New York Jets Training Camp Preview: Major Storylines

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First a few updates:

1. Sorry for the lack of a morning article, but fortunately all the Terrell Owens nonsense has already came and passed. It would have made absolutely zero sense for the Jets to sign him. Anybody think the Jets just put their “interest” out there to drum up media attention before training camp starts? Anyway, I am glad the Owens circus will be joining the Chad Ochocinco Johnson circus in Cincinnati. The Jets were equipped to handle the Bengals offense in 2009 and that is still the case, even after the Owens signing.

2. Jason La Confora is reporting the Jets are working out quarterback Mark Brunell tomorrow along with a few other veterans.

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

4. A reminder there will be a 12 minute preview of Hard Knocks on HBO tomorrow night at 11 PM.

5. Justin Tuck told the New York Post the Jets talk too much. I think Justin Tuck should spend more time worrying about improving his defense to being anywhere near as good as the Jets, instead of getting jealous of their press clippings.

New York Jets Training Camp Preview: Major Storylines

In the second part of our training camp preview, we look at the major storylines that will be or should be covered from Cortland, New York.

Brad Smith is Versatile – The beat writers love putting together massive amounts of articles about how versatile Brad Smith is every summer. The worse was in 2007 when Transformers came out in the theaters and there may have been 900 articles comparing Smith to the movie because of all the positions he can play. We have all seen Brad Smith play receiver, running back, quarterback, cover kicks, and return kicks. There is a general understanding of his versatility. Rex Ryan will provide no help in avoiding this story either because every time he mentions Smith, he cites his rushing and passing statistics in college.

Danny Woodhead Is Small – Another beat writer favorite, that HBO is a lock to eat up in Hard Knocks. “Danny Woodhead may be small in size and have played at a small college but nobody would ever say his heart or toughness is small.” He is an easy guy to pull for because of his long shot odds and he does help himself by playing two positions, running back and receiver. However, in the end there will be too much ink and time dedicated to a player who isn’t going to make an impact on the Jets season. Considering his nondescript special teams performance in 2009, I wouldn’t be shocked if he was cut before the end of camp.

Nick Folk – This is a story that will rightfully be scrutinized by everybody. Folk’s daily statistics are going to be closely watched by everybody who is properly concerned about the Jets kicking situation. He may be back to back bad days away from being cut. Hopefully, he can build on the momentum he had at the end of mini-camp, when he had a few very good practices. Beat writers…get those Folk stats going.

An Unlikely Marriage – The somewhat awkward ongoing interaction between Jason Taylor and Jets fans should be something frequently focused on by the beat writers, HBO, and the national media. At this point I think it is clear that Jets fans have embraced him in hopes that he brings 1o – 12 sacks to the team.

PhotobucketChemistry! Chemistry! Chemistry! – The most overblown issue about the Jets this season. Here is my response (http://turnonthejets.com/2010/04/29/death-of-the-jets-chemistry-discussion/).

LaDainian Tomlinson’s Attitude – It will be interesting to see how Tomlinson handles being the Jets backup running back. Will he demonstrate any frustration with Shonn Greene receiving more touches or if Joe McKnight comes in to spell him for a certain situation? This is going to be the first pre-season Tomlinson has played extended reps in for a long time. He needs to prove to the Jets and the rest of the NFL, he can still be a productive player.

Vladimir Ducasse – You can bet any offsides penalty or allowed sack by Vladimir Duccasse will be covered like a natural disaster. I am already waiting for the first wave of “how much will the Jets pay for releasing Alan Faneca” stories.

Contracts – The biggest story heading into training camp is the contract situation of Darrelle Revis. Everybody will be waiting on pins and needles to see if he shows up and if he does show up, how he carries himself. Will he ignore the media or will he just ignore their questions about his contract? Will he address the situation openly? Nick Mangold has already ended the circus around himself by claiming he will show up. Darrelle Revis has decided to keep us waiting.

Eyes On The Waist – Whenever you have a public weight loss contest, you are calling attention to your figure. Let’s see how Rex Ryan, Damien Woody, and Kris Jenkins look in August and who the ultimate winner of their contest will be. Jenkins has been on an all cookie diet and on Twitter Damien Woody is promising a huge surprise about the contest.

PhotobucketThe Sanchize – Of course we will get the daily round up of Sanchez’s statistics, along with the feature stories about whether he “gets it” yet or if he can avoid holding the Jets back. I can’t even imagine how many minutes HBO is going to spend with cameras jammed in his face. Unfortunately, we can’t even vicariously enjoy his bachelor lifestyle because he has settled down with Meadow Soprano. Then again, I doubt the nightlife in Cortland is anything to get excited about.

