A Word On Jerricho Cotchery And The Jets Receivers Moving Forward

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It has been a tough couple of weeks for Jets wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery. He suffered his worst game as a professional in their week 8 loss to the Green Bay Packers with a collection of drops no seasoned Jets fans could believe, considering his history with the team. The problem followed him to Detroit where he dropped a couple of more passes and was officially demoted out of the starting line-up after holding down the position since the start of the 2006 season.

Cotchery has rightly been a fan favorite since becoming a starter on the team. He is a gutsy player with terrific hands, who always had a knack for making a big run after the catch. He has developed a reputation as a humble, hard-working, team first player who couldn’t represent the Jets organization on or off the field in a better way. (http://www.cotcheryfoundation.com/)

As we all expected he would, Cotchery bounced back in week 9 with a strong performance. I spent plenty of time this off-season writing about what an ideal fit he would be as a slot receiver and how he would be a killer weapon for the Jets on third downs, and that is exactly what he demonstrated yesterday. The stats (3 receptions, 43 yards, 1 TD) don’t jump off the page but look a little closer:

  • He pulled in a 25 yard touchdown on a 3rd and 8 in the second quarter, where he operated the scramble drill to perfection with Mark Sanchez.
  • He had a 8 yard reception on a 3rd and 6 in the fourth quarter, which helped lead the Jets to a field goal, giving them a 20-13 lead.

And then of course, the play none of us will soon forget –

What can you really say? Just an awesome football play.

Unfortunately, the Jets will now be without Cotchery for at least a few weeks. Similar to hamstrings, groin pulls are tricky to recover from and Cotchery expressed how much pain he was in after the game. You would  hope he could be back by December 6th for Monday Night football in New England but that could be wishful thinking, so what will the Jets do moving forward?

Keep in mind the Jets only carry 4 active receivers on their roster: Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards, Brad Smith, and Cotchery. You can say that Smith could bump up to take Cotchery’s reps but that limits what the Jets can do in their “Tiger” formation with Smith, which as we saw yesterday is a big part of their offense. Beyond that, Smith is a very good all-around football player but not a true wide receiver. He has never demonstrated great route running or the hands needed of a true slot receiver.

The Jets could give their old friend Laveranues Coles a call. If he has been keeping himself in shape, maybe he could provide 20 quality snaps a game. Patrick Turner could be given a shot off the practice squad but he is very inexperienced. Another thought is that reserve rookie tight end Jeff Cumberland could finally get a bump to the active roster and take reps. Keep in mind, Cumberland played wide receiver in college and the Jets love his receiving skills, which is why he remains on the 53 man roster.

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Monday Night Jets Roster Thoughts

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A few comments on the recent roster developments…

First off, I can’t say I disagree with the decision to release Laveranues Coles. The Jets are better off giving his roster spot to a young player, who can contribute on special teams. David Clowney is the obvious favorite to stick on the roster as the number five receiver, but don’t be shocked if Danny Woodhead or Larry Taylor bump him off if they can put together strong performances Thursday against Philadelphia.

I am not crazy about keeping four tight ends. Clearly, the Jets are very high on Jeff Cumberland. Yet, why not just stash him on the practice squad this year, let him develop a little more as a blocker and hope he can become the number two tight next year? I can’t see many scenarios when Cumberland will be active on Sundays. I just don’t think he has shown enough this pre-season to merit a spot on the 53 man roster.

It is a wise decision to keep Tony Richardson and John Conner. Let Conner get a full season working off the bench and soaking up as much information as possible from Richardson. The Jets need Richardson’s veteran presence in the huddle. Both of these guys will be active on a weekly basis, while we may not be able to say the same for Joe McKnight.

PhotobucketIt sounds like Kellen Clemens is going to make the final roster, which should have been a no-brainer. Clemens should be the #2 quarterback. Mark Brunell has done absolutely nothing this pre-season. He will get the starting nod this Thursday and if Clemens outplays him again, how could the Jets keep him as the number two quarterback?

I think the Jets can survive without the addition of Adalius Thomas. Yes, it would be nice for depth purposes but I like what I have seen from Jamaal Westerman this pre-season and think he can adequately spell Jason Taylor. I also think, similar to last year, Bryan Thomas can handle most of Pace’s regular responsibilities. We’ll see how Vernon Gholston looks when he drops back to outside linebacker occasionally on Thursday. Yet, I would hate to see the progress he has been making at defensive end go to waste. He has actually looked like he could be a capable part of the line rotation in 2010.

