Into The Break: Sunday Night Thoughts On Jets

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A few Sunday night thoughts to kick off the first week of the Jets time off before training camp:

1. I am beginning to wonder if the Jets are planning on signing Mark Brunell, making him their number two quarterback, cutting Kellen Clemens and Erik Ainge, and then putting Kevin O’Connell on the practice squad. With the amount of work Brad Smith has been getting at quarterback, he could technically be their number three guy and save them a roster spot. If something happened to Sanchez, they could bump O’Connell up from the practice squad. If Ainge or O’Connell don’t step up in training camp, this idea makes plenty of sense. Why not keep another defensive back, defensive lineman, or receiver who could potentially contribute? You hear talk about the Jets defense messing around with schemes that have eight DBs on the field, so you know Rex Ryan is going to want to carry as many as possible each week.

2. It is easy for him to get lost in the shuffle a little bit with the additions around him but I think Jerricho Cotchery is going to be a lethal weapon out of the slot this season. Between the chemistry he has with Sanchez, his quickness, hands, and route-running…he is going to be converting a ton of third downs this season. His overall numbers may not be gaudy, but he will consistently be coming up with big catches when the Jets need to move the chains. If I was drafting a Jets receiver for my fantasy team this season, it would be Braylon Edwards though. You get the impression he has been particularly locked in this off-season and he lit it up in OTAs and minicamp. The guy is in a contract year and he is still trying to prove that 17 touchdown season wasn’t a fluke. Beyond that, he needs to score as soon as possible so he could shave that beard he has going on right now.

3. I am really fascinated to see how the reps on defense are going to be divided up and how the touches on offense are going to be divided up. On defense, you know Ryan is going to be itching to get his defensive backs off the bench and into the game. Yet when Kyle Wilson, Eric Smith, James Ihedigbo, Dwight Lowery, or Drew Coleman come in off the bench, who will be sitting the bulk of those reps out? How many times will the Jets slide Jason Taylor down to the defensive line in a three point stance? How often will be they put Sione Pouha in at nose tackle and bump Kris Jenkins out to defensive end? If you think about, the Jets could really come up with some interesting personnel combinations with their current depth chart.

On offense, it is really mind-boggling to go over the combinations, personnel groups, and formations the Jets could use, especially now with Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards learning all three receiver sports. You have three wide receivers, a tight end, and two running backs (Tomlinson and McKnight) who could basically line up anywhere in the set. One of the funnier things i noticed at minicamp was the Jets had 4 wide set out there, with a single back. So they have Edwards split out to one side, with Cotchery in the slot. Keller in the slot on the other side of the field, Tomlinson in the backfield releasing on a quick out but split out wide on Keller’s side, they have Matthew Mulligan (filling in for Ben Hartsock as the number two tight end). You know Mulligan was looking in and thinking “there is no way I am getting this ball, why should I even bother running a route.”

Watch That New TOJ TV…That Intro Has To Get You Pumped

A Video That Only Enhances Your Hate Of Both Our Rivals

New TOJ TV: Live Footage From Jets Minicamp

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First a few updates:

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

New TOJ TV: Live Footage From Jets Minicamp

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

Wednesday Minicamp Review: A Day At The New Stadium

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First a few updates:

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

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

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

Wednesday Minicamp Review: A Day At The New Stadium

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get Hyped For This Season

Turn On The Jets Exclusive Interview: David Clowney

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First a few updates:

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

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

Turn On The Jets Exclusive Interview: David Clowney

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Video From The David Clowney’s Foundation Work

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

And My Personal Favorite

Ten Monday Thoughts On The Jets Defense

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First a few updates:

1. Mark Sanchez threw some passes during the Jets OTA practice today, which is obviously good news. The entire roster participated outside of Kris Jenkins and Jason Taylor. Jenkins was continuing to rehab his injury on the sideline and Taylor was finishing up charity work in Miami. There is a ton of pictures of today’s action on www.newyorkjets.com, including shots of Santonio and LaDainian in the green and white.

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

Ten Monday Thoughts On The Jets Defense

1. It will be very interesting to see how the reps are divided up in the Jets defensive backfield this season. Rex Ryan loves using packages that are overloaded with DBs but beyond Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Kyle Wilson, and Jim Leonhard, who else will be prominently featured in the Jets various sub, nickel, and dime packages? Brodney Pool, Eric Smith, Dwight Lowery, James Ihedigbo, and to a lesser extent Drew Coleman, Marquice Cole, and Donovan Warren will all be competing for a bigger role on the defense.

