Scouting The AFC East: New England Patriots

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Scouting The AFC East: New England Patriots

Our first look at the teams who share the division with the Jets and how they match up with them heading into 2010:

PhotobucketOffenseTom Brady didn’t have his best season in 2009 after returning from ACL surgery, however he still was one of the most productive quarterbacks in the NFL and should be better in 2010 with a full year after the procedure under his belt. However, it remains to be seen when Brady’s top target, Wes Welker, will return from his knee injury and how effective he will be. Randy Moss was either hurt or just being lazy for long stretches of last season. The Patriots are hoping young receivers like Julian Edelman, Brandon Tate, and Taylor Price will adequately fill in for Welker until he returns and then become productive slot receivers behind him and Moss. Torry Holt was also signed this off-season but I don’t know how much he has left in the tank. It could be Joey Galloway 2.0 for the Patriots. At tight end, New England drafted two guys known for their pass catching ability in Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski and signed veteran Alge Crumpler for blocking purposes.

The Patriots have one of the better offensive lines in the NFL, although it isn’t as dominating a unit as it used to be. Their biggest problem on offense is the lack of a number one running back or even a back who can stay healthy. Laurence Maroney has been a disappointment and you have a better chance of seeing Rex Ryan beat Santonio Holmes in a 40 yard dash than seeing Fred Taylor or Sammy Morris make it through a full year without getting injured.

You have to feel confident about how the Jets match up against New England’s offense in 2010. They did a good job of getting to Tom Brady last season and that will only be aided by the addition of Jason Taylor. Wes Welker killed the Jets in 2009 but they now have Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson to throw at him instead of Dwight Lowery, Lito Sheppard, or Drew Coleman. I also wouldn’t be shocked to see the Jets let Darrelle Revis match up on him and let Cromartie cover Moss. The Jets don’t have Kerry Rhodes at safety anymore, which means Laurence Maroney shouldn’t be running anybody over on our defense this season.

PhotobucketDefenseYes there is still talent on the New England defense and they are still coached by Bill Belichick but they aren’t the same type of unit they were in years past. They maintained their personnel from 2009 despite their struggles against both the run and pass. First round pick Devin McCourty should help at corner and Darius Butler has some potential but overall the New England secondary isn’t a scary group. They are going to have a tough time matching up with Jerricho Cotchery, Braylon Edwards, and Santonio Holmes (in the second meeting). They have always had a tough time covering Dustin Keller and that shouldn’t change this season either.

Mark Sanchez threw away the game the Jets lost to New England last season. If he can protect the football, the Jets should be able to run the ball against the Patriots and pick their spots down the field. Vince Wilfork and Ty Warren are still a handful up front but Nick Mangold and Brandon Moore can hold their own. I am sure Belichick will scheme up ways to attack Vladimir Ducasse but hopefully the Jets are prepared to counter his moves.

Special Teams – McCourty will be a big addition for the Patriots on special teams on all of their return and coverage units. Stephen Gostkowski is a quality kicker. However the Patriots did have their struggles with the Jets on special teams last season.

Overall – When you look at the Jets roster compared to New England, the only glaring advantage for the Patriots is at the quarterback position which is a testament to the work done by Mike Tannenbaum. The games against New England will always be a battle but the Jets have showed over the past few years they can beat them at home and on the road. I think the Dolphins will be the Jets top challenge for an AFC East title but the Patriots won’t be far behind.

Jets vs. Patriots 2009 Highlights

Jets Select Kyle Wilson In First Round

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Jets Select Kyle Wilson In First Round

The first prospect The Jets Blog covered as the off-season started was Kyle Wilson. On March 1st, when we did a mock draft for Fanball I selected Kyle Wilson. In the end, even after trading for Antonio Cromartie the Jets ended up with Wilson, the cornerback from Boise State. After an active off-season the Jets were afforded the luxury of taking the best player available at #29 and that is exactly what they did. Wilson was expected to go anywhere from 15-23 but managed to slide to the Jets when New England decided to go with Devin McCourty at #27.

PhotobucketOne thing other Jets writers and I wrote about over the past week is how not to discount the Jets taking a corner in round one. Rex Ryan loves corners and in the Jets system the nickel back plays over 50 percent of the snaps and is a crucial part of the defense. There was no way the Jets could be comfortable with Dwight Lowery as their nickel and being one injury away from being a full time starter, along with Drew Coleman being one injury away from being the nickel back.

Wilson is an excellent value pick at #29. Yes it would have been nice to get Jared Odrick but the Dolphins snapped him up one pick before the Jets. You could make an argument for Jerry Hughes or Sergio Kindle but it is hard to be disappointed with getting a player as talented as Wilson.

Beyond Wilson’s value on defense, he was also an electric punt returner in college. The Jets no longer have to worry about having full time starters deep on punts like Jerricho Cotchery and Jim Leonhard because they can put Wilson back there. Beyond that, he is talented and athletic enough to play on all the Jets special teams coverage units. Between being a nickel back, punt returner, and special teams coverage guy Wilson will be a valuable addition to the Jets roster.