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Jets Fans: Take A Deep Breath

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A short and friendly reminder to Jets fans who are quickly losing confidence in their team as a Super Bowl contender:

The games in August don’t count. This is the pre-season. There is no need to even recollect the countless examples of teams having strong pre-seasons and then being terrible or the reverse. Obviously, it would be nice to see Mark Sanchez play a little more consistent and the passing game connect on a few more big plays. Of course, Antonio Cromartie isn’t as good as Darrelle Revis. Yes, it is a big blow that Calvin Pace will miss the first four games.

Yet, I remember Sanchez playing god-awful in a pre-season game against the Baltimore Ravens last year before coming out of the gate on fire, en route to a 3-0 start for the Jets. After that, he started to struggle and then finished the year playing better. The thing about Sanchez is that he is a young quarterback who is going to be inconsistent at times. Hopefully, he will be less inconsistent in 2009 than he was in 2010. Don’t forget the Jets went to the AFC Championship Game with him throwing 12 touchdowns to 20 interceptions, while completing a little over 50 percent of his passes. He won’t be anywhere near that bad this season. The guy clearly has talent but you have to expect some inconsistencies to linger in his second year.

The Jets played four games without Calvin Pace last season and went 3-1. They are now better equipped to deal with his absence because of the Jason Taylor signing and because Vernon Gholston appears to be improved from last year.

Simply put, not having Darrelle Revis sucks. The Jets secondary is going to suffer without him but that doesn’t mean they are going to look like the Giants last year defending the pass, and be allowing 40 points a game. At this point, even if Revis returns he won’t be playing at his 2009 level until the middle of the season, if he doesn’t get hurt before. Revis Island is gone. Don’t expect to see that kind of play until late October, if he actually decides he can stomach playing football for 120 million dollars.

The Jets defense is still going to be very, very good this year. They can still run the football as well as any team in the league. These two things mean the Jets are going to be competitive every week and win more times than they lose, because they still have superior talent to just about all the teams they will face, even without Revis. It is a well-coached, highly motivated team that has quality veteran leadership (Richardson, Cotchery, Leonhard, Scott, Woody, Jenkins,) and plenty of skill spread across the roster.

Take a deep breath Jets fans, August is over and we survived with only key injury and the guy will be back for week 5. September is here and we are still a Super Bowl contender.

Mark Sanchez Will Be Fine

TOJ TV…Of Course

Jets vs. Redskins: What We Need To See

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First a few updates:

1. There is a ton of buzz about the Jets depth chart, which was displayed on Hard Knocks last night. What we saw is still subject to change, especially after the upcoming two pre-season games. However, a few comments :

  • It is a joke if Kellen Clemens gets cut to keep Kevin O’Connell on the roster. It is bad enough that Mark Brunell is being handed the backup job, when he doesn’t deserve it over Clemens but to keep O’Connell on the roster over Clemens is insane. O’Connell has been awful this pre-season, while Clemens has been the Jets best second quarterback.
  • It is a wise decision by the Jets to keep Tony Richardson on the roster. He is a valuable veteran to have in the offensive huddle, especially with Thomas Jones and Alan Faneca no longer around.
  • I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jets changed their mind about keeping four tight ends. It makes more sense to put a guy like Jeff Cumberland on the practice squad and keep a Danny Woodhead, Chauncey Washington, David Clowney, or Lance Laury on the active roster.
  • The Jets may have to look at roster cuts from another team to fill that sixth defensive lineman spot.

Jets vs. Redskins: What We Need To See

The third pre-season game provides the most extended look at a team’s starters, while the fourth pre-season game is for sorting out the final roster spots. Unfortunately, the Jets defense won’t really be tested tomorrow considering Donovan McNabb won’t be playing, and the geriatric collection of running backs and receivers the Redskins have. However, Washington usually runs out a solid defense, which will provide a good test for a Jets offense that needs a bounce-back performance after an ugly showing in Carolina.

PhotobucketMark Sanchez needs to demonstrate the accuracy he displayed against the Giants in the pre-season opener, while continuing to spread the ball around. It appears that Brad Smith is going to primarily be the number three receiver until Santonio Holmes returns from suspension, unless Laveranues Coles can have a head turning performance tomorrow night. Sanchez and Dustin Keller have displayed good chemistry all summer and he looks in sync with Jerricho Cotchery, like he was last season. However, Sanchez hasn’t connected with Santonio Holmes yet in a pre-seaosn game. I want to see them connect a few times in August, considering they won’t be playing together again until October 11th. Finally, the Jets haven’t hit on a deep ball. How about a downfield completion to Braylon Edwards from Sanchez, and a bomb from Mark Brunell to David Clowney?