Share The Love – One of the things I am most fascinated to see is how the passes are being divided up between Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, Santonio Holmes, and Dustin Keller. Beyond that, how much of the Tiger formation will we see? Can David Clowney still make an impact with so many players in front of him? What about lesser name players like Britt Davis and Aundrae Allison? There will be plenty of receivers looking for receptions this August and it will be entertaining to see how Mark Sanchez, whomever the backup ends up being, and Brian Schottenheimer attempt to keep everybody happy.

Injury Watch – Kris Jenkins coming back from his ACL surgery. Jason Taylor has been dealing with shoulder issues. If Shonn Greene gets banged up at all this training camp, it is going to raise millions of valid questions about his durability. Sanchez is also coming back from off-season surgery, so his mobility will be something to keep an eye on.

Your Daily Stand Up Routine – You have to look forward to Rex Ryan’s press conferences and any face time he gets on Hard Knocks. He is bound to give bulletin board material to New England and Miami, along with claim every single person in the Jets organization is the best in the NFL at what they do.

TOJ TV

New York Jets Training Camp Preview: Position Battles

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First a few updates:

1. Nick Mangold has already announced he won’t hold out of training camp because of his contract. You can only hope the Jets will do the right and make sure he is properly compensated at some point in the near future. It doesn’t sound like a deal with Darrelle Revis is imminent and there remains a reasonable chance he holds out of training camp for a period of time, regardless of the guaranteed money he would be giving up by choosing that route. Every move Revis makes will face insane amount of scrutiny if he does show up. It is going to take a little bend from both sides to make this deal happen but unfortunately it sounds like everybody is firmly dug in at the moment.

2. There still has been no movement on the Mark Brunell signing. Hopefully, the Jets are considering keeping Kellen Clemens alongside Brunell. I’d much rather see Erik Ainge or Kevin O’Connell released.

3. A reminder there will be a 12 minute preview of Hard Knocks this Wednesday on HBO at 11 PM.

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

New York Jets Training Camp Preview: Position Battles

In the first part of our training camp preview, we look at the position battles across the Jets roster –

There isn’t a high amount of intriguing battles for starting jobs on the Jets heading into this August. However, many players will be fighting it out for reps off the bench and to create a bigger role for themselves.

Left Guard – Vladimir Ducasse vs. Matt Slauson: The battle to replace Alan Faneca doesn’t sound like it is going to be much of a fight. Every indication from OTAs and mini-camp is that unless Ducasse is a complete disaster, he will end up being the starter. The Jets didn’t spend a second round pick on somebody to stash away on the bench for a 2009 sixth round pick with no experience.

PhotobucketSafety – Brodney Pool vs. Eric Smith: Another battle that isn’t really a battle. Rex Ryan has already stated he wants Pool in the starting lineup, so he can use Smith off the bench in a variety of roles and so that he can remain a core special teams player. Pool has impressed the coaching staff and it would be a huge surprise to not see him opposite Jim Leonhard in week one, with Smith coming off the bench in the nickel and sub packages.

Running Back – Shonn Greene vs. LaDainian Tomlinson: Only Tomlinson seems to think this an open competition. Unless he gets hurt, Shonn Greene will be the opening day starter at running back.

Defensive Line Rotation – Ropati Pitoitua vs.  Matt Kroul vs. Vernon Gholston: Shaun Ellis, Kris Jenkins, and Mike DeVito will be the starters with Sione Pouha getting plenty of work off the bench to spell Jenkins. However, the reps behind those four will be battled out between Pitoitua, Kroul, and Gholston. Pitoitua is mammoth at 6 foot 8 and 310 pounds. He played a little bit in 2009 but the coaching staff likes his potential. Kroul was stashed away on the practice squad last season after being signed as an undrafted free agent, yet defensive coordinator Mike Pettine raved about him this off-season and basically guaranteed he’d have a spot in the rotation. Gholston was only the six overall pick in the NFL Draft ,who looked clueless at outside linebacker. The Jets are hoping he can at least use his strength to give them something off the bench.

Wide Receiver – Brad Smith vs. David Clowney vs. Aundrae Allison: Somebody has to play the majority of the number three receiver reps while Santonio Holmes is suspended. Smith isn’t really a traditional receiver. Clowney made a few big plays last season and has the inside track to the majority of the reps. Similar to Clowney, Allison has great speed and could provide a deep threat. Britt Davis and Danny Woodhead could also push for a roster spot and these reps.

Turn On the Jets TV

Weekend Video Clips And Skepticism About Brunell

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First a few updates:

1. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook, Twitter (TurnOnTheJets) and now also find our writing featured at www.profootballnyc.com. The site has just started up and we will have a radio program going by mid-August, beyond that I should be doing some appearances on the New York Sports Exchange, so you will have the opportunity to hear  plenty of my voice during the 2010 season.

