New York Jets Draft Wrap-Up

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First a few updates:

1. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook or twitter (TurnOnTheJets). You need those updates because Mike Tannenbaum makes a trade every 4.8 seconds.

2. Here is a run down of all the reported UDFAs the Jets signed: Michigan CB Donovan Warren, Illinois WR Jeff Cumberland, Texas G Charlie Tanner, Nevada DE Kevin Basped, Pittsburgh DT Mick Williams, Baylor DE Jason Lamb, North Dakota State OT Keith Buckman, Bethune-Cookman WR Phillip Kirkland, Alabama LB Cory Reamer, California SS Marus Ezeff, Indiana State SS Donye McClesky, Northeastern State DT T.J. Raymond, William Paterson WR Joel Rivera

3. The depth chart has been updated to include draft picks and UDFAs. Also the 2010 Draft section has been remodeled into “2010 Draft Picks,” which has information on the four players the Jets drafted and the UDFAs they signed.

New York Jets Draft Wrap-Up

I would have never thought the Jets would spend three of their four picks on offensive players. Yet, Mike Tannenbaum and the Jets front office decided to use the 2010 draft to primarily reshape their offense by parting ways with two veterans and adding three new long term pieces on that side of the ball.

A few things became clear this weekend. First off despite the recent acquisitions of Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes, the Jets will still be a run first, run heavy offense. It is obvious the Jets like to have their young backs learn from veterans before taking over big time roles. Shonn Greene spent a season behind Thomas Jones and is now the Jets #1 back. Joe McKnight will spend a season or two behind LaDainian Tomlinson before becoming the Jets full time change of pace back/#2 option. John Connor will spend a year behind Tony Richardson before becoming the Jets long time starter at fullback. One thing you can’t argue with is the fact the Jets are now set in the backfield for the future.

PhotobucketSecond on defense, the line of thinking that defensive ends aren’t premium positions in Rex Ryan’s scheme held true. Ryan believes he can get by with a defensive end rotation of Shaun Ellis, Mike DeVito, Vernon Gholston, and Ropati Pitoitua. He confirmed in the post draft press conference that Marques Douglas won’t be back and Gholston will now be a full time end. At least Gholston adds some speed and youth to the end position…even if he can’t you know…play football. Ryan is also comfortable with the three man rotation at outside linebacker of Calvin Pace, Bryan Thomas, and Jason Taylor for the next year or two, which will also hopefully give enough time for a guy like Jamaal Westerman to develop into a more consistent player.

The Jets defense and Rex Ryan in particular values corners over just about any position. Kyle Wilson will basically be a starter for the Jets because their nickel back is on the field so frequently. Ryan is also confident Brodney Pool will be the answer at safety and that he if he does get hurt, Eric Smith or James Ihedigbo can adequately step in.

PhotobucketThe decision to part ways with Alan Faneca and Leon Washington hasn’t been a popular one, both with the team and with fans. Yet, keep in mind how many long term contracts the Jets will have to work on after this season. Nobody is saying the Jets offensive line will be better this year with Matt Slauson or Vladimir Ducasse at left guard but for the long term cutting Faneca was the right choice. He was their 5th best lineman last year and Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson both need new deals next off-season. Ducasse or Slauson will be fine because the Jets are lucky enough to surround them with one of the best offensive line coaches in the game in Bill Callahan and pro-bowl talent in Mangold and Ferguson.

Nobody liked Leon Washington more than me but he wasn’t getting a long term deal from the Jets and is likely starting out the season on the PUP list. McKnight has the skill set to effectively replace him as the Jets third down back and has a year or two behind Tomlinson to develop into a quality #2 back behind Shonn Greene. McKnight and Kyle Wislon also have the ability to fill the hole left by Leon in the return game.

Maybe Not The Next Reggie Bush But Hopefully The Next Leon Washington

Jets Trade Leon Washington, Draft John Connor

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The writing was on the wall when the Jets traded up to draft USC running back Joe McKnight. Clearly the organization wasn’t comfortable with Leon Washington returning off his injury and they didn’t take long to act, trading him and their seventh round pick to Seattle for the 139th overall pick in the draft, where they took Kentucky fullback John Connor.

It is a sad day for TOJ and Jets fans everywhere. Leon was a fan favorite and an electric playmaker during his career with the Jets. Unfortunately, he sustained a brutal injury last year and had ongoing contract problems with the team. After the Jets decided to draft McKnight, a player with a comparable skill set, there wasn’t any room left for Leon on the roster. I wish him the best of luck on a speedy recovery in Seattle and hope the rumors of him starting the season on the PUP list aren’t true.

It was a very surprising decision that the Jets went with a fullback with their newly acquired 5th round pick. Tony Richardson was re-signed on a one year deal so Connor will spend the year learning behind one of the best in the business before taking over as the Jets long term fullback. Connor is known for his blocking skills, inside running, and special teams ability on coverage units.

Who would have ever thought the Jets would use three of their four picks on offensive players this year? Rex Ryan must be pulling his hair out.

Some John Connor Action

Jets Trade Up For Joe McKnight: Bye Leon Washington?

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Obviously the entire draft was going to pass without Mike Tannenbaum making a trade. The Jets gave up their sixth round pick to move up 12 spots in the fourth round to surprisingly take USC running back Joe McKnight.

