New York Jets Defensive Line Grade Sheet: Week 5

Another week, another dominant performance from the Jets defensive line. The Jets took on an Atlanta offensive line that has had some injuries and serious struggles this season. On Monday night, on a prime time stage, the big men up front exposed that weakness, limiting quarterback Matt Ryan’s time in the pocket, along with the Falcon’s run game as a whole. Continue reading “New York Jets Defensive Line Grade Sheet: Week 5”

New York Jets Defensive Line Grade Sheet: Week 4

Frank Giasone grades out the New York Jets defensive lineman in week 4

Through four weeks of the 2013 NFL season, it would appear that my job –grading the defensive line following each game– is probably the easiest of anyone here at TOJ. In layman’s terms….they’re pretty damn good. And I expect we’ll see a lot of positives from them each and every week.

And while I’m ecstatic to get a chance to analyze the dominant performances from the “Son’s of Anarchy” (Note: I’ll be toying with a few nicknames for the DL, so feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments section below), I’m also aware that I’ve been saddled with the task of following ‘Mr. Defensive Line’ himself, TOJ’s very own, Chris Gross.

With that in mind, I’ll try my best to continue providing the best fan base in the NFL with quality breakdowns of what has clearly emerged as the strength of Rex Ryan’s defense.

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TOJ Bag – March 28th 2013

The TOJ Bag is here to answer your questions on the New York Jets

Welcome to this week’s TOJ Bag, where our staff answers your questions on the New York Jets, NFL, and things somewhat related to both. We are going to run this every Thursday so make sure to send questions in to TOJBagQuestions@gmail.com – On to the questions! 

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NFL Draft 2013: Frank Giasone’s Mock Draft 2.0

Turn On The Jets Staff Writer, Frank Giasone with an updated NFL Mock Draft. Who does he see the Jets landing at 9? Find out right here and be sure to check back daily for updated draft content right as we inch closer to the big night next month.

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2013 NFL Combine: Day 4 Recap

Frank Giasone recaps day 4 of the NFL Scouting Combine. Who should New York Jets fans keep their eyes on?

After a hectic four days at Lucas Oil Stadium, the 2013 NFL Combine culminated on Tuesday with the defensive backs getting on the field for a chance to showcase their athletic ability to on looking NFL teams. Just like every other day at the combine, a few prospective pro’s took advantage of the opportunity by dominating the day of drills, while others did just the opposite and are left waiting for another chance at their pro day.

It’s very easy to get caught up in the hype of the combine. After all, watching a group of elite athletes run 4.3 40’s and bench 225 lbs. two-dozed times with ease is pretty darn impressive. But it’s important to remember that while the results of these workouts are helpful when grading prospects, the combine is just another very small piece of an extraordinarily complicated puzzle.

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NFL Draft – 2013 Scouting Combine Preview

Frank Giasone goes over what to watch for at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine

For some, the football season ended shortly after Ray Lewis hoisted the Lombardi Trophy in New Orleans. And while that was officially the final day of the season, the truth is the NFL never really goes away. This weekend is further proof of that, as over 300 of the best college football players in the country head to Indianapolis for the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine, all in preparation for April’s NFL Draft.

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Turn On The Jets Off-Season Roundtable – Secondary

The Turn On The Jets staff debates how the New York Jets should handle their secondary this off-season

Welcome to our off-season review of the New York Jets roster at Turn On The Jets. Each week we are going to attack a different position. We will have a roundtable discussion on it, Steve Bateman will submit a film breakdown examining it and our draft staff will look at potential prospects the Jets could add. So far we have covered quarterbackrunning backwide receiveroffensive linedefensive linelinebacker, this week we move to the secondary.

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The Double-Standard Towards PEDs In Sports

Frank Giasone discusses the double standard of the attitude towards PEDs in football compared to baseball

I’ll admit, when the Sports Illustrated report regarding Ray Lewis’ alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs surfaced, my curiosity was instantly piqued. I wasn’t especially curious if the iconic middle linebacker actually used the illegal drugs in question. And I wasn’t even all that concerned with his comments following the allegations. What I really wanted to know was, what kind of outcry would this report instigate throughout sports world?

As it turned out (and as I suspected), it was no more than a blip for Lewis and the NFL, as Major League Baseball–once again–was thrust into the forefront of the PED scandal. Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun headed a list of players reportedly linked to HGH use and the story immediately took flight, offering the NFL another chance to sneak by virtually unscathed.