2. I am huge fan of Antonio Cromartie going by “Alcrotraz” opposite Revis Island. Check out this well-made “Shutter Island” parody poster created by Gary Grund on Twitter.

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3. New Turn On The Jets TV is coming this Monday and I can already promise that it will be your favorite episode yet.

Weekend Video Clips And Skepticism About Brunell

Before I get into the weekend video clips, just a few words about the imminent signing of Mark Brunell and release of Kellen Clemens. How could you feel more comfortable with Brunell stepping in for an injured Mark Sanchez in 2010 instead of Clemens? Mark Brunell didn’t throw a single pass in 2007 or 2008 and only threw 30 passes for the Saints last year. He completed 15 of them and threw an interception with no touchdowns. The guy is 39 years old and has never played in Brian Schottenheimer’s offense. I know Kellen Clemens could barely get out of his own way against Tampa Bay last season but at least he started a bunch of games in 2007 and started a meaningful game in 2009. He is younger and more athletic than Brunell and above all knows Schottenheimer’s offense inside and out. Why not keep Clemens as the #2 and let Brunell be the #3, where he is basically a player/coach for Sanchez? After watching him last pre-season, I think I may even feel better about Erik Ainge stepping in for an injured Sanchez over Brunell. It could be a disaster of Rick Mirer proportions if Sanchez misses any extended time in 2010.

Weekend Video Clips – Sanchez’s Targets

Dustin Keller

Braylon Edwards

David Clowney

Brad Smith

Santonio Holmes

Jerricho Cotchery

Five Questions About The Jets Special Teams

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First a few updates:

1. After a few reports came out yesterday about the Jets bringing back defensive end Marques Douglas by the week’s end, it now sounds like the Jets are content with their youth movement on the defensive line and won’t pursue him. This is a statement of confidence in players like Mike DeVito, Matt Kroul, and Ropati Pitoitua to give the Jets quality reps in their defensive line rotation. DeVito is going to be the starter, after putting together a pretty strong season in 2009. Kroul and Pitoitua are untested and of course there still is that Vernon Gholston fellow, looking for his first career NFL sack.

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

3. The Jets are expected to sign quarterback Mark Brunell tomorrow, with a release of Kellen Clemens following shortly after.

Five Questions About The Jets Special Teams

As training camp rapidly approaches, here are five questions about the Jets special teams that still need to be sorted out –

1. What The Folk?

– The Jets parted ways with Jay Feely this off-season, who was not only a reliable kicker but a good tackler and a political pundit. They replaced him with Dallas Cowboys castoff, Nick Folk, who despite being an All-Pro kicker in 2007 and hero of my fantasy football team that season, struggled heavily in 2009. The best way to describe Folk’s play for Dallas last year is absolutely brutal. He made 64.3 percent of his field goal attempts, spearheaded by him going 5/12 from the 40-49 yard range. He was cut after shanking a 24 yard field goal in a crucial late season game against the Saints. The Jets are confident that special teams guru Mike Westhoff can get him back on track but the reality is the Jets are taking a major risk by relying on Folk to be their kicker. In OTAs and mini-camp, Folk would have days where he missed four straight field goals and then follow up by going 7 for 7 the next day. The consistency clearly isn’t there yet and for a team built on defense and running the football, it is scary to have a kicker who isn’t reliable.

2. How much Antonio Cromartie will we see on kick and punt returns?

– The Jets were giving Cromartie reps at both kick and punt return during their off-season workouts. He is an explosive player in the open field with the ball in his hands, displayed by his four career return touchdowns. However, none of those were on kick or punt returns. They were from taking a missed field goal back, along with a few interceptions. Cromartie did have a 91 yard kick return in 2006. The Jets kick return job is open since Leon Washington is no longer on the roster and regardless of who the primary return guy is, Cromartie still could get put back there once or twice a game.

3. Can Kyle Wilson handle full time punt return duties?

– After the Jets drafted Wilson, Rex Ryan claimed he would be the team’s starting nickel back and primary punt returner. It is a big task for a rookie to be pressed into the punt return job, where any small mistake or misjudgement can swing an entire game. Do you remember when the Titans had a rookie back there last year against the Jets? From all reports in OTAs and mini-camp, Wilson looked terrific fielding punts. However, it is different when you are under the bright lights of Monday Night Football week 1 against the Baltimore Ravens. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jerricho Cotchery or Jim Leonhard still put back deep in certain situations, especially if a team is punting into the Jets endzone. Regardless, Wilson should provide the Jets some explosiveness in the punt return game they were lacking last year.