2. Most people are targeting Jason Taylor as the guy on the Jets who could come up with double digit sacks. Yet keep in mind, Calvin Pace had 8 sacks in only 12 games last season. How about the Jets get two guys in the double digit sack range?

3. Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has been talking about second year player Matt Kroul as a key piece of the Jets defensive line rotation this season. Players like Kroul and Ropait Pitoitua need to step up to give the Jets the necessary depth on the line and take pressure off Kris Jenkins up front, who will also have his reps limited by the presence of Sione Pouha.

Photobucket4. I know we are all excited about Kyle Wilson’s coverage skills but don’t sleep on his value as a blitzer in Rex Ryan’s defense. He loves sending defensive backs off the edge and Wilson is athletic and physical enough to get 3 or 4 sacks this season to complement his coverage skills.

5. Nobody is a bigger fan of Darrelle Revis than Turn On The Jets but 20 million dollars a year? The guy is the best corner in football but he wants to be the highest paid player in the league, which is hard to swing if you aren’t a quarterback. These negotiations aren’t going to be pretty.

6. What is the reason we can’t resign Marques Douglas? We can’t give him a one year deal to boost the depth on the defensive line? Maybe I am underestimating Mike DeVito, who for some reason is my cousin’s favorite player on the defense.

7. What are the odds that Vernon Gholston is even active for more than half of the Jets games in 2010? I just can’t see him making a successful transition to defensive end, especially in the 3-4. He isn’t going to play special teams over Lance Laury or Jamaal Westerman.

8. Unlike last year when the Jets defense dominated the offense throughout training camp, it should be a little more even this season. How about watching Revis, Cromartie, and Wilson battle against Edwards, Cotchery, and Holmes on a daily basis? That kind of competition is going to make everybody better…and yes, Dwight Lowery and David Clowney could make each other better also.

9. I want some more defensive touchdowns this season…I am looking at you Antonio Cromartie…and Revis, you really can’t get any better than you were last season but if you want 20 million dollars, let’s take a couple back to the house this year.

10. What defensive player jersey are you looking to buy this season? I got Revis but beyond that I am swamped with offensive jerseys…Harris? Wilson? Leonhard? Drew Coleman?

Analyzing The Jets Defensive Depth Chart

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First a few updates:

1. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets)…because I can’t be typing about all the Jets related links you should be reading here.

2. Turn On The Jets has climbed to #2 when you google “Jets Blog”…now you may be asking, who the hell ever googles “Jets Blog?” and it is a good question but  I am pumped about it anyway. Wait until I finally get that press pass this summer, get the podcast up and running, and redesign the site.

3. Darren Sharper re-signed with the Saints. I never thought he would end up with the Jets anyway, the organization seems to be high on Brodney Pool and if he doesn’t work out Eric Smith is a reliable back-up.

4. There is still plenty of chatter about Laveranues Coles joining the Jets but again I don’t see it happening unless it gets to July 22nd and Coles hasn’t found a team yet. I can’t see him accepting being a number four receiver for 12 weeks of the season, which he would be after Santonio Holmes returns from injury. On the other hand, I wold bet on Mark Brunell joining the Jets after July 22nd and Adalius Thomas also joining the team some time in June (he was cut and isn’t a UFA so the Jets could sign him whenever).

5. Philadelphia…the only place where a father tells his 17 year old son to run on the field during a MLB game and then watches as his son proceeds to be tazed by the cops and thrown in jail.

6. What the hell was that last night Cleveland? I run my mouth on twitter talking you guys up over Boston and you lay an egg like that?

Analyzing The Jets Defensive Depth Chart

PhotobucketBy this point we have a general idea of who the starters for the Jets will be on both sides of the ball and who many of the key reserves coming off the bench will be. However, there are still some spots that remain up for grabs on the Jets final 53 man roster. Let’s take a look through at current situation on the Jets depth chart heading into May’s full squad OTAs, continuing today with the defense. After looking at the offense yesterday, it is fair assume the Jets will keep 26 players on this side of the ball and maybe add another when Santonio Holmes returns from suspension and the Jets release a receiver:

Defensive Tackle

  1. Kris Jenkins – The big fella is returning from a season ending injury and looking to regain his form from early in the 2008 season.
  2. Sione Pouha – Did a great job stepping in for Jenkins last year. He will play a ton to keep Jenkins fresh for the stretch run.
  3. Matt Kroul – Coaching staff is apparently very high on him, should push for a roster spot.
  4. Ty Steinkuhler – Outside chance of pushing for a roster spot.

