New York Jets: Wide Receiver Remains Unclear

Do the New York Jets have enough at wide receiver this season?

Earlier today New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie commented he could be the second best wide receiver on the team’s roster. While there is nothing wrong with Cromartie having confidence and yes he probably could be a pretty damn good receiver if he committed to it, it was an unnecessary public remark. It comes across as disrespectful towards Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley, Chaz Schilens and the other receivers on the roster.

However, Cromartie is on to an issue at the wide receiver position for the New York Jets. Outside of Santonio Holmes, this unit is lacking in experience and is full of very valid question marks. The next four receivers on the depth chart have a combined 111 receptions for their entire careers.

Rookie Stephen Hill is the presumed number two wideout and starting “X” receiver. Hill has looked impressive in camp so far but is still coming out of a triple option offense in college. His size and speed are impossible to ignore but the Jets could get themselves into trouble by throwing too much at him early in the season.

Second year receiver Jeremy Kerley seemed to be a lock for the slot receiver/number three position on the depth chart but a hamstring injury and a spot in Rex Ryan’s doghouse has put that into question. You never want to hear a coach publicly getting on a player for a poor off-season. If Kerley doesn’t get healthy and improve his play, the Jets could slide Holmes into the slot in three wide formations and let Chaz Schilens play on the outside.

Unfortunately for that plan, Schilens has been struggling with drops in camp and is now nursing a minor groin injury. Behind him on the depth chart is Patrick Turner who hasn’t made any noticeable impressions so far in camp or in any of the previous OTAs.

The inconsistencies at the top of the depth chart could lead to opportunities for players like Dexter Jackson and seventh round pick Jordan White. In particular, White who we are very high on has the ideal skill set to slide into the slot receiver role if Kerley struggles. You don’t catch 140 passes in a single season by accident, which is exactly what White did at Western Michigan last year.

The Jets could still add a veteran but unless a serious injury occurs that remains unlikely. It would be hard for a player off the scrap heap to pick up the offense on such short notice and the list of options out there isn’t very impressive with Braylon Edwards now in Seattle. They will also be relying on Dustin Keller as a primary pass catching option, although when they split him out they still lack a viable blocking tight end to keep in for protection (remember Wayne Hunter is still the right tackle).

Ultimately it will likely be up to Hill to grow up fast, Holmes to play like a true number one receiver and one other receiver to assert themselves as a consistent playmaker. It will be interesting to see who that player is in the coming weeks.

Turn On The Jets Stock Watch 7/31 – One Week In Cortland Edition

Mike Donnelly with his weekly Stock Watch, focusing on the first week of training camp for the New York Jets

Mike Donnelly is back with his weekly Stock Watch. This week’s edition focuses on the first week of training camp in the books in Cortland. Make sure to give Mike a follow on Twitter and if you haven’t had the chance yet check out our brand new Turn On The Jets shirts

There’s a lot to get to this week with Jets Camp opening, so I won’t waste time coming up with an intro, other than to say FOOTBALL IS BACK!

BUY: Rex Ryan – Check back later in the week for my full take on Rex Ryan and why the Jets are lucky to have him, but for now I’m buying some Sexy Rexy stock. He got himself in the headlines this week by proclaiming himself the best defensive coach in the NFL (he’s right), but the more I see out of Rex this offseason the more I love it. He’s dialed back on the Super Bowl talk publicly, he’s lost a ton of weight, and the big thing is he’s holding his players accountable, as we saw with him calling out Jeremy Kerley. I also loved his comments telling Santonio Holmes to basically shut up, and that the best players will play. This is a big year for Rex and I expect him to answer the bell.

BUY: Aaron Maybin and Ricky Sapp – All of the reports out of camp so far are that Aaron Maybin looks absolutely awesome. For years now the Jets have lacked a dominant pass rusher, and it’s looking like Maybin might step into that role this year and finally give us a double digit sack man. There’s even talk that his role in the base defense will grow, which will give him even more opportunity to rush the passer. Maybin stock is on the rise. Big time.

