New York Jets 2013 Offensive Line Outlook

Resident Offensive Line guru Mike Nolan takes a look at the state of the Jets Offensive Line for the 2013 Season.

Everyone’s heard football clichés like “The Game is won in the trenches” and “It all starts up front.” These are generally sayings that parents of offensive lineman use to try and make their kids sound important. But they may ring true for the Jets more than any other team in the NFL.  If the Jets want to take a big step forward offensively in 2013, they will need to rely on their offensive line to take them there. The ideal situation is that the Jets improve both their run game and pass game over the 2012 Sparano system and nobody really talks about the OLine.  When nobody is talking about offensive linemen that means they are doing their jobs. It is when people start talking about them when you know something is wrong.  Let’s see how much people will be talking about the Jets’ offensive line in 2013.

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TOJ Film Room: Grading the 2012 Offensive Line – D’Brickashaw Ferguson

Mike Nolan steps into the Film Room to grade out the 2012 Jets’ Offensive Line. First up is starting Left Tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson.

Before we get to the regular season, I wanted to take a look at 2012 film of the Jets’ Offensive Line to see what is returning this year and to see what the Jets have lost from 2012. During the regular season, I will be running a weekly column where I will grade out the offensive line’s individual performances. Unlike Pro Football Focus, I am going to grade the line from as much of a coach’s perspective as I can. By this, I mean I am going to take technique and assignment into account in addition to play result. For each play I give grades ranging from -2 to 2:

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TOJ New York Jets 12 Pack: The Comeback Year

TOJ looks at 12 New York Jets who need to have bounce back seasons for the team to improve this season

Assuming the New York Jets don’t make any more major moves this off-season, it appears they will be relying on much of their improvement to come from within their current roster and whatever draft picks they add. What players in particular will need to bounce back from a rough 2011 season to take the Jets from 8-8 and out of the playoffs, to back to 11-5 and the AFC Championship Game (and hopefully beyond)? In descending order of importance…

12. Kenrick Ellis – The Jets didn’t get anything from him in his redshirt season. If he can play to his potential in his second year, the Jets will have a huge addition to their defensive line rotation that will help stop the run and push the pocket on the passer.

11. Antonio Cromartie – He didn’t have a bad year in 2011 but also didn’t have a great one. We are still waiting to see a playmaker who can pull in more than 4 interceptions in a season and maybe create a defensive touchdown or two.

10. Bryan Thomas – Thomas missed the bulk of last season with an ACL injury. Even if the Jets spend a first round pick at outside linebacker, they will need Thomas to mentor him and on running downs. He is a valuable veteran who is productive in Rex Ryan’s defense.

9. Mike DeVito – He missed 4 games last season and battled injuries all season. DeVito is a big part of the Jets run defense and the Jets need him healthy and productive for all 16 games next season.

8. Eric Smith – Hopefully after the draft, Smith will be relegated to being a role player on defense. Yet, you can be assured he will see significant time on defense next season and when he is on the field, the Jets need him to limit the big plays and at minimum be a sure tackler. This team really needs help at safety.

7. Bart Scott – Scott’s value has always been stopping the run, being a sure tackler, and providing leadership on the field. He did none of that last season, missing a ton of tackles and creating issues in the locker room over his lack of playing time. Scott claims to be refocused and lighter this year, we’ll see if that translates to him playing like he did in 2009 and 2010.

6. Shonn Greene – He didn’t have an inspiring 1,000 yard season in 2011. Greene must do a better job of breaking tackles and occasionally popping a big play. He averaged 5.0 yards per carry as a rookie and has since fell down to 4.1 in 2010 and 4.2 in 2011. The Jets need that number to get closer to 5 again.

5. Calvin Pace – At the amount of money he is making, 4.5 sacks isn’t cutting it. The Jets should give him some support on passing downs with their first round pick and Aaron Maybin in his second year so Pace shouldn’t see many, if any double teams. Regardless of his production against the run, the Jets need 7-9 sacks from him.

4. Wayne Hunter/Vladimir Ducasse – As of right now, they are battling to be the starting right tackle. We can only hope Tony Sparano and his new system can move Hunter from being awful to mediocre or that Ducasse with a full off-season under his belt at right tackle can show some of the signs of why he was a second round pick.