Defensive End

  1. Shaun Ellis – The longest tenured Jet and a solid veteran player.
  2. Mike DeVito – Could be pushing it by asking him to be a full time starter.
  3. Vernon Gholston – Should be cut…but won’t be until after this season.
  4. Ropati Pitoitua – Is expected to be a big part of the defensive line rotation this year.

Potential Additions – Marques Douglas – This could be more of wishful thinking on my part but if there is an injury or the defensive ends struggle in camp, don’t be surprised to see the Jets bring Douglas back.

Analysis – Jenkins, Ellis, DeVito, Pouha, and Gholston are all locks to make the roster. I would be shocked if Pitoitua doesn’t end up on the final 53 either because the Jets like his potential. Kroul will likely be the 7th and final guy they carry unless somebody else steps up in camp.

Inside Linebacker

  1. David Harris – All-Pro caliber linebacker.
  2. Bart Scott – Emotional leader of the defense.
  3. Jamaal Westerman – Showed potential last year, could have bigger role in sub packages this season.
  4. Lance Laury – Special teams ace brought in to replace Larry Izzo.
  5. Kenwin Cummings – Talented guy from small school, who stuck around the team the past couple of years.
  6. Brashton Satele – Made good impression in minicamp.

Outside Linebacker

  1. Calvin Pace – Very good all around player, who the Jets get for all 16 games this year instead of 12.
  2. Bryan Thomas – Not flashy but does his job well.
  3. Jason Taylor – Brought in to sack the quarterback and make Jets fans nauseous.
  4. Corey Reamer – Made a strong impression in minicamp.
  5. Kevin Basped – Also made a strong impression in minicamp.

Potential Additions – Adalius Thomas – A Rex Ryan favorite who has the versatility to line up all over the place in his defense. The Jets will likely wait a few weeks before making a move to sign him.

Analysis – Harris, Scott, Pace, Thomas, Taylor are all locks for the final roster. Westerman and Laury are overwhelmingly likely to make it because of their special abilities and in Westerman’s case, his long term potential. My guess is the Jets will carry 8 linebackers, with the eighth either being Adalius Thomas or one of the UDFAs like Reamer or Basped.

Corner

  1. Darrelle Revis – The Island is the best in the business.
  2. Antonio Cromartie – Playing for a long term contract and to show he can still be an all-pro player.
  3. Kyle Wilson – He was a steal at #29 and should flourish in this defense.
  4. Dwight Lowery – I feel a hell of alot better with him as our #4 corner instead of our #2.
  5. Drew Coleman – Hanging by a thread.
  6. Marquice Cole – Played well last pre-season, could easily jump Coleman on the depth chart and maybe even Lowery.
  7. Brian Jackson – UDFA who played well in minicamp.

Safety

  1. Jim Leonhard – Comfortable in Rex’s system…steady player.
  2. Brodney Pool – Let’s hope he can stay healthy.
  3. Eric Smith – Versatile player, who did a good job last season off the bench.
  4. James Ihedigbo – Good on blitzes and special teams.
  5. Donovan Warren – Could turn out to be a huge steal as a UDFA.

Analysis – My guess today is that everybody I just listed sticks on the final roster, except either Drew Coleman or Brian Jackson. Rex loves DB’s and don’t be shocked to see him carry 11.

PhotobucketOverall AnalysisThe way I see it now is the Jets will carry 7 defensive lineman, 8 linebackers, and 11 secondary guys. They could add another defensive lineman or linebacker after the Holmes suspension ends and the Jets release a receiver. Don’t be shocked to see Adalius Thomas be one of the linebackers on the final roster. Also, keep an eye on Donovan Warren as somebody who could sneak up the depth chart.