As for Sapp, I would say he’s almost guaranteed a roster spot if he keeps up the good work like he has this week, which would really justify my Buy of him way back in the inaugural Stock Watch. According to the beat writers (Check back tomorrow for our new rankings) he racked up several nice tackles and even a few sacks. With Bryan Thomas up there in age and Calvin Pace seemingly entering his last year, the opportunity is there for Sapp to earn himself a spot on the team not just this year, but going forward as well.

BUY: Bilal Powell – The Running Back Who Was Left For Dead a few weeks ago (I had him in my initial Sell list as well) has been turning heads so far in camp and is a legit threat to Joe McKnight to take over the 3rd down back role. While he may not have the speed or elusiveness of the shifty McKnight, Powell has the ability to handle a bigger workload and could end up as one of the biggest sleepers on the entire roster.

SELL: Jeremy Kerley – Camp couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start for the man many expected would be the slot receiver in 2012. As if things weren’t bad enough when he injured himself and had to sit out for a week to start camp, they sure did get a whole lot worse when Rex Ryan — REX RYAN! — called him out publicly, and Rex NEVER has a bad word to say about his guys to the media. He said he was disappointed in Jeremy the whole offseason, and that’s definitely not a good sign. Now there’s talk that Holmes could be the predominant slot receiver with Hill and Schilens on the outside. Not a good start to 2012 for Mr. Kerley

SELL: Brian Schottenheimer Era – Plenty has been said about the pitiful former offensive coordinator, but Santonio Holmes had even more to say this week, and he really brought the laughs. During a radio interview with ESPN, Holmes was praising new OC Tony Sparano and pretty much threw Schotty directly under the proverbial bus when he said that the new coach actually “knows how to coach players”. Ouch. And you wonder why I’m so high on Sanchez now that he’s been freed from that buffoon’s shackles.

No Huddle – Five Under The Radar New York Jets

TJ Rosenthal goes into the No Huddle to look at five under the radar New York Jets

Away from the primetime news and tabloids that will report daily on marquee names wearing the Green and White, are some Jets whose impact could truly be felt. Especially if they develop into next level players.

Or in the case of our choice at number five, are desperately needed to.

Josh Baker:

Baker is a tough and versatile H back who could end up part of the Ground and Pound rotation as a multi purpose guy. One who if portrayed as an unassuming blocker, could find a hole with the rock in his hands.

Of course while drilling a linebacker every now and then when he’s asked to lead the way for someone else. Don’t forget about putting him in motion out of the backfield as a second TE too.

Baker can be used in more ways than John Connor can but 45 is not a prototypical FB like “The Terminator” is. Tony Richardson was once vital to the original Ground and Pound. Maybe even the template for the position. If the Jets simply want a T Rich type of plower to line up at FB, then we’d put our money on Conner getting the bulk of the work. If they want flexibility and unpredictability there, throw in Baker.

Mike DeVito:

DeVito is certainly not unknown to the diehards of Jets nation. However, with Revis Island, recognizable Jet LB’s, the addition of Quinton Coples and two new safeties, the name game simply starts elsewhere on the Jets defense.

This blue collar run stopper is consistent and dependable though. Most importantly, he’s vital to the success of the interior run defense.

Maybe this is the year the Jets, with their youth outside, seal off the edges and force more ball carriers to remain inside. Thus giving Devito more camera time and shots at wrapping up at the line of scrimmage.

Where he usually stops RB’s looking to reach the second level, dead in their tracks.

Great players make solid unheralded ones better. If the young guns around him up front step up and become real threats, then everyone will be hearing about how solid Mike Devito is in 2012. Not just those who tune into SNY after the game.

Jeremy Kerley:

Imagine a Ground and Pound that can freeze LB’s with the play action. When it happens, the Jets won’t always have to work the ball outside in order to finish off the play. How about some short crossing routes to the former TCU speedster right behind those very same linebackers who hedged their bet on a Jet running play?

