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

 weekly 12 pack is back, with no specific theme…just a bunch of random thoughts, links, and videos…enjoy it, you jabronis

1. If you aren’t excited about the NBA Playoffs, you should be. I can’t think of a better way to get through your NFL Lockout frustation then by enjoying the next couple of months of basketball. Yes, the draft will be fun but we have the 30th overall pick in the first round and no second round pick. Am I excited about improving our defensive line depth? Absolutely, but the only downfall of being a consistently very good team is that you don’t have much draft day drama.

2. How much does the lockout suck by the way? Do you know at this time last year, the Jets had already signed LaDainian Tomlinson, Brodney Pool, traded Kerry Rhodes, released Thomas Jones, signed Nick Folk, and traded for Antonio Cromartie?

3. If I had to guess today, the Jets will take Phil Taylor in the first round, draft a safety in third round, and in rounds 4 through 7, add a corner, receiver, offensive lineman, and outside linebacker

4. Get excited for New York City playoff basketball returning

5. If I was Braylon Edwards publicist, I certainly wouldn’t want him calling his DUI “BS” …doesn’t exactly sound like he learned much from the incident. Regardless, he does sound much more interested in returning to the team than Santonio Holmes does. When the new CBA is finalized, I am fascinated to see how Mike Tannenbaum approaches re-signing these two, never mind Antonio Cromartie and Brad Smith.

6. Interesting that the Jets decided to work out TCU quarterback Andy Dalton, who some people think could sneak into the first round. Clearly the Jets front office is trying to create more interest in acquiring their 30th overall pick, although I don’t know who is going to buy it. Again, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Jets trade down, which will be sure to piss off all those Jets fans who attend the Draft on Thursday night.

7. Over the past two days, I have written pieces on three of the Jets four draft picks last year, Vladimir Ducasse, Joe McKnight, and Kyle Wilson. It is essential to the Jets 2011 success that these players begin to reach the potential the team drafted them for. Ducasse needs to develop into the starting right tackle, McKnight needs to become a contributor on offense and special teams as a returner, and Wilson needs to rise up to the challenge of being a starting corner if Antonio Cromartie doesn’t come back.

8. Sounds like all that Randy Moss talk was just a smokescreen to piss off Santonio Holmes…I wonder if Bart Scott talking about how the Jets would welcome Chad Ochocino was to…

9. Did I tell you how excited I was for Knicks playoff basketball?

10. Follow TOJ’s ongoing draft preview at SB Nation…

11. Very interested to see how New England handles their 120 draft picks this year, their defense, offensive line, and receiving core could all use a boost. I also wonder if Miami will officially throw in the towel on Chad Henne by drafting Ryan Mallett.

12. Enjoy your weekend…go New York, go New York, go…

New York Jets: Is Kyle Wilson Ready?

There was a time last summer when some of us pretended not to sweat the Darrelle Revis holdout as much as we should have because of how the coaching staff was raving about Kyle Wilson.

Revis would eventually return and then the Baltimore game happened…

Wilson was badly exposed in single coverage and began a season long struggle with playing the football in the air and picking up pass interference penalties. He was eventually passed on the depth chart by Drew Coleman and was barely a factor down the stretch, except when an interception slammed off his face mask in the AFC Championship Game.

Wilson also never stepped up in the return game, he struggled enough last year that many people, including Rex Ryan, only mentioned Jerricho Cotchery and Joe McKnight as the likely candidates to replace Jim Leonhard on punt return this year.

Despite writing 100,000 words advising against it, there is still a very real chance Antonio Cromartie won’t return next year, which will lead to the need for Wilson to move into the starting line-up. He didn’t show anything last year to make us believe he is capable of handling that role and the lack of off-season workouts this year can’t be helping.

However, there was a reason Wilson was drafted in the first round. He obviously has talent and perhaps his rookie year provided a valuable lesson on adjusting to the NFL. If the front office decides to let Cromartie leave, Wilson will have one of the most difficult secondary jobs in the league…playing opposite Revis Island, let’s hope he is ready to prove that decision would be correct.

Beyond that, if Cromartie does come back. It would be nice to see Wilson develop into a quality nickel back for now and create a few big plays, similar to the way Drew Coleman did last year.