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NFL Draft 2013: Frank Giasone’s Big Board

Turn On The Jets NFL Draft writer Frank Giasone with his first big board for the 2013 Draft

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Draft writer Frank Giasone with his initial NFL Draft Big Board. Be sure to look for fellow draft writer, Zev Sibony‘s Big Board later today, while giving Lead NFL Draft Editor Chris Gross‘s Big Board from last week, and Mock Draft 1.0 from last night a read, as well. Let the debates begin!

1.) Chance Warmack, Guard, Alabama63 320 lbs: He’s the best guard in the draft, and some may argue that he’s the best offensive lineman in it as well. Warmack has the footwork, speed and lateral movement scouts want to see in an NFL guard, and will surely have success at the next level.

2.) Bjoern Werner, Defensive End, Florida State – 6’4 255 lbs: Arguably the best DE in the draft, Werner still has tons of room for growth considering he only started playing football at age 15. His speed, strength and high motor will certainly translate as a 4-3 DE, but questions remain regarding his ability to fit as a 3-4 OLB.

3.) Luke Joeckel, Offensive Tackle, Texas A&M – 6’6 310 lbs:It’s a deep crop of offensive lineman in the 2013 NFL Draft, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better offensive tackle than Joeckel. After starting all four years at left tackle for Texas A&M, Joeckel is as NFL-ready as any offensive lineman in the draft and should have no problems stepping in for whichever team selects him.

4.) Star Lotuleli, Defensive Tackle, Utah6’4 325 lbs: Lotuleli is a big, strong, NFL-ready defender that boasts surprising speed and explosiveness despite his massive physique. Asked to play both the 3-technique and as a nose tackle in 3-4 fronts at Utah, Lotulei showed impressive lateral movement as well as the ability to drive offensive lineman backward. Rarely blocked 1-on-1 at Utah, Lotuleli’s skill set looks like it will transition very well in the NFL.

5.) Jarvis Jones, Outside Linebacker, Georgia –6’3 241 lbs: This draft is loaded with OLB’s, and Jones is certainly one of the most desired of the group. The Georgia stud defender boasts good size, versatility and a relentless motor, and projects best as a 3-4 OLB. His versatile skill set should not only make him a terrific pass rusher, but also keep him on the field in all situations.

6.) Damontre Moore, Defensive End/OLB, Texas A&M – 6’4 248 lbs: Moore is one of the most talented defenders in this draft. With the ability to play standing up as a 3-4 OLB, or with his hand on the ground as a 4-3 DE, Moore shows the potential to wreak havoc in offensive backfields at the next level.

7.) Dee Milliner, Cornerback, Alabama –6’1 197 lbs: The best cornerback in the draft, Milliner leads a fairly weak CB crop in 2013. The Alabama junior has great size and instincts, and isn’t shy to impose his physicality. While he sometimes gets caught out of position, his overall awareness and playmaking ability make him a great prospect at cornerback.  

8.) Eric Fisher, Offensive Tackle, Central Michigan- 6’7”, 305: Fisher has seen his stock rise recently with an impressive first few days at the Senior Bowl, most likely a result of a lack of talent faced in the regular season. Strong both as a run blocker and in pass protection, Fisher has impressive arm length and movement.  

9.) Keenan Allen, Wide Receiver, Cal – 6’3 210 lbs: The highest rated wide receiver in the draft, Allen has good speed and big play ability, as well as precise route running and versatility which allows him to line up all over the field. He’s currently dealing with a knee injury, which may hurt his stock as we get closer to the draft.

10.) Jonathan Cooper, Offensive Guard, North Carolina – 6’3 320 lbs: Cooper is a very intriguing prospect at guard who boasts impressive speed, lateral movement, and footwork—all which are good traits for a pulling guard. Cooper’s size and strength are hard to ignore as well, making him another interesting offensive line prospect.

11.) Tyler Eifert, Tight End, Notre Dame – 6’6 250 lbs: Eifert boasts the natural ability and size that will translate immediately as an NFL tight end. He’s versatile enough to contribute both in the passing game and as a run blocker, but as a receiver Eifert really shines. He should be a highly sought after offensive weapon come April.

12.) Manti Te’o, Inside Linebacker, Notre Dame –6’1 248 lbs: He’s become a bit of a punch line lately, which certainly can’t help his stock. His performance in the BCS Title Game against Alabama won’t help much either. But he still possesses the most impressive skill set of any inside linebacker in the draft and will likely find himself as a Day 1 selection.

