Jets Tuesday Recap & AFC East Training Camp Round-Up

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Jets Tuesday Recap

1. Mark Brunell is going to be the number two quarterback this season, with Kellen Clemens and Kevin O’Connell battling it out for the number three spot. I wouldn’t bet on Clemens, considering the Jets just traded a draft pick for O’Connell last season and clearly have no faith in Clemens. I’m not a believer in Brunell as the backup yet, despite his relatively strong start in training camp. He should see plenty of action this Monday night against the Giants, hopefully he puts together a strong performance which demonstrates the Jets could handle a Mark Sanchez injury for a short period of time.

2. Matt Slauson will start at left guard against the Giants, which wasn’t a surprising announcement considering his strong start to camp and Vladimir Ducasse’s struggles. It will be interesting to see how early the Jets will officially hand the job to Slauson and then begin grooming Ducasse to replace Damien Woody at right tackle at some point in the near future. I also wonder if Ducasse will be worked in with Robert Turner and Wayne Hunter on the Jets short yardage packages.

3. Rex Ryan’s daily love affair with Vernon Gholston continued in his press conference today. Apparently, Gholston beat D’Brickashaw Ferguson a few times in pass rushing situations. Either Gholston has magically remembered how to rush the passer or Ferguson was having a tough day at the office. Imagine what a pleasant surprise 5 – 7 sacks from Gholston would be in 2010?

Photobucket4. The biggest news of the day was Rex Ryan commenting the Jets “had everything they needed on defense” without Darrelle Revis and that people shouldn’t feel sorry for them. Of course classic Jets haters Mike Francesa and Mike Florio ran with these comments as being hypocritical due to Ryan’s previous effusive praise. I am not really sure what they expected Ryan to say. “You know what, our defense isn’t going to be good this season. We can’t survive without Revis. I have no faith in everybody else on our defense to step up. We will probably pack it in and concede the division to the Patriots or Dolphins and battle for 3rd place with the Buffalo Bills.” Give me a break, Ryan is confident in his system and oh by the way the Jets still have David Harris, Kris Jenkins, Bart Scott, Calvin Pace, Antonio Cromartie, Jason Taylor, Jim Leonhard, Kyle Wilson, Brodney Pool, Shaun Ellis, and on and on.

5. There was a high amount of Brad Smith at quarterback today. I am curious how big of a role the “Tiger'” formation will play on the Jets offense in 2010. It certainly doesn’t hurt to show it once or twice a game to keep defenses off balance and force them to prepare for it each week.

6. Kyle Wilson will be starting at corner opposite Antonio Cromartie from now on after Dwight Lowery volunteered his position to him. It was a weird move by Lowery, who admitted Wilson needs the experience and seemed to embrace the inevitable that he was the first round pick and would eventually be starting anyway. Wilson had flown under the radar somewhat for a first round pick because of all the other hoopla around team but he is now being thrust into the spotlight because of the Revis holdout. Cromartie will really be filling the spot of Revis but teams will certainly target Wilson, due to his lack of experience. Lowery will play some safety in the Jets sub package, along with work in the nickel role. Marquice Cole has also been seeing extended reps, including some work with the first team.

AFC East Training Camp Round-Up

New England Patriots – The Patriots just finished a scrimmage with the New Orleans Saints. The primary news coming out of it is how good Wes Welker is looking after his season ending injury last year. Did you hear that Kyle Wilson? Fred Taylor has been working as the Patriots first team running back. Randy Moss has had a particularly strong camp. Ty Warren and Nick Kaczur have all been banged up. Darius Butler has impressed so far at cornerback. The Saints play the Patriots on Thursday night.

Miami Dolphins – Not to put too much stock in pre-season depth charts but the Dolphins have Joe Berger and Richie Incognito listed as their starting center and guard, respectively. Brian Hartline, as expected, is working as the starter opposite Brandon Marshall at receiver. Rookie Koa Misi is listed as the starting strong-side linebacker, with second year player Cameron Wake at the starting weak side spot. Chad Henne has had some inconsistencies in camp, including a poor showing at a recent scrimmage. The Dolphins play the Bucs on Saturday.

Buffalo Bills – The Bills also recently released their depth chart and here is their top four receivers: Lee Evans, Steve Johnson, Roscoe Parrish, and Felton Huggins. At least the Jets won’t miss Darrelle Revis against that receiving group. Trent Edwards looks like he is going to win the starting job at quarterabck. C.J. Spiller’s holdout ended recently and he has been participating in practice. Buffalo plays Washington Friday night.

Your New Starting Corners

Pondering A Season Without Revis

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Monday Practice Recap –

  • Good to hear Mark Sanchez went 9/12 with a touchdown today. This is his first practice with a completion percentage over 50 percent. Hopefully, he is building off a relatively strong showing at the Green and White Scrimmage.
  • David Clowney was back on the practice field and pulled in a 20 yard touchdown reception from Sanchez to end the team’s two minute drill. It hasn’t been released why Clowney missed the past few days.
  • Rex Ryan’s press conference love affair with Vernon Gholston continued today. Gholston better drop Eli Manning and Jim Sorgi two times a piece next Monday.
  • Dwight Lowery went to the coaching staff to volunteer his starting position (in place of Darrelle Revis) to rookie Kyle Wilson. Rex Ryan praised the team mentality and commented that Lowery would play a variety of roles on the Jets defense anyway. This move was probably going to happen anyway, with the longer Revis holdout lasted. It is better to thron the rookie out there now because it is starting to become more and more likely Revis could miss a portion of the regular season, if not the entire thing.
  • Nick Folk…5/5.
  • Jason Taylor tweaked his groin. Braylon Edwards had limited reps with a sore knee. Mario Davis, Jeff Cumberland, and Brashton Satele all missed practice with minor injuries. Surprise, surprise…Joe McKnight was suffering from dehydration.