Kris Jenkins Is A Beast

Ten Friday Thoughts On The Jets

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First a few updates:

1. What a first day of March Madness…unfortunately my Lehigh Mountain Hawks couldn’t pull off the 16 vs 1 upset but they did hang tough. They definitely made it more competitive than Lafayette would have, I know that much.

2. James Ihedigbo (who received his first article lead picture on TOJ today), Vernon Gholston, and Davd Clowney have all been in Haiti the past week helping out with the rebuilding effort. www.newyorkjets.com has been documenting it. Great job by all those guys taking the time out of their lives to give help where it is needed most.

3. LaDainain Tomlinson got a jump start on Monday’s first team workout by showing up at the facility today to do some drills with strength coach Sal Alosi. Bart Scott and Dustin Keller were also present.

4. Follow Turn On The Jets on facebook…because 226 other people are doing it

5. Starting in April, I will be doing some fantasy football writing for Fanball/Rototimes so if you are interested in reading some advice/insight on the world of fantasy I will be posting the links here when I start up.

6. Upcoming TOJ stuff to be excited about — An off-season edition of TOJ TV. I know everybody misses seeing me and James in front of the camera. Also, as soon as I get my new laptop I will be putting together TOJ: The Podcast. My goal is to have the first episode up and running by the NFL Draft.

Ten Friday Thoughts On The Jets

For once, news is a little slow on our J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have ten Friday thoughts about them:

1. Tim Graham of ESPN.com does a great job of occasionally compiling mock draft selections for AFC East teams, here is the latest picks from Mel Kiper, Todd McShay, (ESPN) Don Banks (SI), Bucky Brooks, Pat Kirwan (NFL.com), Sam Farmer (LA Times), Clark Judge, Pete Prisco, Rob Rang, and Chad Reuter (CBS Sports).

  • Kiper – Taylor Mays, USC Safety
  • McShay – Jared Odrick, PSU Defensive Tackle
  • Banks – Demaryius Thomas, Georgia Tech Receiver
  • Brooks – Demaryius Thomas, Georgia Tech Receiver
  • Farmer – Dan Williams, Tennessee Defensive Tackle
  • Judge – Mike Iupati, Idaho Guard (who the Jets worked out today)
  • Kirwan – Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State Receiver
  • Prisco – Demaryius Thomas, Georgia Tech Receiver
  • Rang – Golden Tate, Notre Dame Receiver
  • Reuter – Jared Odrick, PSU Defensive Tackle

PhotobucketIt looks like just about everybody has the Jets penciled in for a defensive lineman or a wide receiver, which makes sense considering their recent acquisitions. Odrick is coming off a strong pro day and is a name who has been linked to the Jets since the draft order was set. Personally, at this point I would rather see the Jets improve their defensive line depth, especially considering they haven’t re-signed Marques Douglas yet, than add a wide receiver in round one. There will be plenty of receivers for the Jets to target in the second round if they are looking for a slot guy.

2. What are the odds of Alan Faneca, Damien Woody, Nick Mangold, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, and Brandon Moore starting every single game again this year? I am not sure I am confident in Wayne Hunter or Robert Turner for an extended period of time. The Jets should spend a middle-round pick on an offensive lineman to develop behind the veterans and eventually take over for either Faneca or Woody, depending on whether they a pick a guard or tackle. It also probably wouldn’t hurt to add another cheap free agent lineman to improve depth, although the market is pretty thin right now.

3. I am curious how the battle for the starting safety is going to play out. You would think Eric Smith will probably get the first crack at the job, but I get the impression the coaching staff is high on James Ihedigbo’s potential, especially in run support and that they didn’t sign Brodney Pool to sit on the bench. Honestly, I think all three will have a role on the defense and end up splitting the reps. My guess is that the starting job will likely change hands multiple times. The only problem is that all three of these guys are known to be better in run support than in pass coverage. I guess it is a good thing we have Revis Island on one side of the field, and hopefully Cromartie peninsula coming together on the opposite side (I know peninsula probably isn’t the best geographic term, but I can’t think of anything better right now, I guess I am saying receivers will occasionally be able to escape to the only border because only #24 is good enough to maintain his own island…enough geography for the day).