Plenty Of Work To Be Done On Rex’s Pride And Joy

The number of question marks surrounding the New York Jets defense heading into the Draft is at a somewhat worrisome number. Rex Ryan is a great defensive mind, who has the ability to get more out of less, yet the Jets have holes to fill at all three levels of their defense if they want to remain among the league’s elite units.

Defensive Line – Even if the Jets decide to re-sign Shaun Ellis (which they should) and Trevor Pryce doesn’t retire. They still need both a defensive end and a defensive tackle to improve their depth and youth at the position. Phil Taylor out of Baylor has been a very popular pick for the Jets in mock drafts and his selection would likely allow Sione Pouha to get some work at end. However, spending a first round pick on Taylor or somebody like him shouldn’t stop the Jets from potentially adding another lineman later in the Draft or via free agency (if it ever starts).

Linebacker – The long term replacement for Bryan Thomas needs to be found as the Jets look to improve their pass rush. If the right defensive lineman isn’t available at number 30, Akeem Ayers and Justin Houston have been linked to the Jets. Both players have question marks surrounding them, yet they would have a year or two to function as only pass rush specialists behind Thomas as they learn to become full-time players. The Jets could also use depth at inside linebacker behind David Harris and Bart Scott. Josh Mauga and Jamaal Westerman don’t seem to be any more than special teams players at this point.

Secondary – It is time to accept the fact that the Jets will always need corners and safeties as long as Rex Ryan is their head coach. Everybody is worried about the Jets front seven, while forgetting three of their top four safeties are free agents, along with two of their top three corners. They need to decide what they are doing about bringing Antonio Cromartie, Eric Smith, Brodney Pool, James Ihedigbo, and Drew Coleman back, along with supplementing the position through the Draft and likely a free agency move or two. Personally, I think Pool will be brought back to start opposite Jim Leonhard and they will add a safety later in the draft to groom behind him. At corner, the Jets better pray Kyle Wilson is ready to take his game up about five notches if they let Antonio Cromartie leave.

12 Pack Of Jets Off-Season Thoughts – Edition #11

As reliable as Chad Henne throwing an interception in a big game, the 12 pack is back with another edition. A friendly reminder to follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter. For today’s 12 pack we are going to count down the 10 most important players to the Jets getting over the hump and making it to the Super Bowl in 2011, along posting some links and our usual weekend video clips —

Ten Most Important Jets In 2011 –

10. Santonio Holmes – Everything we have heard this off-season indicates that he will be back with the team and that he is now their top priority after taking care of David Harris. Holmes needs to be the number one receiver the Jets are going to sign him to be on a consistent basis.

9. Jim  Leonhard – The Jets defense needs a healthy Leonhard quarterbacking the secondary, especially with the spot opposite him a major question mark with Eric Smith, Brodney Pool, and James Ihedigbo all free agents.

8. Calvin Pace – Regardless of who the Jets draft this year, Pace will be their top pass rusher entering the season. The Jets need a full 16 game season out of him, where he finally reaches double digit in sacks, which he should be more than capable of in this system with his skill set.

7. Dustin Keller – Based on the assumption that Braylon Edwards won’t be back, Keller will need to take on a bigger role in the offense and become the team’s primary red-zone threat because of his size. Even if Edwards returns, Keller needs to keep growing and become a reliable outlet for Mark Sanchez.

6. Kyle Wilson – Based on the assumption that Antonio Cromartie won’t return despite TOJ writing 1200 articles this off-season begging for the Jets to re-sign him. Wilson needs to be able to handle the daunting task of being the corner opposite Revis Island, along with stepping up in the return game on both punts and kicks. Even if Cromartie returns, Wilson needs to improve as a nickel back and be better on returns.

5. Vladimir Ducasse/Wayne Hunter – One of the two of them needs to step into the right tackle spot to fill in for the recently released Damien Woody. The Jets offensive line has been a major strength the past few years and they can’t afford a major drop off because of one player being released. The coaching staff will obviously be pulling for Ducasse, last year’s second round pick, to seize the job. However, if he isn’t up to the task, Hunter must be more consistent than he was last season when he stepped in for an injured Woody.

4. Nick Mangold/D’Brickashaw Ferguson/Brandon Moore – Don’t ever forget how much of the Jets success the past couple of years is from having such a solid, consistent center, tackle, guard combination.