3. Santonio Holmes – The Jets paid him to be their number one receiver and he didn’t perform like one. Some of that was on Brian Schottenheimer and some of that was on Mark Sanchez, yet a share of blame goes to Holmes who dropped his share of passes and couldn’t consistently beat double teams. If Holmes can produce like he did in 2010 when he returned from suspension, the Jets offense will be in much better shape.

2. D’Brickashaw Ferguson – The Jets Pro-Bowl left tackle didn’t play like one last season. His struggles combined with Wayne Hunter’s incompetence left Mark Sanchez constantly under pressure. Brick must return to his regular level of play, particularly if Hunter remains as the right tackle.

1. Mark Sanchez – On the whole Sanchez didn’t have anywhere near the awful year that is portrayed by the mainstream media. However, he did something he had never done so far in his career…he struggled in the games that were the most important. Most notably, the final three games of the season. Sanchez is without question the most important factor in the Jets success this season. If he struggles, their season is going to turn into a quarterback controversy circus and Tim Tebow will be overextended as a full time quarterback. If he plays well, they have a shot to be a contender and Tebow can thrive as a role player.

Just How Good Is Darrelle Revis?

In case you haven’t been following, the NFL Network has been ranking the top 100 players in the league through a 10 part series. D’Brickashaw Ferguson was ranked 79th, Santonio Holmes 76th, and Nick Mangold 47th. They are down to the final 10 players and Pro Football Talk has likely correctly assumed they will be: Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Andre Johnson, Ray Lewis, Julius Peppers, Adrian Peterson, Ed Reed, Troy Polamalu, and Darrelle Revis. How high will Revis end up in the top ten? Personally, I’d rank those ten in the following order —

  1. Brady
  2. Polamalu
  3. Manning
  4. Brees
  5. Reed
  6. Revis
  7. Peterson
  8. Lewis
  9. Johnson
  10. Peppers

Revis was good enough in 2009 and the second half of 2010 to seriously be in the discussion as the best defensive player in football. Considering their body of work, I’d still put both Reed and Polamalu in front of him I am not sure a cornerback will ever get ahead of the elite quarterbacks on a list like this, but then again Revis did still manage to end up ahead of Aaron Rodgers (the fact that he wasn’t a top ten player is a bit of a joke).

Overall, I don’t think anybody would debate Ferguson, Mangold, Holmes, and Revis ending up in the Top 100. I also wouldn’t hesitate to argue that David Harris and Brandon Moore deserved consideration as well. The Jets certainly aren’t short on talent, it will just be a matter of keeping as much of it as possible this off-season and then getting that talent over the hump and into the Super Bowl.

Damien Woody Coming Back?

In an interview today with Pro Football Talk, Daily News beat writer Manish Mehta said it is likely that offensive lineman Damien Woody will be back with the New York Jets in 2011 at a “reduced rate.” This corroborates an earlier report by ESPN’s Rich Cimini and makes sense considering how the long the lockout is anticipated to drag on.

The original thinking behind releasing Woody was that second year player Vladimir Ducasse would step into the role but considering his inability to work with the coaching staff due to the lockout, handing the tackle spot off to such an inexperienced player probably isn’t the smartest thing in the world. If the Jets brought back Woody, it would also show they weren’t impressed with the job Wayne Hunter did filling in for him last season, since they could bring back Hunter on a cheaper contract than Woody as a veteran fallback option.

Despite a handful of injuries last season, Woody has been very good for the Jets the past three years and has still only missed a total five games in that time. There is no reason to think he can’t give them another productive season at right tackle and he is still a safer option than Ducasse or Hunter.

While we are talking Jets offensive line, D’Brickashaw Ferguson made the NFL Network’s top 100 players in the league list at #79. Santonio Holmes came in at #76. They are only half way done with the countdown so far and I’d expect Nick Mangold to be in consideration for a top 20 spot and Darrelle Revis to be somewhere in the top ten.