4. What is your ideal Jets offensive box score looking like right now? Here is what mine is looking like for our week 1 Monday night victory over the Dolphins:

  • Mark Sanchez – 18/24, 221 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs
  • Shonn Greene – 21 carries, 114 yards
  • LaDainain Tomlinson – 8 carries, 40 yards, 1 TD, 2 receptions, 26 yards
  • Leon Washington – 7 carries, 40 yards, 3 receptions, 25 yards
  • Braylon Edwards – 4 catches, 70 yards
  • Jerricho Cotchery – 5 catches, 50 yards, 1 TD
  • Dustin Keller – 4 catches, 50 yards, 1 TD
  • Brad Smith – 2 carries, 22 yards

5. How many games does Vernon Gholston get a shot this year before the Jets decide to throw in the towel and just make him inactive every week? If it gets to week 5 or 6 and he isn’t contributing on defense and remains an average special teams player, how do you justify keeping him on the active roster?

Photobucket6. It will be an interesting battle this year for the final roster spot at receiver, considering who the Jets add through the draft or if they decide to sign Laveranues Coles. David Clowney made a few big plays last year but never lived up to the hype he created in pre-season. Britt Davis was a camp favorite of the coaches before he began struggling with drops toward the end of the pre-season. Aundrae Allison might be the fastest player on the team but he was forced to go on IR after the last pre-season game and Marcus Henry is still around.

7. I think Erik Ainge and maybe Kevin O’Connell will give Kellen Clemens a run for the #2 quarterback job this pre-season. The Jets didn’t carry four quarterbacks on their roster last year for no reason and I bet they won’t do it again this year.

8. Nick Folk, really? C’mon now.

Photobucket9. Who is going to fill Wallace Wright’s spot on special teams? Better yet, who is going to fill his article space in training camp with the requisite “this special teams guy is having a terrific camp on offense and is going to finally break out.” It can’t be Danny Woodhead, who showed he can’t contain on kick coverage against Miami last year and already has a hold over the requisite “long-shot division 2 player who is really scrappy and everyone is pulling for to make the roster” story space. NOTE – After I began typing this, it was announced the Jets signed former Seahawks linebacker Lance Laury who was their special teams captain last year. He had 21 tackles and 1 forced fumble last year. Nice job reading my mind Mike Tannenbaum.

10. What is the next Jets jersey I should buy? Currently my jersey depth chart is looking like this (ranked in order of swaggalicious-ness)…I don’t know how to pronounce what I just typed. By the way, I never wear outdated jerseys in public, just for pick-up football, but I listed them anyway.

  • Darrelle Revis, White Titans
  • Jerricho Cotchery, White
  • Dustin Keller, Green
  • Mark Sanchez, White
  • Curtis Martin, Green
  • Laveranues Coles, White
  • Santana Moss, White
  • Jonathan Vilma, Green
  • Chad Pennington, Green
  • Kerry Rhodes, Green
  • Curtis Conway, Green

I could have a new car by now, if I didn’t have all these jersey. I have two identical green #81 jerseys, the only difference is that it says “Keller” on one and “Conway” on the other. I am leaning heavily towards either a home Shonn Greene jersey or a blue Leon Washington throwback (depending how he looks coming off the injury)…maybe a home David Harris jersey, we’ll see.

Oh, The Madness

Looking Over The Jets Secondary

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First a few updates:

1. Austin…great city, I am getting my rest in now before another night out…I am looking forward to a little dinner cheering on Seton Hall over Notre Dame.

2. Just as it was announced the Jets had interest in former Colts corner Marlin Jackson, the Eagles moved first and signed him.

3. It doesn’t look like Darren Sharper will be going back to New Orleans and he has expressed his interest in playing in the New York market. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Jets sign Sharper to a one or two year deal, and then draft a safety in the middle rounds and have him learn the ropes behind him.

4. Quick Thoughts on LOST Season 6 Episode 7 “Dr. Linus” – It is pretty clear season 6 is starting to pick up some momentum. I thought this was a great all around episode. The flash sideways had interesting parallels to the on the island story and Ben’s past. It was good to see the good guys pick up a few people and gather together on the beach, setting up the inevitable clash with Locke’s group. The scenes with Richard and Jack were particularly strong. It looks like Jack is finally embracing his importance to the island. Another great ending this week, with Widmore heading back to the island which should add an interesting dynamic to the conflict.

