Jets Practice #4 Recap & Thoughts On Offensive Depth Chart

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Practice #4 Recap

The Good – LaDainian Tomlinson beating David Harris on a slant route and taking it all the way to the end-zone. Mark Sanchez drawing Kris Jenkins off-sides. Joe McKnight holding his own against Bart Scott in pass protection drills. John Conner getting another big hit in, this time on Calvin Pace. Braylon Edwards beating Dwight Lowery for a 20 yard touchdown in 7 on 7 drills. Sanchez squeezing one down the seam to Jerricho Cotchery for a touchdown. Kyle Wilson getting his first interception of camp, when he picked off a Mark Brunell pass headed towards David Clowney. Aundrae Allison catching a long touchdown from Kevin O’Connell. Antonio Cromartie pulling in two more interceptions from Sanchez.

The Bad – Dwight Lowery getting beat for a touchdown, where is our Island? Joe McKnight had yet another drop today. Mark Sanchez was picked off  twice by Antonio Cromartie in 11 on 11s. Kellen Clemens was picked off by Drew Coleman. Mark Brunell was picked off by Kyle Wilson. Sanchez botched a pitch to LaDainian Tomlinson. Nick Folk missing a 35 yard and 40 yard field goal.

Play of the Day – Braylon Edwards out jumped Antonio Cromartie for a one-handed reception that set up the game winning field goal in the two minute drill.

PhotobucketPlayer Who Helped Himself – John Conner is catching everybody’s attention at least once every practice. He might end up with a bigger role on the offense than Joe McKnight and his pan hands.  Antonio Cromartie has interceptions two consecutive days and from all accounts has put together a very good few days to start camp.

Player Who Hurt Himself – Mark Sanchez hasn’t gotten off to the best start this summer. His completion numbers have been a little disappointing and he has thrown a few interceptions over the past couple of practices.

Sanchez Stats – 8/17, 2 INTs in 11 on 11s (both INTs by Cromartie)…thanks to Manish Mehta for the numbers.

Folk Stats – 6/8 (1 miss from 35 yards and 1 miss from 40 yards)

Roster Moves – Kris Jenkins was taken off the Active/PUP list and was back to practice. Don’t expect to see Erik Ainge anytime soon, since it was reported that he has been checked into a drug treatment/rehab facility. Ainge was suspended four games in 2008 for substance abuse. Kellen Clemens is back to practicing 100 percent. Santonio Holmes has to pass his conditioning test this morning and then is expected on the field this afternoon.

Injury – Shaun Ellis sat out of practice today because the coaches advised him to take a day off.

Depth Chart – John Conner saw some reps with the first team offense at fullback. Matt Slauson was back to working as the starting left guard. Ropati Pitoitua and Vernon Gholston both received first team reps at defensive end, as did Jason Taylor.

Rex Ryan Press Conference Highlights –

  • Called today the “Cromartie and Braylon Edwards” show.
  • Santonio Holmes will have to pass his conditioning test after his suspension and will be a full go in this afternoon’s practice.
  • Praised punter Steve Weatherford’s work this off-season, including his holding.
  • Said he hasn’t noticed the Hard Knocks cameras in meetings and that they have been discreet.
  • He praised Antonio Cromartie’s desire to learn how to do things “the Jets way.”
  • Jim Leonhard is the top “hands” option as a punt returner, meaning if there is any poor weather conditions he would be placed back there. However, he said the coaching staff wants Kyle Wilson to win the full time job.

Revis Update – In an interview yesterday, Peter King of SI said he believed Revis had more leverage than the Jets and that a deal wouldn’t be finalized until around Labor Day.

Thoughts On Offensive Depth Chart

It sounds like Matt Slauson has a much better chance at winning the starting left guard job  than most people (including myself) originally gave him. He has been rotating every practice with Vladimir Ducasse and got the nod in the Jets first practice. Rich Cimini of ESPN New York gave him a slight edge when asked about the battle. If Slauson does happen to win the job, it will be interesting to see if the Jets spend the season grooming Ducasse to replace Damien Woody at right tackle in 2011. Ducasse could also be given a role in some of the Jets short yardage packages, similar to Robert Turner and Wayne Hunter.