3. Shonn Greene – The Jets need a lead back who can carry the load on a weekly basis and this is Greene’s year to show he is that guy. 2010 was a disappointing season for the second year back, who got off to a slow start and never became the workhorse he showed he had the potential to be during the 2009 playoff run. Greene has the physical ability to be a 1200-1400 yard back, but can he stay healthy and consistent enough to achieve those numbers?

2. Darrelle Revis – The Jets aggressive defense is predicated on their corners being able to shut down receivers in single coverage. Darrelle Revis needs to stay healthy and play at the level he did in 2009 and the second half of 2010, especially with the uncertainty at the spot opposite him.

1. Mark Sanchez – Was there any question? It always starts and ends with the quarterback. Similar to how Sanchez took a step forward in 2010, the Jets need him to do the same thing this year. He will given more responsibility on offense and likely be asked to throw more than he has in previous years. Sanchez needs to get his completion percentage closer to 60 and should able to get near 4,000 yards passing next season, while keeping his interception total in the 10-13 range.

Weekend Links

– Keep up with your Gunaxin reading with a suggestion of things certain NFL players should be doing during the lockout and the John Madden Scale of Rating Women. 

– Good read on lockout frustration.

– Joe Namath coming to HBO.

Weekend Video Clips – Rex Sox are 0-6, so laugh at Boston edition

Reviewing Mike Tannenbaum’s Draft Picks

Most New York Jets fans are appropriately big supporters of General Manager Mike Tannenbaum, his aggressive nature has kept off-seasons entertaining and helped shape the Jets into one of the league’s best teams. With the NFL Draft rapidly approaching, let’s take a look at every selection Tannenbaum has made since taking over as GM in 2006 —

2006

  • Round 1, Pick 4 – D’Brickashaw Ferguson
  • Round 1, Pick 29 – Nick Mangold
  • Round 2, Pick 49 – Kellen Clemens
  • Round 3, Pick 76 – Anthony Schlegel
  • Round 3, Pick 97 – Eric Smith
  • Round 4, Pick 103 – Brad Smith
  • Round 4, Pick 117 – Leon Washington
  • Round 5, Pick 150 – Jason Pociask
  • Round 6, Pick 189 – Drew Coleman
  • Round 7, Pick 220 – Titus Adams

This was one hell of a draft for Tannenbaum to start his career with. It was a bold move to take two offensive lineman in the first round for a first-time GM, especially deciding to pass on quarterback Matt Leinart, who would have been an extremely popular (but in hindsight an extremely stupid) selection. Ferguson and Mangold have developed into the foundation of the Jets offensive line and are both Pro-Bowl caliber players.

Yes, Kellen Clemens never panned out and the highlight of Anthony Schlegel’s career was muffing an onside kick, but he compensated for it by getting Eric Smith, Brad Smith, Leon Washington, and Drew Coleman in later rounds, who all turned into major contributors on playoff teams.

2007

  • Round 1, Pick 14 – Darrelle Revis
  • Round 2, Pick 47 – David Harris
  • Round 6, Pick 177 – Jacob Bender
  • Round 7, Pick 235 – Chansi Stuckey

Another terrific draft for Tannenbaum who traded up to get Darrelle Revis, who is now the consensus best corner in football and David Harris who is a Pro-Bowl caliber inside linebacker. Bender never amounted to anything but Stuckey turned into a quality player who was an important part of the Braylon Edwards trade.

2008

  • Round 1, Pick 6 – Vernon Gholston
  • Round 1, Pick 30 – Dustin Keller
  • Round 4, Pick 113 – Dwight Lowery
  • Round 5, Pick 162 – Erik Ainge
  • Round 6, Pick 171 – Marcus Henry
  • Round 7, Pick 211 – Nate Garner

Without question Tannenbaum’s worst draft and probably worst overall few days as the Jets GM. Gholston was a complete bust, Ainge had serious drug problems and was suspended multiple times, Henry and Garner never played a regular season snap for the team. Dustin Keller has obviously been an important part of the offense and Lowery has been a serviceable role player but the Gholston pick hurts.