4. Will Steve Weatherford last the season as the Jets punter?

– The Jets went through about 27 punters last season before finally settling on Weatherford, who was pretty good in 2009. The best part about Weatherford may be that he averaged a whopping 26 yards per carry last season and he took the time to compliment Turn On The Jets on Facebook, which of course puts him alongside David Clowney and Donovan Warren with first team all TOJ status. In all seriousness, it will be interesting to see if Weatherford can make it through another full season as the Jets punter or if the team has a quick trigger finger like they did before the 2009 season kicked off.

5. Who will return kicks for the Jets in 2010?

– There are a ton of candidates on the roster to take over the primary kick return duties. Brad Smith did a good filling in for Leon Washington last season and is the favorite to take the majority of kicks back for the Jets this season. However, Joe McKnight, Kyle Wilson, Aundrae Allison, David Clowney, and Danny Woodhead are also all in the mix. As previously mentioned, Antontio Cromartie should also get a few chances back there. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a committee approach to the kick return job this season, unless Brad Smith can do more of this on a consistent basis:

Projecting The Jets Offensive Statistics

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First a few updates:

1. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets). Yes, Fanball is still working on breaking those pending comments out but any comment you leave will be transcribed by me and posted.

2. After it was initially reported that Darrelle Revis was going to hold out of training camp unless he received a new contract, it has now been released that he will attend because he risks losing guaranteed money on his old contract if he misses any mandatory workouts. Obviously, we just have to wait and see what happens on August 1st but hopefully Mike Tannenbaum and the rest of the Jets front office is putting in OT right now on Revis, Nick Mangold, and David Harris. The less distractions the Jets have heading into training camp the better, considering they will already have Hard Knocks in attendance. There hasn’t been any positive talk about the Revis negotiations in recent weeks but the Jets still have a few weeks to make a move before training camp and the 18,000 daily stories about every move Revis does or doesn’t make.

Projecting The Jets Offensive Statistics

A few thoughts speculating on what some of the Jets offensive player statistics could look like in, after ranking the starters on Friday (http://turnonthejets.com/2010/07/09/ranking-the-jets-offensive-starters-weekend-video-clips/).

PhotobucketJerricho Cotchery led the team in receptions last season and I think he will do the same in 2010. Out of all the Jets receivers, he seems to have the best chemistry with Mark Sanchez and should be the team’s primary target on third downs this season. Similar to the rest of his career, he likely won’t rack up big touchdown or yardage totals. When the Jets are looking for a big play, Braylon Edwards or Santonio Holmes will be the primary target (after week 4). By all accounts, Edwards had a terrific off-season and if he can remain consistent could be in store for a big season in a Jets offense that will throw more frequently than their 2009 unit. I don’t know if he will get the amount of looks necessary to be a 1,000 yard receiver but he could end up being close, especially with Holmes suspended the first four games. I also think he will be battling Dustin Keller for the team lead in touchdown receptions. Keller will struggle to have big reception and yardage totals with so many other pass catching options but is an excellent red-zone target because of his combination of size and speed at the tight end position.

It is hard to project what Santonio Holmes will do after he returns from his suspension. You have to figure it will take some time for him to adjust and find his exact role in the Jets offense. Yet, by the end of the year he could very well be the guy leading the Jets in receiving yards most weeks. If you asked me right now, I’d say Cotchery will lead the team in receptions, Edwards will lead them in yards and touchdowns, with Keller close behind in the touchdown category.

– At running back, if Shonn Greene stays healthy and keeps up his high yards per carry, there is no reason he can’t be a 1200 – 1300 yard back. I don’t buy any talk about LaDainian Tomlinson competing with him for the starting job. The primary reason the Jets let Thomas Jones walk was because they believed Greene could handle the starting job. Tomlinson was brought in to back him up and provide a pass receiving option out of the backfield since Greene struggles catching the football. I also expect him to get the first crack at being the goal-line and short yardage back. Greene is going to lead the team in carries and yards by a good margin. Yet, Tomlinson could end up leading them in rushing touchdowns and should catch 30-40 balls as well. Joe McKnight will likely start out slow but if he shows he can handle blitz pick up, his package of plays will expand as the season goes on. I doubt he will get over 80 carries this season but hopefully he can chip in a decent reception total, especially in the second half of the season.

– At quarterback, it is hard to see Mark Sanchez not improving on his statistics across the board in 2010. It will be a disappointment if he doesn’t throw for a higher completion percentage, more yards, more touchdowns, and less interceptions. Nobody is saying he is going to make a monster leap but I think he is capable of reaching 3000 yards with something like 15 touchdowns to 12 interceptions, along with a completion percentage in the 56 – 58 range. The Jets will throw more this season and his completion percentage will be aided by a more active screen game led by Tomlinson and McKnight.

