The Super Bowl Of Meaningless Games: Jets vs. Giants Preview

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The Super Bowl Of Meaningless Games: Jets vs. Giants Preview

It’s time for some August football, which means despite a Subway spokesperson and a reserve corner constantly expressing their jealously over the Jets, ultimately tonight’s results will be meaningless. However, that is no reason not to be excited to watch the Jets and Giants first teams battle it out in the first quarter. Well, at least the Jets first team since the Giants have continued their trend from 2009 by becoming the Mets of the NFL aka “the walking wounded.” What is in the water up there in Albany that has half of their team injured?

Anyway on to the football, there is plenty to watch for from a Jets perspective tonight:

Offense

1. Mark Sanchez – It would be encouraging to see Sanchez build on his strong postseason run tonight. The most important things are for him to protect the football and show the ability to take a hit after his off-season surgery. The Jets offense should be a little more wide-open than their strict ground and pound approach in 2009. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Brian Schottenheimer dial up an early deep ball for Braylon Edwards or Santonio Holmes.

2. LaDainian Tomlinson – The word out of Cortland has been that Tomlinson has a little bounce in his step and looks like he is far from done. LT will be getting substantially  more pre-season work than he is used to. The Jets love his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, so look for him split out on a few plays and to be the target of a screen pass or two. It will also be interesting to see how the carries are divided up between him and Shonn Greene, along with who will get the goal-line touches.

3. Left Guard – The battle between Matt Slauson and Vladimir Ducasse moves into a game situation tonight. Slauson has an early advantage but Ducasse should get a shot with the first offense to keep himself in the race. How much will the Jets miss Alan Faneca and his revolving door pass blocking?

4. Backup Quarterback – I’m not sold on Mark Brunell yet but apparently he has put together a strong camp. He will likely be working with Santonio Holmes, Laveranues Coles, and David Clowney at receiver, so let’s see the Jets offense move the ball against the Giants second unit.

5. Formations – The Jets are stacked with receiving options. I just can’t wait to see the different ways Schottenheimer has come up with to line up Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, Santonio Holmes, and Dustin Keller.

6. Keep An Eye On – Rookie tight end Jeff Cumberland…reserve receivers Aundrae Allison and Marcus Henry…rookie running back Joe McKnight (please don’t throw up)…How many reps rookie fullback John Conner gets with the first offense.

Defense

Photobucket1. A Team Without An Island – Antonio Cromartie slides over into Darrelle Revis’ old spot and will be looking to build on a monster training camp. Rookie Kyle Wilson will start opposite him, while Dwight Lowery and Marquice Cole will be the first to work in behind the starters. It wouldn’t hurt the Jets leverage if Cromartie flashed back to 2007 and had a pick six or Kyle Wilson had a strong night in the starting lineup, while the organization could get antsy if Eli Manning is throwing all over the Jets first defense.

2. Is He Alive? – Vernon Gholston has been getting hyped up all August by the coaching staff and now even the beat writers. Will we actually notice him on the field tonight? Could he possibly pressure the quarterback or even record a sack?

3. The Cookie Monster – Kris Jenkins should see very limited reps tonight as he returns from ACL surgery. I would like to see the big fella blow up a few plays and then get on the sideline.

4. A Mirage – We get to see Jason Taylor rushing the quarterback in a Jets uniform tonight, weird. He can start winning fans over by flattening Manning tonight.

5. Mrs. Rhodes Replacement – I am anxious to see a safety next to Jim Leonhard who can tackle.

6. Keep An Eye On – Kenwin Cummings at inside linebacker…Ropati Pitoitua battling for a spot in the defensive end rotation…Donovan Warren, Brian Jackson, Drew Coleman, and Emmanuel Cook battling for a roster spot in the secondary…Bart Scott ripping the ball out of Brandon Jacobs hands again.

Special Teams

What The Folk – I won’t be able to watch tonight when Folk lines up for field goals.

No More Dearth – The Jets have a new long snapper in Tanner Purdum, everybody will remember James Dearth’s name tonight if he flubs a snap.

Return Battle – I am looking forward to see Kyle Wilson deep on punt returns and Brad Smith, Joe McKnight, Aundrae Allison, and Larry Taylor fight it out for the kick return job.

Check back tonight for instant reaction after the game

Get Yourself Pumped For Some Football

Jets Friday Morning Recap & What About The Gholston Hype?