2009

  • Round 1, Pick 5 – Mark Sanchez
  • Round 3, Pick 65 – Shonn Greene
  • Round 6, Pick 193 – Matt Slauson

Two more trade ups that have paid early dividends for the Jets. Say what you want about Mark Sanchez, he certainly has looked the part of the franchise quarterback the Jets drafted him to be by winning four road playoff games in his first two years. Greene was a disappointment in year two but his terrific playoff stretch in his rookie year helped carry the Jets to the AFC Championship Game. Matt Slauson is now the starting left guard and was steady in that role last year.

2010

  • Round 1, Pick 29 – Kyle Wilson
  • Round 2, Pick 61 – Vladimir Ducasse
  • Round 4, Pick 112 – Joe McKnight
  • Round 5, Pick 139 – John Conner

The jury is still very much out on this draft class but the early returns weren’t very good. Wilson struggled heavily his rookie year and barely contributed. Ducasse was beat out by Matt Slauson for the left guard spot and will now compete to be the starting right tackle. McKnight showed up to camp out of shape and didn’t give any meaningful reps all season. Conner showed potential and will be the starting fullback this season.

Assessing Jets Needs Heading Into Draft

A quick run down as we are now less than a month away —

1. Defensive Line – If the season started today, the Jets would be starting Mike DeVito, Sione Pouha, and Marcus Dixon up front with Ropati Pitoitua and Matt Kroul as the top backups…enough said. They need another player or two here and will likely spend their first round pick on the defensive line unless an outside linebacker jumps off the board. The Jets should also work to bring back Shaun Ellis and Trevor Pryce to improve their depth and to mentor the rookies brought in.

2. Outside Linebacker – The Jets need to improve their pass rush and in the 3-4 that means having outside linebackers who can get after the quarterback. Bryan Thomas is a solid, consistent all-around player but the Jets need more speed and athleticism off the edge to compliment Calvin Pace.

3. Secondary – The Jets could still use a play-making safety to pair with Jim Leonhard. Kerry Rhodes was a bust in Rex Ryan’s first year and the Eric Smith/Brodney Pool platoon from last year could stand to be improved. If Antonio Cromartie leaves via free agency, the Jets may also need to look at the corner position due to Kyle Wilson’s struggles last year.

4. Wide Receiver – This is under the assumption that either Braylon Edwards or Santonio Holmes isn’t on the team next year. The offense could use a player with some upside to develop behind Jerricho Cotchery.

5. Backup quarterback – They need a long term answer to the question of who will be Mark Sanchez’s backup, especially since he has had more than one injury issue in his brief NFL career.

6. Offensive Line Depth – With either Wayne Hunter or Vladimir Ducasse moving into the starting line-up to replace Damien Woody and Robert Turner’s status uncertain for next year, the Jets could use another lineman who is versatile between the tackle and guard spots to provide depth.

12 Pack of Jets Off-Season Thoughts – Edition #5

Over the hump – Are you surprised that in the slowest part of the NFL calendar year, Rex Ryan has managed to make two Super Bowl guarantees for the Jets in the past two weeks? I know I’m not. Rex is going to be Rex. The big talk, the confidence, the swagger…all of that isn’t going to stop anytime soon. He was a half away from the Super Bowl in 2009 and a series away from it last season. What is it going to take for the Jets to get over the hump?

It certainly wouldn’t hurt to win the division and get a home playoff game as a start. The Jets are going to need Mark Sanchez to keep improving, the defense to get younger and faster, and certain players on offense like Dustin Keller and Shonn Greene to take their game to the next level. I am scared of this team turning into the Philadelphia Eagles of the AFC. I can’t stomach any more Championship Game losses.

CSI – I have mixed feelings about Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum appearing on CSI: New York. It is nice they performed so well on Hard Knocks that they have made the step to standard cable. However, it was a bad omen when Eric Mangini appeared on a certain popular television show.

Mr. T – Considering this off-season is going to be unlike anything the NFL has seen in awhile, I am glad Mike Tannenbaum is steering the ship on the Jets personnel and salary cap decisions. The guy has always shown an ability to be creative and work around difficult situations. I don’t know when this CBA madness is going to be settled but I know the Jets will be prepared for whatever arises in the coming months.

#81 – An issue that is frequently being ignored when people talk about either Braylon Edwards or Santonio Holmes leaving or the importance of keeping them both, is how Dustin Keller is more than capable of picking up the production of whomever leaves the team. Don’t forget in the four games last season when Holmes was suspended, Keller had 19 receptions, 254 yards, and 5 touchdowns. This is a major reason I have argued for bringing Antonio Cromartie back before bringing both receivers back.

