolute mismatch when he’s been lined up on the inside on passing downs due to his superior athleticism against interior lineman. He has also been tremendous on the few stunts that he has run, often playing with excellent agility and leverage. Expect Ryan and Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine to get creative with their blitzes and stunts this week to confuse an offensive line that has struggled in pass protection this season. That could very well leave the door open for Coples to get to Smith for his first, of what could be many, NFL sacks.

Mark Sanchez will finish with a higher passer rating than Alex Smith. False. This is not to say that Sanchez will not play good. However in terms of passing efficiency, there have been very few who have done it better than Smith over the past year. This season alone, Smith ranks 7th in passer rating among all starting quarterbacks in the NFL with a rating of 102.7, that includes 5 touchdowns to just 1 interceptions and a completion percentage of 69.6.

Sanchez on the other hand ranks last in the league in terms of completion percentage, having completed just 50.5% of his passes with passer rating of 78.3. Of course, Sanchez has been hindered by the Jets’ lack of running ability as well as a very inexperienced group of receivers.

This is not to say that this unit will not get it together and outperform Smith and the 49ers’ passing attack this Sunday, however, the primary X-Factor in this is the absence of Darrelle Revis. Without Revis in the secondary, opposing teams are completing over 70% of their passes against New York. When facing a team like San Francisco, whose entire passing game is built on efficiency and a lack of mistakes, it will be very difficult for Sanchez to outperform his counterpart.

Frank Gore will rush for 100+ yards. Fact. Over the course of his first three games, Gore has run for 264 yards on just 45 carries, for an excellent average of 5.9 YPC. Although he has surpassed the century mark just once this season, he has yet to be given a heavy workload, with a season high of 17 carries in week 2 against Detroit.

This week, however, expect San Francisco to put the Jets 22nd ranked defense to the test. Based on the success that CJ Spiller and Reggie Bush experienced against this defense, the 49ers would be wise to give Gore the ball early and often. While New York is much better suited to defend backs like Gore, rather than Spiller or Bush, do not be surprised to see the former Miami Hurricane get anywhere from 20-25 carries, taking him over the 100 yard mark for the second time this season.

The Jets will not surpass 100 yards rushing as a team. False. Yes, the Jets have struggled to run the ball this season, but as addressed above, that is a heavy result of the inabilities of Shonn Greene. To think that New York is going to abandon its ground and pound philosophy after just three games under Sparano is utter blasphemy. New York’s inability to run the ball is undoubtedly keeping Sparano up at night, surely enough to devise a very clever game plan against one of the league’s top defenses.

Sparano and co. are likely wise enough to realize that they will struggle to pound the ball against this defense in jumbo packages. Expect New York to come out in various spread formations, and actually look to pass early to open up the running game. If Sanchez can be efficient and prove to be able to stretch the field in the first few offensive drives, San Francisco will have no choice but to unload the box, giving New York ample space to run the ball. The Jets should divide the workload amongst an abundance of ball carriers who will all collectively gain over 100 yards.

At least 4 different players will carry the ball for the Jets. Fact. As touched on above, Shonn Greene’s days as a 20-25 carry back are seemingly over. It is time for the Jets to divide his carries amongst Powell, Tebow, and possibly the newly acquired Jonathan Grimes. While Greene will likely still get around 10-12 carries this Sunday, look for Powell to cut into that load the most with about 15-17 carries. Tebow will likely chip in out of the Wildcat with somewhere around 5-7 carries, and New York would be foolish not to give the ball to the speedy Grimes, or the recently “traded” Joe McKnight a few times to attempt a home run play.

While the Shanahan approach of playing an abundance of Running Backs is not necessarily a popular one in this league, Greene has left the Jets with no choice. In order for this offense to get on track, they need to be able to run the ball, and in order to be able to run the ball, the Jets need to divide the workload, plain and simple.

New York Jets Defensive Film Breakdown: Week 3

Chris Gross breaks down the New York Jets defensive game film against the Miami Dolphins

For the third edition of our weekly defensive film breakdown, we unpack all of the positives and negatives from this past week’s overtime victory in Miami. While the Jets obviously did enough to win the game, their defensive effort was rather lackluster in comparison to how this unit has played in the past, particularly in the front seven. Now, with All-Pro CB Darrelle Revis out for the season with an ACL tear, it is more imperative than ever that this unit gets it together and plays the way they are capable of playing. The Jets pass rush will need to become extremely ferocious to compensate for the loss of Revis in the back end of the defense, something that they have clearly been anything but. However, for the time being, let’s breakdown last week’s game and see where and how they need to improve to remain relevant without their star player.