Pondering A Season Without Revis

Let’s get to the big news of the day. The Jets met with Darrelle Revis’ representatives at Roscoe’s Diner in New York on Friday night (where all major NFL business happens) and received a proposal. When discussing the Revis negotiations with the media today, owner Woody Johnson offered the sunny forecast that he didn’t think a new deal would be reached before the season starts and that his gut feeling is that Revis won’t play for the Jets in 2010.

So it could really come to this?

PhotobucketThe Jets have never had more hype surrounding their organization and haven’t been this widely recognized as a Super Bowl contender since 1999 and they can’t get their best overall player on the field. Their defense is built around sending as many people after the quarterback as possible and leaving their corners on an island with receivers and they are going to move ahead without the best corner in football. Mike Tannenbaum found a way to get Brett Favre on this team, trade up for Mark Sanchez, trade for Kris Jenkins, Antonio Cromartie, and Santonio Holmes but can’t work a deal out with Revis. Woody Johnson just paid for a new stadium but won’t pay for his best player to play in it.

Darrelle Revis is going to sit out an entire season just after arriving as an elite player in the NFL. He is going to wave good-bye to all those new advertisements and publicity that has been coming his way as the second coming of Deion Sanders. He is going to push his way out of New York, the city that renamed Manhattan “Revis Island” and the organization that traded up for him. He is going to pass up the chance to play on a legitimate Super Bowl contender. There may not even be football in 2011 and he is going to skip 2010.

I hope the Jets win a Super Bowl without Revis, trade him to Tampa Bay for a 1st round pick and he becomes irrelevant on a crappy team.

The Jets organization is moronic for not shelling out the money for Revis. After all the moves they made to position themselves for a Super Bowl, they won’t go the extra step here to insure they are putting the best team possible on the field.

It is hard not to feel the tug of both sides in this ongoing contract dispute. Both sides are in the wrong to a certain extent. Yet a Jets team without Revis, is bad for the organization, bad for Revis, bad for fans, and good for opposing receivers.

However, this season can’t just end if the team’s best player doesn’t report. There is too much talent spread across the roster. The offense can still run the football. Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, Santonio Holmes, and Dustin Keller will all be catching passes. On defense, Kris Jenkins, David Harris, Bart Scott and company aren’t going to say “oh well, so much for repeating as the league’s top unit. We don’t have Revis.”

The Jets aren’t going to have an all-time great defense without Darrelle Revis. Yet, they still will have one of the league’s top units and could probably maintain their top overall spot if Antonio Cromartie finds his 2007 form and Kyle Wilson grows up quickly. Both of those are major ifs.

No team isn’t going to suffer at least a little bit from losing their best player. However, this team is too confident and well-rounded to fade off into irrelevancy because of one individual. Could we see a re-enactment of the Bill Simmons “Ewing Theory” that when a team loses their best player, they play better? Will the Jets defense rally around the loss and have other players step up to fill the void? Repeating as the NFL’s number one defense may be a little much to ask but remaining a legitimate Super Bowl contender is not.

Also, thanks again Al Davis.

What Will LaDainian Tomlinson's Production In 2010 Be?

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First a few updates:

1. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (@TurnOnTheJets). Also subscribe to our YouTube channel at (http://www.youtube.com/user/turn0nthejets).

2. The Jets are back to two a days tomorrow all the way through Saturday. Pre-Season kicks off next Monday against the Giants. Hard Knocks premieres this Wednesday at 10 PM.

What Will LaDainian Tomlinson’s Production In 2010 Be?

Today on twitter I sent Peter King of Sports Illustrated a question about LaDainian Tomlinson. Would he finish with over or under 900 total offensive yards in 2010? King responded the under. I wasn’t shocked by this, considering King has been on record stating his belief that Shonn Greene will be a 1,400 yard back. I am assuming he doesn’t think Tomlinson will get the workload to attain those type of numbers. Beyond King, I quickly had seven other responses agreeing that Tomlinson would either be under or way under 900 total offensive yards. Immediately after the Tomlinson acquisition I would have felt the same way. However, my opinion on his level of production in 2010 has began to shift slightly, to the point where I think he will exceed 900 offensive yards.

PhotobucketTomlinson’s production as a receiver will be the primary reason he hits that number. Brian Schottenheimer likes involving the running backs in the passing game but was hamstrung last year by the Leon Washington’s injury. I am looking for Tomlinson to closely mirror Washington’s 47 receptions for 355 yards in 2008, if not have slightly more yards. Shonn Greene is relatively inept as a pass catcher out of the backfield and Joe McKnight appears to be a long way from being a contributing member of the Jets offense. Tomlinson is going to be catching a ton of screens, check downs, and swing passes and will also frequently be split out. The first play of the Jets Green and White scrimmage was a 70 yard touchdown pass from Mark Sanchez to Tomlinson, with him lined up at split end. Hopefully, Tomlinson can continue to take advantage of mismatches when linebackers are trying to cover him.