Speaking of Brunell and Clowney, they are two players who need a strong performance tomorrow night. Clowney is on the verge of being cut and of course losing his “Mr. August” title. Brunell has done nothing to inspire confidence as being the number two quarterback. Hopefully he can actually string together a few completions and move the Jets offense a little bit.

I am interested to see the division of reps between Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson. Greene has been solid this August, but I’d like to see him get 9 – 11 carries and get rolling a little bit. LT will be looking to continue to build on a strong August. Danny Woodhead and Chauncey Washington will be battling for a roster spot in the fourth quarter, while Joe McKnight continues his quest to stop every Jets fan from disliking him and wanting Leon Washington back.

I don’t buy the left guard competition anymore. Let’s just see Matt Slauson go three quarters without a holding penalty or allowing a snack.

On defense, I would like to see Kyle Wilson be tested a little bit. Yet, I don’t think Rex Grossman and Joey Galloway are up to the challenge. We can only hope that Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman build on what they did last week and aren’t beat like a drum by the Redskins reserves. Also, how about a Jason Taylor sighting? I am not sure I have heard a single word about our former enemy this August making any kind of impact on defense. Yes, Taylor is a veteran and pacing himself but at least a quarterback pressure would be nice.

Beyond that, Vernon Gholston needs to keep up his surprisingly high level of play. Kris Jenkins needs to stay healthy and I’d like to see Brodney Pool flash a little more out there.

Nick Folk…just keep pretending it is 2007.

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Jets Training Camp: Five Things We Learned In Cortland

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A few highlights from this morning –

  • The defense dominated practice. Mark Sanchez struggled, going 5/11 with an INT, which was picked off by David Harris. Jason Taylor also swatted a pass up in the air and into the arms of D’Brickashaw Ferguson.
  • Nick Folk went 5/5 today, including making a 56 yarder.
  • Mark Brunell and Laveranues Coles hooked up 3 times in the two minute drill for the second offense. When is the last time you hear about David Clowney doing anything?
  • Jim Leonhard recorded a sack. Kyle Wilson and Dwight Lowery both had passes defensed against the first offense.
  • Sanchez and Braylon Edwards hooked up for a 55 yard bomb down the sideline.
  • Donovan Warren didn’t practice today, due to a head injury.
  • Rookie corner Brian Jackson was tied to the goalpost after practice and had two buckets of Gatorade dumped on him. The reason? Apparently, he complained to defensive backs coach Dennis Thurman about how he was being used in the defense.
  • Jamaal Westerman, Kenwin Cummings, and Matt Kroul all sat out practice as a reward for winning an “Iron Jet” award this off-season.
  • Rookie show and King Ugly contest in Jets camp tonight.
  • Expect to see plenty of Mark Brunell and Laveranues Coles on Saturday night.

Five Things We Learned In Cortland

After tonight’s practice the Jets will be packing it up and heading out of Cortland, New York. Next week they will have practices at their Florham Park facility and out at Hofstra.

Photobucket1. Tale of Two Rookie Running Backs – The Jets selected halfback Joe McKnight in the fourth round and fullback John Conner in the fifth round of this year’s NFL Draft. Most people assumed McKnight would move into a Leon Washington type role on the team, while Conner spent a year learning behind Tony Richardson. Yet, both players have made a distinctly different impression so far in training camp. Conner has quickly become a favorite of the coaching staff because of his physicality and now appears likely to be the opening day starter at fullback. McKnight has disappointed the coaching staff with his hesitancy to run inside and his attitude. If the Jets are going by on-field production, McKnight doesn’t deserve to be on the active roster as of right now.

2. The Underdog – Most people, including myself, believed Vladimir Ducasse would end up being the starting left guard on opening day. Shame on me for sleeping on Matt Slauson who has built a comfortable lead over Ducasse in the battle to replace Alan Faneca. The coaches love how physical Slauson has been playing and he obviously already had a jump on knowing the offense. I will be interested to see if the Jets begin grooming Ducasse to replace Damien Woody at right tackle, if he doesn’t end up beating out Slauson.

3. Thumbs Up On The Kyle Wilson Selection I guess there could be some propaganda behind the coaching staff hyping up Kyle Wilson but every report out of camp is that he looks like a seasoned veteran out there. Most importantly, he is demonstrating a strong knowledge of the defense and is very coachable. Could you imagine the luxury of having him in the nickel role, with Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie in front of him? We have also learned that Dwight Lowery hasn’t shaken off the AFC Championship Game yet and that Drew Coleman still can’t cover anybody.