Just as the previous editions of this column have done, we will first start by evaluating each defensive lineman as individuals, while focusing on the linebackers and secondary as whole units.

Muhammad Wilkerson – We’ve been singing the same tune with Wilkerson for three weeks now – he needs to be more consistent. There are plays when Wilkerson looks comparable to some of the best defensive lineman in the league, while there are other plays where he looks like a glorified role player.

Against Miami, specifically, Wilkerson started out playing very hesitant. Rather than coming off of the ball fast and hard, he was demonstrating a mortal sin of defensive line play as he was playing with a tendency to stand straight up, engage the offensive lineman, and peak in the backfield for the ball carrier. Defensive linemen cannot afford to look for the ball. That is what the linebackers are for. A defensive lineman’s number one priority is to initiate the contact with the opposing offensive lineman, gain leverage, and maintain gap responsibility while reacting to the play. The only thing defensive linemen should be reading is what type of block the offensive lineman is giving them. Often times, that will take them directly to the ball.

For example, if Wilkerson is playing as a 5 technique on the outside shade of the tackle, and there is no tight end to his side, he would normally have outside contain. Now, if the ball is being run outside, the tackle will likely attempt to reach block him by getting his head to the outside of Wilkerson, and sealing him to the inside, in order to create a running lane for the back on the outside. By reading the tackle’s head, Wilkerson would realize that he is attempting to seal him to the inside, so would likely fight across his face to maintain his outside contain. This would ensure two things. First, Wilkerson is fulfilling his assignment by occupying the area that the defense is designed for him to occupy, and it would also take him directly to the ball carrier, where he would either make the play, or force it back inside to his 10 teammates in pursuit.

However, when Wilkerson does not read his opponent, but rather peaks his head into the backfield, not only does he find himself out of position, but he forfeits all leverage, allowing himself to be driven off the ball. Perhaps this had something to due with the threat of the elusive Bush, but as a defensive lineman, you must trust the defense and fulfill your role only, to the fullest extent.

Wilkerson fortunately did not make too much of a habit out of this practice in Miami. By the second half, he began to rely on his technique and instincts, rather than his eyes, to dictate his play, and it clearly showed on film. On one particular play in the third quarter, Miami ran Daniel Thomas off tackle at All-Pro Jake Long, who was matched up one on one with Wilkerson. Wilkerson came off the ball extremely fast and low, established leverage, drove Long about two yards into the backfield, shed the block, and made the play on Thomas. As you can see below, he maintains leverage on Long with his outside arm, while keeping the rest of his body free to make the play. Absolute text book play by Wilkerson.

In terms of pass rush, the Jets like to slide Wilkerson all over the line. Sometimes he will rush from a zero technique, lined up on the center, while also seeing time at both the three and five technique spots. It is certainly hard to gain some type of pass rush rhythm in constantly being moved, but clearly New York has confidence in Wilkerson’s ability to do so. He needs to develop a little more of a push and some creative hand work to improve in this area. In a four man rush, however, Wilkerson is usually the one to be doubled, so in fairness to him, opposing offensive lines certainly seem to account for him regularly.

Sione Pouha – The performance by Pouha against Miami was certainly not what Jets fans have become accustomed to. In his matchup against the Dolphin’s interior line, Pouha was flat out dominated for the better part of the game, specifically by Miami Center Mike Pouncey. Pouha, who is likely still nursing a back injury, looked hesitant, slow, and weak against the run. He struggled mightily against the double team, something he has done a tremendous job of in the past. He could not seem to gain penetration at all, even when he was single blocked, and his ability to move down the line of scrimmage in either stunts or pursuit was virtually non-existent. He served absolutely no purpose in the pass rush, as he was repeatedly stalemated at the line. Whatever Pouha’s issue may be, whether it injury or confidence, 2nd year pro Kenrick Ellis will likely begin to eat into his reps if he does not improve his play soon.