On the rushing end of things, Tomlinson should be able to reach 500 yards. Shonn Greene is going to be the workhorse but you will still see Tomlinson on third downs, a few series each half, and in some short yardage/goal-line situations. I don’t know if he will have a much improved yards per carry from last year in San Diego. Yet, let’s assume Tomlinson is averaging 10 carries per game and finishes with 160 total carries on the season. If he averages 3.5 yards per carry, he will finish up with 560 rushing yards.

Look for Tomlinson to be in the 350-400 yard range on receiving yards and 550-600 yard range on rushing yards. I will take the over on Tomlinson at 900 total offensive yards, but not by much.

Stock Report One Week Into Training Camp

Up – Mark Brunell – The veteran looks like he is running away with the backup spot to Mark Sanchez.

Down – David Clowney – He had a case of the drops on day one and missed the last two practices for personal reasons. I hope all is well with Clowney and his family but he could end up on the outside looking in at the Jets crowded receiver position.

Up – Matt Slauson – The second year player has impressed in the battle for the starting left guard spot with his physicality and knowledge of the offense. He is on his way to pulling off an upset and keeping second round pick Vladmir Ducasse on the bench.

Down – Dwight Lowery – He is struggling opposite Antonio Cromartie in the starting lineup at cornerback. The longer Darrelle Revis holds out, the more time Kyle Wilson will get on the outside instead of in the slot.

Up – Antonio Cromartie – He has impressed with athleticism and ball skills.

Down – Kellen Clemens – I don’t think he will be around much longer.

Up – Braylon Edwards – Edwards and Santa Clause like beard continue to have a strong off-season.

Down – Mike Tannenbaum/Darrelle Revis – August 10th is the day to watch. If Revis doesn’t report he loses a year towards free agency.

Holding Out: Final Words Before Jets Practice Kicks Off

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And so it begins…

Nobody should have been surprised about Darrelle Revis not showing up at training camp in Cortland, New York today. From everything that is being reported this has all the makings of a long, ugly dispute between the Jets and their best overall player. Needless to say, this is not how you want to start the most hyped up season in franchise history.

Revis’ agent Neil Schwartz said his client’s “action will speak louder than words. And his absence will be deafening.” Unfortunately, he is right. Don’t be mistaken, the Jets defensive scheme is largely dependent on having a lock down corner who can handle elite receivers 1 on 1. You can’t blitz the way the Jets do, unless you have a player who can take Randy Moss, Brandon Marshall, or Chad Ochocinco Johnson out of the game by himself. Antonio Cromartie might have that potential and maybe in time Kyle Wilson can give it a run but right now on this Super Bowl or bust team, Darrelle Revis is the best in the business. He is the best corner in the NFL and maybe the best defensive player in the NFL. The Jets defense could be very good in 2010 without Revis but they won’t be an elite unit.

It is justified to be frustrated with the actions taken by Revis. He has three years left on his original contract. Nick Mangold is in the final year of his deal, is rightly unsatisfied with his current contract and he still showed up on good faith about a deal getting done. Nobody likes to see a highly paid athlete who stars in Nike commercials complaining about not making enough money. Yet, Revis is scheduled to be the 8th highest paid defensive back on the Jets in 2010. He listens to his coach say he is the best defensive player in the league all the time and wants to be compensated as an elite player in the NFL.

PhotobucketThere has to be a half way point the Jets are willing to meet Revis at. Mike Tannenbaum has to come up with a band-aid for the next year or two before a long term contract is finalized. The Colts, Chargers, Ravens, Dolphins, Patriots, and Bengals aren’t dealing with this type of distraction now.  You want to talk the talk about being the best team in the NFL and chasing a Super Bowl, it is time to walk the walk and pay your best player. You don’t win championships by not keeping people like Darrelle Revis happy.

There is spin control coming out of both sides right now. The Revis camp is saying the Jets gave him no quality offers. Mike Tannenbaum is saying he offered Revis a long term deal, a short term deal, and a third deal in between the two, all of which were rejected by the Revis camp. He is also saying he offered to meet his representatives in person and they denied the request. Expect the back and forth to continue until some type of middle ground is finally met. Let’s just hope the verbal sparring doesn’t get too ugly. In the end, I can’t imagine the Jets will let this go on for more than a few weeks. Rex Ryan is going to tire very quickly of watching his prized defense practice without its best player, the pressure will build on the organization, Revis’ public image will take a hit, and both sides will realize it is in their best interest to compromise.

According to Tannenbaum the disagreement is over the amount of guaranteed money and whether Revis is going to be paid as the top corner in the league. Thank you again Al Davis for breaking the market trend with that contract for Nnamdi Asomugha.

Other updates –

  • Rex Ryan expressed his disappointment with the Revis absence and said Dwight Lowery and Kyle Wilson will rotate with the first team. I wonder how many deep balls caught on Lowery will inspire Woody and Tannenbaum to get a deal done. Ryan also said anything short of a Super Bowl win is a failed season.
  • In the much ballyhooed weight loss contest, Kris Jenkins took home the title by losing 33.6 pounds on his all cookie diet. Damien Woody came in second by losing 26.2 and Rex Ryan came in third by losing 20.
  • Nick Mangold admitted he was still disappointed with his contract situation but he was still in attendance.

What about some football?

Let’s hope Mark Sanchez comes out of the gate strong in his second training camp. It will be interesting to see the different formations Brian Schottenheimer came up with and how the ball is spread around. On defense, the spotlight is going to increase on Kyle Wilson. If there is one positive of the Revis holdout, it is the extra work and experience Wilson will receive. On special teams, it would be nice if Nick Folk got off on the right foot. Nobody needs to hear about him going 2/7 tomorrow.

Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (@TurnOnTheJets) and share your opinions on the Revis issue at #PayTheMan.

TOJ TV

Jets Must Learn To Win Close Games

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First a few updates:

1. For everybody sitting on the edge of their seat waiting to throw out their Kellen Clemens jersey and go buy a Mark Brunell one, the actual signing might not happen until tomorrow according to Rich Cimini. I am still not sold on this move, look at Brunell’s numbers the past three seasons and then tell me you’d be confident with him stepping in if Mark Sanchez got hurt.

2. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets). Also you can now find TOJ contributions at www.profootballnyc.com. Also I know everybody has to love that new logo for our site, which we are working on getting into the banner.

3. Chris Paul wants to be traded and the Knicks are on top of his wish list. Can you imagine how many assists CP3 would have in Mike D’Antoni’s offense? LeBron James who? I want our own big three of Amare Stoudemire, Chris Paul, and eventually Carmelo Anthony.

4. It sounds like there has been absolutely no progress on the contract talks with Darrelle Revis or Nick Mangold…let the circus at training camp begin.

Jets Must Learn To Win Close Games

A common argument against the Jets being one of the NFL’s elite teams in 2010 is they were only a 9-7 team in 2009 and made the playoffs because teams laid down against them in their final two games. This argument ignores or pays no respect to the two road, upset playoff wins the Jets pulled off. However you feel about that argument, many people forget how many games the Jets were one play away from winning last season.

PhotobucketWeek 5 – Holding a 27-24 lead with 5:05 left on the clock against the Miami Dolphins, the Jets defense allowed Miami’s offense to drive the length of the field and score the game winning touchdown with 6 seconds left. During this drive, Miami converted two key third downs, both on completions to Greg Camarillo, one of the receptions was on Drew Coleman and the other was on Dwight Lowery. For some reason, I don’t think we’ll be seeing Coleman or Lowery in this type of situation in 2010. Rex Ryan also did a poor job of not using his remaining timeouts to give the Jets offense a chance to respond.

Week 6 – The Jets lost in overtime to Buffalo 16-13, thanks mostly to Mark Sanchez’s five interceptions. However, this game was still there to be won in the extra period. Unfortunately, the Jets botched a field goal attempt to win the game and Sanchez then threw an interception after the Jets had crossed the 50 yard line on their next possession.

Week 8 –  Down 30-25 to the Miami Dolphins with a little under two minutes to go, the Jets had 1st and 10 from the Dolphins 12 yard line. Sanchez made a poor judgement call trying to run on second down,  took a sack on third down and threw the ball out of the end-zone on fourth down.

Week 10 – After taking a 22-21 lead with a little over 5 minutes left against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Jets defense allowed Jacksonville to drive to the one yard line and kick a game winning field goal as time expired. On the drive the Jaguars completed a key third down pass to Mike Thomas who beat Donald Strickland for 15 yards and then on the following play hit tight end Mercedes Lewis for 33 yards, who beat Kerry Rhodes down the middle of the field.

Week 15 – Despite holding a 7-3 lead with 4:06 left on the clock, the Jets allowed the Atlanta Falcons to drive down the field for a game winning touchdown. On the drive Atlanta converted a key third down to Roddy White who beat Donald Strickland for 16 yards and then after the play Strickland was called for a 15 yard facemask penalty. Atlanta was down to 4th and goal from the 6 yard line, when Rex Ryan made the mistake to switch into zone coverage when man to man on tight end Tony Gonzalez had been working all day, Gonzalez found a soft spot in the zone and scored the game winning touchdown.

These were five games the Jets easily could have won. Even if they managed to go 2-3 in these contests, they would have been 9-5 heading into their final two games and not needed victories against the Colts or Bengals to grab a playoff spot. The bottom line is that the Jets lost these games. However, consider Rex Ryan was a rookie head coach last year and Mark Sanchez was a rookie quarterback. The two of them will learn from their late game mistakes in 2009. Beyond that, players on defense who killed the Jets by coming up small in big spots last year: Donald Strickland, Kerry Rhodes, Drew Coleman, and Dwight Lowery, have been replaced by Antonio Cromartie, Kyle Wilson, and Brodney Pool.

If the Jets knew how to win close games in 2009, they could have been a 12-4 team. If they learn how to win them in 2010, they will be a 12-4 team.

TOJ TV

New York Jets Defense – Three Layers Of Excellence

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The New York Jets had the NFL’s number one ranked defense last season and there is plenty of reasons to believe they will improve in 2010. Whether it is the increased familiarity the returning players have with Rex Ryan’s system or the influx of talent through trades, free agency, and the NFL draft; the Jets are position to improve their defensive weaknesses from 2009 and become an even more dominant unit.

PhotobucketThe Jets had the number one ranked total defense thanks to their number one ranked passing defense, which blew away the rest of the NFL by allowing 153.7 yards per game. The second place team was over 30 yards behind. There is no reason to think the Jets pass coverage should suffer in 2010, considering they upgraded their second, third and fourth cornerback and replaced the underachieving Kerry Rhodes with Brodney Pool.

Despite having such an exceptional pass defense, the Jets didn’t rack up impressive sack totals in 2009. They finished tied for 18th in the league with 32.0 sacks. This number should improve in 2010 because of the addition of Jason Taylor, who Rex Ryan will use as a pass rush specialist. The return of a healthy Kris Jenkins will also help push the pocket on the quarterback. Finally, the Jets will have their returning sack leader, Calvin Pace, for 16 games instead of the 12 they had him for in 2009.