Kerley showed some toughness on third down as his rookie season wore on. He’s got his professional bearings now, and if Mark Sanchez can use anything out of the gates it’s a dependable yards after catch guy at close range.

Dustin Keller would be the guy better suited for that role you say? Well, so have we for three years now. Maybe a speedster trying to emulate Wes Welker would be the better option this time around. A weapon who could in turn actually free up 81 into becoming what we thought he’d become be two years ago. A serious go to guy.

Watch out for Kerley this year. We just got a feeling…

Chaz Schilens:

OK big tall guy with the 6’4 frame, here’s your chance. Your REAL chance. Rookie Stephen Hill seems penciled in at WR2 opposite Santonio Holmes, but it’s not uncommon in the NFL for a change of scheme and scenery to help do the trick for a 3rd and 4th year player with size and speed.

Can the former Raider finally stay healthy? If so, maybe the Jets have a diamond in the rough on the outside and for tough quick slants, Braylon Edwards style.

On paper it may be Holmes and Hill. In reality, Kerley and Schilens are two who could add depth in a flash to this unit. Perhaps even more.

Greg McElroy:

Now for the doomsday scenario.

No, not the one that has Tim Tebow replacing a struggling Mark Sanchez. Rather, the one that has Greg McElroy forced into action after QB2 gets nicked up while impersonating RB1, and QB1 gets helped off the field after another one of those failed Joe Girardi-taught slides.

Impossible you say? Well keep in mind, that the Jets are the only team to ever lose two starters for the year on consecutive plays remember (Pennington and Fiedler?).

Besides, if a UFO ever landed on Earth in plain sight would you have any doubt in the world that it would take place on the 50 yard line of a Jet game at Met Life? Aliens wearing Tebow jerseys no less. (think of the intergalactic merch potential Woody).

We of course pray that this dark picture being painted here regarding the emergency QB taking over never becomes reality. If it does, let’s just hope that the Wonderlic kid, who for a nanosecond last summer had some of us excited, is able to mange things.

Keep an eye on Alabama Mac in the second half of games this August.  You just never know who may be called upon when the games begin to count for real.

Honorable Mention:

Kyle Wilson:

Step it up kid. Year three. First round picks ought to become quality starters at some point. Corners go down all the time. You ready for this? We think you are. Now go out and dominate this summer.

Prove us right.

TOJ’s Top 50 New York Jets Countdown: 20-30

Turn On The Jets counts down the top 50 New York Jets currently on the roster, continuing today with numbers 20-30

Frustrated and confused after seeing the NFL’s Top 100 player list? TOJ was as well. Due to that, we have decided to rank the current New York Jets on the roster from 50 all the way down to 1. Along the way, we will be classifying the players into the following five categories:

  • Bottom of the Roster (strictly a depth and developmental player)
  • Middle Class (Situational player, spot starter)
  • Quality Starter (Capable starting player or very good role player)
  • Red Chip (Swiping this term from Michael Lombardi, an above average stater/borderline Pro-Bowler)
  • Blue Chip (Another swipe from Lombardi, an elite player at his position)

READ NUMBERS 40-50 HERE

READ NUMBERS 30-40 HERE

(STILL IN MIDDLE CLASS CATEGORY)

29. John Conner, Fullback – The Terminator was average at best last season, his first one as a full time starter. Hopefully, with a more run orientated approach this season he will develop into a more consistent lead blocker and bigger cog in the offense, as Tony Sparano hasn’t been shy in the past about using his fullbacks as runners for short yardage situations. Conner must also work on his hands, so he can be a reliable checkdown option.

28. Wayne Hunter, Tackle – Despite filling in for Damien Woody admirably at the end of the 2010 season, Hunter’s frankly awful 2011 makes it more than fair to question if he is capable starter in the NFL. The Jets are betting that Sparano will help turn into a competent every down player and for the sake of Mark Sanchez’s health, they better have bet right.