40 New York Jets Prediction For 2010 Season

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First a few updates:

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

2. Brodney Pool didn’t practice yesterday or today with a sprained ankle. Rex Ryan made it sound like he wasn’t going to practice Thursday either. Calvin Pace is apparently ahead of schedule in his rehab and could be back before week four. Finally, Darrelle Revis took part in about half of the team reps and pulled in a one handed interception, along with a few pass breakups.

50 New York Jets Prediction For 2010 Season

No introduction necessary:

1. Despite potentially missing up to four games, Calvin Pace will still lead the Jets in sacks this season with 8.5. David Harris and Jason Taylor won’t be far behind with 6.5 each.

2. Darrelle Revis won’t begin playing at his 2009 level until around week five. However, that doesn’t mean he still won’t be very, very good the first few weeks.

3. Antonio Cromartie will lead the Jets in interceptions with 7.

4. Kris Jenkins will benefit from having Sione Pouha spell him and from his weight loss this off-season to put together an All-Pro year.

5. Vernon Gholston will finally record his first NFL sack at some point during the 2010 season and prove to be a decent part of the defensive line rotation.

6. Mark Sanchez will throw for more touchdowns than interceptions in 2010, finishing with 19 TDs to 14 INTs.

7. LaDainian Tomlinson will finish with 950 total offensive yards and 8 total touchdowns.

Photobucket8. Shonn Greene will lead the Jets in rushing yards with 1200, and also add on 6 touchdowns of his own.

9. Joe McKnight will make no significant contributions to the Jets offense this season.

10. Jerricho Cotchery will lead the Jets in receptions, Dustin Keller won’t be far behind him and lead the team in touchdown receptions.

11. Motivated by not being the only member of the Core Four who didn’t get paid, David Harris will put together his best career season and get Patrick Willis type money next off-season.

12. Kyle Wilson will put together a strong rookie year as the Jets nickel back and will eventually become the primary punt returner. He will have two interceptions and two sacks in 2010.

13. Shaun Eliis will have a quiet but productive year with 4 sacks, in what will likely be his final season in green and white.

14. Brodney Pool will get his feet under him in the Jets defense after the bye week and finish the season strongly, proving to be an upgrade over Kerry Rhodes.

15. The Jets will go 4-2 in their six games prior their bye week.

16. The Jets will finish 7-3, en route to a 11-5 record and AFC East title.

17. The Jets will split with Miami and New England.

18. The Jets will avoid their yearly letdown against the Bills and sweep them in 2010.

19. Braylon Edwards will start the season strongly and remain a big play threat for the entire year. Yet, there won’t be enough touches for him to approach 1,000 yards receiving or have any more than 5-6 touchdowns.

20. Santonio Holmes return will be a major boost to the Jets offense in week 5 and he will develop into their unquestioned number one receiver during the stretch run and into the playoffs.

21. Left guard will be an ongoing problem for the Jets in 2010, leading to Mark Sanchez taking more hits than any of us would like to see. If Sanchez misses any extended period of time and by that I mean more than a game or two tops, the Jets aren’t going to be a playoff team.

22. The Jets “Tiger” formation won’t be a major part of their offense, but Brad Smith will still provide an occasional big play every few weeks. Yet, Smith will be one of the Jets top special teams players along with Eric Smith.

23. Eric Smith will be the Jets most important defensive sub in 2010, not Jason Taylor, Kyle Wilson, or even Sione Pouha.

24. Jamaal Westerman will finish with three sacks and be a bigger part of the Jets defense than he was in 2009.

25. John Conner will play more and more as the season goes on, yet Tony Richardson and him will still be splitting reps about 50/50 by the end of the year.

26. Nick Folk will be good in 2010 but still won’t be at his All-Pro 2007 form.

Photobucket27. Jim Leonhard and Bryan Thomas will both have steady, consistent years despite not putting together stat lines that will turn any heads, similar to 2009.

28. There will be some type of storyline at least every other week about some player on the Jets upcoming opponent making a comment on how the Jets talk too much.

29. The Jets won’t have a 1000 yard receiver.

30. The Jets won’t miss Marques Douglas. Mike DeVito and Sione Pouha will be more than adequate in the defensive line rotation.

31. Despite having a good season as the Jets top back with the previously mentioned stats, Shonn Greene will still lose 2 – 4 fumbles.