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Friday Morning Recap:

Rex Ryan’s press conference was particularly interesting this morning –

  • He backed up his bravado of signing the ESPN Training Bus “Soon To Be Champs” on the Jets logo. Ryan claimed when he looks in the crystal ball for 2010 he sees the Jets winning the Super Bowl and doesn’t believe there is any reason to hide it.
  • Rookie UDFA tight end Jeff Cumberland has a head injury and could miss the green and white scrimmage tomorrow. Linebacker Brashton Satele and guard Marion Davis are also banged up and could miss tomorrow.
  • He discussed Joe McKnight’s role on the team and commented how he must find a spot on special teams, particularly in covering kicks. The Jets had Mike Westhoff call him before they drafted him and make sure he would willing to embrace that role. When discussing him at running back, he said there is no way he is beating out Shonn Greene or LaDainian Tomlinson on the depth chart but he could still have a large role on the offense. Sticking to the running backs, he continued to lavish praise on Tomlinson and rookie fullback John Conner.
  • Mike DeVito will be the starting defensive end opposite Shaun Ellis. Those two along with Kris Jenkins and Sione Pouha will get the bulk of the defensive line rotation reps, although he is expecting Vernon Gholston and Ropati Pitoitua to contribute on a weekly basis also. When pressed about Gholston deserving a roster spot, Ryan got defensive saying he was earning it with a great opening week of camp and his various roles on special teams. One of the reporters questioned whether newcomer Rodrique Wright should get a spot over him but Ryan claimed they play different positions and that Gholston is currently the best option to back up Shaun Ellis at defensive end.
  • Currently, Kenwin Cummings is the team’s number three inside linebacker behind Bart Scott and David Harris.
  • Ryan said  Nick Folk reminded him of Matt Stover, who struggled at times early in his career but eventually settled down.
  • He was frustrated with the defense allowing a 50 yard touchdown reception by Brad Smith because he saw it as a continuation of their late game struggles in 2009.
  • Matt Slauson is leading in the battle for LG right now because he is being more physical and not as hesitant. The coaches have got on Vladimir Ducasse about worrying less on making mistakes and concentrating on finishing his blocks each play.

Practice Highlights

  • Mark Sanchez – 5/11, TD, INT (Calvin Pace on a batted ball)
  • Nick Folk – 6/6, including a 51 yarder.
  • Smith with the previously mentioned 50 yard touchdown.
  • Another sack for Vernon Gholston.
  • Fight between Jamaal Westerman and Robert Turner.
  • Laveranues Coles banged up his leg but returned later in practice.
  • David Clowney is excused from practice today for personal reasons.

What About The Gholston Hype?

PhotobucketWe hear it every single year. Vernon Gholston is finally getting it. He looks great out there. The game is slowing down for him and on and on. This training camp has been no different. Every single day we are hearing about Gholston recording another sack or flushing the quarterback out of the pocket. Rex Ryan defended his roster spot today by saying he deserves a key spot in the defensive line rotation and that he looks substantially better with his hand in the dirt instead of playing outside linebacker. Honestly, I will believe it when I see it in a game. Yes, there is a chance Gholston will be much better off at defensive end. He certainly has the physical tools to play the position and the Jets aren’t exactly asking a ton out of him in 2010. Could be develop into a quality role player? What do you think, are you falling for the hype again?

Practice #3 Recap & AFC East Round-Up

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Practice #3 Recap

The Good – Nick Folk going 5/5 on field goal attempts. Mark Sanchez and Dustin Keller showing good chemistry, which was sorely lacking during a good part of the regular season in 2009. Antonio Cromartie pulling in a nice interception. David Clowney catching a 80 yard touchdown pass. Kenwin Cummings and Wayne Hunter getting into a scuffle, which drew Mike Pettine and Brian Schottenheimer into a screaming match. From my playing days, watching an offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator fight on the practice field is always entertaining. Vernon Gholston (Gasp) made a few impact plays. Rookie UDFA tight end Jeff Cumberland flashed on a couple of plays, making me look smart for mentioning him in my training camp sleepers article on Saturday (Yes, I know I mentioned Britt Davis too, whatever).

The Bad – Sanchez throwing an interception and having sub-par completion numbers (6/13). Brodney Pool getting beat by Clowney for that 80 yard touchdown. Kris Jenkins still being on the sideline with a hamstring injury. The fact that we have to hear about Brett Favre nonstop for the next week(s). Beyond that, there weren’t too many negatives being reported.

PhotobucketPlays of the Day – Clowney’s touchdown. Cromartie’s interception. Vernon Gholston’s “would have been a sack in a real game,” always sad that it is such huge news when that occurs.

Player Who Helped Himself – Jeff Cumberland getting his name out there with a few big plays. Nick Folk for remaining steady on day two.

Player Who Hurt Himself – Doesn’t really sound like anybody did too much damage today, although it sounds like Kellen Clemens and Erik Ainge are on their way out the door.

Sanchez Stats – 6/13, 1 INT (Cromartie) in 11 on 11s

Folk Stats – 5/5 (all under 40 yards) still…good start for Folk.

Roster Moves – The Jets signed wide receiver Vic Hall.

Depth Chart – Vladimir Ducasse worked with the first team at left guard today. Kellen Clemens was back on the practice field in a limited role. Kris Jenkins remained sidelined.