Photobucket Tomlinson is off to a strong start in camp and has been receiving a good amount of reps with the first team offense. I still don’t buy him competing with Shonn Greene for the starting job but he will get plenty of work in the pre-season to show the Jets he still has the necessary burst. Tomlinson is probably looking at 9-13 touches a game until Joe McKnight gets his act together and can become a bigger part of the offense. Also in the backfield, it sounds like John Conner is having one of the most impressive overall camps so far. He may actually carve out a little role for himself in the offense this year in certain situations or if he keeps playing so well, is it possible the Jets could release Tony Richardson at some point this summer? Going back to McKnight, if he keeps struggling it only increases the chances of Danny Woodhead sticking on the roster.

Santonio Holmes returns to the practice field this afternoon. I am anxious to hear about where Brian Schottenheimer is lining him up and if the Jets are trotting out any four and five receiver sets. There hasn’t been much talk about the Jets using their “Tiger” formation yet, however they could just be waiting until the more basic offensive installation is done.

Jets are back on the practice field at 4:20.

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

Jets Thoughts To Take You Into The Weekend

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First off, get yourself excited for the 2010 Jets despite Revis skipping OTAs yesterday by enjoying a new episode of TOJ TV…don’t worry if you hate my acting, this is a highlight video to get fired up for next year by producer James Corbett.

Second, relax a little about the Revis negotiations (and this is also a note to myself). John Geiger, who is Revis’ best friend and manager said encouraging news could be coming for Jets fans today. I doubt something gets done in the next few hours but it still shows there is progress being made. How long could Tannenbaum really let this go on, despite holding all the cards since Revis has three years left on his deal and stands to lose out on up to 20 million dollars if he starts skipping mandatory practices? If I am the Jets or Revis, I want this behind us before training camp and then let’s move on to addressing Nick Mangold’s contract. Get creative, Tannenbaum.

Third, the Jets signed fifth round pick fullback John Conner today, which means it will only be four years until there is a potential contract problem with him.

Fourth, interesting question to throw out for Jets fans, if you could only have one player spend the rest of his career with the team would it be Nick Mangold or Darrelle Revis? I think I am going with Revis. You just don’t see legit lock down corners like him in the NFL.

Fifth, what would be the worst Jets jersey to buy this season? My vote is for Jason Taylor or LaDainian Tomlinson. They are going to on the team for no more than two years and really, how could you get a Taylor jersey? If you buy a Tomlinson jersey, you look like a bandwagon fan. Other nominees include the collection from the under 15 dollar bin at Wal-Mart, featuring:

  • Kellen Clemens
  • Vernon Gholston
  • Nick Folk (who will inevitably be cut before week 1)
  • Dwight Lowery (marked down after the AFC Championship Game)

Finally, if I could change one thing about Mark Sanchez, who I am a huge fan of, it would be his soccer-esque celebrations after touchdowns. I want him to make the switch to the Jordan/Kobe single fist pump and hold or break out the “you can’t see me” face wave directed to the opposing sideline.

Watch It, Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets), Check out the Podcast (see tab on top of page), and be prepared for TOJ: The Store

How To Start Your Summer: 50 Things For Jets Fans To Smile About

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Memorial Day Weekend is about to kickoff and what is a better way to start off your summer than by reading 50 things to be happy about if you are a Jets fan. I hear some occasional criticism for being too positive about the team this season, even when a simple click through the archives will show I have written plenty of articles about potential problems the entire team, certain players, and certain positions will have in 2010. Regardless, today is a day to enjoy the optimism that every Jets fan should rightfully have heading into this year, so without further delay here 50 things for Jets to smile (or brag) about heading into this season:

(By the way, that’s my man JetBo from Section 313 in the old stadium)

1. Our 23 year old quarterback has already won two road playoff games.

2. Our 23 year old quarterback has more playoff wins in one season than Tony Romo has in seven. (For all those Maganelli Dallas fans in the area).