McKnight is a pretty big name guy, who was a playmaker at one of the nation’s biggest programs the past few years. Last season he had over 1,000 yards rushing and eight touchdowns. McKnight is also a threat catching the football out of the backfield and as a return man.

The real question is now whether the Jets will look to move Leon Washington or they just felt they needed four running backs because of Washington’s health concerns and potential durability questions about Shonn Greene. Regardless, it is clear Mike Tannenbaum loves drafting running backs and it is hard to argue with McKnight’s value in round 4.

Joe McKnight Highlights

Help Needed: Jets #1 Ranked Defense

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First a few updates:

1. Leon Washington spoke to the press yesterday and it sounded like it is all good between him and the organization. As expected, nobody signed him to an offer sheet, leaving him to sign the Jets tender. His goal is to be back for the first day of training camp on August 1st and work his way back to getting the amount of carries he was receiving before his injury last year. Here’s hoping Leon could get back 100 percent to the player he once was and TOJ is obviously glad he will be back with the team in 2010.

2. The Jets will be moving on without long time long snapper James Dearth this year. He won’t be signed to a new deal, which I don’t quite understand, Dearth has always been reliable. Anyway the Tanner Purdum era now begins at long snapper…hopefully I will never have to type his name again. New long snapper? Crappy kicker? No Wallace Wright? Anybody else worried about the Jets special teams this year?

3. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook…Because Dwight Lowery promised me he’d never be beat deep again if we got 300 fans by May 1st.

4. Read here (http://www.thejetsblog.com/2010/04/16/revis-carefully-sets-the-trap-everyone-knows-white-boys-cant-refuse-cabo-san-lucas/) about a funny prank involving Dustin Keller, Nick Mangold, and Darrelle Revis.

5. Every 5 minutes the story changes on Jason Taylor and the Jets…one second it is a done deal…the next second a decision is still far away. Hopefully this can get decided either way before the draft because it obviously impacts the Jets plans.

6. Congratulations San Francisco you just gave up a 5th round pick for Ted Ginn Jr and we gave up a 5th round pick for Santonio Holmes…that is like paying the same price for a Big Mac as a filet mignon…actually forget that analogy, Big Macs are way better than Ted Ginn Jr.

Help Needed: Jets #1 Ranked Defense

The draft is only 6 days away and as the Jets head into it their primary needs remain on the defensive side of the football. Despite having the league’s #1 ranked unit last year, there is much more work to be done to their defense than their offense. Here are some of the holes that currently exist on the Jets D:

Defensive End – Look at the Jets depth chart right now at this position: Shaun Ellis as one starter, who is 32 years old and had issues with his knee and hand last year and Mike DeVito as the other starter, who has been a backup his entire career and has 0.5 career sacks. The top backup? Ropati Pitoitua who was inactive for 8 games last season. Like I said…help needed. I am keeping my fingers crossed like most people that Jared Odrick somehow falls to the Jets at #29.

PhotobucketLinebacker – I feel good about our starters, even Bryan Thomas who does alot of little things that don’t show up on the stat sheet. However, the Jets need a pass rusher, whether that comes in the form of Jason Taylor or a draft pick. They are also lacking depth at both the inside and outside position. The top backups right now are Vernon Gholston, who…well I don’t need to say it and Jamaal Westerman, a UDFA who did show some potential last year but doesn’t have much experience on defense.

Secondary – The Jets need another corner to develop. I don’t like being one injury away from Dwight Lowery starting and Drew “toast” Coleman playing nickel back. At safety, it is risky to assume Brodney Pool can last for 16 games with his injury history and I’d rather keep Eric Smith in a reserve roll. Don’t tell me that Mike Tannenbaum won’t get trigger happy if Earl Thomas starts sliding close to #29.

Is The Jets Offense Ready To Match The Swag Of The Jets Defense?

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First a few updates:

1. I hate to be repetitive but follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook…it is good for your mental, physical, and emotional health.

2. We have had a nice spike in the number of comments on recent articles…keep it up, I always love getting feed back to my articles and will always take the time to respond to every comment. Finding a job…finishing my graduate school work…obviously none of these things take precedent over Turn On The Jets.

3. Brandon Marshall to the Dolphins? I was consistent in saying I never wanted the Jets to trade for Marshall (check the history of TOJ if you don’t believe me) and I am thrilled we aren’t the team who gave up two 2nd round picks for him and paid 47.5 million dollars to him on a five year contract, in what most people agree is the largest contract given to a receiver in NFL history. Is Marshall a beast? Yes. Will he help the Dolphins? Yes. However, they are taking a huge risk giving him that much money, with his history of off the field problems. Marhsall makes Santonio Holmes look like a choir boy. You will have to check back a little later for the primary reason, I am not worried about this deal.

