Jets Select OLB DeMario Davis

The New York Jets ended their second day of the NFL Draft by selecting OLB DeMario Davis out of Arkansas State University with the 77th overall pick. This is an interesting pick, because there seemed to be players of higher value at positions of need for New York with Bobby Massie and George Iloka still on the board. However, Davis certainly plays Rex Ryan’s brand of football.

Other than the fact that Davis possess great strength (32 reps) and speed (4.53 40), he is extremely explosive, having posted a 124″ broad jump, coupled with a 38.5″ vertical, both of which set the bar for Outside Linebackers in the entire class this year. Over his past two seasons at Arkansas State, Davis had 132 tackles, 4 sacks, and 3 interceptions. Most importantly, Davis plays with some of the greatest tenacity you will see from any player selected this year. He repeatedly delivered punishing hits last season, leading ESPN’s Mel Kiper to deem him a man among boys at his level of play. Several analysts believe Davis would have been an earlier selection had he played in a major conference.

Davis is also a very versatile player. At 6’2″, 235 pounds, he can certainly afford to add a little weight, but he has the combination of strength, speed, and athleticism that will allow Rex Ryan to move him all over the box, and he could end up filling the void left at Inside Linebacker when Bart Scott eventually departs. Ryan certainly loves versatile players in his defense, especially at the linebacker position.

Davis does not necessarily fit the mold of the pass rushing OLB that the Jets desperately needed, but his versatility and intensity should make him a valuable piece of Ryan’s puzzle, while his outstanding speed leaves much room for improvement in his pass rushing abilities. Expect to see him delivering some highlight reel hits on special teams early in the season.

New York Jets Select WR Stephen Hill

The New York Jets have swapped 2nd round picks with Seattle to select WR Stephen Hill out of Georgia Tech. Hill gives the Jets the deep threat their offense has been lacking at Wide Receiver since the departure of Braylon Edwards.

At 6’4″ 215 lbs, Hill is an athletic freak, having run a 4.36 40-yard dash at the combine, which is remarkable considering his size.
A big play specialist, Hill had 820 receiving yards on only 28 catches in 2011, averaging a mind blowing 29.3 yards per catch. Of his 28 catches last season, 9 were for over 30 yards, 5 were for over 50, and 2 were for over 70. His season long was an 82 yard touchdown in Georgia Tech’s opener against Western Carolina. There is no doubt that he can make the big play, and with his impressive size and blocking experience (coming from a run first offense), he will contribute to the run game immediately.

The move to get Hill certainly gives New York much needed depth at Wide Receiver and he should be able to come in and compete for the starting spot opposite Santonio Holmes right away. Hill is still a raw prospect, especially coming from the option offense at Georgia Tech, but his tremendous upside gives him great value at this pick, and he should be able to open up the offense for the Jets as he develops. This move seemingly rules out any reunion with Braylon Edwards.

New York still has several needs at OLB, S, and RT, so keep an eye out for how the remainder of the night plays out. The Jets own the 77th overall pick in round 3 tonight.

A Six Pack Of Predictions For Jets vs. Bengals

We don’t break out the full 12 pack for the pre-season, so are here 6 predictions for tonight’s game –

1. Bilal Powell is going to have a better all-around performance than Joe McKnight tonight, making the battle for the number three running back spot that much more interesting. The two of them have very different running styles, so they both could remain contributors moving forward, although it could be hard to justify keeping four halfbacks active on a weekly basis.

2. Mark Sanchez is going to push the ball down the field more. I expect to see him take a shot down the field to Santonio Holmes and look for Dustin Keller much more frequently. Also, look for a very early, safe pass to Plaxico Buress to get him involved right from the beginning.

3. Speaking of Plax, if the Jets get in the red-zone with him on the field, look for the fade or slant ball coming his way. Brian Schottenheimer and Tom Moore aren’t going to hesitate to see their new 6’5 receiver in action where it counts the most.

4. Considering the state of the Bengals offense, I am expecting multiple sacks and a turnover generated by the Jets first defense. I think Muhammad Wilkerson will be a little more comfortable and active tonight than he was against the Texans.

5. This could be the boldest prediction of all: Vladimir Ducasse won’t allow a sack tonight…maybe he will allow a few pressures and miss an assignment or two, but in the end Mark Sanchez won’t hit the ground with the ball in his hand because of him.

6. Overall, I think the starters will be a lot more crisp tonight and should beat up on the Bengals, who are a team clearly in transition.