Wilson’s career stats –

  • 11 Interceptions
  • 27 Passes Broken Up
  • 2 Sacks
  • 10 TFL’s
  • 160 Tackles
  • 3 Punt Return Touchdowns

Other thoughts on the draft

– Dez Bryant is going to be rookie of the year hands down. He is going to be a repeat performance of Randy Moss in his rookie year. I hate the Cowboys but he is going to be a beast for them.

– I love how New England thinks they are still good enough to keep trading down and not take a player at their original pick. Thank you for not taking Dez Bryant Pats. I guess you did need Devin McCourty though considering we have Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards, and Jerricho Cotchery.

– Tebow to Denver? Interesting. I am sure they have already crafted an entire package of plays for him. You have to think Cleveland will be targeting Jimmy Clausen in round two. I am still surprised he fell out of the first round. C.J. Spilleer was a good pick for Buffalo. He will be a playmaker for them but they still lack a quarterback.

– Congratulations New York Giants, you just drafted the biggest bust of the 2010 draft.

Kyle Wilson Highlights

Two Days Can Change Plenty: Wednesday Jets Draft Predictions

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First a few updates:

1. If you didn’t read Rex Ryan’s transcript from his conference call with reporters yesterday, go check it out at (http://www.newyorkjets.com/news/articles/show/3662-rex-s-tuesday-conference-call) …always an entertaining read to hear from Rex, who speaks about the schedule, Jason Taylor, and trade rumors.

2. Peter King has the Jets taking Jahvid Best in his mock draft. Really? There is no way that is happening.

3. Rich Cimini has moved on from running his popular blog The Jets Stream and being the Daily News beat writer to work for ESPN New York. First off, I am pissed at ESPN New York is hiring every other writer in the area but me, second off Daily News, come find me.

4. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook…I don’t have some clever reason today, but just do it.

5. It is being reported that Vernon Gholston will be moving to defensive end next year to back up Shaun Ellis. This move makes sense because Gholston was going to be getting no playing time at outside linebacker with Calvin Pace, Bryan Thomas, and Jason Taylor rolling through. The Jets are thin on the defensive line so hopefully Gholston can bulk up and become an adequate backup…great expectations for the number 6 pick in the draft, right?

6. The Jets are shopping Kellen Clemens…good luck getting a draft pick for him.

Two Days Can Change Plenty: Wednesday Jets Draft Predictions

On Monday I wrote about potential prospects the Jets could be taking in round one at #29, including the likelihood of certain popular players associated with the team to end up in green and white. Yet in a matter of two days things have already shifted, changing the complexion of round one for the Jets. Jason Taylor has been officially signed to play outside linebacker and rumors are swirling that the Jets are looking to trade veteran guard Alan Faneca. With the draft a little over 24 hours away, here are a few things to consider when looking at the Jets in round one:

The Jets interest level in Idaho guard Mike Iupati and Florida center Maurkice Pouncey (who the Jets would slide to guard) obviously increases if they are planning to make a move on Faneca. The only problem is that both players are shooting up the draft board and could be long gone by number 29. Would the Jets trade up for either player? It depends how serious they are about moving Faneca and whether they consider Matt Slauson, Robert Turner, or Wayne Hunter to be adequate in-house replacements. Regardless, Iupati and Pouncey are two names to keep an eye on, especially if either starts sliding into the 20s.

With Jason Taylor on board, I wouldn’t expect the Jets to make any type of move up in the draft to grab Brandon Graham or Sergio Kindle. Both players would be great value at #29 so it isn’t out of the realm of possibility for the Jets to still take either of them or TCU’s Jerry Hughes at that spot. Yet, the likelihood of seeing any other these three players in green and white has decreased from the beginning of the week. Ricky Sapp could still remain a viable option in round two.

Despite Vernon Gholston moving to defensive end, it still remains a high priority for the Jets. Jared Odrick, Everson Griffen, and Terrence Cody all still remain high on the Jets radar. Devin McCourty is still a very real possibility at #29 also. Most people would question McCourty as an option for the Jets initially but remember Rex Ryan loves corners and the Jets nickel back plays about 50 percent of the defensive snaps. I doubt the Jets are comfortable with Dwight Lowery in the nickel role and Drew Coleman at dime back. McCourty could also contribute right away on all the Jets special teams units in coverage and as a returner.

PhotobucketIt is being reported Dallas in love with Texas safety Earl Thomas. The Cowboys are picking at #22 and there are rumors they could trade up to insure getting him. If the Jets really want Thomas, they are likely going to have to leap somewhere around 15 spots to get him, which is going to be costly. Taylor Mays’ name keeps getting thrown around for the Jets at #29. Please…Please…Please, stay away from this guy Mike Tannenbaum. He is Vernon Gholston 2.0 at safety. If you can’t get the safety you want in round one, look at Nate Allen from USF in round two.