4. Good RecoveriesKris Jenkins appears to be his old self after season ending ACL surgery last year, which is obviously a major boost to the Jets defense. Mark Sanchez hasn’t shown any signs of being slowed down by his off-season surgery either. I certainly hope Sanchez can keep building on his performance against the Giants, where outside of an early interception, he demonstrated accuracy, the ability to spread the ball around, and complete control of the offense.

5. Good Camp/Bad Camp –

  • Good – Antonio Cromartie, Braylon Edwards, LaDainian Tomlinson, Kyle Wilson, John Conner, Nick Folk, Kenwin Cummings, Jeff Cumberland, Matt Slauson, Dustin Keller, Santonio Holmes, Aundrae Allison, Danny Woodhead, Vernon Gholston
  • Bad – Dwight Lowery, Marquice Cole, Drew Coleman, Joe McKnight, David Clowney, Kevin O’Connell, Donovan Warren, Vlad Ducasse, Chauncey Washington

Back To Camp: Jets Thursday Recap & Venting On Secondary

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First a few updates:

1. Listen to Turn On The Jets live tonight at 8PM on Football Reporters Online Presents: Pro Football NYC at this link (http://www.blogtalkradio.com/football-reporters/2010/08/19/football-reporters-online-presents-pro-football-nyc

2. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (@TurnOnTheJets).

3. The Jets have special teams practice at 4:15 today, an 8:20 AM practice tomorrow and then off on Friday in preparation of their pre-season game in Carolina Saturday Night at 8 PM. After how much the starters played on Monday night, don’t expect to see any first unit players get any reps outside of the first quarter.

4. Of course, Hard Knocks 10 PM tonight.

Thursday Practice Recap

The Good – Plenty of work for the second team today, with a few starters getting the day off and many getting limited reps. James Ihedigbo and Vernon Gholston both recorded sacks of Mark Brunell. Steve Weatherford got a shot to kick field goals today and hit all three (33, 38, 43 yards).

The Bad – There was another fight at practice today, this time between Matt Slauson and Matt Kroul. Rob Turner and Shaun Ellis were also exchanging some heated words…I think the players may be itching to leave Cortland full time. Marquice Cole was called for pass interference, extending the offenses’ two minute drive.

Play of the Day – Laveranues Coles had a one-handed grab of a Mark Brunell pass during the two minute drill.

Sanchez Stats – 6/11, No INTs, No TDs

Injury – Nick Mangold was back on the practice field today after missing the pre-season game against the Giants with a headache.  John Conner (knee) and Jason Davis (ankle) both had limited reps at fullback. Donovan Warren has a head injury. Lance Laury got stitches on his lower lip after the Giants game. Bart Scott, Matthew Mulligan Mike DeVito and Brandon Moore were given the day off.

Depth Chart – With Brandon Moore out today, Vladimir Ducasse worked at left guard while Matt Slauson worked at right guard. Kenwin Cummings filled in for Bart Scott at inside linebacker. Mark Brunell was back to working with the second offense.

Rex Ryan Press Conference Highlights –

  • Disappointed with practice, thought it was sluggish. Too many false starts penalties.
  • No movement in left guard battle, thought both played well.
  • Said Joe McKnight needs to learn sometimes to just “get three yards and give us what you got in between the tackles.”
  • Praised Danny Woodhead’s courage and toughness.
  • Praised Kyle Wilson’s ability to learn defense and how coachable he is.
  • Would like to see more of Brashton Satele and Josh Mauga at linebacker.
  • He has been impressed with Jason Taylor’s ability to stop the run.
  • Said he believed Tony Dungy “unfairly judged him” and left him a message to call him and come visit camp.

Revis Update – Nada…and Dwight Lowery, Drew Coleman, and Marquice Cole are all still battling for the “David Barrett Award” given to the Jets corner who is beat at least 95% of the time the ball is thrown their way.

Venting On Secondary

I have been trying not to think about the Darrelle Revis holdout too frequently. Honestly, once the Jets got rolling with practice, unless it was explicitly brought up (like in Hard Knocks), it was easy to just focus on the players on the field. However, we were all served a cruel reminder on Monday night about the Jets corners, not named Cromartie and Wilson.