Jets vs. Texans: A Closer Look

The “Jets” fell short 20-16 but the preseason is never about winning. The primary goals are to avoid major injuries to key players, establishing some rhythm among starting units, while hopefully developing a few diamonds in the rough to add to the mix. So how did the Jets really fare in those categories last night? Let’s take a look –

MAJOR INJURIES:  The offensive line suffered a depth setback when backup center Rob Turner broke his leg. The Jets must add players to this unit. Damien Woody anyone? Joe McKnight may have suffered a concussion. LB Bart Scott rolled his ankle and left after the first play. The brightside? No season enders hit any starters.

RYTHYM: Mark Sanchez looked sharp in establishing a connection with both Santonio Holmes and Derrick Mason. The starters saw extremely limited time on both sides of the ball. RB Shonn Greene ran hard and found space in the second level during his attempts. The defense was not really tested. Texan stars Andre Johnson and Arian Foster sat out the game. Kyle Wilson in his second year, was in better position to play the ball than we remember him being all of last year.

DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH: WR Jeremy Kerley has had a notable camp. The rookie WR was heavily involved throughout last night, showing good hands, quick feet, and an elusive ability in traffic. LB Josh Mauga replaced Scott and was around the ball constantly, with a sack and INT capping his efforts.

TE Jeff Cumberland displayed physical skill in the passing game, with consistent receptions and running after the catch. This furthering the excitement of Jets fans who envision a tight end heavy passing game due to the arrival of former Colts guru Tom Moore on the coaching staff.

RB Bilal Powell replaced McKnight and impressed us with his footwork and ability to wait patiently for his blockers before attacking the line of scrimmage.

Backup QB Greg McElroy rebounded from a sluggish start in his three quarters of action.The former Alabama product sped up his release time and displayed sharpness on short to mid range routes as the game progressed. He also fell victim to two deep ball drops, including one that could’ve won the game for the Jets late in the fourth.

Are You Ready For Some Football? – Jets vs. Texans Preview

The New York Jets kick off their pre-season schedule tonight on the road against the Houston Texans. A few key starters won’t be suiting up including Nick Mangold, Brandon Moore, and Plaxico Burress. Backup quarterback Mark Brunell also won’t be playing because of a left finger injury. Beyond that, the starters are expected to play for about a quarter.

On offense, Rob Turner and Vladimir Ducasse will both get extended work in replacing Mangold and Moore. Obviously there is some concern with having two backups protecting your quarterback, especially with somebody like Mario Williams on the opposing defense. Yet, Turner has a decent amount of experience from the past couple of years and Ducasse needs an opportunity to grow, so he can hopefully reach the potential the Jets saw in him when they selected him in the second round.

Derrick Mason will start in place of Burress. Yet, most eyes will likely be on rookie Jeremy Kerely who raised a ton of eyebrows at camp with his playmaking ability. He will work in the slot as the number three receiver with the first unit and should also see plenty of work with the number twos. Don’t be surprised to see Mark Sanchez rely on Dustin Keller and Santonio Holmes early in the game, as he gets into a rhythm. I wouldn’t expect to see much of LaDainian Tomlinson or even Shonn Greene tonight, as Joe McKnight and Bilal Powell should get the lion’s share of the work in the backfield.

Without Brunell playing, rookie Greg McElroy will play the majority of the game at quarterback. The Jets are hoping he can develop into their long term backup, so it will be interesting to see how handles himself in extended action tonight.

On defense, I will be keeping an eye on Kyle Wilson to see if  he shows any progress from his difficult rookie season. He should see action both in the nickel package with the first unit and then on the outside with the number twos.The Jets are counting on him to replace Drew Coleman this year and provide depth to Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie. Rookie first round pick Muhammad WIlkerson will also be getting the start and has impressed thus far in camp. Hopefully he can improve the push the Jets get out of their front line. Third round pick Kenrick Ellis will also see a good amount of action at nose tackle tonight.

Undrafted free agent Nick Bellore has been one of the biggest stories in camp and will get the chance to see a heavy amount of reps on both defense at linebacker and on special teams. Another linebacker to watch is Jamaal Westerman who Rex Ryan has hyped up this camp as being an individual who could provide an improvement to the Jets inconsistent pass rush.

On special teams, Jeremy Kerley will be the primary kick and punt returner, while Joe McKnight and Kyle Wilson should also both get opportunities.

Overall, it would be nice to see the first team offense move the ball with some consistency. Under Ryan, the offense has generally lagged a little behind the defense at this time of the year so with Sanchez now entering his third year, hopefully that will begin to change. On defense, an improved pass rush led by Wilkerson and Westerman would be the most encouraging thing to see.