27. Stephen Hill, Wide Receiver – The hope is that he will quickly prove to be a capable starter and based on physical attributes, there is no reason he can’t become that immediately. Unless he gets injured, he will start from day one opposite Santonio Holmes and be relied on to prevent teams from double teaming him or Dustin Keller.

26. Kyle Wilson, Cornerback – Wilson bounced back somewhat from a disappointing rookie season in 2011 but still left something to be desired for a first round pick. People forget that when he was selected, he was anticipated to be a big time punt returner and hyped as somebody capable of the holding the fort down if Darrelle Revis missed time from a holdout. He is no longer a factor as a returner and has the looks of a good, not great nickel back that hasn’t proven he can be an every down player yet.

25. Joe McKnight, Running Back –  He proved to be a very good kick returner last season but never really received the chance to flourish into a big part of the offense. Tony Sparano found a way to make Reggie Bush more successful than he ever had been in his NFL career last season in Miami and while McKnight isn’t on the same talent level as him, he does have a comparable skill set. He should be given every opportunity to be the team’s primary third down back and a big part of the passing games, particularly on screens.

QUALITY STARTER (CAPABLE STARTER OR VERY GOOD ROLE PLAYER)

24. Jeremy Kerley, Wide Receiver – Flashed a ton of potential in his rookie season and will be the team’s slot receiver in 2012. Davone Bess caught plenty of passes in Miami in this same offensive system and Kerley should do the same. He will also likely be the team’s primary punt returner. Kerley has excellent short area quickness and should be a frequent target on third downs.

23. Quinton Coples, Defensive End – For where the Jets took him in the first round, he better be ready to be a starter out of the gates. Coples has drawn rave reviews for his performance in OTAs and mini-camp, and seems to be playing with a chip on his shoulder. I was skeptical of the selection at the time but you have heard exactly everything you want to hear about a first round pick since he was taken. Coples has the potential to be a force up front, particularly in the Jets 4-3 alignments alongside Muhammad Wilkerson.

22. Aaron Maybin, Linebacker/Defensive End – The team’s top pass rusher last season, who should improve in 2012 with a full off-season to master Rex Ryan’s defense and work on diversifying his rush techniques. He has bulked up in anticipation of an increase of reps. There is no reason to think he can’t approach double digit sacks in this system.

21. Matt Slauson, Guard – Slauson has been the team’s starting guard the past two seasons and has proven to be competent. He played through a torn labrum and rotator cuff in his left shoulder last season and is anticipated to be 100% healthy in 2012. Slauson won’t be elected to any Pro-Bowls but won’t hold the Jets offensive back as a starter.

20. Eric Smith, Safety – Defensive backs coach summed up Smith perfectly when he said, “you will love him 300 reps, not at 900 reps.” He was overextended as a starter last season and was also banged up down the stretch run. However, Smith can thrive in Rex Ryan’s defense as a role player like he did in 2009, which will also allow him to focus on being the team’s top special teams player.

Check back tomorrow for players 10-20…

TOJ 12 Pack Of Thoughts On New York Jets – Headline Players Edition

TOJ with a 12 pack of thoughts on the Jets most talked about players so far this off-season

March 13th is getting closer by the second, along with the days prior to it which be filled with endless free agency rumors. The dry spot in the NFL schedule is just about done with the combine underway and Rex Ryan giving a quote filled press conference yesterday. Let’s celebrate with a 12 pack of thoughts on the names most frequently being discussed when it comes to the New York Jets off-season these days —

1. Mark Sanchez – Where is he? Well we know he was at a Knicks game last weekend with D’Brickashaw Ferguson. He took the time to tweet Santonio Holmes a Valentine’s Day Card and that he is probably spending some nights with Kate Upton…lucky guy. Regardless, it is time for Sanchez to end his media silence and speak up for himself. I want to hear Sanchez, say “this is my team, the front office can bring in whoever they want to compete with me but I will be starting quarterback and will get this locker room fixed. Me and Santonio have been successful in the past and we will be again. As for my work ethic, I challenge whoever said this about me to show their face because I pride myself on being the first one in the building and the last one out everyday. I expect to see all my skill position players at Jets West in the coming months!”