Photobucket4. Thoughts on Lost Final Season, Episode 12 “Everybody Loves Hugo” – There is 18 hours scheduled hours for Lost’s final season, which means last night marked the end of the second third of season six. The first third ended with Locke taking down the temple and assembling his team. The second third of the season added another faction to the island in Widmore’s group and revealed their intention to stop Locke using Desmond. It also assembled the rival group to Locke, whether you want to call it Jack’s, Hurley’s, or Jacob’s team. Last night these groups finally converged and it looks we are gearing up for an old school Jack vs. Locke showdown. Yet, focusing on last night: I wasn’t sad to see Illana die. She never really did it for me. I wonder why the writers had Richard, Ben, and Miles break off into a separate group to destroy the plane and wonder how that will factor in later in the season. What is the deal with that boy Locke keeps seeing appear in the jungle? Will Desmond make it out of that well alive? In the sideways, what was Desmond’s agenda in running Locke over? Also, we are seeing the direction the sideways timeline is going pretty clearly now with Desmond and others helping to guide people to remember their “other” life. A few other quick comments: good to see Michael back…the explanation for the whispers was kind of lame…the only line Sawyer says anymore is “Where the hell you been, Locke”…Zombie Sayid is starting to piss me off.

Is The Jets Offense Ready To Match The Swag Of The Jets Defense?

Last year Bart Scott claimed himself, Rex Ryan, and the other players brought over from Baltimore would be making the Jets defense “swaggalicious.” He turned out to be right on point. The combination of the left over talent from the Mangini era (Darrelle Revis, David Harris, Calvin Pace) combined with Scott, Jim Leonhard, Marques Douglas, and Rex Ryan’s schemes led the Jets to have the league’s #1 ranked defense. Not to sound corny but they were a hard-hitting, trash-talking unit that kicked the crap out of teams on most weeks. They had plenty of swag. Yet, the offense didn’t match the swag of the defense in year one under Rex Ryan. Yes, they ran the football better than anybody in the league but they struggled to consistently put up points and were looked at more to “stay out of the way” and make sure they did just enough to help the defense win. It looks like that could be changing in year two of the Ryan era.

The transformation started early last year when the Jets swung a trade for Braylon Edwards, who despite his inconsistency catching the football provided a big play element to the Jets offense. It continued later in the year with the emergence of Shonn Greene as a hard-running back, who could pop a big run at any moment. Do everything receiver Brad Smith started chipping in with a few big plays. As the playoffs started, Mark Sanchez began to locate his confidence and playmaking ability from the first three weeks of the year, while Dustin Keller began turning into a touchdown machine. All the while, Jerricho Cotchery kept catching everything thrown at him and converting huge third downs. Now in the off-season, the Jets did lose their emotional leader in Thomas Jones but will be benefited by the addition of LaDainian Tomlinson and the return of Leon Washington from injury. Beyond that, they just added another big play receiver in Santonio Holmes.

As it stands today, the Jets have a serious collection of talent on offense…especially, young talent. A top ranked offense may not be too far behind a top ranked defense in the upcoming years. Look for yourself:

Mark Sanchez – Undoubtedly the x-factor when it comes to how far the Jets will go this year. He struggled heavily at times during his rookie year but also showed some prolonged flashes of brilliance. Most importantly, he played his best football when it counted the most…in the playoffs. Sanchez standing in the pocket, taking a monster hit, and delivering a perfect touchdown pass on a third down, on the road, in the AFC Championship game in the last highlight shown in this clip tells you everything you need to know about this guy’s potential.

Shonn Greene – The Jets new #1 back. Greene became a bigger factor on the Jets offense down the stretch last season and then exploded in the playoffs with back to back monster games in first two rounds of the playoffs. If Greene can stay healthy and protect the football, you will be seeing alot of these type of runs next season:

LaDainian Tomlinson – The guy Greene was imitating in the previous video…imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, right? Tomlinson is a first ballot hall of famer looking to prove he still has something left in the tank. If he does, watch out:

Leon Washington – Remember him? The Jets biggest playmaker from 2006 until he was hurt in week 8 of 2009. Washington is coming off major surgery but will be looked at to remain the playmaker he always has been as the team’s third down back and primary return man.

Braylon Edwards – He might have struggled at times last year but Edwards provided some big plays for the Jets offense and was a much needed deep threat. The guy is a physical freak who could make just about any catch humanly possible, while somehow still struggling with the easy ones:

Jerricho Cotchery – Don’t sleep on Jerricho Cotchery’s value to this offense. He is the Jets most reliable receiver and a clutch player, who routinely steps up in big spots. Cotchery will be deadly in the slot on third downs with Edwards and Holmes on the outside.

Santonio Holmes – By the way, we just added Santonio Holmes coming off a 1200 yard receiving season. Holmes is one of the top big play threats in the NFL at the receiver position and cam score from any spot on the field at any time.

Brad Smith – A versatile, speedy playmaker, who allows the Jets to run their own version of the “Wildcat.” He can line up at quarterback, running back, or wide receiver.

Dustin Keller – The Jets athletic tight end, who began to come into his own during the playoffs last year. Keller is athletic enough to line up at tight end, H-Back, split end, or in the slot. He is a valuable weapon in the red-zone.

I don’t know about you but I can’t think of too many teams with nine playmakers like that on their roster.

In-Depth Look At Santonio Holmes Trade

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First a few updates:

1. An overwhelming amount of Jets/Santonio Holmes information has been released since the trade was announced late last night. Fortunately, I have sorted it out for all of you on the Turn On The Jets Facebook Page, which if you aren’t following yet…go ahead and do that right now. I don’t want to brag but who had the Santonio Holmes story up first Turn On The Jets, Rich Cimini’s The Jets Stream, or The Jets Blog? You guessed right, Turn On The Jets (I was fortunate enough to stumble across the link just as the story was breaking last night). Who says you need inside sources to break news stories, you just need to have nothing better to do on a Sunday night than sit on the Internet constantly refreshing NFL news sites/twitter accounts.