12 Pack Of Jets Off-Season Thoughts – Edition #13

Our last pre-draft edition of the 12 pack, which keeps chugging along, lockout or no lockout. Read on for thoughts on the Jets draft plans, schedule, a few other random observations, and plenty more. Get your weekend started off right with the TOJ 12 pack —

1. The more I think about Mike Tannenbaum’s unnecessary praise of Marcus Dixon, the more think there is no way Shaun Ellis is coming back next year. If that is the case, the Jets better draft two defensive lineman next week because they will be beyond thin at the position, especially if Trevor Pryce decides to stay retired. Mike DeVito and Sione Pouha are steady, solid players but the Jets badly need an infusion of youth and pass rush ability from their down lineman.

2. I think the best case for the Jets at #30 is Muhammad Wilkerson falling to them. Out of all the players who might be available, he has the best chance to be an absolute force on Rex Ryan’s defense. Phil Taylor is a good fallback option but the latest reports about a chronic condition in his food are concerning. I am thinking Cameron Heyward is a safer bet for the defensive line if Wilkerson is off the board at #30.

3. I doubt Jimmy Smith’s character concerns are high enough to merit him falling anywhere near #30 but if he does, you know Rex Ryan is going to be pushing hard for him. Smith has top 10-15 talent and pairing him with Darrelle Revis would make parting with Antonio Cromartie easier to digest, so the Jets can turn their financial focus to the offensive side of the football where Tannenbaum will somehow try to get both Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards back.

4. I am still not sure why the NFL decided to put Jets vs. Giants on Christmas Eve, instead of the season opener on 9/11. I am also not sure if it is worth worrying about the NFL schedule at this point, considering we could be missing a chunk of games…a thought which is so infuriating that I need to stop writing this paragraph before I start hurling expletives.

5. Considering how up in the air the Jets wide receiver position currently is, I’d be shocked if they didn’t spend one of their middle round picks on one. I don’t think Brad Smith will be back. Santonio Holmes status is suddenly more up in the air than expected and Braylon Edwards won’t be easy to bring back either.

6. The NFL can spin it however they want but the draft has lost some of it’s buzz because of the lockout. Maybe it is because we know we are headed back into the off-season silence after next weekend passes but summer is starting to inch closer and it appears the two sides remain as far apart as ever.

7. The Jets badly to improve their overall depth at the linebacker position. Right now their top backups are Jamaal Westerman, Josh Mauga, and Lance Laury. They have been fortunate on the whole with injuries the past few years, but they are leaving themselves perilously thin if something happens to one of their starters.

8. The Jets schedule is certainly no cakewalk but I am not sure if it as hard as some people are making it out to be. There is no reason they shouldn’t be able to start 3-0, which gives them a cushion to work with during the middle part of the schedule. The only gripe I have is flying them across the country for a Thursday night game in Denver after playing a Sunday night game against New England. Who knows if Renaldo Hill will be able to help us out again this time?

9. I am really thinking there is a very good chance the Jets will trade down, which will make for many unhappy fans in attendance Thursday night but if nobody is jumping off the board at 30, it is the right move.

10. I doubt the New York Knicks can come back and win their series, especially with how banged up Amare Stoudemire and Chauncey Billups are. However, I expect them to take game three tonight because of the environment at Madison Square Garden and because of how Carmelo Anthony played in game two.

11. How I think the rest of the NBA first round will play out — Bulls and Heat will finish off their sweeps. The Hawks edge out the Magic in seven. The Grizzlies shock the Spurs in seven. Lakers win in a tough six. Blazers come back to win in seven and Thunder take it in five.

12. Weekend video clips, draft edition —

16 Games, 16 Predictions For 2011 Jets Schedule

Considering we don’t even know if these games will happen, let’s take a run through the schedule anyway…

Week 1 vs Dallas – I believe Rex Ryan when he says he will tone down the trash talk with his brother Rob. The focus of this game will on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. It will be an emotional night in the stadium and around the city. The short off-season will affect Tony Romo getting back in sync and their defense learning a new system, the Jets will roll in this one.

Week 2 vs Jacksonville – Jets need revenge for a tough loss in 2009. David Garrard kills the defense with his scrambling but then remembers he is David Garrard and throws a late interception to Darrelle Revis, which clinches the Jets win and ends the Island’s streak of games without an INT.

Week 3 at Oakland – The Jets know they have a killer two games coming up but avoid the let-down against an average Oakland team. Mark Sanchez throws for three touchdowns and shows his maturity by sitting down to a plate of chicken instead of scarfing a hot dog down on the sideline.

Week 4 at Baltimore – Rex fires up the rhetoric about being passed over for the head coaching job, unfortunately the Jets are due for loss, again in ugly, low-scoring fashion to the Ravens.