3. Our number three receiver was the 2009 Super Bowl MVP.

4. Fine, you say he isn’t our number three receiver than our number three receiver had 1130 receiving yards in 2007.

5. You say he isn’t our number three receiver either, than our number three receiver had 17 touchdowns in 2007.

6. If you moved our starting tight end to wide receiver, he’d be better at it than anybody Buffalo is trying to start opposite Lee Evans.

7 . Our second year running back already has two career playoff 100 yard rushing games.

8. We have the best center in the NFL.

9. We have the best corner in the NFL.

10. We had the number one defense in the NFL last season, without one of the best defensive lineman in the NFL who is now returning from injury.

11. We have a Pro-Bowl left tackle.

12. Our defense is good enough that our first round corner from the 2010 NFL Draft comes off the bench.

13. We have two corners who have been All-Pros. They are 26 and 24 years old.

14. A player with 127.5 career sacks is our #3 outside linebacker.

15. A player with 138 career touchdowns is our backup running back.

16. We have one of the best fullbacks in the NFL.

17. We drafted the best fullback in the 2010 NFL Draft to back him up.

18. Our third and fourth best offensive lineman are better than most team’s first and second best offensive lineman.

19. The New England Patriots lost 33-14 in their home building in the first round of the playoffs last year. Their biggest off-season acquisitions were Torry Holt, David Patten, and Alge Crumpler.

20. New England’s top three running backs are Laurence Maroney, Fred Taylor, and Sammy Morris.

21. Miami is relying on this guy to improve their offense:

22. We have this guy to cover him:

23. We have an All-Pro inside linebacker who is 26 years old.

24. We are going to be featured HBO’s Hard Knocks this summer.

25. We don’t play in Giants Stadium anymore.

26. Our stadium is hosting the 2014 Super Bowl.

27. We have the most aggressive GM in the NFL.

28. We have the funniest head coach in the NFL.

29. Our head coach is one the best defensive minds in the NFL.

30. Our defensive blitzes more than any team in the NFL.

31. Our players love playing for our head coach and players now actually want to join the New York Jets.

32. Despite winning a Super Bowl in 2007, the Giants are frustrated by all the attention the Jets receive from the local media.

33. We have five games in primetime this season.

34. We host the first Monday Night Football game of the season.

35. We get to boo our lungs off at Brett Favre at a home Monday Night game.

36. We are playing on Thanksgiving this year for the second time in 4 years.

37. Our quarterback threw 8 more interceptions than touchdowns last year and we still made the AFC Championship Game.

38. Our number four receiver can do things like this:

39. Our top outside linebacker only played in 12 games last season but still had 8 sacks.

40. The Patriots are either going to be starting a rookie, Darius Butler, Jonathan Wilhite, or Terrence Wheatley at corner. We could go four wide with Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, Santonio Holmes, and Dustin Keller.

41. Those White Titans throwback jerseys are pretty slick looking.

42. We had a complete bust with the #6 overall pick in the 2008 draft and still had the league’s #1 overall defense last season.

43. Everybody thinks Chad Henne is a franchise quarterback and the biggest game he ever won in the NFL was beating the Jets in a week 5 game.

44. Our starting right guard is one of the most underrated players in the NFL and is hysterical on twitter. (@ShitMeatSays)

44. Bill Belichick is clearly starting to lose his mind:

45. The Jets piss off everybody in the NFL.

46. Our owner called out the NFL Commissioner for holding a fake coin toss to give the Giants the first home game in the new stadium.

47. A Rex Ryan press conference is more entertaining than 3/4 of the shows on TV right now.

48. Randy Moss doesn’t even bother to try against us anymore.

49. You could say “I expect the Jets to win the Super Bowl this season” and people won’t look at you like you have three heads.