Rex Ryan Press Conference Highlights –

  • The team hasn’t hesitated mentioning Darrelle Revis in team meetings and Ryan conceded that he knows Revis’ uncle Sean Gilbert is playing a big role in consulting his decision making process.
  • He praised Nick Folk’s strong start to training camp and admitted he was worried about him after OTAs.
  • He mentioned how David Clowney needs to step up on special teams to help fill the void left by Wallace Wright.
  • When discussing the tight ends, he said Jeff Cumberland has been impressive catching the ball but needs to block better. He would also like to see Dustin Keller become more involved in the run blocking. There was also a bold guarantee of Ben Hartsock doubling his production from 2009 (1 reception, 1 yard, 1 touchdown).
  • Normal praise for Vernon Gholston’s “progress”. I’ll believe it when I see it.
  • Ryan said he knows nothing about the status of Erik Ainge…probably doesn’t bode well for his chances of making the roster.
  • Praise for new acquisitions Antonio Cromartie (new found physicality, LaDainian Tomlinson (still showing burst) and Brodney Pool (ability to quickly pick up the Jets system).

Revis Update – It has been confirmed that Mike Tannenbaum reached out to Revis’ agent last night, in hopes of setting up a meeting. Obviously it is good news that the lines of communication are remaining open and I liked Woody Johnson’s proactive approach about getting a deal done in his press conference yesterday. Honestly, I wouldn’t bank on Revis playing in the first pre-season game but I’d be happy enough if he was back in time for the second or third game.

AFC East Round-Up

Buffalo Bills – Aaron Schobel’s career with the Bills is now over, as they will look to trade or release him. This is good news for D’Brickashaw Ferguson, who always struggled with Schobel. If your Buffalo, you don’t have enough good players to let one of your few ones walk away. Rookie tackle Ed Wang suffered a relatively serious injury and could be out for awhile, as did rookie linebacker Danny Batten. Trent Edwards remains on top of the quarterback depth chart. Currently, Steve Johnson is starting opposite Lee Evans at wide receiver. The Bills had a fight at camp yesterday when last year’s rookie disappointment Aaron Maybin took a cheap shot at Fred Jackson, which fired up the offensive line. Rookie CJ Spiller is still unsigned.

Miami Dolphins – Karlos Dansby has made a strong impression so far at camp. Rookie linebacker A.J. Edds tore a knee ligament in yesterday’s practice. There is some chatter on Twitter about Chad Pennington looking better than Chad Henne so far but our favorite beat writer, Armando Salguero, disagreed with the sentiment. Rookie John Jerry is looking like the leading candidate to start at right guard. First round pick Jared Odrick has been impressive.

New England Patriots – Wes Welker has been practicing with the team. It doesn’t sound like Torry Holt is going to stick around on the final roster, as the Patriots want to give a bigger role to second year players Julian Edelman and Brandon Tate. Nick Kaczur and Ty Warren have been missing time with injuries. Rookie receiver Taylor Price and rookie tight end Aaron Hernandez have been heavily involved in the offense.

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Jets Training Camp Sleepers

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Jets training camp sleepers for 2010, since I should still be sleeping at this time on a Saturday morning:

Aundrae Allison – I am a fan of David Clowney but I think Allison could make a run at the last roster spot at receiver. After the signing of Laveranues Coles, it is pretty clear the Jets weren’t looking for Clowney to see much time at receiver anyway, which means any receiver that makes the roster after Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, Santonio Holmes, Laveranues Coles, and Brad Smith has to be a big time special teams contributor. Allison was a very good kick returner for the Minnesota Vikings in 2007 and similar to Clowney has terrific speed. If Allison breaks a few big returns in the pre-season, he could end up on the Jets final 53.

Jeff Cumberland – Signed by the Jets as a UDFA, after a very quiet senior year at Illinois, the 6’4 250 pound Cumberland showed potential in mini-camp to develop into a decent pass catching tight end. I don’t think there is a roster spot available for him this year, considering the Jets #3 tight end roster spot will likely be reserved for their long snapper (Tanner Purdum or Matthew Mulligan) but I could see him having a strong August and getting put on the practice squad to have another year to develop.

Donovan Warren – Warren was talked about as being a 2nd round draft pick before a poor showing at the NFL Combine. He was a productive player at Michigan against a high level of competition as a cornerback. The Jets have opted to move him over to safety and considering his talent level, versatility, and Rex Ryan’s love of defensive backs, there is a decent chance of Warren making the final 53.

Kevin Basped – The coaching staff was raving about Basped’s athleticism and long term potential after mini-camp. Basped was a defensive end at Nevada, where he recorded 9.5 sacks his senior year, yet the Jets have moved him to outside linebacker in their 3-4 scheme. At the worst, it sounds like the 6’4 249 pound Basped will make the practice squad so the Jets can continue to develop him. However, it isn’t out of the question for him to grab a roster spot, if he shows he can contribute on special teams during his rookie season.

Cory Reamer – Another linebacker who impressed the coaching staff in the spring, especially with his knowledge of the Jets defense. He is competing at a stacked position, but he is another guy who could be a candidate for the practice squad.

A few others

  • Britt Davis – Receiver with good size who had a strong training camp in 2009. Tough position to be competing for a roster spot at on the Jets.
  • Larry Taylor – Another receiver who caught my eye during mini-camp. I doubt he can get a roster spot but I bet he turns some heads this August.
  • TJ Conley – He could give Steve Weatherford a run for the punter job.

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