In case you forgot about Dwight Lowery getting beat like a drum up and down the field in the AFC Championship Game, he reminded you of his coverage abilities. In case you forgot about Drew Coleman miss timing his jump in the AFC Championship Game on a Peyton Manning deep ball before the half that should have been intercepted and his general awfulness that traces back to missing tackles that lead to 60 yard touchdowns in 2006 against the Bears, he reminded you. In case you forgot who Marquice Cole was, he reminded you that he shouldn’t be a name worth remembering on the Jets defensive depth chart.

Bottom line is the Jets can’t have players like that on the field in their nickel package against teams like the Patriots, Packers, Vikings, and if it comes to it, the Colts. The Jets spent the off-season building themselves to beat a team like the Colts, by improving their pass rush with Jason Taylor and more importantly improving the depth in their secondary by trading for Cromartie and drafting Wilson. Unfortunately, their depth is back to where it started when the league’s best corner isn’t in the lineup. I don’t know about you but I am not interested in seeing a repeat of last year’s AFC Championship Game in 2010. Darrelle Revis just intercepted some leverage from the Jets and he will likely get more if the Panthers carve up the Jets reserves on Saturday.

Guessing That Drew Coleman Won’t Be Featured In A Commercial Anytime Soon

Jets Week 2 Training Camp Wrap-Up

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First a few updates:

1. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (@TurnOnTheJets). Also, you can now reach us via e-mail at JCaporoso@fanball.com…we are getting official over here.

Jets Week 2 Training Camp Wrap-Up

Two weeks are in the books in Cortland, New York for the Jets as they are now preparing for their pre-season opener against the suddenly chatty New York Giants tomorrow night. Here is a review of the highlights of the week, along with a recap of  how the rest of the AFC East did in their first pre-season game:

New York Jets

The Jets are going into tomorrow’s game nearly 100 percent healthy. Only reserve linebackers Josh Mauga and Brashton Satele wont’t play. Of course that Revis guy also won’t be on the field. We can only hope the Jets are doing an elaborate PR stunt and he will come running out of the tunnel with the defensive starters. Peter King will be writing about the Revis situation extensively in his MMQB column tomorrow so keep an eye out for that. I think Revis will end up signing before the third pre-season game. He won’t be able to take too many more episodes of Hard Knocks and the Jets won’t be able to stomach watching anybody catch a pass on their starting corners, without thinking “well if Revis was here…” Remember the Jets open the season with Anquan Boldin, Randy Moss, and Brandon Marshall.

On offense, the Jets have released guard Marion Davis and replaced him with Chet Teofilo. Matt Slauson will begin the game as the starting left guard. Vladimir Ducasse should also get a shot with the first offense, which is expected to play the entire first quarter and maybe a series into the second quarter. It sounds like it is a foregone conclusion Slauson will end up being the starting guard, unless he craps the bed tomorrow night. Rex Ryan said Slauson has the potential to be the long term answer at LG, which could mean Ducasse could start being groomed to replace Damien Woody at right tackle.

The Jets have begun expanding their “Wildcat” package past Brad Smith to include LaDainian Tomlinson under center in the “Wild Horn Frog.” It sounds like Tomlinson will be the running back to open the game tomorrow night, which doesn’t really much. Shonn Greene is going to be the guy who is taking the majority of the carries when the regular season kicks off. I am interested to see how Tomlinson, who everyone has been raving about this August, looks tomorrow night. Also, if the Jets get into a goal-line situation, who will get the carries?

Judging from everything I read since camp started, Aundrae Allison and Marcus Henry have put together a better two weeks than David Clowney and Laveranues Coles. Clowney and Coles will have the first shot tomorrow to work behind the Jets big three at receiver, but they could use a little production before Allison and Henry start really pushing for their roster spots. Finally, I have a feeling Brian Schottenheimer is going to be dialing up an early deep ball to either Santonio Holmes or Braylon Edwards tomorrow.

PhotobucketOn defense, Kyle Wilson has continued to impress at cornerback while Dwight Lowery has been tumbling down the depth chart. Marquice Cole has been seeing extended action with the first and second team, on both the outside and in the slot. Ryan is also high on rookie UDFA, corner Brian Jackson. New acquisitions, Jason Taylor and Brodney Pool, have began to flash more in practice, while UDFA safety Donovan Warren has been struggling heavily. With the injuries to Mauga and Satele, inside linebackers Kenwin Cummings and Lance Laury should see a ton of reps behind David Harris and Bart Scott tomorrow. Rex Ryan has continued to effusively praise Vernon Gholston at defensive end, let’s see if he can make an impact in a game situation.