– Brad Smith won’t catch any more passes than he did in 2009 (7) but hopefully he can match or exceed the 207 rushing yards he gave the Jets last year, with a few big plays out of the Tiger formation or on a reverse. He should also complete a few passes, as the Jets look to build on his big completion to Jerricho Cotchery in the AFC Championship Game. David Clowney will likely catch a few passes in the first four weeks but I don’t know how involved he will remain in the game plan after Holmes returns from suspension. Outside of that, I wouldn’t be spending any of my fantasy football picks on Ben Hartsock, Matthew Mulligan, Tony Richardson, or John Conner.

New TOJ TV

Tiger Formation

Jets Area of Strength – Wide Receiver

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 First a few updates:

1. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets) and now also follow us on YouTube.

2. The big story of the day is that the Jets have an interest in JaMarcus Russell. I said this on the Facebook page and I will say it again here, I would love to have Russell as a backup…to Kris Jenkins. Maybe, even bring him in to compete with Vladimir Ducasse and Matt Slauson at the left guard spot. Wherever he is playing, he better not be throwing any footballs in green and white next season.

3. Speaking of Ducasse, the Jets are apparently near signing him to his rookie deal. How about some positive contract news for the Jets?

4. Let me throw out some final guesses on where the major free agents end up: I am going with LeBron and Bosh to Chicago, Carlos Boozer to Miami, Joe Johnson and Amare Stoudemaire to the Knicks, Rudy Gay and David Lee to the Nets, and that’s all I got for right now.

Jets Area of Strength – Wide Receiver

Here at TOJ, we have been going through the various areas of concern and strength for the Jets heading into the 2010 season. So far the areas of concern have been quarterback and running back, while the area of strength has been linebacker. Today we add another area of strength with the Jets group of wide receivers:

Links to previous “Areas of Concern” and “Areas of Strength” articles

http://turnonthejets.com/2010/06/24/jets-area-of-strength-linebacker/

http://turnonthejets.com/2010/06/23/jets-area-of-concern-running-back/

http://turnonthejets.com/2010/06/28/jets-area-of-concern-quarterback/

The Jets have come a long way from Chansi Stuckey battling David Clowney and Brad Smith for a starting spot opposite of Jerricho Cotchery last summer. There may not be a team in football with a better top three receivers than the Jets this season. Yes, they will be without Santonio Holmes for the first four games because of a suspension but for the 3/4 of the season they are at full strength, their top three options are going to give defensive coordinators nightmares.

Here is the production of Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, and Santonio Holmes last year:

  • Edwards – 45 receptions, 680 yards, 4 touchdowns
  • Cotchery – 57 receptions, 821 yards, 4 touchdowns
  • Holmes – 79 receptions, 1248 yards, 5 touchdowns

Initially, those numbers are nothing to go crazy over especially since Holmes is coming off his best season ever and can’t possibly match those numbers in only 12 games this season (except the touchdowns). Yet, keep in mind Edwards spent 4 games with a quarterback disaster in Cleveland and arrived just in time for the rough patch of Mark Sanchez’s season. Cotchery missed two and half games with an injury and was a likely 1,000 yard guy without that missed time. He produced at a high level, even with a rookie quarterback. As I said before, 2009 was Holmes best season. Here is the stat lines from Edwards and Cotchery’s best season:

  • Edwards (2007) 80 receptions, 1299 yards, 17 touchdowns
  • Cotchery (2007) 82 receptions, 1130 yards, 2 touchdowns (or you could argue for 2006 when he had 82 receptions, 961 yards and 6 touchdowns).

PhotobucketAll three of these guys are capable of being 1,000 yard receivers. Edwards is the most physically gifted of the three and seems poised for a big year after a great off-season and the expected improvement of Mark Sanchez. Holmes is just entering his prime as a legitimate number one receiver, and is the best overall receiver of the group. Cotchery will get looked over by people but he was doing just fine as the Jets number one receiver before the Edwards trade last  year and is going to kill teams out of the slot this season. He has the best hands out of the group, is the most precise route runner, and has the best chemistry with Sanchez. If you had to bet which of these three guys will have the most receptions, I would go with Cotchery.

The depth behind the Edwards, Cotchery, and Holmes is solid. Brad Smith is more of a do everything guy than a receiver, but as a #4/5 option is about as solid as you will get in the NFL. David Clowney flashed at times last season and is capable of being the number three receiver while Holmes serves his suspension. Aundrae Allison is a burner who could push for a roster spot because of his kick return and deep threat ability. Also keep an eye on Britt Davis who has good size and impressed the coaches last training camp, along with Larry Taylor who looked like a good slot receiver in the making at mini-camp.