The Jets had the 8th ranked rushing defense in the NFL in 2010, nothing to be ashamed of but also nowhere near the level of their pass defense. Again the return of Jenkins at nose tackle should lead to improvement and having Pool at safety instead Rhodes, who struggled in run support and tackling in general last season, will help.

PhotobucketThe return of Kris Jenkins at nose tackle gives the Jets a legitimate All-Pro caliber player at all three levels of their defense. Jenkins on the defensive line, David Harris at linebacker, and Darrelle Revis in the secondary. This is a luxury few teams in the NFL currently have and means you need to have exceptional talent on the offensive line, running back, and receiver position to handle all three of these players.

Jenkins is flanked by a collection of blue-collar players who fit well into Ryan’s system. Shaun Ellis is the most well-know of the rest of the bunch and is one of the better 3-4 defensive ends in the league. He has the ability to stop the run and provide a solid pass rush. Sione Pouha and Mike DeVito aren’t household names but they did more than an adequate job when Jenkins went down last season and are good run stopping defensive lineman.

PhotobucketHarris is surrounded by two borderline pro-bowl caliber players in Bart Scott and Calvin Pace at linebacker, along with Taylor who is a former All-Pro that should benefit from only having to focus on rushing the passer and from Ryan’s aggressive scheme overall. Bryan Thomas is the lowest profile player in the linebacker group but remains a competent starter who does many of the little things for this defense that don’t show up on the stat sheet.

Revis is now paired with Antonio Cromartie at cornerback, who could have made the claim to being the best corner in the NFL after the 2007 season. I don’t know if Cromartie will ever play at that level again but he will certainly have opportunity to flourish in New York because of how his skill set matches up to the Jets defensive system and because of how many balls will be thrown his way. Rookie first round pick Kyle Wilson will be asked to step into the nickel role, which speaks to the talent in front of him. Former starter/nickel back Dwight Lowery can now slide into the #4 corner/extra safety in certain packages role, which best suits him. The Jets don’t have big names at safety in Jim Leonhard and Brondey Pool, but Leonhard is consistent and won’t give up the big play and Pool will have the chance to shine the way Rhodes was supposed to in 2009. Reserve safeties Eric Smith and James Ihedigbo are also key contributing members to this unit off the bench.

There are questions about the Jets heading into the 2010 season but it is hard to see their defense not being an elite unit in the NFL again. Considering what they did last year and their influx of talent, it would be a legitimate disappointment if they didn’t have the NFL’s number one ranked unit.

What To Watch

Projecting The Jets Defensive Statistics

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First a few updates:

1. RIP George Steinbrenner and Bob Sheppard. The greatest owner and PA announcer both gone in back to back days…sad stuff. It will make the Yankees inevitable 28th championship a little sweeter when they win it for both of them though.

2. NBA Free Agency Thoughts – Despite my intense hatred of the Miami Heat, bringing back Udonis Haslem and adding Mike Miller were both solid moves. Miller is going to have insane amounts of open looks from three point range and Haslem is a solid all-around role player. However, they are still behind the Lakers in my mind, especially since Derek Fisher decided to head back to LA and will now pair with Steve Blake at point guard. Also if the Lakers pick up Raja Bell, it will be a big addition for them. It will give them three top level on ball defenders with him, Kobe, and Ron Artest. The Heat will score points in bunches but can they stop anybody? Despite not getting LeBron or Wade, the Chicago Bulls have quietly upgraded their roster substantially. Carlos Boozer up front to pair with Joakim Noah and Kyle Korver and JJ Redick to boost their backcourt. They have more than enough all around talent to give the Heat a serious run. It was obviously a dissapointing off-season for the Knicks. However, they have a young, talented roster in place and should compete for a 7 or 8 seed in the East season after adding Amare Stoudemire, Raymond Felton, and Anthony Randolph. Now we are just holding out hope for Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony to eventually come on board. For all the hype about the Nets during the first couple of weeks of free agency, they ended up having Travis Outlaw and Jordan Farmar to show for it.

3. It seems to be a foregone conclusion that Mark Brunell will be joining the Jets on July 22nd and that move will be coupled by the release of Kellen Clemens. Again, I agree with decision to sign Brunell but not the decision to cut Clemens. Why not keep Clemens as the #2 and let Brunell be the #3? It is a better depth chart than having Brunell as the #2 and Kevin O’Connell or Erik Ainge as the #3. I am also holding out hope that the Jets will bring back defensive end Marques Douglas. Why not have the rich get richer on defense?

Projecting The Jets Defensive Statistics

Depsite having a notoriously aggressive pass rush, the Jets didn’t have impressive overall sack numbers in 2009. They looked to remedy that this year by adding Jason Taylor, who should primarily play on third downs and passing situations. I trust Ryan’s ability to utilize Taylor’s ability to rush the passer and think he will end up in the 9 -11 sack range in 2010. I also think Calvin Pace will crack double digits, based on the fact he had 8 sacks in only 12 games during his first season in Ryan’s defense. Outside of that, Shaun Ellis should be good for his usual 5 – 7 sacks and the defensive backs should rack up a decent amount, considering how much Ryan loves sending them off the edge at the quarterback. Look for Kyle Wilson, Eric Smith, James Ihedigbo, and Dwight Lowery to all get plenty of opportunities to pull in a few sacks each. If Kris Jenkins is kept fresh by rotating with Sione Pouha, he should also be good for a handful of sacks.