Buffalo Bills

Poor Buffalo. Their top two running backs, Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson are going to miss the rest of the pre-season, and in Jackson’s case maybe a little more. Buffalo took a healthy 42-17 whipping from the Washington Redskins the other night. Trent Edwards played relatively well and has all but locked down the starting quarterback position.

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins beat the Tampa Bay Bucs in their rainy, pre-season opener. However, their first defense did allow the Bucs to score on them. Considering Tampa’s talent level on offense, that can’t be an encouraging sign for the Dolphins defense. Chad Henne went 5/11 for 19 yards, while Brandon Marshall dropped two passes. Miami had a punt blocked.

New England Patriots

The Patriots have lost defensive lineman Ty Warren for the season with a hip injury. Julian Edelman looked good in the Patriots opener against the Saints, with 6 receptions for 90 yards. BenJarvus Green-Ellis started at running back for New England. Torry Holt has been placed on injured reserve with a leg injury. Rookie Devin McCourty started at corner opposite Leigh Bodden.

Jets Fans Should Root For 2007

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First a few updates:

1. The Jets made the following moves yesterday:

  • Erik Ainge was placed on the non-football illness list and there is no timetable for his return. I wouldn’t bank on Ainge being around much longer in green and white.
  • Rookie Joe McKnight failed his conditioning test and was put on the active non-football injury list. He won’t be taken off until he passes the test. What the hell is the deal with this guy? You think he would have been running every single day after his vomit filled performance in mini-camp. Yes, I am already missing Leon Washington.
  • The Jets signed safety Emmanuel Cook and released linebacker Ezra Butler.

2. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets). If you aren’t, you just can’t get that full TOJ experience, and honestly that just makes me sad.

3. There has been no movement on releasing Kellen Clemens or Kevin O’Connell since the Jets signed Mark Brunell. Could we have a three way battle for the #2 spot? I feel bad for those second string receivers, Santonio Holmes and Laveranues Coles. What, our second string receivers are Santonio Holmes and Laveranues Coles? That’s what I call some depth.

Jets Fans Should Root For 2007

There is plenty of reason for Jets fans to be rooting for certain key players to reproduce their efforts from the 2007 season –

Braylon Edwards – As a member of the Cleveland Browns in 2007, Edwards pulled in 80 receptions for 1289 yards and 16 touchdowns. The season appeared to establish him as one of the premier receivers in the NFL but unfortunately his production dropped off in subsequent seasons. Edwards wasn’t helped by horrific quarterbacking but also developed a nasty case of the drops, which he is still working on shaking off. The 2007 season did demonstrate Edwards potential to be one the best receivers in this league. I continue to say he is the Jets most physically gifted offensive player.

Antonio Cromartie – Cromartie had a monster 2007 season for the San Diego Chargers. He racked up 10 interceptions and 3 return touchdowns. Similar to Edwards, he seemed to establish himself as one of the elite players in the NFL. Yet, his production also fell off in the following two seasons. He spent time dealing with a hip injury and struggled in San Diego’s zone scheme. However, he also showed a lack of effort at certain times, which is what Jets fans should be most concerned about.

PhotobucketLaDainian Tomlinson – 2007 was Tomlinson’s last season as one of the top backs in the NFL. He finished with 1474 rushing yards and 15 rushing touchdowns, along with adding 60 receptions and 3 receiving touchdowns. We all know how his production fell off a cliff the past two years. Hopefully, behind a better offensive line and in a system more dedicated to running the football he can offer some type of production.

Jason Taylor – Taylor’s last double digit sack season was in 2007, when he finished with 11 for the Dolphins. He also had 4 forced fumbles and an interception this season. Needless to say, every Jets fan would sign up for those numbers from Taylor in a heartbeat.

Nick Folk – Folk was an All-Pro selection in 2007 thanks to going 26/31 on field goals and his impressive five connections from outside of 50 yards. This was clearly long before he was shanking 20 yard kicks and being cut mid-season.

Jerricho Cotchery – Cotchery had his most career receiving yards and receptions in 2007, although I would argue his best overall season was in 2006. Regardless his 82 receptions for 1130 yards was especially impressive considering the Jets quarterbacking that year.

The Jets took a leap of faith this off-season by hoping players like Tomlinson, Folk, Taylor, and Cromartie can produce somewhere near their 2007 level. Considering the Jets depth chart, it is unlikely any of these players will reproduce those kinds of numbers again, with maybe the exception of Cromartie. Yet, the Jets really just need Braylon Edwards to be consistent and to avoid the killer drops, Folk to be stable from inside 50 yards, Tomlinson to be a good third down and short yardage back, and Taylor to enhance their third down pass rush. These guys don’t have to be superstars on the 2010 Jets but instead find their place as role players.