32. The Jets will be back to where they were in 2009, in the AFC Championship Game except this time they will be facing the Baltimore Ravens.

33. Bart Scott won’t lead the Jets in tackles, sacks, or tackles for loss. Yet, you can bet he will lead the team in trash talk spoken.

34. Jerricho Cotchery will be the Jets primary third down target throughout the entire year, even after Santonio Holmes returns.

35. Mark Sanchez’s completion percentage will improve to around 56 percent, thanks largely to having a reliable check down back in LaDainian Tomlinson.

36. Pro Bowlers – Darrelle Revis, Kris Jenkins, Nick Mangold, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, David Harris.

37. All-Pro – Darrelle Revis, Kris Jenkins, Nick Mangold, David Harris

38. Tony Richardson will have more receptions than Ben Hartsock this season, but big #84 will still pull in one touchdown, beating out Richardson’s 0. I am even signing up Matt Mulligan for 2 receptions in 2010.

39. Mark Sanchez won’t eat any concession stand food on the sideline, nor bring prepared notes to any post game press conferences.

40. Mike Francesa will need to move to drinking 39 Pepsis a day to handle the Jets being a legit contender all season, while the Giants wallow in irrelevancy with their subpar defense and offensive line.

Jets Take Care Of Mangold…What About That Revis Guy?

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The Newark Star-Ledger is reporting the Jets have signed All-Pro center Nick Mangold to a seven year, $55 million dollar contract, while the guaranteed money is still being negotiated, it is expected to be over $20 million dollars. Mangold now joins Pro-Bowl left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson as the second member of the Jets “core four” to receive a long term contract from the team.

First off, this is well-deserved for Mangold who chose not to holdout of camp despite his displeasure with his contract. Unlike Darrelle Revis who has three years left on his contract, Mangold was entering the final year of his deal but still showed up to work everyday. The Jets did the right thing by not waiting until after the season and fast tracking the Mangold negotiations. It is getting harder to say the Jets “don’t take care of their own” after the monster deals they have given to Ferguson and Mangold in the past few months. The Jets have been in communication with the representatives of David Harris and both sides have agreed that because of the CBA constraints, they would be better served negotiating a new contract next off-season, when Harris will be the Jets number one priority.

So, what about that Revis guy? Tim Cowlishaw stood by his source and his report about a new deal coming Wednesday on ESPN Radio today. Everybody else who reports football for a living is adamant that nothing is about to occur, so I suppose we will just have to wait and see what happens.

Personally, I can’t fathom a scenario when a deal is not reached before the regular season starts. Is Darrelle Revis going to risk giving up two full years in the prime of his career? You can say, Revis will just wait until the Jets struggle without him (like against the Patriots in their spread formation week 2) and then use his increased leverage to get a new deal. However, what if the Jets don’t struggle? Better yet, does Revis really believe he can just walk on the field in the middle of the regular season, with no training camp, no pre-season, and missed early season games and play at his normal stellar level? If Revis does that, chances are he won’t play up to the standard he set last season and chances are even better he will get hurt. He then will likely have to deal with a lockout in 2011. The guy just arrived as an elite player in the NFL, he wants to suit up in 2010 and wants to give himself a chance to be successful.

PhotobucketDue to this line of thinking, I believe Revis is ready to take what the Jets are offering. Today was the 22nd day of his holdout. He held out 21 days in his rookie season and got through the entire year healthy. It would make sense that he would be comfortable coming back right before the third pre-season game and be confident in his ability to get through the season at a high level. Beyond that, maybe he also just took a look at what his agents have done for Vincent Jackson who was recently put on the roster-exempt list and is probably going to be shipped off to Seattle. Somehow I don’t think Revis is in a rush to leave the New York market and a legitimate Super Bowl contender or is interested in spending a year of his prime watching from a couch when $120 million dollars is out there for him to take.

So, in the words of Rex Ryan “come on home, Revis.”