You can take that verbatim if you want, Mark. Just cite me (@TurnOnTheJets).

2. Peyton Manning – Rex Ryan left the door open yesterday by saying the Jets were open to exploring all opportunities at every position. Listen, the Jets are going to kick the tires on Manning like 26 other teams in the league are, that doesn’t mean he is coming here. I am not sure if he is healthy. I don’t think he wants to play for the Jets and I don’t think it is smart move for this organization. Yet, until he is in a Cardinals or Redskins uniform, we won’t stop hearing about Manning and the Jets.

3. Santonio Holmes – He has sent out a sporadic tweet here and there about being excited for next season, of course followed with the #ToneTime hashtag. Santonio is who he is and that certainly isn’t a captain but at that same certainly the kind of receiver you can win with. He is on the team for the next two years so let’s hope he bounces back and starts playing like the number one receiver we paid him to be.

4. Sione Pouha – The big fella is the only major free agent the Jets have to worry about bringing back. They aren’t going to franchise tag him but are apparently working feverishly to get him under contract before free agency starts. Hopefully, they lock him down to a 2-3 year deal so he can keep anchoring the run defense until Kenrick Ellis is ready.

5. Shonn Greene – Is a lead back? Is he not a lead back? Will the Jets get him support via free agency or the draft? Personally, I am leaning towards thinking he isn’t a true lead back. Yet, the Jets don’t have the means to add a big name at running back. Look for them to add a journeyman veteran like Tim Hightower or Tashard Choice, a mid-round draft pick and then hopefully expand Joe McKnight’s role in the offense.

6. Courtney Upshaw/Melvin Ingram/Trent Richardson/Mark Barron – Popular names being thrown around with the Jets for the upcoming draft. Upshaw is the most ready to contribute 3-4 outside linebacker in the draft, which means if he gets near number 16, Mike T needs to make a move to get him. Ingram has potential but I worry about his migration to the 3-4 system. There is some chatter about Richardson falling a bit now due to his recent surgery. I still don’t think the Jets have a shot at him and that is probably a good thing, I am not sold on the value of first round running backs. Mark Barron would be an ideal addition if the Jets found way to maneuver their picks to get him in the 25-35 range.

7. Bart Scott/Calvin Pace – Also known as “those two slow Jets linebackers who never get to the quarterback.” There are rumors about both of them being cut. I would guess the Jets eat the guaranteed money and cut Scott but hold on to Pace, who is valuable against the run and can be a good secondary pass rushing option. As for the filling the hole at inside linebacker, I wouldn’t be surprised if they handed his role off to Josh Mauga for the time being and spend a middle round pick on one.

8. Jeremy Kerley – A player we are all excited to see in a bigger role next season. A role that could be bigger than expected if the Jets don’t invest in the free agent wide receiver market. TOJ is hoping they take a long look at a player like Robert Meachem or Laurent Robinson but not overly confident that will happen. The Jets could add a cheaper player with deep speed (maybe Harry Douglas of Atlanta?) and then add a draft pick at WR with some size.

9. Every Ex-Jet Imaginable – There is an ongoing infatuation among Jets fans about bringing ex-players back, most notably Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, John Abraham, and Dwight Lowery. Honestly, I do think Braylon makes a good amount of practical sense…I just doubt it happens.

10. Dustin Keller – It is going to be interesting to see how he fits in Tony Sparano’s offense and if the Jets bring in a blocking tight end to pair with him. Expect to see Anthony Fasano in green and white, if he hits the open market.

11. Wayne Hunter – Who are the Jets going to bring it to challenge him for the right tackle position? Vernon Carey seems like a logical move, as does bringing in a draft pick. It is a scary thought to imagine Hunter starting again next year, even if Sparano can protect his deficiencies better.