TOJ TV

Thoughts On Jets Adding Laveranues Coles

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First a few updates:

1. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets). Also, check out the new edition of Turn On The Jets TV, which should have your heart pumping through your chest.

2. A friendly reminder that training camp starts this Monday in Cortland, New York. The Jets will have practice at Florham Park on August 23rd and August 24th, along with at Hofstra on August 25th. Hard Knocks starts on August 11th at 10 PM and the Jets first pre-season game is on August 16th against the Giants.

Thoughts On Jets Adding Laveranues Coles

Rich Cimini of ESPN New York reported today that the Jets will be working out wide receiver Laveranues Coles tomorrow and are expected to sign him shortly after. This was a move that was speculated throughout the off-season, both before and after the Santonio Holmes trade. Last season on Cincinnati, Coles finished with 43 receptions, 514 yards, and 5 touchdowns. This would be his third tour of duty with the Jets.

I have always been a big of fan of LC, because of his toughness and ability to go over the middle. The decision to sign Coles, clearly indicates the Jets aren’t comfortable with David Clowney being the #3 receiver from weeks 1 – 4 while Santonio Holmes serves his suspension. Personally, I think Clowney would have been fine in that role and that he provides more speed than Coles. However, Coles is still a better overall wide receiver and should be very good in the slot because of his quickness, hands, and ability to run after the catch.

The real question is, what is Coles going to do after week four? First off, how about the lineup of receivers the Jets will trot out against the Minnesota Vikings in week five? Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, Santonio Holmes, Laveranues Coles, and Brad Smith, wow…that is some collection of talent and depth. I am sure Coles understands there will be a minimal number of passes coming his way over the last 12 games. Yet, I am sure Brian Schottenheimer can get creative with a few four receiver packages that will keep Coles in the weekly game-plan. Also, he provides excellent insurance if one of the Jets top three receivers misses time with an injury.

After Holmes returns from suspension, it will be interesting to see if the last receiver on the depth chart, whether it is David Clowney, Danny Woodhead, or Aundrae Allison, ends up sticking around. I can’t image Coles is going to contribute on special teams, so Clowney or Woodhead could hang around as the #6 receiver, if they show they can become a core player on the various special teams units.

Overall, this further demonstrates how the Jets are all in when it comes to winning a Super Bowl this season. They are hesitant to risk a young player being their #3 receiver for four games, so they are going out to add a solid veteran, who has always been productive for the organization.

If this does happen and it sounds like it is going to…welcome back to New York, LC.

You Want To Watch This

Who Is The Team To Beat In The AFC?

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First a few updates:

1. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets). Also subscribe to the newly created YouTube page. I am happy to say our comment issue has been resolved as you can see, so any comment you leave on an article will be promptly posted.

2. Just a reminder that the Jets rookies report to training camp on July 29th in Cortland, New York. The veterans report on August 1st. The first episode of Hard Knocks is August 11th. The first pre-season game is August 16th against the Giants.

Who Is The Team To Beat In The AFC?

As training camp rapidly approaches let’s look at the four divisions in the AFC and what teams are most likely to come out of them and compete for a playoff spot and a Super Bowl.

AFC East

Favorite – I know it is shocking that the writer for Turn On The Jets is going to say the Jets are the favorite to win the AFC East, yet at the end of last season they were the best team in the division and they had the best overall off-season. Nobody is saying they are going to run away with this thing. It is going to be a dog fight with both the Dolphins and Patriots (likely more with the Dolphins). However, the Jets have the most overall talent on their roster and were less than a half away from a Super Bowl appearance last season. The addition of Antonio Cromartie, Brodney Pool, Jason Taylor, Kyle Wilson, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Santonio Holmes is only going to help that cause, along with the continued growth of Mark Sanchez and Shonn Greene. Their defense will also improve from the familiarity the eight returning starters will now have with Rex Ryan’s system.

Primary Competitor – I am going with the Dolphins over the Patriots in this spot. Brandon Marshall will help give them some much needed balance on offense and a legit big play threat. Karlos Dansby and Jared Odrick were solid additions to their defense. However, I’m still not sold on their defense as an overall unit yet and I don’t know if Ronnie Brown can stay healthy or if Ricky Williams has another year like last season left in him. They also lack a proven option opposite Marshall at receiver, so when he loses himself on Revis Island, who will Miami turn to?