Looking Over The Jets Secondary

No position on the Jets roster will have more of an overhaul than their secondary,  Mike Tannenbaum has made it clear the Jets will add a few more players to their group which has already parted ways with Kerry Rhodes, Lito Sheppard, and Donald Strickland and only been supplemented by the addition of Antonio Cromartie. Let’s take a look at what the Jets currently have and where they make some additions, along with who the targets could be:

Corners

Darrelle Revis – The best player in the NFL at his position. Tannenbaum is currently working on a long-term deal for Revis, which if it doesn’t get done this off-season will likely be priority number one next year.

Antonio Cromartie – The Jets biggest off-season acquisition so far. If Cromartie can get near his 2007 level of play, the Jets will have the best cornerback duo in the NFL.

PhotobucketDwight Lowery – Everybody is way down on Lowery after the abuse he took in the AFC Championship game, yet to think of Lowery as a complete lost cause would be a mistake. Over his first two years in the NFL, Lowery has been a productive player for the Jets but it is clear he lacks the skill set to be a full time starter. He still has value as a #3 or #4 corner, spot starter, and special teams player.

Drew Coleman – A guy with good speed and value on special teams. However, I think the Jets are pushing it when they rely on him to be their nickel corner. I would rather see him as a #4 or #5 corner. He could have a difficult time making the roster this season.

Marquice Cole – He had a strong pre-season last year and was active in a few games. Rex Ryan seems to have taken a liking to him. I wouldn’t be shocked if he had a chance to gain an expanded role this season.

Safeties

Jim Leonhard – A Rex Ryan guy, who makes the calls in the secondary and had a strong first season with the Jets. He is a blue-collar player, who isn’t afraid to step up in the box and be a physical player.

Eric Smith – Smith started the year off strong  as a role player on the defense and did a pretty good job when he was promoted over Kerry Rhodes. He is better served as a #3 safety/role player/special teams guy than a starter, regardless of what Mike Tannenbaum says.

James Ihedigbo – A very good special teams player and a guy who became more involved on the defense as a blitzer on third down late in the year, which is the perfect role for him regardless of what Mike Tannenbaum says.

I would expect the Jets to add a corner who could compete with Lowery, Coleman, and Cole for the nickel role. At this point, I am not sure who they would target outside of Corey Ivy in the free agent market. I also wouldn’t be surprised if they spent a late round pick on a corner to add depth to the position. Regardless of what Tannenbaum says, the Jets are going to add another safety whether it is Brodney Pool, Darren Sharper, or a high draft pick.

Thoughts On Kerry Rhodes Trade & Weekend Wrap-Up

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First a few updates:

1. Great times yesterday at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Hoboken…I am happy to report everybody I was with  avoided the $2,000 fines that were being handed out like candy on Halloween. I got a decent amount of love for my “Revis Island” shirt. Sure, there were plenty of bitter Giants fans celebrating the Antrel Rolle signing like they just picked up Ronnie Lott in his prime, but I mean hey any time you can make a guy who might not even be a top ten player in the league at his position the highest paid safety in NFL history…hey, go for it.

2. I am heading out to Austin, Texas from Tuesday to Sunday with some college friends, so posts might be a little more sparse than I would normally like but if anything major happens, I’ll obviously be on it and of course follow the facebook page and twitter account for updates.

3. The 2010 Draft section has been updated.

Thoughts On Kerry Rhodes Trade & Weekend Wrap-Up

When I woke up this morning and saw all the information on the Kerry Rhodes trade, I wasn’t surprised to see he was moved. The momentum had been building on this for awhile and even though Mike Tannenbaum made it sound like he would be back during the Antonio Cromartie conference call, you still had a feeling he wouldn’t be playing for the Jets in 2010. Initially, I wasn’t thrilled with the value they got back from Arizona. The original reports from last week had Arizona potentially sending over a 3rd round pick, but as we know it ended up being a 4th rounder and a 7th rounder next year. I suppose that it is decent value for a guy who has never been a pro-bowler but the Jets still now have a hole at safety.

PhotobucketIt sounds like the Jets are content to let Eric Smith take over but I can’t really see Tannenbaum standing pat here. I don’t know if he will try to make a move up in the draft to grab Eric Berry or Earl Thomas, look at the second round tender on Baltimore’s Dawan Landry or has something else in mind but I’d be shocked if the Jets didn’t bring in somebody else to pair with Jim Leonhard. Eric Smith is a decent player but he has some limitations in pass coverage and isn’t much of a playmaker. The Jets defense isn’t better with Smith and James Ihedigbo taking the major reps at safety over Rhodes.