 Here are my current thoughts on what could happen tomorrow:

Potential Trades:

  1. Jets Trade Up For Earl Thomas (Likely in 14-17 range) – 15%
  2. Jets Trade Up For Brandon Graham/Sergio Kindle (Likely in the 15-22 range) – 15%
  3. Jets Trade Up For Mike Iupati – (Likely in 14-17 range) – 25%
  4. Jets Trade Up For Maurkice Pouncey – (Likely in 21-25 range) – 30%
  5. Jets Trade Back Into Round Two, Target Ricky Sapp and Nate Allen With Their Two Picks – 30%

Staying Put At #29

  1. Jets get Jared Odrick – 35%
  2. Jets get Jerry Hughes – 35%
  3. Jets get Everson Griffen – 40%
  4. Jets get Terrence Cody – 40%
  5. Jets get Devin McCourty – 40%

TOJ TV Throwback Week Continues With A Mash-Up Video (starting at 1:26)  of Gloating To Jets Haters About Their Wild-Card Win

Monday Night Jets Draft Thoughts

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First a few updates:

1. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook…Because you want those updates on Facebook and Twitter Thursday night with my thoughts on the draft.

2. Somewhat quiet news day for the Jets…still waiting on a Jason Taylor decision which could be coming in the next two days…Beyond that, it looks like it is time to sit tight and wait for Mike Tannenbaum to make moves on draft weekend.

3. The NFL schedule is coming out tomorrow at 7 PM. I want Miami on opening night. Santonio or no Santonio, let’s get Brandon Marshall his new apartment on Revis Island bright and early this year.

4. I couldn’t agree more with Quentin Richardson about Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett putting on the acting clinic occasionally and I am glad to see Garnett was suspended for game 2, you can’t be throwing elbows around like that.

Monday Night Jets Draft Thoughts

A collection of scattered draft thoughts that could impact the Jets

– There has been more and more talk about the Jets considering a corner in the first round, with Devin McCourty’s name consistently being linked to the team. McCourty was a popular selection for the Jets in mock drafts prior to the Antonio Cromartie trade but he could still be a good fit for the Jets in a nickel role and on special teams (where they need help, as I documented yesterday). Mike Tannenbaum constantly talks about how much Rex Ryan loves his corners and there is no way he is satisfied with Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman as his #3 and #4 guys so I wouldn’t be shocked if the Jets pulled the trigger on McCourty if the board breaks a certain way.

– When I say the board breaks a certain way, I mean that if there isn’t a defensive lineman or outside linebacker the Jets really like available at #29. In that scenario you could see McCourty at 29 and then the Jets look to make a move for somebody like Ricky Sapp in round two.

– You would have to think if Jared Odrick is there at #29 the Jets will absolutely take him. However, I am not sure if they like him enough to trade up for him if he begins to slide into the low 20s. Odrick isn’t a flashy player but he would be a solid, safe addition to the Jets defensive line and improve their overall depth. He would likely start opposite at Shaun Ellis at end but has the ability to slide inside down the road when Big Jenkins eventually moves on.

Photobucket Another player who I didn’t mention yesterday, who has often been associated with the Jets is USC defensive end Everson Griffen. I don’t think Griffen is as versatile as Odrick but he would be a good fit at end.

– If Jason Taylor can’t make up his mind before the draft, it obviously increases the likelihood the Jets would take a player like Jerry Hughes. Sergio Kindle and Brandon Graham probably aren’t falling within the Jets range but if either got down to 24-26, Tannenbaum could get itchy to move up a few spots.

– The only “big” move I could see the Jets make is trading up for Texas safety Earl Thomas, who in my mind would be a steal at any spot after #15. You know Rex Ryan wants his Ed Reed for the Jets defense and since Kerry Rhodes clearly didn’t fit the bill, maybe the big fella will be pushing for a move to get Thomas.

– When it comes to the Jets divisional opponents. I am hoping Dez Bryant is long gone before the Patriots pick. We don’t need that guy teaming up with Randy Moss and Wes Welker when he returns. I am hoping Buffalo takes Tim Tebow at some point (even they aren’t dumb enough to take him at #9 but they could move up to the bottom of round one or the top of round two) with the thought he is the answer at quarterback. Don’t get me wrong I think Tebow will be a valuable player on a NFL roster but I just don’t think he will develop into a franchise quarterback.

– Finally, as of today here is what I am thinking for the Jets in round one:

  • Most Exciting Potential Move – Trade up for Earl Thomas
  • Best Player They Could Get At #29 – Jared Odrick
  • Second Best Player They Could Get At #29 – Jerry Hughes
  • Sleeper Pick – Devin McCourty
  • Most Likely – Everson Griffen or Hughes

Welcome to TOJ TV Throwback Week: Starting With My Reaction To The Jets Loss To The Bills This Past Season