Rumors – There has been some chatter about both Vernon Gholston and Jason Taylor being released before March 4th. I don’t think any of us expect either back next year, so the sooner the better I suppose. The Jets still need to find a long term replacement for Bryan Thomas and a guy who can provide some type of consistent pass rush.

Better Every Day – As you have been able to see AJ has kicked off our NFL Draft coverage with an in-depth look at a couple of potential prospects for the Jets in the first round. If there are any specific prospects you would like to see covered, don’t hesitate to e-mail me at JCaporoso@gmail.com and we’ll see what we can do. Also another shout out is needed to Randy Yaws for designing our new banner, which is a major improvement over our old one (sorry, Fanball). Finally, I hope you are enjoying the occasional linkage to my work at SB Nation and Gunaxin, which steps outside the world of the Jets and NFL from time to time.

Winning Them Over – A player who wasn’t very popular with fans prior to the 2010 season but who they now seem to be desperately clinging to, is wide receiver Braylon Edwards. Despite his early season DUI, Edwards won the fan base over with his tough and consistent play throughout the entire year. His numbers don’t jump off the page but if you watched every Jets snap this year, you know how well he played. I hope Mike Tannenbaum can work magic and get him back on the team alongside Santonio Holmes.

Defensive Questions – Regardless of what their end of the year numbers were, it felt like the Jets defense took a step back in 2010. We saw what they were capable of against the Colts and Patriots in the playoffs but they need to play at that level more consistently. It is going to be up to Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine to continue to break their own tendencies and mix up the Jets defensive approach more frequently. Beyond that, Mike Tannenbaum needs to find a couple of players who can contribute immediately to the defense and players like Kyle Wilson need to grow up fast.

Easy Dealings – David Harris signed his franchise tender without any resistance as expected. He never complained about his contract last year and never made an issue of it during the season or in the past few weeks. I hope the Jets do the right thing and eventually give him the long term deal he deserves.

BT – Even though the Jets do need a long term replacement for him and more of a pass rush. Bryan Thomas did put together a pretty good overall year in 2010. He led the team in sacks with 6 and fits well in the scheme. He isn’t a flashy guy but don’t underestimate his value.

Holding My Breath – What is the over/under on number of days until the next scandal involving a Jets player or coach occurs?

Weekend Video Clips – Glad this isn’t our quarterback edition

Antonio Cromartie Not Coming Back in 2011?

Mike Lombardi of the NFL Network reported last night the New York Jets are planning to not resign cornerback Antonio Cromartie and will instead focus on bringing back both Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards. This report hasn’t been contradicted strongly by any of the beat writers, with ESPN’s Rich Cimini saying by reading the “tea leaves” of Mike Tannenbaum’s end of the year press conference, it makes sense. Manish Mehta of the Daily News said a decision hasn’t been reached yet/ Mark Cannizzaro of the New York Post wrote today Cromartie returning is still an option but the Jets will focus on getting their three wide receivers back first.

Personally, I would think Santonio Holmes would be the top priority now after taking care of David Harris with the franchise tag. After him, Cromartie should be the next priority and I still have a hard time believing the Jets are going to focus on Braylon Edwards or Brad Smith before him.

Why?

Nobody is saying Braylon Edwards wasn’t very good for the Jets last year and that Smith isn’t a valuable weapon. However, it isn’t a question of those players. It is a question of who is going to have an increased role if they leave via free agency.

The Jets can survive on offense without Edwards and Smith. Jerricho Cotchery is capable of being a starting receiver and Dustin Keller can be very productive with an enhanced role, as we saw last year before Santonio Holmes returned from suspension. Smith is a nice gadget player, who the Jets should still be able to bring back with Cromartie if Edwards leaves but either way their offense can survive without him and yes, so could their special teams.

If Cromartie leaves, are the Jets really prepared to hand the starting cornerback job to Kyle Wilson? Did he do anything last year to make you believe he can handle that role? Rex Ryan has consistently and profusely expressed his love for cornerbacks and considering the Jets aggressive man to man scheme, I can’t see them putting Wilson and Drew Coleman opposite Darrelle Revis and hoping for the best.