Mike DeVito – Mike DeVito is the same defensive lineman Jets fans have been watching for the past few years. Like in the previous two games this season, DeVito didn’t do anything that would warrant an exclamation point against Miami, however he remained very solid against the run. He gives a consistent effort, hardly ever gets driven off the ball, and is rarely, if ever, caught out of position. DeVito is the prototypical blue collared lineman, something that is essential to the depth of any defensive unit.

Unfortunately, that is where the praise for DeVito ends. In terms of rushing the passer, DeVito continued to show absolutely no ability to get to the Quarterback. When he is in the game on passing downs, the Jets are essentially playing a man short. Why Quinton Coples is not seeing more reps in these situations remains a mystery.

Quinton Coples – Coples, again, saw very limited action against Miami. His first few plays were somewhat irrelevant, as the ball was run to the opposite side of the field. However, what stood out most in these situations was Coples’ backside pursuit. For a player that has been criticized to have motor issues, I have yet to come across any valid evidence of such a fault.

Coples does, however, find himself lost at times. A few plays early in the game, he seemingly had no idea what his assignment was, as he would engage the opposing offensive lineman, then begin to look around as if he was unsure if he was making a mistake or not. Knowledge of the scheme could be one issue keeping the first round draft pick off of the field for now.

That being said, Coples needs to be used more on passing downs, period. The Jets cannot afford to keep arguably their most athletic defensive lineman on the sidelines on third downs while Mike DeVito continues to run straight into tackles and guards, serving virtually no purpose. Coples is extremely quick and elusive off the ball, particularly when he is on an inside stunt matched up with less athletic guards and centers. In addition to his athleticism, Coples also continues to display great strength and leverage. In his sole QB hit against Miami, Coples stunted inside, got underneath the opposing guard, and drove him into Ryan Tannehill’s face just before the Dolphins Quarterback got the ball off. 

As shown here, Coples has great position on the right guard as he continues to work up field, pushing the pocket into Tannehill’s face.

Coples finishes in the face of Tannehill with his hands in the Quarterback’s line of sight, forcing an incompletion. With the need for a pass rush even greater now with the absence of Darrelle Revis in the secondary, it would be a crime for New York to keep Coples on the sidelines in passing situations.

Kenrick Ellis – Ellis continues to play as if he is the best defensive lineman on the team. No one has been more consistent through three games than he has. Aside from showing great explosiveness and tenacity, Ellis has proved that he simply cannot be moved from the line of scrimmage. Whether it is a straight drive block, or a double team, Ellis often gains penetration into the backfield, while at the very least, maintaining his ground. His work in the passing game is miles ahead of any other interior lineman, as he continuously gets a strong push up the middle, noticeably making the quarterback uncomfortable. One specific play that stood out on Ellis, that was easily the most impressive play he has made to date, was a tackle for loss that he made after splitting a double team between Jake Long and Miami guard Richie Incognito. Like Coples, it would be a travesty for Ellis not to see more playing time. Do not be surprised one bit if he surpasses Pouha as the starter at some point in the coming weeks.

Calvin Pace – We continue to beat the same drum with Pace week in and week out. He does just about everything right technically, but he continues to show a lack of speed that is prohibiting him from being a difference maker. Like the previous two games, Pace did nothing to stand out against Miami, however there is not one instance where he made a drastic mistake. His veteran savvy is easily noticeable, and he remains one of the toughest players in the front seven. Pace will continue to be solid, but anything more than 4 sacks this year will be an over-achievement.

Aaron Maybin – Maybin continues to baffle by showing absolutely no sign of improving his pass rush moves. Week in and week out, Maybin continues his trend of sprinting upfield, out of control, more often than not past the quarterback. On one play in particular this past week, Maybin sprinted upfield past Jake Long, who simply rode him right past Tannehill into, what looked like, a chokeslam. Maybin ended up on his back, and Tannehill got rid of the ball unscathed.

The biggest concern about Maybin’s lack of improvement is the apparent lack of influence by defensive line coach Karl Dunbar. Dunbar was praised all offseason as a key piece in revitalizing this team’s pass rush woes, after his previous success in Minnesota. However, with Maybin seemingly making no changes in his game, one has to wonder exactly what Dunbar is coaching him on.