In retrospect, I now have another jersey of a former Jets player. I could slide my #25 jersey next to my Chad Pennington, Jonathan Vilma, Laveranues Coles, Santana Moss, and Curtis Conway (yikes) ones. Like most Jets fans, I was huge Rhodes fan when he instantly became a productive player as a fourth round pick in 2005. He took his game to the next level in 2006 with a monster season, in which he probably should have received All-Pro recognition. Unfortunately, his play has declined in every season since, culminating with him being benched in week 10 this past year. Rhodes never seemed to click with the new coaching staff and was apparently wearing thin on the locker room with his “Hollywood” attitude. Regardless, TOJ wishes Rhodes luck in Arizona and will have always fond memories of the big plays he made from 2005-2009.

It is nice the Jets added a fourth round pick and now currently only have one round in which they don’t pick (third). I also expect they will pick up another selection when compensatory picks are announced. The Jets need depth on both sides of the ball and have been short on draft picks in recent years, so the more overall selections the better.

In terms of where they go from here, there hasn’t been much written on Adalius Thomas in the past 48 hours but I still expect when everything is said and done, that he will end up on the Jets. Mike Tannenbaum has been giving the impression the Jets will definitely add another one or maybe even two, corners. Corey Ivy remains a potential target. Ralph Brown, Frank Walker, Benny Sapp, and Roderick Hood are other available players the Jets could consider.

PhotobucketMarques Douglas is attracting interest from the Patriots, Panthers, and Titans. I really hope the Jets use some of the money they freed up from Kerry Rhodes, Thomas Jones, Donald Strickland, and Lito Sheppard to get Douglas back. He was a valuable part of their defense and is a quality 3-4 end, which are hard to come by. Mike DeVito was pretty good last year but is better served as a rotational player, providing depth very similar to Eric Smith. The Jets have the money to sign him and their defense will be better overall with him. There is no reason to have too much turnover on the league’s #1 defense.

Pro Football Talk is reporting the market could soon heat up for Leon Washington. Yet, they don’t name any specific teams. Even if another team signs Washington to an offer sheet, I can’t see the Jets letting Thomas Jones and Leon Washington walk in one off-season. Jones is going to get more money offered somewhere else and likely not return. Tannenbaum has said the Jets will target a veteran running back, although the options are fairly slim. Mike Bell’s name has been thrown around but beyond him I haven’t heard another running back specifically mentioned.

Jets vs. Bengals First Look

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First a few updates:

1. David Harris and Steve Weatherford missed practice today. Harris is likely going to be a game-time decision, while I would expect Weatherford to play. James Ihedigbo left practice today with a stinger but did return. Thomas Jones and Tony Richardson were given the day off. The backup to David Harris, Ryan Fowler, was limited with a head injury and if for some reason he and Harris couldn’t play…Kenwin Cummings would start at inside linebacker.

2. Cedric Benson told the media today that he didn’t even know who David Harris was and that he doubted the Jets would struggle without him. Harris is the leading tackler on the Jets #1 ranked defense with 127 stops, along with 5.5 sacks and 2 interceptions. I wonder if Benson knows who Thomas Jones is? The guy he was drafted to replace in Chicago but could never beat out. The guy who despite being 5 years older than him finished with 151 more rushing yards and 8 more touchdowns than him this season and was able to stay healthy enough to play all 16 games, while Benson couldn’t.

3. Condolences to Jets owner Woody Johnson and his family. His daughter passed away yesterday.

4. How about Teddy Bruschi on ESPN saying that the Jets have the best chance to make the Super Bowl out of the two wild-card teams? I think he was trying to jinx them.

5. The Bengals are coming into the came 100 percent healthy with Chad Ochocinco, Chris Crocker, and Domata Peko all expected to start.

6. The Jets finished #12 in ESPN’s Power Rankings, not bad for a team that started the season as ranked #23.

7. Well we know how Jeffri Chadiha of ESPN feels about the Jets (http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/playoffs/2009/columns/story?columnist=chadiha_jeffri&id=4795473), then again this guy is picking Tony Romo to win three playoff games, so I wouldn’t be too worried.