12. Eric ‘Freaking Smith – How are the Jets going to improve their safety position? They need a complete overhaul, which in my mind is signing a free agent (Reggie Nelson, Tyvon Branch, Michael Griffin are out there), investing a high pick on one and then bringing Jim Leonhard back on a veteran’s minimum deal as insurance. If Eric Smith comes back it has to be in a reserve/situational/special teams role.

New York Jets: Any Stars In Hiding?

TOJ on if the Jets could have any stars in hiding on the bottom of their roster

We have seen two local sports teams pull stars out of the back of their roster in the past few months. First Victor Cruz for the New York Giants and more recently Jeremy Lin for the New York Knicks. Do the New York Jets have an opportunity to have such luck this season?

The real answer is who knows? You can never really see these things coming. Regardless of Cruz’s monster pre-season performance or Lin’s success at Harvard, nobody thought they’d produce the way they have been or they wouldn’t have spent any time on the bench to begin with.

However, the Jets might have a few young players who have the potential to become game changers in 2012.

The first one who comes to mind is a guy who you are going to hear plenty about in the coming months here, Jeremy Kerley. He showed enough in limited action last year to make us believe that with a bigger role, he could be one of this team’s top playmakers on offense. Kerley has something that many players on the Jets offense lack…straight line speed combined with excellent short area quickness.

Tony Sparano had a successful slot receiver in Miami with Davone Bess and there is no reason to think Kerley won’t be a large part of the Jets passing game. Beyond that, Kerley has the ability to run the Wildcat, while being a threat to complete passes down the field. Hey, the guy completed a pass to Matthew Mulligan last year…that takes talent. Kerley also showed flashes of being a very good punt returner last year and he should only grow in that role.

Outside of Kerley, Joe McKnight showed some big play potential last year and might be able to thrive in a Reggie Bush type role for the Jets. Austin Howard could turn into a capable right tackle. On defense, maybe a role player like Josh Mauga will turn into a quality starter to replace the missed tackle machine Bart Scott or Gerald Alexander will match his Twitter ability with on the field play at safety. You just never know.

Who do you think could be the Jets star in hiding?

New York Jets: How To Move Forward Without Jim Leonhard

How will the New York Jets handle moving forward without Jim Leonhard on defense and special teams?

For the second year in a row, the New York Jets have lost starting safety and punt returner Jim Leonhard for the last stretch of the season. They managed to overcome his injury in 2010 and still make a run to the AFC Championship Game but replacing Leonhard will be a more difficult task this time around.

Last year, the Jets had Eric Smith, Brodney Pool, and Dwight Lowery all rolling through as Leonhard’s replacements on defense. Lowery was traded to Jacksonville before this season started, leaving the Jets with just Smith, who has been below average all year and Pool, who has been hurt most of the season. Their number three safety is currently Tracy Wilson who was just signed to the active roster two weeks ago, after the team surprisingly released Emmanuel Cook who had been with the team since last season. Basically, they have absolutely no depth behind Smith and Pool, who are question marks themselves.

The Jets will have to bring in another body, but the options are slim at this point of the year. It will be on Smith and Pool to elevate their play and stay healthy. Rex Ryan will also have to get creative and may need to move somebody like Marquice Cole over to safety in certain packages.

On special teams, the Jets have been a nightmare returning punts all season when Leonhard hasn’t been back there. Jeremy Kerley, Antonio Cromartie, and Joe McKnight have all muffed kicks. Kerley will be the primary option to replace Leonhard now and looked good yesterday, but can he be trusted in the swirling winds of Philadelphia and MetLife Stadium the next two weeks? The Jets no longer have Jerricho Cotchery to drop deep as a reliable option when a team is trying to pin them deep, so it will be on Kerley, a rookie, to assume the full responsibility of replacing Leonahrd on special teams.