Garrett McIntyre – It was a nice story in Pittsburgh, but the Garrett McIntyre experiment has reached its peak. Miami continuously left McIntyre singled out, both on run and pass plays, and he could not break single blocking to save his life. A few times, he was even lined up over Jake Long, something the Jets should never have subjected him to. There is nothing to knock about McIntyre’s work ethic and effort, however he is simply overmatched, physically, far too often.

One play in particular that stands out, is on one of Reggie Bush’s early runs in the first quarter. Down inside the Miami 20, Bush’s run was stonewalled on the front side. The back changed directions, to meet McIntyre in the open field about two yards behind the line of scrimmage. Bush effortlessly made McIntyre look like he was on ice skates, resulting in a gain, rather than a tackle for loss. Now, in fairness to McIntyre, there aren’t many people that can get to Bush in the open field, however the seamless move made by Bush proves that McIntyre does not belong on the field in an every down, defensive role.

Marcus Dixon – Anyone who has been following this column through the first two weeks should not be surprised by the release of Dixon this week. He was certainly not the same player that he was in the past, a trend that continued in Miami, leading to his release. A class act, we can only hope Dixon finds his game and catches on somewhere else. For now, we move on.

The Linebackers – David Harris and Bart Scott were not particularly impressive this week. While they made their plays when it mattered late in the game, they each made a number of mistakes throughout the duration of the first 60 minutes. Harris, in particular, repeatedly attempted to arm tackle Reggie Bush in the first half, something that a back like Bush clearly shakes off with ease. On a 12 yard run with 3:56 left in the 1st quarter, Bush broke through to the second level. Harris, struggling to shed his block, attempted an arm tackle which Bush easily ran through. What should have been a 4-5 yard gain, resulted in a 12 yard gain due to poor tackling.

Harris and Scott also seemed out of sync on their blitzes at times. On a play in the first quarter, the two inside linebackers ran a twist stunt in their blitz that was poorly timed and led to a cluttered middle, which Bush easily averted and advanced to the Jets’ 3 yard line, setting up the first Miami touchdown.

What concerned me most about Bart Scott was his lazy technique at times. A few plays on which he was cut blocked down field, Scott, instead of shooting his hands and keeping the lineman off of his legs, merely lowered a shoulder, rendering no defense to the block whatsoever, taking him completely out of the play. For a veteran like Scott, there is no excuse for technique like this.

DeMario Davis and Josh Mauga each saw limited reps. Mauga was not impressive, and the sample of Davis was far too small to evaluate. He looked fast in his coverage breaks, however on the sole play that he was assigned to cover Tight End Anthony Fasano, Fasano fell down and was immediately overlooked by Tannehill.

The Secondary – Obviously, losing Darrelle Revis is as bad of a blow to any unit that could be imagined. Prior to the injury, Revis was the best player on the field, without question. While he was hardly thrown at, he showed a great ability to tackle in the open field on Reggie Bush, something that, as previously discussed, is no easy task. Revis will be sorely missed by this defense, but the remainder of the guys on the roster must elevate their play.

That includes Kyle Wilson and Antonio Cromartie. Wilson looked better in man coverage this week, except for the fade caught by Fasano inside the Jets 10, where he was caught horribly out of position, as if he was not expecting Tannehill to target Fasano on the play. Cromarite played like he does. He had lapses in coverage that either led to penalties or big plays, but did enough to get it done. Both of these players are going to be very much under the gun throughout the remainder of the season, so it is imperative that they elevate their play.

Ellis Lankster filled in for Wilson as the Nickelback after the Revis injury and was not particularly impressive. On a 19 yard catch by Davone Bess in the fourth quarter, Lankster bit extremely hard on a double move, causing him to fall to the ground while Bess effortlessly ran by him and caught the ball on the sidelines. 

As you can see at the top of the screen here, Ellis is on the ground looking at Bess, who is wide open just before the 40 yard line. While Bess is no slouch, he certainly is not as good as some of the slot receivers Lankster will face throughout the remainder of the year. He will have a daunting task all season, beginning this week with 49ers’ Mario Manningham. New York will likely need to give Lankster as much help as possible.

As far as the Safeties go, both LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell played well, other than a few lapses in run defense. A few times, Bell and Landry were caught taking bad pursuit angles, none of which resulted in large gains. They did a good job covering Fasano for the most part, and Landry had the play of the day with his interception returned for a touchdown.