Photobucket– In the defensive backfield, it isn’t out of the question for Darrelle Revis to exceed his 6 interceptions from last year. The beauty of Rex Ryan’s system is that it forces opposing offenses to challenge Revis and the overwhelming majority of the time, he wins the battle. Revis is basically always going to be covering the team’s top option, which sometimes includes sliding in the slot to cover their primary third down target. For example, against the Chargers last year he spent time on Vincent Jackson, Antonio Gates, and LaDainian Tomlinson out of the backfield depending on the situation. He also slid inside to cover Legedu Naanee on some third downs, because he was a favorite target of Philip Rivers in that particular situation. Ryan makes it nearly impossible to avoid throwing at Revis at least a few times a game. Antonio Cromartie should see plenty of balls come his way also when teams attempt to work away from Revis and he has the athleticism to make teams pay for challenging him, especially if he is covering their second or third option. Honestly, there is no reason Revis and Cromartie can’t both pull in 6 – 8 interceptions in 2010. Beyond that, I think Brodney Pool will have the third most. He had 4 interceptions in 11 games last year on a relatively poor defense, so it will be interesting to see how many he grabs on this team.

– Unless there is an injury, David Harris is going to lead the team in tackles by a good margin with Bart Scott finishing up in second place. Harris filled up the stat line last year (127 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 2 INTs, 2 FFs) and those numbers should only increase as he gets more comfortable in Ryan’s system. Scott had an impressive 11 tackles for loss last season but hopefully he can cause a few more turnovers and get to the quarterback more in 2010. He had 0 FFs and INTs in 2009, along with only 1 sack.

– It will be interesting to see how the Jets rotation off the bench works on defense. You know Taylor and Wilson will see a good amount of reps and will almost always be in on third downs and passing situations. Depending on the game plan, Eric Smith should be on the field frequently to match-up with tight ends, running backs, or be used as a blitzer. Ryan also showed last year that he likes to use James Ihedigbo in pass rush situations. Dwight Lowery is working both at safety and corner now, which will help increase his reps. He will likely only get substantial playing time against teams who spread the field. On the defensive line, Sione Pouha will play near a starter’s amount of reps to help keep Kris Jenkins fresh and to occasionally pair up with him. Hopefully, either Vernon Gholston, Ropati Pitoitua, or Matt Kroul can step up to also give some quality reps off the bench.

That’s How You Come After the QB

What To Watch

Antonio Cromartie: Boom Or Bust

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First a few updates:

1. I’d like to make it clear to everybody again that we are having a WordPress issue, which is leaving every comment left on the site in pending and thus not on the site. The comments haven’t been lost or deleted. I literally post every single thing somebody takes the time to leave, regardless of what they say. Please keep the comments on articles coming, because this problem should be resolved soon. For now, I will be personally copying and pasting the most intriguing comments from the last week under my name and then responding to them (as you can now see in the recent comments section on the right side of the site). I am sorry about this problem but our Network has recently moved our server to a different locaction, which has led to some technical problems.

2. I think the Bulls, Cavs, and Knicks all have an equal chance of landing LeBron tomorrow. It is amazing h0w one person could take the Knicks from the number five team in the New York sports market, to arguably the number one.

Photobucket3. Today was actually a big day of Jets news and of all things…it was good contract news. The Jets locked in left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson to a monster extension, adding 6 years and 60 million dollars to his original deal and giving him 34.8 million guaranteed dollars, which is a record for an offensive lineman. The Jets also locked down 2nd round pick, guard Vladimir Ducasse to a four year deal for 3.25 million dollars. In a matter of hours, the Jets solidified the left side of their offensive line for the foreseeable future. We can only hope the Ferguson deal will help get the ball rolling on new contracts for the rest of the Jets core four, Darrelle Revis, Nick Mangold, and David Harris. Why do I have feeling Harris will be taken care of next? The Jets could be rewarding the players who kept the quietest about their contract negotiations first.

4. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets)…if you do, I will convince LeBron to join the Knicks.

Antonio Cromartie: Boom Or Bust

Considering I just wrote an article today about how strong the Jets secondary is heading into the 2010 season, I thought a closer look at the biggest question mark in that position group was in order.

PhotobucketI was as skeptical as anybody about the Jets decision to trade for Antonio Cromartie this off-season but I have gradually began to talk myself into the move, especially hearing about the work he has done this off-season and watching him at mini-camp practice. However, you can’t get past how much of a wild-card he is heading into this year. The guy didn’t play good football the past two years with the San Diego Chargers, period. Even if he was hampered by a hip injury, there was still questions about his lack effort. Every Jets fan saw Cromartie’s aversion to tackling in the playoffs last year and his immaturity when he threw a late elbow into Shonn Greene’s back.

You can’t ignore the red flags of only 5 interceptions the past two years and 19 passes defensed, when he had 10 interceptions in 18 passes defensed in 2007.  You can’t ignore his old organization questioning his effort on the field. You can’t ignore that he only had 33 tackles in 16 games last season.