Gear Up For The Season, Cousin

Why The Jets Are The Real Deal

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

As the NFL season inevitably inches closer, more and more skepticism about the chances of the Jets having a successful season are becoming present. Fans of the team are reverting back to their usual pessimism. NFL analysts are nitpicking reasons to avoid picking the Jets as a serious contender. Giants fans can’t understand why nobody is talking about their team, leading to them arguing the Jets will be a let-down, have a tough schedule, can’t win with Sanchez, can’t overcome losing Faneca and Jones and on and on. Patriots and Dolphins fans feel the same way. Everybody in New England thinks the world is sleeping on Brady and Belichick, as if that was possible. All the fans in Miami are convinced Chad Henne is the next Dan Marino after the epic run he took the team on last season. I guess it was an impressive 7-9 season.

Anyway, you may hate the confidence the Jets carry themselves with. You might be tired of hearing Rex Ryan talk or seeing Darrelle Revis in those Nike commercials. Unfortunately for you though, the Jets have the talent to back up their words and outside of the team with Peyton Manning under center, they are the favorites to win the AFC. Here is why the Jets are the real deal:

PhotobucketLet’s start with the easiest part, the Jets have the best defense in NFL. They had the best defense in 2009 and substantially improved it over the off-season. You can start in the secondary where the two weak links of the league’s number one ranked passing defense (by 30 yards I might add), were replaced. Antonio Cromartie will take over for Lito Sheppard opposite Darrelle Revis, giving the Jets arguably the best pair of starting corners in the NFL. Kerry Rhodes is now gone and Brodney Pool will take his place. Anytime you can replace a matador with somebody who can tackle, it helps the situation. Dwight Lowery has been moved into the number four cornerback spot, with rookie first round pick Kyle Wilson now becoming the nickel back.

Outside of the improvements in the secondary, Jason Taylor was signed from Miami to enhance the Jets pass rush. The Jets did occasionally struggle against the run in 2009. However the return of All-Pro nose tackle Kris Jenkins should provide help, along with having the previously mentioned Rhodes now doing photo shoots and missing tackles in Arizona. Beyond that, the Jets will now be in the second year of Rex Ryan’s system. Calvin Pace, David Harris, Bryan Thomas, Darrelle Revis, Eric Smith, Mike DeVito, Sione Pouha, Shaun Ellis, and anybody else who played a substantial role in their first year of Ryan’s defense in 2009 will be that much more comfortable this season.

When you look at the additions and subtractions made to the Jets defensive depth chart and their familiarity with the system in year two, it is hard to argue the unit won’t be better in 2010. This should be a scary thought for the rest of the NFL, considering how good they were in 2009.

On offense, you could question Mark Sanchez all you want. His regular season statistics justify thequestioning. However, don’t ignore that he won two road playoffs games in his rookie year and played a terrific game on the road in the AFC Championship Game. Also, consider if the Jets could manage an AFC Championship Game trip with him throwing 20 interceptions to 12 touchdowns, what they could do if he makes the likely year two improvements.

PhotobucketThe Jets have questions at running back. Shonn Greene has to prove he is a lead back but he certainly looked the part down the stretch in the regular season and in the playoffs. At worst LaDainian Tomlinson can catch the ball out of the backfield and be a quality goal-line back. Outside of that, the Jets offense is stacked. Even without Alan Faneca, who was awful in pass protection last year by the way, they still have a top five offensive line in the NFL. At receiver, they have three guys capable of being a number one. They have an athletic tight end, who can stretch the field and is a mismatch against most defenses.

What about the competition in the AFC East? What did New England do to make sure they aren’t run off the field by teams like Baltimore again in 2010? Who is their lead running back? Is there defense any good? Who is filling for Wes Welker until he comes back? Will Welker get back to 100 percent this season?

Is Brandon Marshall enough to improve Miami from a 7-9 team that was two Ted Ginn Jr led victories against the Jets away from being 5-11? Can Ronnie Brown ever play a full season? Can Chad Henne win a late season game? Who is going to catch passes for the Dolphins when Marshall is safely locked away on Revis Island?

Yes, I think the Jets talent backs up their words. They do have the best corner and center in the NFL, along with one of the best tackles (D’Brickashaw Ferguson), guards (Brandon Moore), defensive tackles (Kris Jenkins), and linebackers (David Harris). It is always a good sign when people like Calvin Pace, Bart Scott, Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, Dustin Keller, and Antonio Cromartie are in your second tier of talented players. It is also positive when you can sign players like Jason Taylor and LaDainian Tomlinson be backups.