50. The Empire State Building is going to spend plenty of time looking like this over the next few years.

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New York Jets Special Teams Questions

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First a few updates:

1. The NBA Playoffs is finally coming around a little bit. How can you not enjoy watching the Phoenix Suns play? They are like a #15 seed in the NCAA Tournament going for a upset with the amount of energy they play with. I just hope the Magic can overcome the corpse of Vince Carter dragging himself around the court to get another win tonight.

2. Some highlights from Rex Ryan’s video chat with fans today:

  • He was adamant that Nick Mangold isn’t going anywhere and that the organization will do what it takes to keep him a Jet for a long time.
  • He talked up Brandon Moore as one of the best guards in the NFL.
  • When discussing the running backs, he deflected a question about there being a battle for the starting running back job but said there would be weeks when Shonn Greene will have more carries and weeks when LaDainian Tomlinson will have more carries and that Tomlinson would also be the third-down back while Joe McKnight gets up to speed. He also raved about John Conner and discussed how he pushed for Mike Tannenbaum to draft him.
  • Ryan shot down the chemistry concerns and joked that nobody on the team but Eric Smith could pass a chemistry class.
  • He again penciled in Kyle Wilson as the starting nickel but said Dwight Lowery would still be used frequently at both corner and safety.
  • If the season started today Eric Smith would start at safety because of his knowledge of the defense but he expects Brodney Pool to be the opening day starter.
  • He talked up Brad Smith and the Jets use of the “Tiger” formation this year.
  • The player who has made the biggest improvements since he arrived is Mark Sanchez.
  • The biggest surprise and guy who has jumped out the most at OTAs has been Kenwin Cummings at inside linebacker and as of today he is the team’s #3 inside linebacker.

3. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets), I need all the ammunition I can when I talk with the Jets media relations guy in the coming weeks about getting a press pass for training camp and the pre-season games.

New York Jets Special Teams Questions

Hey, it is one-third of the game. No Jets fans can sleep on the importance of special teams after watching the negatives of Ted Ginn Jr. take two kicks back for a touchdown in a single game last season and Jay Feely miss three kicks versus Atlanta along with the positives of Brad Smith taking a kick back to the house in Indy and the Jets executing four successful fake punts in 2009. The Jets were up and down last season despite having one of the best special teams coaches in the business with Mike Westhoff and they still have plenty of questions heading into this year.

Kicker – The Jets got a problem here. Jay Feely was a reliable kicker the past two seasons and the Jets decided not to bring him back and replace him with Dallas castoff Nick Folk, who was an ugly 18/28 last season before being cut. Apparently Folk had an ugly start to his Jets career last week by missing just about every kick he took during OTAs. I know I don’t feel confident in Folk lining up for a big kick this season and if he continues to struggle this off-season look for Matt Stover to be added to the roster sooner rather than later. Stover might not have the greatest leg strength at this stage of his career but he is reliable in the 40-45 yard range and you can’t say the same for Folk right now.

Punter – Steve Weatherford managed to keep his job throughout the entire 2009 season and did an okay job. It looks like he will be the Jets guy going forward and hey the guy averaged 21 yards per carry last season. Hopefully a full off-season of working with Westhoff will improve Weatherford’s consistency in 2010.

PhotobucketKick Return – It will be very interesting to see what the Jets do here. Brad Smith did a pretty gob job in this role last season. Antonio Cromartie got some reps in OTAs and was impressive. Rookies Kyle Wilson and Joe McKnight will likely get some opportunities in training camp and the pre-season. David Clowney could get a shot. Aundrae Allison was impressive last pre-season and is probably the fastest guy on the team. Dwight Lowery took some reps last year before Smith locked the job down. If I had to guess today, Smith and McKnight will be the primary guys with Cromartie getting occasional reps. However, keep an eye on Allison during training camp as a dark horse.

Punt Return – This will be Kyle Wilson’s job to lose, although I could see Jim Leonhard or Jerricho Cotchery getting some reps in a big spot or when a team is kicking from around mid-field, when it would be better to have an experienced veteran back there.