PhotobucketHowever, you also can’t ignore the type of season Cromartie had in 2007 or the freak athleticism he has displayed on certain plays during his NFL career. There is a valid argument about Cromartie being a better man to man corner than a zone corner and the Jets system of defense playing to his strengths. He is going to see a ton of balls coming his way this season because of Revis Island being located on the other side of the field, meaning he will have plenty of chances to get his hands on the football and make big plays. Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine raved about the Cromartie acquisition this off-season to Manish Mehta of the Daily News

“I think he’s an upgrade over Lito – a clear upgrade over Lito. He fits our style of football. When you have your wide receiver line up outside the numbers, we’re going to eliminate him. That’s the one thing this kid can do…They played him off a lot (in San Diego), That’s a style thing.  They’re more of a zone team. A lot of times, they roll their corners up and get them involved in run support. We don’t do that nearly as much. For what we do schematically – we play so much man coverage or zone coverages that turn into man down the field as anyone – (Cromartie) fits.”

All I know is that if Cromartie gets back to playing anywhere near his 2007 level, it is going to be nearly impossible to throw the football on the Jets. He is going to rack up a bunch of interceptions and probably a touchdown or two. On the other hand, if he can’t stay healthy or plays like he did the pat two years, Kyle Wilson is going to get thrown into the fire right away and we are going to see way more Dwight Lowery than any of us can stomach.

Cromartie…Wow

New TOJ TV

Jets Area Of Strength – Secondary

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First a few updates:

1. It is more than a little ridiculous that a player who has never won a ring is announcing his free agency decision during a 1 hour primetime special. Yet, I would be lying if I said I wouldn’t be watching it tomorrow night. I think it is down to the Bulls, Cavs, and the Knicks at this point for LeBron’s destination. For a guy who is so obsessed with his legacy, he wouldn’t be doing it much service by playing second fiddle in Miami to Dwayne Wade. The Bulls give him the best shot to challenge for a title immediately. The Knicks can now offer Amare Stoudermaire to run with him and the potential of acquiring another major free agent next year.

2. I am interested to see how Miami fills out their roster around Wade and Chris Bosh. Right now, they literally have two other players under contract along with their draft picks.

3. It has been very quiet on the contract negotiations front, especially considering how slow NFL news is right now. The pressure has to pick up on the Jets in the next week or two as training camp begins to creep closer and the question of how Darrelle Revis and Nick Mangold will handle their contract situation grows bigger. It wouldn’t be quality premium cable to start Hard Knocks without the Jets best offensive and defensive player.

4. I am still holding out hope that the Jets will sign Marques Douglas to a minimum deal at some point this summer to boost their depth on the defensive line and that they decide to pass on Mark Brunell unless he is coming in as their number three quarterback.

5. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets) and check out the new episode of Turn On The Jets TV, where we run through some of the top highlights from last season as we look forward to why the Jets have the potential to be so good in 2010.

Jets Area Of Strength – Secondary

Today we cover another area of strength for the Jets headed into the 2010 season, joining the linebackers and receivers, the Jets secondary should be one of their deepest, most talented position groups this year.

PhotobucketAny talk about the Jets secondary starts with cornerback Darrelle Revis, who is coming off one of the best individual defensive seasons in recent NFL history. There isn’t a better cover guy in the league, period. Revis has the rare ability to completely take a team’s top receiving top target out of the game, while still creating turnovers. The Jets defensive scheme dares teams to take a shot at Revis and when they did in 2009, they failed an overwhelming majority of the time. In the end, the Jets will find a way to appease his contract demands. Mike Tannenbaum can be stubborn in his contract negotiations but he isn’t stupid. Revis has the ability to become one of the greatest players in the organization’s history.

In 2009, the weakest spot of the Jets defense was the corner position opposite Revis. Veteran Lito Sheppard struggled to stay healthy and productive, when he actually was on the field. Dwight Lowery was doing an adequate job filling in Sheppard for a little while, but ultimately lacked the physical skills to match up with starting receivers on a consistent basis. The Jets didn’t hesitate this off-season to fix this weakness.

Former All-Pro cornerback Antonio Cromartie was acquired in a trade from the San Diego Chargers. Cromartie is one of the most physically gifted players in the NFL and had a 10 interception season in 2007, along with creating a reputation for racking up highlight reel plays. He has struggled the past few years. However, the Jets are banking on their aggressive man to man scheme bringing the best out of Cromartie, along with him recovering from a hip injury that nagged him last year. Cromartie is a huge boom or bust player heading into 2010. Hopefully, he won’t replicate the bust performance offered by Lito Sheppard last season.

The Jets added further support to the corner position by drafting Kyle Wilson out of Boise State in the first round of the NFL Draft. Wilson was a player who shot up most draft boards after a strong performance during Senior Week. He was rumored to potentially be a top 15 selection. Fortunately for the Jets, he managed to slip all the way to number 29 for them to snatch up. Rex Ryan instantly handed Wilson the starting nickel job, where he could face some early struggles adjusting to playing in the slot. However, his physical skills are far superior to Dwight Lowery and as the season progresses, Wilson should develop into a integral part of the Jets defense. Ryan will utilize his athleticism as both a cover guy and a blitzer off the edge.

PhotobucketWith the acquisitions of Cromartie and Wilson, Dwight Lowery bumps down to the team’s number four corner. In terms of the fourth guy, Lowery has tons of experience and should be used in a selective way as both a corner and safety in certain packages that allow him to take advantage of his ball hawking skills. Marquice Cole and Drew Coleman round out of the cornerback position, as primarily special team players.

At safety, the Jets traded away Kerry Rhodes who has already ticked off his new teammates in Arizona with his desire to vacation over working out in the off-season. Brodney Pool was signed from Cleveland to replace Rhodes. Despite having his season cut short by a head injury in 2009, Pool had a much better statistical season than Rhodes in only 11 games. The coaching staff has been raving about his work ethic this off-season, and that work ethic combined with his athleticism gives Pool the potential to have a big season in the Jets defense.