2. As we all expected, Santonio Holmes has been suspended for the first four games of the 2010 NFL season. He was the facility today and passed his physical this afternoon and also spoke briefly with reporters, here is a good recap:(http://www.newyorkjets.com/news/articles/show/3653-holmes-talks-of-mistakes-fresh-start-as-a-jet)

3. The NFL is finally expected to announce this season’s schedule at some point later this week…hopefully the Jets will be playing in Pittsburgh at some point after week 4.

In-Depth Look At Santonio Holmes Trade

This deal has so many interesting and different aspects/elements to it, let’s just hit them one at a time:

Where Did This Come From? – Obviously this move came out of left field. It was being reported last week that Pittsburgh wasn’t going to give Holmes a long term deal and had tired of his off the field behavior. There is talk going around today that Holmes was going to be cut if the Steelers couldn’t trade him, which if you look at the fact that they have brought in Arnaz Battle, Antwaan Randle El, and recently worked out Dez Bryant makes some sense. Apparently, this wasn’t pre-mediated at all and the Jets basically got a phone call on Sunday night and jumped at the offer. Most people knew the Jets desired another receiver and I am sure Mike Tannenbaum nearly fell out of his seat when he realized he could get a guy like Holmes for a 5th round pick instead of signing somebody like Laveranues Coles or taking a risk by drafting a receiver in round one or round two.

PhotobucketCompensation – Even with Holmes being suspended the first four games of the 2010 season, this is still a steal for the Jets. A 5th round pick? The Jets weren’t getting a player who could immediately help them for 12 games the way Holmes will in the 5th round this year. This guy is only is 26 years old by the way. Honestly, I would have been satisfied with this deal if the Jets had given up a fourth round pick or even a third round pick, if they had one to trade but at a fifth round pick, how could you honestly complain?

Draft Strategy – This move allowed the Jets to keep their top three picks in this year’s draft (Round1, Round 2, and Round4), which will all more than likely be used to select defensive players. Receiver was the only position on offense the Jets were considering targeting with a high pick and now they filled the hole, which will allow them to focus on improving the depth of their defense. Mike Tannenbaum has always made it clear he hates being forced to draft a player out of a positional need instead of just taking the best guy available, and now if the Jets sign Jason Taylor they won’t have a glaring need on their roster. Yes, the Jets need another defensive lineman, a nickel corner, and maybe another safety but they could afford to take those three positions in any order depending on who are the best players available. If Jason Taylor doesn’t end up signing, expect the Jets to add a pass rushing outside linebacker in round one or two. You can throw out any mock draft that currently has the Jets taking a receiver in one or round two, and now look for it to be increasingly likely that the Jets will trade back at some point to acquire another pick later in the draft to replace the one they just lost.

Santonio vs. Braylon – The Jets have an interesting dynamic now on offense as both Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes are in the last year of their contracts and will be playing to prove they deserve big money from the franchise. You would have to expect this type of competition will bring the best out of them. If the two of them have productive seasons, do the Jets plan on bringing back both of them? Edwards is 27, Holmes is 26, and Jerricho Cotchery is 28…that could be some receiving core to keep together around Mark Sanchez for a long time.

Braylon’s Role On Offense – Despite both being legitimate deep threats, Edwards and Holmes are different types of receivers. Edwards is a natural split end because of his size. while Holmes is versatile enough to be moved all over the formation, especially in the slot. Edwards provides value as a big target over the middle, in the red-zone and on third downs, while Holmes excels on quick receiver screens where he could run after the catch and as a big play threat lined up either on the outside or inside.

What About Jerricho? – Jerricho Cotchery is still a key part of the Jets offense moving forward into 2010. Cotchery has the hands, route-running ability, and knowledge of the offense to be a terrific slot receiver and he of course still has the ability to line up on the outside. He will remain a reliable, security blanket for Sanchez in big spots.

PhotobucketStarters? – Obviously with the four game suspension, Edwards and Cotchery will begin the year as the starters but when Holmes returns expect Cotchery to remain the de facto starter even though there will be a big rotation working through all three receivers and moving them around the formation.

Offensive Possibilities – They are endless. Cotchery in the slot on third and shorts to convert big first downs. Holmes in the slot running deep seem patterns and catching quick screens. Play action bombs to Edwards or Holmes…Cotchery sliding out to split end to run his normal comeback route…Holmes on reverses or other trick plays…and we haven’t even started talking about using Dustin Keller, Leon Washington, LaDainian Tomlinson, or Shonn Greene yet.

Smile, Mark Sanchez – The Jets have given their franchise quarterback the tools neccessary to succeed. He is playing behind a great offensive line with a strong group of running backs, a good pass catching tight end, and now one of the league’s best receiving cores. There is so much talent around him, how could he not make immense strides in his second year?

Stay Up, Brian Schottenheimer – I am not sure Brian Schottenheimer will be able to sleep in the next 5 months, how many different formations/plays could this guy figure out for the weapons the Jets have on offense?