Overall, the production of players like Edwards, Cotchery, and Holmes will depend on Sanchez’s progression in year two. However, if he takes the expected steps forward, all three will have plenty of opportunities to make plays. I don’t know if there will be a 1,000 yard receiver out of this group because of the division of looks between them, Dustin Keller, and the running backs but Edwards and Cotchery should get close. Holmes should still put up a big chunk of receiving yards because of his big play capability and will hopefully find the end-zone 4-6 times.

TOJ TV

New TOJ TV: Live Footage From Jets Minicamp

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First a few updates:

1. Congrats to the Lakers on repeating as NBA Champions. I thoroughly enjoyed the Celtics choking and blowing a 13 point second half lead. Don’t compare LeBron to Kobe. Kobe has five championships. However, please still come to New York, LeBron.

New TOJ TV: Live Footage From Jets Minicamp

Enjoy our new episode of TOJ TV, featuring a terrific new intro, footage of the new stadium, minicamp practice, interviews with numerous Jets fans, and much more. Special thanks to Damien Woody’s entire family for shouting out Turn On The Jets at the end of the video:

Wednesday Minicamp Review: A Day At The New Stadium

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First a few updates:

1. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets)…There is no logical reason for you not to do it.

2. Game 7 here we come…should be fun. I was little surprised at the extent Boston just laid down and died last night.

3. Another thank you to David Clowney and Donovan Warren for taking the time to do interviews with Turn On The Jets. We are working on future interviews with Jerricho Cotchery, Dustin Keller, and James Ihedigbo.

Wednesday Minicamp Review: A Day At The New Stadium

Our video producer, James Corbett and myself made the trip out to the New Meadowlands Stadium today for minicamp. We arrived about 15 minutes late for the 11:30 practice, and the first thing I noticed was how many people had turned out for a Wednesday morning. There were people in full tailgate mode and I can’t argue with finding an excuse to play beer pong in a parking lot on a Wednesday morning in June. As usual, there was plenty of energy from the fans. The new stadium is enormous compared to the old one.

I doubt it will be like this on game days, but they had it set up that you could basically walk right up behind the sideline at the ground level and watch behind a small fence. You could literally stand about 10 yards from the field. We pushed to the front and got a spot right in front of the defensive back drills, where Darrelle Revis was receiving plenty of support. There were constant “Please Pay Revis” chants and a bunch of signs saying “Pay Revis.” Antonio Cromartie is huge in person. He either bulked up or the television makes him look skinnier than he really is. He was getting a ton of love from the fans and turned about five times to wave to everybody.

PhotobucketWe then relocated to seats on the 50 yard line for 11 on 11 drills. Sanchez hit Braylon on dig route but then had to run a penalty lap because half of the offensive line jumped offsides. Kellen Clemens came in and promptly threw an interception on a deep ball to Antonio Cromartie who had a long run back and looks scary elusive in the open field. Later in the 11 on 11s, Sanchez hit Cotchery on a nice deep crossing route, where he beat Kyle Wilson.

A few other observations, from that period: Brad Smith is getting a ton of work at quarterback and he isn’t just running Wildcat stuff. He was basically the number two today and received more reps than Clemens, Kevin O’Connell, and Erik Ainge (who barely played and appears to be falling behind O’Connell). Smith actually had a few nice throws, including hitting a deep in route to Marcus Henry. He also ran a few options with Danny Woodhead. Another guy who impressed me was receiver Larry Taylor. He is a small, shifty guy who looked very good out of the slot.

The Jets then moved to 7 on 7s. The first thing to notice is how many different looks the Jets can run with their personnel. Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes, and Jerricho Cotchery were being moved all over the place. When the Jets go to three wide, Cotchery primarily works out of the slot. However, Braylon was being sent in motion frequently. The Jets were also showing plenty of looks with Keller split out, and Joe McKnight or LaDainian Tomlinson in the slot.

During this period, Brodney Pool and Darrelle Revis had nice pass breakups. Dustin Keller just beat Bart Scott for a short touchdown. LaDainian Tomlinson had a pretty grab out of the backfield that he took in for a 20 yard touchdown. When the backups were in, James Ihedigbo broke up a corner route to rookie tight end Jeff Cumberland, who looked pretty good out there, right in front of us.