Coverage – The Jets lost valuable special teams players like Wallace Wright, Larry Izzo, and Ryan Fowler this off-season but did sign Lance Laury who was a stand out special teams player in Seattle. They will also look to guys like Kenwin Cummings, Jamaal Westerman, and Marquice Cole to fill the void. Eric Smith, Brad Smith, and John Conner should all also be core special teams players.

Maybe the play that saved the Jets season in 2009

Ten Monday Thoughts On The Jets Offense

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First a few updates:

1. A reminder to check out Turn On The Jets, new site (http://web.me.com/turnonthejets/Site/Podcast/Podcast.html), where you could find our Podcast and eventually a few other things. It is in the early stages of construction but episode 1 of The Podcast is up and running so give it a listen.

2. Congratulations to Chris Embree and Shawn Perincheril for winning the TOJ DVD Contest, both will be receiving free copies of “New York Jets Best Games of 2009” from Warner Home Video.

3. The final week of LOST is under way and the real question is now what show should I start watching when it is over. I think my plan is to watch “The Wire” from start to finish, followed by the “The West Wing” but I am open to suggestions on shows currently on TV.

4. I have read some bad Power Rankings in my day…but Peter King putting the Dolphins at #6 in his power poll and the Carolina Panthers at #8 has to be up there among the worst.

Photobucket5. Let me just throw in some quick commentary on the Jets PSL/Parking Lot situation – It was bad enough when Deadspin released this story about how the Jets hosted their draft party (http://deadspin.com/5533012/tell-me-how-my-class-tastes-scenes-from-the-worst-nfl-draft-party-ever) but now the reports about the Jets dividing up parking lots based on whether you own a PSL or not have taken the organization’s arrogance to a new level. We knew PSLs were coming for the Jets and they managed to keep out of the upper levels (where my family has their season tickets) but telling people they can’t park near the stadium because they sit in the upper level is a joke. They are breaking up groups of people who have been tailgating together for years and diminishing the game day experience for fans who look forward to hanging out with their friends in the parking lot before and after games. I don’t mind the long walk to the stadium from the parking lot but plenty of older fans and people with younger children certainly will. The Jets have a predominantly working class fanbase and the team has done a spectacular job of alienating them as much as possible with their decisions on the new stadium. The fact that the team is nowhere near selling all the PSLs after one of the best season’s in franchise history, one of the best off-seasons in franchise history, and the rise of the team to one of the biggest stories in the NFL, speaks to that point.

Ten Monday Thoughts On The Jets Offense

1. You have to wonder how many reps Erik Ainge and Kevin O’Connell will get during OTAs with the first team offense. Mark Sanchez won’t be participating until mid-June and even though Kellen Clemens is still technically number two on the depth chart, there is a good chance he won’t be with the team when week 1 comes around. Obviously, the Jets think O’Connell has potential since they carried four quarterbacks last season and Ainge had a very good pre-season in 2009. If either of these guys can play well during OTAs, it could expedite the process of getting rid of Clemens. The Jets will also likely sign Mark Brunell after July 22nd to be the backup for this season but in the long term, Ainge and O’Connell are battling to be Sanchez’s backup. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them get an extended look with the starters while Sanchez continues to rehab.

2. The Jets may be better off if Matt Slauson can beat out Vladimir Ducasse in training camp for the starting left guard position. If this happens, Ducasse can spend time learning behind Damien Woody to take over at right tackle, when Woody is no longer with the team which is coming sooner rather than later. If Slauson has a good camp and pre-season, wins the job and can hold his own in 2010, the Jets will be heading into 2011 with a young group on the offensive line, and will have effectively replaced Alan Faneca and Damien Woody which has been a concern since they both were brought in before 2008. Ducasse might also benefit from having a season coming off the bench and slowly working into the Jets offense in short yardage packages, considering he is raw coming out of a I-AA school and won’t have to deal with the pressure in his rookie year of filling Alan Faneca’s shoes. Slauson has a year of learning in the Jets system already and gained valuable experience playing behind Faneca and Brandon Moore in his rookie season.