13.) Dion Jordan, Defensive End, Oregon – 6’7 243 lbs: Jordan possesses ideal speed, size and athleticism to succeed as a 3-4 OLB in the NFL. He’s a sure tackler and able to play in coverage, but he’s still raw and needs to develop his game. Injuries will also remain a concern in the coming months.

14.) Kenny Vaccaro, Safety, Texas –6’1 218 lbs: Vaccaro has the body-type and athleticism to succeed in the NFL at both FS and SS. Despite his limitations in coverage, Vaccaro’s consistency in the secondary and his impact on special teams make him one of the drafts most interesting defensive backs.

15.) Barkevious Mingo, Defensive End, LSU –6’5 240 lbs: It’s my opinion that Mingo has the biggest boom or bust potential at the position this year. He’s still very raw- he only started playing football as a junior in high school- and certainly lacks experience. But his frame, speed, and athleticism are so impressive that a team will likely take a chance and hope he develops.

16.) Cordarrelle Patterson, Wide Receiver, Tennessee –6’3 205 lbs: He’s advertised as the total package, able to excel as a receiver, kick returner and, at times, taking direct snaps. While he still needs to perfect his route running, it’s his natural size, strength and ability that make the Tennessee star receiver a highly touted prospect.

17.) Alec Ogletree, Inside Linebacker, Georgia – 6’3″ 237 lbs: Ogletree is a very fast and athletic linebacker, capable of making plays all over the field. A converted safety, the UGA ‘backer possesses a leaner than ideal frame and will need to improve his ability to shed blocks as well as becoming more consistent against the run. Ogletree had some issues off the field that could hurt his stock.

18.) Ezekial Ansah, Defensive End, BYU-6’5” 270 lbs: Ansah will likely garner comparisons to the Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul because of his freakish natural athletic ability and lack of experience. Still very raw, Ansah needs to work on technique to truly excel at the next level.

19.) Sheldon Richardson, Defensive Tackle, Missouri –6’4 295 lbs: While he doesn’t have a ton of experience (only 13 starts), Richardson made the most of his time on the field, putting together a very impressive junior season. Although he’s athletic enough to rush the passer and to chase down ball carriers from behind, Richardson has some off field issues could hurt his stock.

20.) Lane Johnson, Offensive Tackle, Oklahoma – 6’6 302 lbs: A converted quarterback and tight end (seriously), Johnson only has two years of offensive line experience and is still very raw. His long arms and elite athleticism, as well as his ability to play both left and right tackle, make him an interesting prospect.

21.) Johnathan Jenkins, Defensive Tackle, Georgia –6’4 359 lbs: He’s built like a tank, and just as difficult to move. Jenkins has good lateral quickness, as well as the overall power to run over blockers. He is very strong and will likely continue seeing double teams at the next level. While he may lack some versatility inside, his enormous frame will certainly be a factor on the interior of the defensive line from Day 1.

22.) Giovani Bernard, Running Back, UNC– 5’10” 205 lbs: Bernard is a smaller RB with big play ability both as a runner and a receiver. He runs hard and falls forward when tackled, consistently gaining yards after first contact. The UNC ‘back also shows patience at the line of scrimmage, a quick burst through the hole, and devastating moves in open space.

23.) Alex Okafor, Defensive End, Texas – 6’5 261 lbs: Okafor is a highly athletic 4-3 defensive end with good size and strength. He uses his hands very well and excels at both setting the edge against the run, and chasing down the QB. His 4.5 sacks in Texas’ Bowl Game against Oregon State will likely peak the interest of those who haven’t been paying attention.

24.) Geno Smith, Quarterback, West Virginia – 6’3″ 208 lbs: He’s a highly athletic quarterback who has also had success standing in the pocket—which makes for the perfect fit in today’s NFL. But the truth is Smith was disappointing in 2012 and he followed that up by declining to go to the Senior Bowl – a confusing decision to say the least. But it’s a QB driven league and someone will surely take a chance on him in Round 1.

25.) Sam Montgomery, Defensive End, LSU –6’5 260 lbs: Montgomery boasts a long frame and has the potential to add even more size and muscle working with an NFL strength trainer. He shows some burst off the snap, but at times struggles to get off blocks to get to the ball carrier.