You can make excuses about why the Jets won’t be good in 2010 or you can just accept that they are going to be one of the best teams in the NFL and right in the mix for a Super Bowl. It would probably be better to make up your mind now instead of changing your story mid-season.

“DARRELLE REVIS!”

Five Questions About The Jets Offense

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First a few updates:

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

2. HBO will be airing a 12 minute preview of Hard Knocks on July 28th at 11 PM. The actual show starts on August 11th at 10 PM. Jets training camp opens on August 2nd. For the second year in a row they will be in Cortland, New York but also have open practices at Florham Park and Hofstra.

Ten Questions About The Jets Offense

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

1. How will Santonio Holmes be integrated after he returns from his suspension in week 5?

– When Holmes joins the Jets it remains to be seen how many reps he will immediately receive and whose reps he will be taking away. Jerricho Cotchery and Braylon Edwards will remain the de facto starters but Holmes needs to be on the field much more than a standard number three receiver. There could be a push to use more three receiver sets but that moves away from the Jets “ground and pound” approach by putting them in a more spread formation. Cotchery, Edwards, and to an extent Dustin Keller will have to be prepared to sacrifice both reps and looks from Mark Sanchez after Holmes returns to the line-up. Also if Holmes starts making a high amount of his usual big plays, Edwards or Cotchery could be looking at a demotion from the starting line-up. Overall, this a good problem to have because it means the Jets have substantial talent at the receiver position but it will be require personal sacrifices from all the receivers and tight ends for the good of the team.

2. How many carries will LaDainian Tomlinson receive on a weekly basis?

PhotobucketIt is going to be interesting to see what LaDainian Tomlinson’s exact role on this offense will be and if he is satisfied with it. I would assume he will start the year off as the team’s third down back, short yardage/goal-line back, and taking a series or two each half to rest Shonn Greene. As the season progresses, Joe McKnight should start to take over some of the third down responsibilities and take a bigger overall role in the offense. I don’t doubt Tomlinson’s ability to help the Jets as a pass catcher out of the backfield but I wonder if he can handle receiving less than 10 carries for a few games in a row if Greene is playing to his potential and McKnight starts coming on. It is likely better for Tomlinson’s productivity to be in the 8-11 carry a game range but will he see it that way?

3. How long will it take Joe McKnight to become a consistent contributor?

As with any rookie there is going to be a period of adjustment for Joe McKnight. He can’t step in as a third down back or get any substantial number of reps until he proves he can pass protect and demonstrate a satisfactory knowledge of the Jets running and passing schemes. McKnight is athletic enough to line up in the slot, which will help the Jets find ways to get the ball in his hands out in the open field, where he is most dangerous. If McKnight quickly develops as the season goes on, we could be seeing less and less of LaDainian Tomlinson as McKnight is groomed to be the long term complimentary back to Shonn Greene.

4. Will Vladimir Ducasse be ready?

– Will the Division I-AA graduate be ready to hold his own at guard by week one and if he isn’t will Bill Callahan be able to scheme up ways to protect him? Ducasse is fortunate enough to be surrounded by Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson, which should help cover up any of his early mistakes. However, he still has to be able to do his job on a consistent enough basis or the Jets running game and pass protection is going to suffer.

5. Will there be an urge to throw the ball more frequently and move away from the ground and pound approach from last season?

– It is easy to look at the collection of players the Jets have as pass catching options and fall in love with throwing the football all over the place, however that moves away from the formula they used to win games last season. Mark Sanchez isn’t ready to be throwing the football 35 times a game, regardless of how good his wide receivers and tight end are. If the Jets lose a tight, low-scoring game with Sanchez only throwing 18 passes there is going to be plenty of clamoring for them to open things up, but the question remains will Rex Ryan push the offensive staff to keep the ground and pound approach in place?  Hopefully, the Jets can find a happy medium that opens up the offense slightly from last year without moving too far away from what got them to the AFC Championship Game.

Training Camp Is Getting Close