Week 5 at New England – The Patriots are all types of riled up for revenge on the Jets in their building. Too bad for them, they will be seeing more airplanes around their stadium as the Jets are confident against Tom Brady and take another victory to move to 4-1.

Week 6 vs Miami – The good times roll the Jets win another close one in prime-time against the Dolphins. Super Bowl talk is dominating the headlines as the Jets build up an early lead in the AFC east.

Week 7 vs. San Diego – The LT revenge game. #21 electric glides to two touchdowns en route to a Jets victory and a gaudy 6-1 record heading into the bye week.

Week 8 Bye – No news here…which is a pleasant surprise.

Week 9 at Buffalo – 7-1 for the New York Jets? Yes, the re-building Bills lose their 4th straight to New York. Could this team keep the pace up for a ridiculous 14-2 record? I don’t think so.

Week 10 vs. New England – The Jets are feeling a little too good about themselves heading into this late season showdown and suffer an ugly loss in front of their home fans. Talk begins about another late season meltdown on the way…

Week 11 at Denver – The Jets lose their second straight game as they struggle on the short week with the cross country trip to Denver. Back to back bad games by Mark Sanchez lead to calls for…well nobody, because the Jets don’t have a competent backup. Mike Francesa guzzles a Pepsi over a 2o minute monologue about how the Jets are going nowhere this season.

Week 12 vs. Buffalo – The Bills prove to be the perfect cure for the Jets losing streak, but it doesn’t come easy. Every fan in the stadium is ready to jump off the edge as the Jets are trailing late but Sanchez delivers a late touchdown pass to Jerricho Cotchery (the only receiver I am certain will be on the team next year) for the game winner.

Week 13 at Washington – Don’t know who will be playing quarterback for the ‘Skins and it doesn’t matter as the Jets defense beats up on Mike Shanahan’s offense en route to a 9-3 record.

Week 14 vs. Kansas City – The Chiefs stink it up behind Matt Cassell all season as they struggle under higher expectations, the Jets add to their misery by improving to 10-3.

Week 15 at Philadelphia – Mike Vick runs wild on the Jets slower linebackers, ending the Jets winning streak and make the following week’s game against the Giants that much more important.

Week 16 vs. Giants – The 10-4 Jets take on the 7-7 Giants who are shockingly in the middle of another December collapse. Gang Green ends the Coughlin era with bang, clinching the victory with another vicious sack of Eli Manning.

Week 17 at Miami – The Jets need a victory to clinch the AFC East title and squeak one out over the Dolphins who are playing out the string…12-4 and AFC East champs.

Damn, I miss football.

2011 New York Jets Schedule: Everybody Loves Rex

  • Week 1 – vs. Dallas, 8:20 p.m. (Sunday night)
  • Week 2 – vs. Jacksonville, 1 p.m.
  • Week 3 – at Oakland, 4:05 p.m.
  • Week 4 – at Baltimore, 8:20 p.m. (Sunday night)
  • Week 5 – at New England, 4:15 p.m.
  • Week 6 – vs. Miami, 8:30 PM, (Monday night)
  • Week 7 – vs. San Diego, 1 p.m.
  • Week 8 – Bye
  • Week 9 – at Buffalo, 1 p.m.
  • Week 10 – vs. New England, 8:20 p.m. (Sunday night)
  • Week 11 – at Denver, 8:20 p.m., (Thursday night)
  • Week 12 – vs. Buffalo, 1 p.m.
  • Week 13 – at Washington, 1 p.m.
  • Week 14 – vs. Kansas City, 1 p.m.
  • Week 15 – at Philadelphia, 4:15 p.m.
  • Week 16 – vs. Giants, 1 p.m.
  • Week 17 – at Miami, 1 p.m.

What Jumps Off The Page To TOJ

  1. Getting New England at home for the second meeting of the season, in primetime.
  2. The weird decision to put the Jets and Giants on Christmas Eve at 1 PM.
  3. Looking forward to seeing the Jets defense get after Tony Romo on national television to start the season.
  4. Opening the year with three straight teams who missed the playoffs.
  5. Having three straight road games in weeks 3-5.
  6. Ending the season with four of the six games against teams who missed the playoffs.
  7. The second half of the season seeming easier than the first half overall.
  8. Honestly, the schedule seeming much more manageable than I initially expected. Outside of the division games, which are always a toss up, the only two games that really stick out as extremely tough are the road games at Baltimore and Philadelphia.
  9. Rex vs. Rob in week one.
  10. Buffalo twice after week 8 is nice.