Smile, Jets Fans – Look at this collection of young offensive talent we currently have assembled:

  • Mark Sanchez – 2nd year quarterback, who flourished in the playoffs last season.
  • Shonn Greene – 2nd year running back, who flourished in the playoffs last season.
  • Leon Washington – Pro-Bowl kick returner/big-play third down back, hungry to prove he can return from injury.
  • Braylon Edwards – 27 year old receiver who had 1289 yards receiving and 17 TDs in 2007…6’3, 215 pounds.
  • Santonio Holmes – 26 year old receiver who had 1248 yards receiving last year and was the Super Bowl MVP in 2009.
  • Jerricho Cotchery – 28 year old receiver who had 1130 yards receiving in 2007 and catches everything thrown at him.
  • Dustin Keller – Athletic 3rd year tight end, who has played in three playoff games and caught a touchdown pass in every single one of them.
  • Brad Smith – A 26 year old versatile running back/quarterback/receiver who has an ability to make big plays.
  • LaDainian Tomlinson – Not young but a first ballot hall of famer looking to prove he still has something in the tank.

We might not be far away from having a number one offense to match a number one defense.

Clutch?

Fantasy File

Who Will Be The Jets Breakout Offensive Player?

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First a few updates:

1. Jason Taylor will be taking the weekend to decide whether he wants to accept the Jets offer after spending his day at the team’s facility today. He met with a few players, including Calvin Pace and Damien Woody who spoke out in favor of adding Taylor to the Jets defense. Another person who spoke about Taylor was Bryan Thomas, who now according to The Star Ledger will be safe if Taylor does sign with the Jets. Apparently defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has said Taylor will primarily  be used in pass rushing downs and that Thomas remains part of the Jets plans for next year.

2. We got hit with a few “Nick Folk is working his way back to pro-bowl form” articles today from the New York media, which is basically the Jets front office saying “crap, we are stuck with this guy, he better get his stuff together, so let’s release a feel good article about him on the team’s website.” I am not buying into Folk as our kicker until he knocks down a 48 yarder opening night at the new stadium under some pressure.

3. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook…45 away from 300, and we need 300 by the end of April because Braylon Edwards promised me he wouldn’t drop a single pass this year if that happened.

4. Anybody else already huge Curtis Granderson fans?

Who Will The Jets Breakout Player On Offense Be?

Like most people I believe the Jets offense is an up and coming unit that should improve on their production from last year. In 2009, the Jets didn’t have skill position players who could brag about impressive stat lines outside of the now departed Thomas Jones who racked up 1400 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns. In 2010, who could be a player who takes his game to the next level and puts up pro-bowl caliber statistics?

Braylon Edwards – In 12 games with the Jets last season, Edwards had 35 catches for 541 yards and 4 touchdowns. He did provide the occasional big play but continued to struggle with dropped passes and only had one 100 yard game (although he had another one in the playoffs). We all know Edwards has the physical tools to be an elite receiver in the NFL…the guy did catch 17 touchdown passes in a single season only a few years ago, so can he produce like the legit number one the Jets traded for him to be? It certainly won’t hurt that he will now have a whole off-season in the Jets offense and have a training camp and pre-season to work with Mark Sanchez. If Edwards plays to his potential he could be a 1100 yard, 8-10 touchdown receiver in this Jets offense.

Dustin Keller – Keller had a monster streak of games in the middle of his rookie season in 2008, which led many to predict he could become a pro-bowl caliber tight for the Jets. However, he struggled to get on the same page with Sanchez for most of the season and only finished the regular season with 45 catches, 522 yards, and 2 touchdowns. However, Keller came alive in the playoffs by catching a touchdown pass in each of the Jets three games and averaging a little over 60 yards receiving per game. If Brian Schottenheimer can do a better job of getting him the ball and he remains in rhythm with Sanchez, Keller could have a pro-bowl caliber season for the Jets, especially if he remains a primary red-zone target.

Shonn Greene – After a somewhat quiet regular season, Greene exploded in the playoffs and gave the Jets enough confidence to let Thomas Jones walk so he could take over as their number one back. Greene will have the benefit of playing in a run heavy offense behind one of the best lines in the league. Yet, he must show he can stay healthy and handle the beating a lead back takes throughout a 16 games schedule, along with proving he can hold on to the football. If Greene can suit up every week, there is no reason he can’t approach the numbers Thomas Jones put up last year, although it will be hard to come near the 14 touchdowns he had since LaDainian Tomlinson will likely get most of the goal-line carries.

I know I didn’t include my personal favorite Jets offensive player, Jerricho Cotchery but I am hopeful that J-Co can stay healthy for all 16 games, crack the 1000 yard mark, chip in his usual 4 touchdowns, and make his normal collection of clutch third down receptions. Other key Jets skill position players? Tomlinson likely won’t have an impressive yardage total but hopefully he is productive as a pass catcher out of the backfield and as a short yardage/goal-line back. It is hard to tell what to expect from Leon coming off such a serious injury. Brad Smith will likely have a few big plays here and there but isn’t a consistent weapon. David Clowney might not make the roster next year if the Jets spend a high pick on a receiver. I know…I know, I forget Ben Hartsock and Matthew Mullligan, I am hopeful they will improve on their combined 2 catches for 3 yards and 1 touchdown last year.