In the last 11 on 11 drills, Cotchery had a rare drop but was consoled by Sanchez right as a plane flew over, which said “Happy Birthday Jerricho.” All of the fans sang a few verses of Happy Birthday to J-Co, who turned and waved. The Jets also ran their patented sideline comeback to Cotchery but Revis was all over him and broke it up, which was followed by another “Please Pay Revis” chant.

At the end of the practice, the entire team took a lap to high five the fans. We got some great footage of this as the new episode of TOJ TV will show. On the way out, we got some interviews with fans and funny enough got an interview with Damien Woody’s whole family by accident. We were simply approaching fans asking what they thought the team’s record would be, so we approached Woody’s wife and kids (unknown to us). They answered our questions and shouted out the site, when I complimented his son’s jersey (a Titans white Woody jersey), she said “well we better be Woody fans, I am his wife.” So that was interesting.

Finally, we drove by the player exit and caught Jason Taylor walking out. Nobody has hated on Taylor more than me, but I give him credit for taking his time and signing every single person’s autograph and taking about 35 pictures. Good work JT. (And no I didn’t ask for an autograph, but Corbett did get good footage of him).

Some other loose-end observations: Dwight Lowery was particularly active and had some nice pass break-ups…John Conner is quicker than I expected…Joe McKnight looked like he is going to be a serious weapon out of the slot…Brian Schottenheimer is loud…Nick Mangold got some reps at safety against the second offense and had a few nice blitzes off the edge…Braylon Edwards beard is nasty looking but Edwards was the most impressive offensive player on the field by a good margin.

Anyway, that was it. Keep an eye for new TOJ TV, which will have great footage of the new stadium, practice, and plenty more.

Get Hyped For This Season

Thoughts On Jets OTA News

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First a few updates:

1. Did you enjoy the interview with David Clowney? Of course you did…good because we should have another interview with safety Donovan Warren coming in the next few days.

2. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets)…NBA Finals commentary kicking off at 9 PM tonight. Let’s go Lakers.

3. The last Jets practices before they disappear for a little over a month will take place next Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Monday is open to the public at Florham Park and of course Wednesday is open to the public at the New Meadowlands Stadium. Turn On The Jets will be there on Wednesday with the cameras out looking for fans to talk Jets football.

Thoughts On Jets OTA News

Contract Situations – The good news is that the Jets gave Darrelle Revis another offer, which was better than their reportedly ridiculously first offer. The bad news is that it still wasn’t enough to end this contract dispute or make Revis the highest paid corner in the league. This isn’t ending until the Jets bite the bullet and give Revis more money than Nnamdi Asmougha. He did say he would be at minicamp next week but didn’t rule out missing training camp time. I doubt he would actually skip any of training camp unless the Jets next offer was lower than the first two. Mike Tannenbaum has his work cut out for him the next month. The organization’s goal should be to get Revis and Mangold taken care of or at least make substantial, substantial progress before training camp starts.

Nick Mangold said he was 50/50 on attending mini camp next week. The sense of urgency clearly needs to pick up in Mangold’s negotiations since he is in the final year of his deal. The Jets offensive line goes from being one of the league’s best to a bit of a clusterfudge (TOJ is PG-13) without him. Can we get this done, now? I understand these are complex negotiations but doesn’t it send an ideal message to your team by taking care of your homegrown, best offensive and best defensive player within a few weeks of each other? The only negative floating around the Jets season before it starts will be taken away and all the chatter about the Jets never taking care of their own will go away.

PhotobucketWhat The Folk?7 for 7? A 51 and 53 yarder right through the uprights? I always had faith in the guy. Seriously though, it is about time we got some encouraging news on the Jets kicking game. Yet that is no reason to take Matt Stover off the speed dial list.

Sanchez – From all indications, Mark Sanchez is 100 percent back and feeling great. He practiced without a knee brace today and it sounds like he will be full go for mini camp. The second year quarterback had a very good all around practice and was in rhythm, especially with Jerricho Cotchery today. Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes may be bigger names, but Cotchery will have more catches than both of them this season.

Take It Easy – Kris Jenkins still hasn’t received medical clearance to practice fully with the team, yet. Santonio Holmes has also been slightly limited because of tight hamstrings. Let’s take it easy with these guys. We are close to a one month break and we need them both 100 percent for training camp.

Oh, Our First Round Pick – For a first round draft pick, Kyle Wilson doesn’t get a ton of publicity. However, he hasn’t dropped a punt yet and is progressing well in the defense. Don’t forget about the two key roles Wilson will be playing for the Jets this year, primary punt returner and nickel back. Antonio Cromartie has also been working on punt returns and has been making some head turns with his open field moves.

O’Connell #2? – Kevin O’Connell was working ahead of both Kellen Clemens and Erik Ainge. I think we are headed to a Jets quarterback depth chart of Sanchez, Brunell, O’Connell in week one.