Photobucket3. It will be very interesting to see how the Jets integrate Santonio Holmes into their offense starting in week five. Unless somebody is really struggling or gets hurt, the Jets aren’t going to pull Jerricho Cotchery or Braylon Edwards from the starting line-up but obviously as the weeks pass with Holmes in the lineup he is gradually going to build up more reps. Cotchery is a team player and won’t have a negative public reaction to losing reps but will Braylon be able to keep his mouth shut if his playing time starts to decrease substantially in his contract year? His best remedy to the problem is to simply catch the football when it is thrown to him.

4. The decision to trade Leon Washington is going to increase LaDainian Tomlinson’s reps on the Jets offense, especially if Joe McKnight can’t get his feet under him in the early part of the season. The Jets can’t trust McKnight in the third down role right out of the gate, so Tomlinson will have to take the bulk of those reps, along with spelling Shonn Greene, and being the Jets likely short-yardage and goal-line back. If Tomlinson is as washed up as he looked towards the end of last season, the Jets could have serious problems with their Ground and Pound approach. Maybe, rookie fullback John Conner will take some short yardage carries to lighten the load on Tomlinson. I am not writing off McKnight in his rookie year but remember it took Shonn Greene awhile to get involved in the Jets offense last year.

5. Speaking of Greene, what are fair expecations for him this season? Honestly, I just want to see him stay healthy for 16 games, protect the football, and make some strides as a pass catcher. If he can do those three things, nobody is going to miss Thomas Jones. I also don’t doubt if he can do those three things, he won’t duplicate the number of yards Jones had rushing in 2009, although I doubt he comes near the 14 touchdowns because Tomlinson will be taking away goal-line carries.

6. If Mark Sanchez makes the expected strides in his second year, how much of the Jets “Tiger” formation will we see? The Jets won’t be helping their offense if Sanchez is in rhythm with Braylon, Cotchery, and Santonio by pulling him out and sticking Brad Smith in to run the option. That being said, Smith is still a valuable big-play weapon so it benefits to find a way to involve him in the game plan in some way on a weekly basis…it is just a matter of having the proper timing and using the proper plays.

Photobucket7. It is easy to lose him in the shuffle when talking about all the Jets wide receivers and running backs but Dustin Keller remains a potential x-factor on the Jets offense. He should be a primary target whenever the Jets get near the end-zone because of his ability to create mismatches. Keller is also benefited by Mark Sanchez’s ability to throw on the run because the Jets love calling the play action bootleg for him, in which Keller is normally the number one option. I don’t know if Keller will have the stats to be a pro-bowl tight end but he should be able to provide the Jets with a big play or two each week.

8. The Jets are going to throw the football more this season than they did last year but will they have a smooth transition into a more balanced offense? We all know Rex Ryan loves to run the football and allow his defense to win games but what happens if the Jets throw the ball 30 times in one week and that leads to a couple of Sanchez interceptions. Will the color code system go back into effect, with the Jets throwing the ball 14 times a game? How much rope will Brian Schottenheimer have with the offense in 2010?

9. Names to remember…Chauncey Washington, if one of the Jets running backs gets hurt he could get called up to the active roster and see some substantial playing time. Britt Davis, had a strong training camp last year and could push for a roster spot at receiver. Matthew Mulligan, the Jets number three tight end who is battling for long snapper job with Tanner Purdum. Aundrae Allison, maybe the Jets fastest player who could push for a roster spot at receiver and kick returner.

10. If you assumed the Jets had 60 plays in a game, how would you ideally divide up the touches as of right now? (assuming it is week 5 and Holmes is back)…here is my crack at it:

  • Sanchez – 24 pass attempts, hopefully 16-18 completions. Let’s say 17 for the sake of this.
  • Greene – 21 carries.
  • Tomlinson – 9 carries.
  • McKnight – 4 carries.
  • Smith – 2 carries
  • Cotchery – 4 catches
  • Holmes – 4 catches
  • Keller – 3 catches
  • Edwards – 3 catches
  • Tomlinson – 2 catches
  • McKnight – 1 catch

Let Us Tailgate In Peace