NFL Draft: Scouting Quarterback Prospects

Frank Giasone looks at what the Jets should be looking for if they draft a quarterback this year

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Searching for a franchise quarterback is one of the most difficult tasks in professional sports. With so many different identifiers going into finding someone capable of flourishing in one of the most criticized positions in pro sports, sometimes it’s the qualities you can’t find on tape or in workouts that end up being the most critical.

It’s a big decision that can have monumental consequences —something Jets fans know all too well after watching Mark Sanchez’s shaky demeanor lead to a regression in his third and fourth years in the NFL. The last thing any team wants is to invest four or more years in a quarterback, only to have to start over following Year 4.

But this isn’t the forum to get into a debate about why Sanchez has declined (honestly, I don’t have enough time, space or energy to get into that right now). This is the place to look at some of the best ways to identify a potential franchise quarterback, and how to avoid some of the pitfalls that teams run into during the evaluation process.

– Mental Toughness: This is a big one, especially for Jets fans—which is why I put it first on the list. It really doesn’t get any worse than seeing your starting quarterback hanging his head or standing with slouched shoulders after a string of bad plays. The quarterback position is unlike any other in sports and nothing can sink a team quicker than a quarterback who fails to remain composed through tough stretches.

It can be difficult to assess with prospects from big, successful schools, most likely due to a lack of adversity faced on the field up to that point in their career. It’s not easy to judge how a man will react when writers, fans and (in some cases) fellow teammates, criticize or turn on him during times of struggle.

– Pocket Presence: It’s pretty simple: Does the quarterback feel pressure when it’s there? How does he react?

As we witnessed from the brutal 11-sack game in Week 16 this season, Jets quarterback Greg McElroy struggled to both feel and react to pressure. While the offensive line and running backs each had wretched performances, McElroy certainly didn’t help matters as he consistently slid into pressure.

A quarterback also needs to consistently keep his eyes focused downfield on his receivers, instead of the 330-pound defensive lineman barreling down on him. For McElroy, struggles in these areas led to rough afternoon…and a brief tenure as the starting quarterback in the NFL.

– Mobility: It’s new and it’s becoming trendy in the NFL. As long as NFL offenses continue having success running the read-option offense, you can bet other teams will hop on board and give it a shot as well. That means the allure of “athletic” quarterbacks (guys who can run with the football and make people miss) will continue to grow.

While mobility outside of the pocket is crucial when scouting guys like RG3, Colin Kaepernick and the like, it’s the ability to move well in the pocket that’s essential for all successful quarterbacks.

If you watch some of the great traditional quarterbacks in the NFL today (guys like Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees), the mobility in or around the pocket helps them extend plays and find open receivers. Sometimes they have to get creative when protection breaks down, either by rolling out and throwing on the run, or by tucking the ball and taking off.

– Intelligence: A quarterback can have all of the physical ability in the world but if he isn’t a cerebral player, chances are his success in the league will be limited. Complex language, bottomless playbooks and hours of tape study aside, the quarterback’s intelligence is never more tested than in the seconds before the snap. His ability to read and react to a defense quickly is normally the difference between success and failure. To put it bluntly, a dummy won’t likely flourish at the position.

– Arm Strength, Accuracy and Touch: Everyone wants a quarterback who can throw darts downfield into tight windows. And really, you can’t blame them. But scouting a quarterback’s arm strength isn’t limited to finding a guy that can throw the ball the hardest or farthest (despite what Brian Billick may think).

Scouts are interested in seeing a quarterback throw a ball with good velocity and spin. He wants to see the quarterback lead his receivers by delivering the ball in a spot that only they can get to it, and put his receiver in good position to gain yards after the catch.

– Work Ethic: Another attribute that’s hard for fans to judge is a players’ work ethic. It’s hard for someone outside of the team to know exactly what an athlete is doing before, during and after practice (unless, or course, something is leaked by the media, or a teammate). Evaluators need to quantify how dedicated and hardworking the prospect is. Will he be the type who’s just collecting a paycheck, or does his world revolve around developing into a better quarterback?

– Leadership Skills: When you have a team of 52 alpha males, it can sometimes be tough for a young player to step in and immediately assume a leadership role. As RG3 did in Washington and Andrew Luck appears to have done with the Colts, playing well is the best way to grab the reigns of your team.

– Size: The recent success of “short” quarterbacks like Brees (6’0”) and Russell Wilson (5’11”) has altered the perception of how tall an NFL quarterback should be. The recent success of shorter QBs has put more focus on throwing mechanics and the ability to throw outside the pocket and on the run, rather than a prospects height.