Great Jets “My Way” Video

Jets Send Us Into Weekend With Headache

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First a few updates:

1. Big list of quality Jets material published within the last two days, of course you can easily find the links to every Jets related piece of material you should be reading on the Internet by following Turn On The Jets on facebook…go ahead and do that right now…in case you are being stubborn here are a few highlights with some analysis

Photobucket2. First off, ESPN finally launched their ESPN New York site here {http://espn.go.com/new-york/), Jane McManus is doing the Jets blog for it. This is just what I need, another site to check on a daily basis sandwiched between the 19 other Jets sites, Barstool Sports, Lost blogspot and lostpedia so I can figure out what the hell is going on, the message board for our touch football league which I make I living talking trash on, and of course the occasional stop at my school email address…anyway Jane’s first post was on LaDainian Tomlinson who defended his lack of production the last few years by blaming it on the Chargers,“Because the things that happened in San Diego, everything was taken away from me. There wasn’t an emphasis on running the football anymore, my best fullback was gone, the linemen were pass blocking and it was a passing QB and a passing coach.”…well LT will have no such excuses in New York running behind T-Rich and the Jets offensive line. Tomlinson also went on to say he hopes Shonn Greene and himself will be like Jordan and Pippen…does that make Leon, Toni Kukoc?

3. Great article by Tim Graham on his AFC East Blog (http://espn.go.com/blog/afceast/post/_/id/12137/jets-overtake-patriots-as-the-team-to-hate) about the Jets now being the team to hate in the division. Personally, I love the Jets new style and I say bring the hate on.

4. Rich Cimini also a few recent posts, highlighting some locker room talk (http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/jets/) and a few other things. He also discusses the Jets off-season motto “212 degrees,” which is the temperature at which water boils. I think is is clever enough.

Jets Send Us Into Weekend With Headache

PhotobucketWhy are the Jets sending me into the weekend with a headache? The primary reason is that Jay Feely just signed with the Cardinals and it is being reported the Jets had a chance to match the offer and chose not to. Really? The front office and coaching staff is really satisfied going into the year with Nick Folk at kicker? I understand we saved a million dollars because Folk was signed basically for the veterans minimum but there was a reason the Jets were able to sign him for that…because he was awful last year.

I don’t understand how a team who is essentially built to play close football games and plays their home games in a stadium that is notoriously difficult to kick in could undervalue the kicker position so much. The Jets had a very good one in Jay Feely and made a poor decision to be cheap in this instance.

The Jets have developed a reputation as a high spending team yet they lowballed Leon Washington, which could eventually lead to a separation between the two. They went cheap at kicker. They have decided not to re-sign their reliable long snapper for the past decade, James Dearth. Why would you switch your long snapper? If it isn’t broke don’t fix it. They refuse to pay Marques Douglas who wouldn’t even cost that much money and was very productive last year. They went cheap at safety to replace Kerry Rhodes with a guy who is one head injury away from having his career be over.

I am big Mike Tannenbaum fan and maybe these moves are all in preparation of long term deals for Nick Mangold, Darrelle Revis, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, and Braylon Edwards (if he has a good year in 2010) but as of right now the Jets are taking some key risks:

  • They have damaged their relationship with Leon Washington, who has been a great player for them on the field and a great role model off the field. He is rightly a fan favorite but now you have to worry about the Jets ability to ever lock down a long term deal with him, and still be concerned about a team offering him a contract in the next month as a RFA.
  • They are going into the year with a kicker coming off a terrible season, with nobody to compete against him in training camp.
  • Their depth in the secondary is questionable at best. They lost two corners (Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland) and only replaced them with one (Antonio Cromartie). Brodney Pool is injury prone at safety and they only have in-house backups to compete with him for the starting spot.
  • They are thin on the defensive line because of the decision not to bring back Marques Douglas. This could be remedied after the draft but as of now, Shaun Ellis and Mike DeVito are the starters with zero viable backups unless they plan on sliding Sione Pouha or Howard Green out to defensive end.

And if that isn’t enough to give you a headache, Mark Sanchez hasn’t been cleared to run yet even though his surgery was 6 weeks ago. He isn’t going to take part in OTAs, which means it is the Kellen Clemens show in June. Where is the Advil?

This Cheers Me Up

Five Ways For The Jets To Flame Out In 2010

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First a few updates:

1. You know as of right now there isn’t a ton to update on, the draft section is updated and overloaded with potential prospects for the Jets in all seven rounds. The guys over at www.thejetsblog.com do a great job with their “Prospect Watch,” which is where the list of players came from in the “2010 Draft” Section, as you can see from all the links. They finish up adding prospects on April 4th at which point I will organize them by position and list their projected rounds (per TJB), and then we can wait to see if the Jets actually end up with any of these guys.

2. Even though Rich Cimini mentioned Dez Bryant yesterday as a potential guy for the Jets at #29 and I got myself all excited about it, it is pretty hard to see a guy with that much talent even falling into the 20’s. His physical talent is too great for that many teams to pass on, regardless of his off the field issues.

3. A big congratulations to the New Jersey Nets for getting their 10th win and avoiding having the worst record in NBA history.

4. Dustin Keller is beginning his career as a restaurant critic on the New York Times Fifth Down Blog here (http://fifthdown.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/30/dustin-keller-i-eight-one/) even though he didn’t exactly pick an out of the way place for his first review (since he went with one of the best and well-know steakhouses in the City), it is still a good read and has me thinking about treating myself to a meal there when that TOJ check comes in this month.