The decision to bring Edwards and Smith back before worrying about Cromartie or potentially letting him walk would signal a shift in the Jets philosophy. It would indicate they are embracing a more offensive approach and that they are going to rely more on their passing attack in 2011. If you are going to spend that type of money at receiver, it means you are expecting Mark Sanchez to be able to lead a more wide open, aggressive offense. I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing because look at the last two Super Bowl champions and how they won. However, the Jets defense is going to suffer. They still lack a pass rush to compensate for weaknesses at the number two and three corner spot.

I will believe a Rex Ryan led team bringing back three receivers before one cornerback, when I see it.

New York Jets 2010 Draft Class Needs To Grow Up

This past season wasn’t a productive one for the Jets rookies. Mike Tannenbaum has hit on his share of picks since becoming the Jets GM but the early returns on the 2010 draft class weren’t very promising. Let’s take a look back at what they did but more importantly what they are going to need to do in 2011 for the Jets to remain a top team in the AFC —

Kyle Wilson – 21 tackles, 5 passes defenses, 7.4 yards per punt return, 300 pass interference penalties

Before the season started, Rex Ryan declared Kyle Wilson his starting nickel and top punt returner. In the summer, he said the Jets could survive without Darelle Revis because Wilson had shown so much promise…um, not exactly. Wilson struggled heavily in coverage and was eventually passed on the depth chart by Drew Coleman and he also never looked comfortable on punt returns. It is too early to call Wilson a bust but he clearly needs to re-adjust his game to the NFL level and learn how to play the football in the air.

I wouldn’t be shocked if Drew Coleman wasn’t back in 2011 and there is also a chance Antonio Cromartie might not return. Either way, the coaching staff is going to give Wilson another shot to at least be the full time nickel corner. The Jets need him to develop so slot receivers can stop slicing them apart in the middle of the field. Wilson also needs to pick it up as a punt returner so the Jets don’t have to risk Jerricho Cotchery (who could be a starter again if Braylon Edwards leaves) or Santonio Holmes back there.

Vladimir Ducasse – 1 King Ugly Runner-Up Award

Winning the King Ugly Runner-Up Award in training camp was about the most memorable moment of the season for Vladimir Ducasse. He clearly wasn’t ready to compete for the starting guard job in August and Matt Slauson held the position down well all year. There is a good chance Ducasse will have a chance to compete with Wayne Hunter for the starting right tackle spot this year, if the Jets decide to let Damien Woody walk. If Ducasse can’t win that job, you would hope he shows enough progress to at least contribute in their big packages and provide decent depth.

Joe McKnight – 39 carries, 189 yards, 3 receptions, 20 yards, plenty of vomit

Joe McKnight didn’t show up to rookie minicamp ready to play and it was really all down hill from there. He couldn’t protect the ball in the pre-season and was buried on the inactive list for most the year. McKnight did show some promise on special teams toward the end of the season and played well in the Jets regular season finale against Buffalo.

There is a good chance that Brad Smith won’t be back and also a small chance LaDainian Tomlinson won’t return in 2011. Either way, the Jets will need McKnight to take a bigger role on the offense and special teams. Tomlinson can’t handle as many touches on offense and McKnight needs to show his ability to be a dual threat as a runner/receiver the Jets drafted him for.

John Conner – 8 carries, 44 yards, 1 touchdown, 1,000,000 compliments from Rex Ryan

For a player who did so little this year, Conner gets a ton of hype. However, to be fair Tony Richardson put together another solid year at the fullback position and it is a good thing that Conner had a full season to be mentored by him. He did show a ton of potential in the pre-season and should be the Jets fullback for a long, long time or for at least as long as Rex Ryan is around. I am anxious to see him be a starter and hope he learned plenty from Richardson.

12 Pack of Jets Off-Season Thoughts – Edition #1

We can’t just stop the 12 pack because the Jets decided to only play one half in the AFC Championship Game. On to edition #1 of the off-season 12 pack, but not before a friendly reminder to follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (@TurnOnTheJets)…check out that new Twitter bar on the side of the home page, not bad right? A special thanks to Will Horton who migrated TOJ off the Fanball server and on to our new one.