Jets vs. Bengals First Look

Bengals Offensive Starters/Key Reserves

  • Quarterback: Carson Palmer – 282/466, 3094 yards, 60.5 completion percentage, 21 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, 83.6 QB Rating.
  • Running Back: Cedric Benson – 301 carries, 1251 yards, 4.2 yards per carry, 6 TD’s.
  • Third Down Back: Bernard Scott – 74 carries, 321 yards, 4.3 yards per carry.
  • Back-Up Running Back: Larry Johnson – 46 carries, 204 yards, 4.4 yards per carry.
  • Other Third Down Back: Brian Leonard – 27 carries, 84 yards, 3.1 yards per carry, 30 receptions, 217 yards
  • Fullback: Jeremi Johnson – 4 carries, 8 yards, 6 receptions, 41 yards.
  • #1 Receiver: Chad Ochocinco – 72 receptions, 1047 yards, 9 touchdowns.
  • #2 Receiver: Laveranues Coles – 43 receptions, 514 yards, 5 touchdowns.
  • #3 Receiver: Andre Caldwell – 51 receptions, 432 yards, 3 touchdowns.
  • #4 Receiver: Quan Cosby – 4 receptions, 55 yards
  • Tight End: J.P. Foschi – 27 receptions, 260 yards, 2 touchdowns
  • #2 Tight End: Daniel Coats – 16 receptions, 150 yards
  • Left Tackle: Andrew Whitworth
  • Left Guard: Nate Livings
  • Center: Kyle Cook
  • Right Guard: Bobbie Williams
  • Right Tackle: Dennis Roland

Bengals Defensive Starters/Key Reserves

  • Defensive End: Robert Geathers – 36 tackles, 3.5 sacks
  • Defensive Tackle: Domata Peko – 23 tackles
  • Defensive Tackle: Tank Johnson – 29 tackles, 2.0 sacks
  • Defensive End: Jonathan Fanene – 36 tackles, 6.0 sacks
  • Outside Linebacker: Rashad Jeanty – 20 tackles
  • Middle Linebacker: Dhani Jones – 113 tackles, 3.5 sacks
  • Outside Linebacker: Keith Rivers – 72 tackles, 1 sack
  • Corner: Leon Hall – 71 tackles, 6 INTs
  • Corner: Jonathan Joseph – 69 tackles, 6 INTs
  • Safety: Chris Crocker – 51 tackles, 2 INTs
  • Safety: Chinedum Ndukwe – 89 tackles, 1 INT

Special Teams

  • Kicker: Shayne Graham – 23/28 FGs, 28/29 PATs, (1 miss from 20-29 yards, 2 misses from 30-39 yards)
  • Punter: Kevin Huber – 43.2 yards per punt
  • Kick Return: Bernard Scott – 1 return touchdown, 31.5 average
  • Punt Return: Quan Cosby – 11.9 per return.

PhotobucketOffense – The Bengals offense is built like the Jets offense, which means they live by the run. Carson Palmer isn’t an elite quarterback anymore but still had a good overall season. He can be relied on to make some plays if the running game is slowed down, yet the Bengals are weak at wide receiver. Chad Ochocinco isn’t going to be a factor this week, I can promise you that and beyond him the Bengals have nothing at receiver. Laveraneus Coles is washed up and Andre Caldwell is average. They also don’t have a pass catching threat at tight end. Cedric Benson has been very good this year and Brian Leonard has made plays for them on third downs. However, I have a tough time seeing Benson gashing the Jets defense. Honestly, I would be shocked if the Bengals scored more than 17 points unless Sanchez turns the ball over.

Defense – Cincy has been very strong against the run all season. However, they are now missing linebacker Rey Maualuga which will have a negative impact on them. The Jets are going to run the ball, regardless of how many people the Bengals put in the box. I am sure Cincy has spent plenty of time on Brad Smith this week in practice and they should expect more of him this week. The Bengals have two very good corners and talent at safety as well. Mark Sanchez has to be careful against their secondary because there isn’t going to be a ton of space for Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery to work with.

Special Teams – I am very worried about Bernard Scott ripping off a kick return touchdown against us this week. However, keep an eye on Brad Smith on our kick return unit because he has been improving all season. I think we have an advantage at the kicker position.

Well They Couldn’t Beat Oakland