In The Mix – I am not counting out Tom Brady and Bill Belichick but the Patriots are looking like a 8-8 or 9-7 team to me right now. What did they do this off-season to make sure they don’t catch a swift beatdown from teams like the Ravens in 2010? Maybe I am putting too much stock in one game but I am not exactly worried about the additions of Torry Holt or Alge Crumpler. They have some young players with potential on offense who could step up but their defense isn’t what it used to be and is lacking on overall talent. Also, their offensive line isn’t the brick wall it used to be and they still don’t have anybody who is anything near being called a lead running back.

Circling The Wagons…In Basement – Trent Edwards. Brian Brohm. Ryan Fitzpatrick. The 2010 Buffalo Bills, everybody. I am sorry but who are their receivers beside Lee Evans and who is going to block for their UFL collection of quarterbacks and actually high quality trio of running backs?

AFC North

Favorite – The Baltimore Ravens have the potential to be scary good this season, if Joe Flacco can play more consistently and take advantage of the additions of Anquan Boldin and Donte Stallworth. Ray Rice is a superstar in the making and you know their defense will be good. So yes, week 1 is going to be a hell of a test for the Jets and a potential preview of the AFC Championship Game.

Primary Competitor – Don’t sleep on the Cincinnati Bengals this year. Many people are picking them as the team least likely to return to the playoffs but they can run the ball, play defense, and had a good off-season. Antonio Bryant is a major upgrade over Laveranues Coles at receiver opposite Chad Ochocinco Johnson and the selection of Jermaine Gresham in the draft gives them a much needed pass catching tight end. They also swept the Ravens last year.

In The Mix – Let’s see what kind of job Byron Leftwich does holding the fort down until Ben Rothlisberger returns and how quickly Rothlisberger can get acclimated after he returns. Pittsburgh can survive the subtraction of Santonio Holmes because Mike Wallace is going to be a very good player but is their defense going to improve from last season, especially at the end of games?

Fun Times In Cleveland Again – Those poor Cleveland fans. I can’t imagine having to root for the Indians, Browns, and Cavs for the next few years.

AFC South

PhotobucketFavorite – The Colts are the favorite for the division and the conference until somebody knocks them off. Peyton Manning might complete 80 percent of his passes this year with Antony Gonzalez returning to support Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon, Austin Collie, and Dallas Clark. You can ask the same questions we always ask about their defense and running game but chances are they are going to be right there competing for a first round bye again.

Primary Competitor – I hate drinking the Texans kool-aid because everybody hypes them up every season and they never seriously challenge for a division title or make the playoffs. This roster has plenty of talent and maybe if their kicker can make a meaningful attempt this year, they can finally break through and play football in January.

In The Mix – Chris Johnson is the most electric playmaker in the NFL and Vince Young is always capable of making his share of big plays. Beyond that, Jeff Fisher is a great coach which means the Titans will be right in the mix for a playoff spot in 2010. I don’t know if they can make the jump to compete with the Colts for a AFC South title though.

Actually Not That Bad – The Jaguars somewhat exceeded expectations last year and added a few quality pieces to their defense. They are far from the doormat the Bills, Browns, and Chiefs and should be competitive in the division. They will likely finish last but could still win 7 or 8 games.

AFC West

Favorite – The Chargers should take advantage of playing in a weak division and roll to another division title. Hopefully, they bring their run defense into the New Meadowlands for a playoff battle against the Jets.

Primary Competitor – They don’t really fit the category as a competitor but I think the Oakland Raiders will end up in second place in this muddled division. Jason Campbell will bring much needed stability to the quarterback position and Michael Bush has the potential to be a quality lead back. Their defense has talent at all three levels with Richard Seymour, Rolando McClain, and Nnamdi Asomugha. I wouldn’t be shocked to see the NFL’s punchline win 8 games this year.

In The Mix – I am not really sold on any moves the Denver Broncos made this off-season and don’t see how they improved from the 8-8 team they were last season.

Poor Thomas Jones – I still wish Thomas Jones was on board with the green and white this season instead of playing for the Chiefs, who likely struggle to win 5 games this season.

As of today, if I had to list the order of probability of AFC teams making the playoffs (not a power ranking, just the likelihood of team making playoffs):

  1. Colts
  2. Chargers
  3. Ravens
  4. Jets
  5. Bengals
  6. Dolphins
  7. Patriots
  8. Texans
  9. Titans
  10. Steelers
  11. Raiders
  12. Jaguars
  13. Broncos
  14. Browns
  15. Chiefs
  16. Bills