Five Ways For The Jets To Flame Out In 2010

You may have noticed that I have been optimistic about the Jets chances in 2010. Even when I push aside my bias as a lifelong fan, I still genuinely believe the Jets will be a legitimate Super Bowl contender next year. However, this is the NFL and we know big expectations don’t always equal big things. It is difficult to maintain success on a year to year basis, so let me channel my Joe Benigno negative Jets fan inside of me and look at five ways the Jets could disappointin 2010 (by the way I consider anything short of a playoff berth next year to be a major disappointment).

1. Sophomore Slump – It is hard to say that if Mark Sanchez struggles next year that it would be a sophomore slump considering his regular season stats last season. However, we saw the quarterback Sanchez has the potential to be in the playoffs and if he can maintain that level of play the Jets are going to be a very, very tough team to beat. Yet, if he goes back to his performance in the middle of the season last year, when he was throwing 3+ interceptions every other game, the Jets are going to struggle to be anything better than the 9-7 team they were in 2009. The Jets remain a team built on their defense and running game, and even though the playbook should be opened up a little more, Sanchez must protect the football and not take unnecessary chances.

Photobucket2. Built To Last – The Jets have been extremely fortunate to have the same five guys start every game on their offensive line the past two seasons. They still lack solid depth across their front and if one or heaven forbid two of those five went down for an extended period of the time the Jets could be in serious trouble. The running game would suffer, which would put more pressure on Sanchez who wouldn’t be protected as well as usual…sounds like a recipe for disaster.

3. Lead Back Problems – This is Shonn Greene’s first year as a starter and a guy who will counted for 20 carries week in and week out. If Greene can’t stay healthy and can’t shake his fumbling problems, the Jets will be forced to rely on two guys who shouldn’t be getting more than 10 carries a game: an aging LaDainian Tomlinson and Leon Washington, returning from a major injury. Personally, I think Greene is going to be a 1300-1500 yard back this year but he has never done it before, so you never know.

4. Secondary Holes – The Jets are counting on Antonio Cromartie to fill the gaping hole opposite Darrelle Revis. If Cromartieplays like he did in 2007, the Jets will have the best corner duo in football. If he plays like he did last year, the Jets are going to have the same problems they did at times last season. Dwight Lowery remains the #3 corner and I don’t think he will be getting bumped into the starting line-up in a big spot after last year’s AFC Championship game. At safety, Brodney Pool needs to show he can stay healthy all year or Eric Smith needs to show he can handle a full time starting role.

5. Close Game Problems – The Jets lost on the last play of game two times last year to Miami, once to Buffalo, once to Jacksonville, and basically once to Atlanta. If the Jets could have been 3-2 in those games instead of 0-5, you are looking at a 11-5 team. If the Jets don’t learn how to win close games, they won’t win enough games to compete for a division title.

TOJ Movie Trailer

Who Are We Kidding, Shonn Greene Is Going To Be A Beast Next Year…Cromartie Better Learn To Tackle Though

Are The Jets The Team To Beat In The AFC East?

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First a few updates:

1. Follow Turn On The Jets on facebook…for some reason we lost 2 fans in the past 2 days. I don’t think I offended anybody recently but who knows, all I know is we need somebody to make up for those 2 and we need to add a few more this week.

2. Good post today by Rich Cimini on who the Jets may be interested in for this year’s draft. #29 is a hard spot to project but Jared Odrick of Penn State has been a popular choice because of the Jets age and lack of depth on the defensive line. Yet, if Dez Bryant somehow falls to #29 or in the near proximity of it, it is hard not to see Mike Tannenbaum grabbing such a big name guy with such big time potential. Personally, I would rather see them take Odrick or another defensive lineman/outside linebacker instead of a receiver but you have to admit Bryant is an exciting possibility…and please, no Taylor Mays…we don’t need Vernon Gholston 2.0 at safety.

3. Nice quote from Calvin Pace in a Sporting News interview about playing for the Jets and their fans:

“When I signed with the Jets two years ago, I thought about that, and if that would help me do well. The people here are passionate, and you get really excited playing for the tem. That J-E-T-S chant gets you pumped up. It’s 24-hour football for these fans.”

4. As you can see at the bottom of the article, we have a new episode of TOJ TV. Our producer got a new camera and thought it would be fun to put together a movie trailer documenting how I began working for the site. I am saving all my football analysis for the upcoming Podcasts, which will world premiere on April 15thwith a draft preview, off-season review edition. TOJ TV can now fully embrace its role as entertaining videos related to being a Jets fan instead of a spot for analysis.

Are The Jets The Team To Beat In The AFC East?

PhotobucketA popular topic this off-season has been debating the question of whether the Jets or Patriots are the team to beat in the AFC East in 2010. On November 22nd 2009, this question would have been a no-brainer. New England took advantage of an awful Mark Sanchez performance and whipped the Jets 31-14. It seemed like the Patriots would be rolling to another division title and run at a Super Bowl while the Jets were headed to another year without the playoffs. However, over the last 6 weeks the Jets finished strong with a 5-1 record, while New England only went 3-3 down the stretch. In the wild-card round of the playoffs, the once mighty Patriots were completely humiliated on their home field by the Baltimore Ravens 33-14, while the Jets pulled out a gutsy win on the road against the Bengals 24-14. The Jets then followed that performance up with a 17-14 upset in San Diego, before eventually falling to the Colts by 13 in the AFC Championship Game. Is the torch ready to be passed?