Eric Smith was called for two personal fouls, neither of which seemed legitimate, but when will this veteran stop putting himself in situations like this? Smith was also terribly out of position on Jorvorskie Lane’s one yard touchdown run. As shown below, Smith turns his back to the sideline in his gap, rather than staying square, and gives up an enormous running lane, which allowed the Miami fullback to walk into the endzone untouched.

Bell, the player furthest to the left of the screen, is seemingly playing outside contain and simply cannot make it back in time to make up for Smith’s mistake.

While this defensive performance was certainly nothing to write home about, there are some encouraging signs. The safety play, for the most part, was very solid, and if not for the play made by Landry, the Jets may not have won the game. Muhammad Wilkerson can absolutely be a pro bowler if he can play consistently, and Ellis and Coples show flashes of brilliance, they just need to see the field more.

With Revis out, there is no doubt that everyone on this unit needs to elevate their play. The next 13 weeks will tell us a lot about the guys on defense, as well as Rex Ryan’s coaching ability. It certainly will be a daunting task to dominate, defensively, without their best player, but make no mistake that the Jets still have the pieces to have a very good defense. The keys will be consistency, cohesion, and most importantly, a ferocious sense of urgency.

New York Jets – Darrelle Revis Out For The Season, Now What?

Darrelle Revis is out for the season with a torn ACL…now what for the New York Jets?

The news was bad as expected. Darrelle Revis is out for the season with a torn ACL. It is a devastating injury to the New York Jets best player and to the NFL’s best cornerback. We wish him a speedy recovery and hope to see him back at 100% in 2013, when his contract situation will get that much more interesting.

Anyway, on to the 2012 season which still has 13 games left and believe it or not Jets fans, is still going to occur. Even with Darrelle Revis, the Jets had the look of a borderline .500 team. Now without him, it will take a combination of creative coaching and a collection of players to stepping up to keep the Jets competitive into December. Nobody is running away in the AFC. 8 or 9 wins could very well be good enough for a playoff spot, how can the Jets keep themselves in the mix?

First off, the rest of the defense needs to improve immediately, particularly the pass rush and the cornerbacks. The Jets spent high draft picks on Quinton Coples and Demario Davis. It is time to get them on the field. What they are doing up front right now is not working. Calvin Pace may not record another sack in his NFL career. Marcus Dixon was mercifully cut today after being blown off the ball for three straight weeks and playing twice the reps of Coples. Rex Ryan needs to manufacture a pass rush, so he might as well manufacture it with players who allegedly have speed and pass rushing ability.

In the secondary, Rex Ryan refers to Antonio Cromartie as a number one corner. Number one corners don’t get beat on double moves by 20 yards by Brian Hartline. Cromartie has the skill set to be a number one corner but shows no consistency with his technique. He might want to start now. I’m not sure why people are shy about saying Kyle Wilson has been an unmitigated bust but he has been so far. You don’t spend first round picks on nickel backs who can’t cover a team’s third best receiver without getting called for pass interference every other play. Now would be a good time for Wilson to start playing to first round status. After those two? The Jets should probably sign a veteran because Ellis Lankster or Isaiah Trufant haven’t shown any indication they are ready for major reps.

On offense, we will get into this more during the week – but the Jets just need to be better. That starts with Mark Sanchez playing more consistent. The immediate moves with the current depth chart is starting Bilal Powell at running back, getting Joe McKnight into the mix at running back and receiver and involving Jeremy Kerley more as both a receiver and runner. Pick a logical role for Tim Tebow and stick to it. No more 2 yard out routes. Make him your short yardage back out of the quarterback position, period. At wide receiver, Chaz Schilens should be splitting time with Stephen Hill opposite Santonio Holmes until he is up to speed.

The Jets need to examine the trade and free agent market at both running back and receiver. Ryan Grant as a free agent or Chris Ivory in a trade merits a roster spot over Shonn Greene. Plaxico Burress as a free agent or James Jones in a trade merits a roster spot over Clyde Gates.

The expectations are through the floor for the Jets right now. Nobody would be surprised if they finished 5-11 now. Can they exceed expectations in a mediocre conference filled with parity?