Jim Leonhard returns as the other starting safety. Most people look over Leonhard when discussing the Jets defense, but he was one of the most consistent players on the team last year and has a complete mastery of the Rex Ryan’s system. He won’t rack up a ton of big plays but he will always be in the right place at the right time and won’t give up big plays either.

The Jets have excellent depth behind Pool and Leonhard. Eric Smith is a versatile player, who has extended starting experience. He will see plenty of action in the multiple packages the Jets use on defense. James Ihedigbo came on towards the end of last year as a quality reserve off the bench and somebody who was effective as a blitzer off the edge. The Jets also added UDFA Donovan Warren from Michigan this off-season, who was talked about as a second round pick before a poor combine showing.

Revis

Cromartie

New TOJ TV

Jets Area Of Concern – Running Back

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First a few updates:

1. Check out the new updated “About Turn On The Jets” section…and remember to follow TOJ on Facebook, Twitter, and now YouTube.

2. Take a listen to my apperance on Marty Schupak’s Green Rewind, here (http://web.me.com/greenrewind/Site/Podcasts/Podcasts.html). Marty and myself primarily talk about the Jets defense but also spend a little time on the Darrelle Revis contract situation along with a few other things.

3. An interview I read today on NYJ Scout had an interview with Dwight Lowery, with him talking about getting more reps at safety this off-season. This is a move that has frequently been talked about by fans, considering Lowery’s lack of physical abilities to play corner full time but good ball instincts. It will be interesting to see if Lowery can get a good number of reps in the nickel or dime package as a safety.

Jets Area Of Concern – Running Back

Contrary to the belief of some fans, the Jets roster isn’t perfect. Like any team in the NFL, they have multiple areas of concern throughout their roster heading into the 2010 season. Today is our first look at one of these areas, the running back position:

Shonn Greene certainly looked the part of a number one back in the wild-card and divisional round of the playoffs last season. However, don’t be fooled into thinking two games is adequate proof that Greene is ready to be a full time number one back. My concerns about him are primarily his durability, fumbling issue, and lack of hands out of the backfield. A closer look at this statistics last season, also raise questions about his ability to be a full time starter for a 16 game schedule.

PhotobucketGreene was a player who had injury issues in college and encountered similar problems in his rookie season. He missed time with an ankle injury and rib injury in the pre-season, had a banged up shoulder during the regular season, and then was knocked out of the AFC Championship with another rib injury. Obviously, not an encouraging sign considering he was far from a number one back until the playoff run, where he was knocked out after two games. How will he handle 20 carries a game for an entire regular season?

Despite only having 108 total carries in the regular season, Greene had three lost fumbles. He also lost another one in week 17 that was called back. If he gets the 331 carries Thomas Jones had last season and keeps up that type of fumble rate, it translates into 9 lost fumbles. His lack of hands was also evident in the passing game, where between the entire regular season and postseason, he only recorded 1 reception for 4 yards. Nobody is saying he has to become a major pass catching threat, but he needs to be a reliable outlet option and catch a screen pass every now and then, so it isn’t obvious when the offense could run a screen by pulling him out for LaDainian Tomlinson or Joe McKnight.

After Greene’s breakout performance against the Raiders in week 8, he followed with four concerning performances:

  • 8 carries, 18 yards, 1 lost fumble against Miami
  • 7 carries, 26 yards, against Jacksonville
  • 3 carries, -1 yards, against New England
  • 10 carries, 36 yards, against Carolina

Fortunately, he picked up his play down the stretch run of the season and began to perform with more consistency regardless of the number of carries he was getting. The main thing to remember with Greene is that the guy only had 108 regular season carries last year. It is far from a sure thing that he handle 300 plus carries and put up a 1200 yard type season. The talent is certainly there, but Greene has to stay healthy, protect the football, and become a more consistent player.

PhotobucketThe depth behind Shonn Greene is an even larger cause for concern. We all saw LaDainian Tomlinson play last season and it wasn’t pretty. He didn’t register a single 100 yard game. He only averaged more than 4 yards per carry in 2 games the entire season. He only ran for more than 70 yards in 4 games. I understand he will be playing behind a much better offensive line and he is motivated to prove he still has something left in the tank. However, the Jets would be foolish to think he can give them 12-15 carries a game on a consistent basis. Tomlinson could be a successful player for the Jets, only if he used in proper moderation. You let him spell Greene a series or two each half. You give him short yardage/goal-line carries. You throw him screen and swing passes a few times a game. Tomlinson can give them a productive 10 touches a game next year, if properly game planned. If Shonn Greene gets hurt though, they could be in big trouble.

Joe McKnight is an unproven, rookie fourth round draft pick. I think he can contribute early in the year as a pass catcher out of the backfield and in the slot. Yet, by all accounts he has a long way to go before he is ready to be counted on as a third down back or for significant numbers of carries. A Shonn Greene injury leaves the Jets with a scary prospect of splitting carries between Tomlinson and McKnight.

For a team known for their “ground and pound” approach in 2009. The Jets have an awfully high amount of questions about their running back position. They could be one injury away from very quickly becoming a pass first offense, which is an easy temptation to fall into because of their talent at receiver and tight end. Yet, forcing Mark Sanchez to throw that ball that often could lead to some ugly, turnover filled performances that don’t let the Jets defense win them football games.

New TOJ TV

LT Highlights

McKnight Highlights

Greene Highlights