Injuries are never an excuse. Every team is dealing with them at this point of the season. Now it is going to be about Pool playing to his potential in Rex Ryan’s defense as the free safety and Eric Smith handling the strong safety roll full time, without giving up too many back breaking plays. Kerley has a chance to be a great punt returner, we have seen flashes of that this season but he needs to remember that nothing exceeds the importance of avoiding turnovers.

New York Jets: Jeremy Kerley Ready To Take Off?

The most obvious beneficiary of the decision to trade Derrick Mason is rookie receiver Jeremy Kerley. In his first extended action last week, Kerley finished with 3 receptions for 35 yards and a touchdown, making more of an impact than Mason already had all season which accelerated the decision to trade him.

Kerley was probably the most hyped Jets player throughout training camp as he repeatedly made big plays in every practice. He had a somewhat quiet pre-season and didn’t do much until the Raiders game when he ripped off a big punt return. Last week was the first time he really had a chance at receiver and he showed the big play ability the coaching staff was raving about all summer.

The decision to move Mason is a smart one in that it will give Kerley the chance to grow into the slot receiver role that he appears ready to take over. He has the short area quickness required for the position but also has the speed that Mason lacked to push up the seam. The more Kerley is involved in the regular offensive packages, the more the Jets will likely expand his use in the Wildcat, which will help diversify their attack.

Kerley doesn’t have the pressure of becoming one of the unit’s top options with Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress also at receiver. Yet, he should be a complimentary weapon who gradually takes on a bigger role. Hopefully the coaching staff will also begin to expand the role of running back Joe McKnight by incorporating him in the screen game and giving him more outside handoffs, which coupled with Kerley’s greater use will provide a needed shot of speed to the offense.

New York Jets Trade Derrick Mason

The New York Jets have traded veteran wide receiver Derrick Mason to the Houston Texans

In a move that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody who has followed the recent news surrounding the New York Jets, the team has traded veteran wide receiver Derrick Mason to the Houston Texans. The reported compensation is a conditional 7th round draft pick and I only wish they could have traded him to the Pittsburgh Steelers for Jerricho Cotchery who is languishing on their bench.

The transaction is a bold admission of a mistake by General Manager Mike Tannenbaum, who released Cotchery in favor of Mason only two months ago. Mason never seemed to get in sync with the Jets offense, as he had a dropped touchdown week one versus Dallas and was the target of a handful of Mark Sanchez interceptions in the following weeks. He was benched in favor of rookie Jeremy Kerley last week after making critical post-game comments following the Jets loss to Baltimore and Kerley responded with 3 receptions and a touchdown, flashing his big play potential.

Ultimately, this is the right decision at this moment for the Jets who will now at least get some compensation for Mason. Kerley is a young player with more potential, so why not give him the reps?

New York Jets Unveil Kerley & New Wildcat

It happened during the second half of the Met Life Bowl against the Giants Monday night, while both clubs rolled their backups out onto the field to fight for the Snoopy trophy and their own jobs, rookie Jeremy Kerley took direct snaps from center. With it came the official end of an era once spearheaded by former big play Jet Brad Smith. The former TCU wide receiver has now become the heir apparent to Smith as the pilot of the Jets new Wildcat formation.

The speedy Kerley moved well from the position, slashing quickly for positive yardage, tossing pitches to RB Joe McKnight, even completing his only pass attempt. A third option of the play design that Jets fans had often hoped would be employed by the former college QB Smith during his time in New York.

The current version of the Jets Wildcat presents the club with a new super speed package should Kerley and McKnight be the personnel implemented for it. Given the way the Jets stalled on offense Monday for much of the first half, this up tempo change of pace may become a welcome addition.

Smith made big plays both out of the Wildcat and in the return game consistently throughout his Jets career. Kerley who also has lined both as WR, returner, and now Wildcat QB and has shown elusiveness, but has yet to put together big plays so far this summer. His ability to do so in 2011 will make the loss of Smith, a momentum changing player, much easier to swallow once the games start counting in September.