Nick Folk Everybody

Turn On The Jets Exclusive Interview: David Clowney

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First a few updates:

1. Get on the Facebook page or Twitter page (TurnOnTheJets) to follow the massive amounts of OTA coverage today. I will have a wrap-up article later tonight but here is what you need to know about today’s practice:

  • Mark Sanchez took part in 11 on 11 drills and had a strong overall day. He was in a rhythm with Jerricho Cotchery and at one point hit him three straight times in the 2 minute drill.
  • Nick Folk! He went 7 for 7 on kicks, including hitting a 52 and 53 yard attempt.
  • Nick Mangold said he was 50/50 on holding out for minicamp next week…pay the man.
  • Bart Scott and Darrelle Revis had a nasty collision but both were fine.
  • Kevin O”Connell was working ahead of both Erik Ainge and Kellen Clemens.
  • Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson were both looking good on punt returns.
  • Mark Sanchez wasn’t wearing a knee brace, just a sleeve on each knee and says he is feeling great.
  • Rex Ryan brought up a split screen of him and Strasburg pitching (Ryan threw out the first pitch at a Mets game recently)…funny stuff.

Turn On The Jets Exclusive Interview: David Clowney

I was lucky enough to get an interview with David Clowney in the middle of last season and fortunately he decided to come back for seconds. Clowney has taken the lead on the Jets with his off the field charity work. The David Clowney Foundation took part in a trip to Haiti this off-season and will be going to Ghana in early July. On the field, Clowney is coming off his best season as a pro and is looking to solidify himself as a core special teams player and a consistent contributor at the wide receiver position. Make sure to check out Clowney’s website at (www.davidclowney87.c0m), where you can access information on his foundation. Also, stop by (www.playerpress.com). Special thanks to Todd Schmerler for helping set up the interview:

By the way, how great is that pic of him smoking Yeremiah Bell and Vontae Davis?

TOJ: Even though many of the players on the team are actively involved in charity work, you seem to have gone above and beyond in the past year and have become a leader in that area on the team. Can you explain the initial motivation to travel to Haiti and now go to Ghana in early July?

PhotobucketClowney:  Haiti was a great trip. The motivation itself was just to go and help. James Ihedigbo brought it to my attention that he and his mother had decided to go to the Haitian country to help the earthquake victims and asked if me and my foundation would like to take part. Without hesitation I told him yes. From that day forth we got everything together to make this trip to Haiti.

As far as the Ghana trip, I have always wanted to go to Africa since I was a kid. Now that I have the ability to help I wanted to go over to Ghana and show the kids over there a little something different. Such as American football. But while I’m over there I will be taking clothes for the families, visiting children’s hospitals, orphanages, etc.

TOJ:  There have been reports that you are one of the players who will be primarily looked at to step up on special teams with the departure of players like Wallace Wright, Larry Izzo, Marques Murrell, and Ryan Fowler. How comfortable do you feel on special teams, outside of a kick return role? And, how have you worked to become versatile enough to play on all the special teams units?

Clowney: I love playing special teams. Playing football at Virginia Tech made the special teams life a lot easier. Even as a starter at WR I still was the starting gunner at Virginia Tech on the punt team. I have no problem going down on kickoff and punt return teams. I love doing that, especially rushing off the end to try and block the punt. So all in all I have no problem doing special teams and can’t wait till the season starts to show that.

TOJ: You had your best season as a pro in 2009. Yet in terms of the wide receiver position, what skills are you looking to improve on?

Clowney: Primarily route running and hand eye coordination. Of course I can catch or else I wouldn’t be in the NFL at all, but there are a lot of technical things as a WR that we all can work on and those are two that I plan on perfecting.

TOJ: The offense will need extended reps from you in the first four weeks of the season while Santonio Holmes serves his four-game suspension. Do you look at those four games as an ideal opportunity to make a strong enough impression on the coaching staff, that you remain a consistent part of the offensive game plan even after he returns in week 5?

Clowney: Yes without a doubt. Those 4 games while he is gone have to be the best games in my career in order for me to continue my role on offense or to get reps in the game itself. I will do everything in my power to make sure come week 5 I still have a nice amount of reps in every game after that.

TOJ: Is the team generally excited about being featured on HBO’s Hard Knocks or is there concern about it becoming a distraction?

Clowney: To be honest no one has really talked about it. It was just something that came up originally but everyone is really just focused on OTAs and making sure all the new guys learn the system and all the new plays.

Video From The David Clowney’s Foundation Work

How About Clowney’s Little Bro? He looks like a young Leon Washington

And My Personal Favorite