So far this off-season, the Jets have had more than turnover than the Patriots. They added Antonio Cromartie to replace the ineffective Lito Sheppard, signed LaDainian Tomlinson to back up Shonn Greene instead of giving the job to the recently more effective Thomas Jones, and replaced the underachieving Kerry Rhodes with Brodney Pool. They let special teamers like Wallace Wright and Marques Murrell walk but recently signed special teams standout Lance Laury to help fill the gap left by them. It also appears Jay Feely and Marques Douglas won’t be back and the Jets are yet to fill the holes left by them…I don’t count Nick Folk and Mike DeVito as filling their spots properly.

New England has concentrated primarily on hanging on to their own players. They have brought back Leigh Bodden, Vince Wilfork, and Tully Banta-Cain on defense. On offense, they did let Chris Baker and Ben Watson walk at tight end but recently signed Alge Crumpler to fill the spot and also brought back Kevin Faulk and Stephen Neal.

Where does that leave the two teams right now? On offense, New England probably isn’t getting back Wes Welker until sometime in October and who knows when he will be back to 100 percent. Make no mistake, Welker is the Patriots most dangerous playmaker and important receiver, not Randy Moss who appears to be in decline. Also, spare me with the Julian Edeleman can be just as good as Welker in New England’s offense talk because regardless of Edeleman’s stats when Welker was out, here is what Tom Brady did without Welker in the lineup:

  • Vs Baltimore – 23/42, 154 yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs
  • Vs Jets – 23/47, 216 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT
  • Vs Atlanta – 25/42, 277 yards, 1 TD

PhotobucketOutside of a good game against a crappy Atlanta secondary, Brady could barely complete 50 percent of his passes without Welker in the lineup and had two of his worst games of the year when he didn’t have him as a safety valve. New England is still currently thin at receiver because Edeleman is injury prone (he missed 4 games last year) and Sam Aiken or Isaiah Stanback can’t handle major reps. They also have questions at running back because after a big rookie year, Laurence Maroney has been a bust who can’t hold on to the football. Fred Taylor and Sammy Morris are both ancient and can’t stay healthy and Kevin Faulk is nothing more than a third down back, although a good one at that. Beyond that, Tom Brady didn’t have his best year last season but considering the injury he was coming back from was still very good, until he had a meltdown in the playoffs. New England’s offensive line isn’t what it used to be but still remains one of the better units in the league.

On defense, the Patriots were pretty good last year. They finished #11 in total defense but laid an egg in the playoffs and were embarrassed a few times, including a dreadful performance on Monday Night against the Saints and when they choked away a big lead to the Colts in a Sunday Night game (no shame in that because the Colts also shredded up the Jets in the AFC Championship game and came back from a double digit deficit). Jerod Mayo was a disappointmentin his second year and they remain very average in the secondary. If you take Leigh Bodden’s stats away from the second Jets game when Sanchez gift wrapped him three interceptions, I don’t see how you could claim he is a legit number one corner and the rest of their corners are journeyman unless Darius Butler develops. New England’s front still has talent but you could run on them.

When I look at the Jets compared to the Patriots, I think they compare very favorably. The Jets have a superior offensive line, substantially more talent at running back, a better tight end, and a better #2 receiver until Welker makes it back to 100 percent. Yes, I would take Jerricho Cotchery over Julian Edeleman, Sam Aiken or anybody else they currently have to trot out there. The Jets don’t have somebody at receiver with the talent of Randy Moss but fortunately when we play them, we have Darrelle Revis to completely take him out of the game. Obviously, the Patriots have an advantage at quarterback but Brady is going to struggle against the Jets pass rush or any defense with a quality pass rush without Welker as a safety valve and a good running game to rely on. The Jets have a better all-around defense right now than New England. They are better at corner, linebacker, and with Jenkins back compare well with them on the defensive line.

They also have the benefit of playing the second place schedule instead of the first place schedule next year. Basically, that means they get the Texans and Broncos instead of the Colts and Chargers, yes it is only 2 games but in a likely close race, that could help the Jets. It would remiss not to mention the Patriots are set up much better for the draft than the Jets. New England has three second round picks, a higher first round pick than the Jets, and five seventh round picks. We have to wait and see how the Patriots could improve through the draft since they have missed more than a few recent selections.

PhotobucketRight now, I do think the Jets are the team to beat in the AFC East. By the end of the season, they were the best team in the division and I think when you factor in the return of Kris Jenkins and Leon Washington, their roster has improved from last year. Even though he is showing signs of slipping from his untouchable genius ways, Bill Belichick will still have New England in contention next year, and they remain the Jets primary challenge for the division title. What about Miami, you ask? Karlos Dansby was a nice addition even though they overpaid for him, but I don’t think they have done enough yet to move from a 7-9 team who was a Danny Woodhead keeping his outside contain on kickoff and Bart Scott tackle away from being 5-11. (Can you tell I am still bitter about those losses?) What about Buffalo? I don’t know let me see who wins the quarterback battle between Trent Edwards, Brian Brohm, and Ryan Fitzpatrick and then I will let you know.

TOJ Movie Trailer

Randy Moss Is A Slouch While On Revis Island