1. The Running Backs – I am certainly not against LaDainian Tomlinson coming back for another year with the New York Jets. He is a valuable outlet for Mark Sanchez and provides necessary leadership on the offensive side of the football. However, the Jets have to be careful to not let him stunt the growth of Joe McKnight and especially Shonn Greene. Due to Tomlinson’s strong start, Greene never really received the chance to develop into the number one back we all envisioned him as. Down the stretch when he started to play better, he still wasn’t getting enough carries because Tomlinson maintained a big role in the offense.

Joe McKnight wasn’t ready to contribute this past season but did show signs of hope towards the end of the year. The coaching staff apparently loves his skill set and the only way to see if he can become a part of this offense is to give him a chance. If Tomlinson returns, it needs to be in a reduced role that allows Greene to get 17-20 carries a game and McKnight to get 7-9 offensive touches himself at running back and receiver. The future of this backfield is Greene, McKnight, and John Conner at fullback and the future should start in 2011.

2. The Mark Sanchez Question – I am still amazed at how hesitant some people are to give Sanchez credit for the type of season he put together in 2010. There is no question he struggles with inaccuracy at times and hits stretches of inconsistency, however on the whole he threw 5 more touchdowns and 7 less interceptions, along with over 800 more yards than he did his rookie year. He took major strides forward in his second year as a starting quarterback and is developing into one of the best quarterbacks in the league at avoiding the pass rush and making a play outside of the pocket. Most importantly, he has the necessary intangibles to be a leader of a team and consistently plays well in big spots. The guy has four road playoff victories in his first two years and has a bright future as the Jets offense becomes more aggressive.

3. Changing Faces – Marcus Dixon, Marquice Cole and James Ihedigbo are three role players who I expect to see more playing time on defense in 2011. They all showed potential in limited reps and with at least a few defensive backs and defensive lineman leaving as free agents or being released, should get an opportunity to create bigger roles for themselves.

4. Bye, Vernon – Mike Tannenbaum made it pretty clear today that we shouldn’t expect to see Vernon Gholston back in 2011. Why would the team even bother at this point? Three seasons, zero sacks, and limitless hype and “Gholston is finally getting it” stories…it is time to move on.

5. Let’s Not Repeat – Let’s face the reality that Kyle Wilson showed signs of being a bust in his rookie year. He seemed overwhelmed by the NFL game and was out-played by Drew Coleman and Dwight Lowery all season. Wilson will be given every opportunity to be at least the nickel back if not the starter opposite Darrelle Revis (if Antonio Cromartie leaves) and he needs to take advantage of it. Hopefully, he will learn from his rookie mistakes instead of losing confidence from his struggles.

6. Scary Stats Part 1 – Bart Scott has 2 sacks and 1 forced fumble in two seasons with the Jets. Drew Coleman had 4 sacks and 5 forced fumbles this season for the Jets…Bryan Thomas had less than 40 total tackles this season despite starting every game at outside linebacker…Dwight Lowery had the same amount of regular season touchdowns this season as Shonn Greene.

7. Preparing For Life Without Brad – We all want him back and we all know how valuable he is, but I have hard time seeing the Jets pay Brad Smith, Josh Cribbs type money in a year they have to pay David Harris, Antonio Cromartie, and Santonio Holmes. Joe McKnight needs to pick up the slack on kick return and as an option running the football. Patrick Turner can help fill the void at receiver and will get more playing time any way with Braylon Edwards likely leaving.

8. To Shaun Ellis and Mike Tannenbaum – Let’s have cooler heads prevail this off-season and work something out. Nobody wants to see Ellis finish his career in a different color jersey than Green and White and he would be a great mentor to whatever young defensive lineman the Jets draft this year.

9. Already Excited – New York’s current JV team (the Giants) at New York’s finest this season…you know that game has Monday or Sunday night football written all over it.

10. Plax and Aso – There has been plenty of chatter about both Plaxico Burress and Nnamdi Asomugha joining the Jets this year. However, I would say there is less than a ten percent chance of either happening. Asomugha is only coming here if he agrees to take much less than he is worth, which I doubt he will do. I could see the Jets exploring Burress but I’d be surprised to see them add another sideshow especially since there is no guarantee he’d be anywhere near the player he once was considering his time off.

11. Anybody Else – Been spending time wondering what would have happened if Ben Roethlisberger didn’t complete that third and six pass to Antonio Brown?

12. Video Therapy (Wide Receiver Edition) —

Enjoy your weekend…