Five Questions About The Jets Special Teams

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First a few updates:

1. After a few reports came out yesterday about the Jets bringing back defensive end Marques Douglas by the week’s end, it now sounds like the Jets are content with their youth movement on the defensive line and won’t pursue him. This is a statement of confidence in players like Mike DeVito, Matt Kroul, and Ropati Pitoitua to give the Jets quality reps in their defensive line rotation. DeVito is going to be the starter, after putting together a pretty strong season in 2009. Kroul and Pitoitua are untested and of course there still is that Vernon Gholston fellow, looking for his first career NFL sack.

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

3. The Jets are expected to sign quarterback Mark Brunell tomorrow, with a release of Kellen Clemens following shortly after.

Five Questions About The Jets Special Teams

As training camp rapidly approaches, here are five questions about the Jets special teams that still need to be sorted out –

1. What The Folk?

– The Jets parted ways with Jay Feely this off-season, who was not only a reliable kicker but a good tackler and a political pundit. They replaced him with Dallas Cowboys castoff, Nick Folk, who despite being an All-Pro kicker in 2007 and hero of my fantasy football team that season, struggled heavily in 2009. The best way to describe Folk’s play for Dallas last year is absolutely brutal. He made 64.3 percent of his field goal attempts, spearheaded by him going 5/12 from the 40-49 yard range. He was cut after shanking a 24 yard field goal in a crucial late season game against the Saints. The Jets are confident that special teams guru Mike Westhoff can get him back on track but the reality is the Jets are taking a major risk by relying on Folk to be their kicker. In OTAs and mini-camp, Folk would have days where he missed four straight field goals and then follow up by going 7 for 7 the next day. The consistency clearly isn’t there yet and for a team built on defense and running the football, it is scary to have a kicker who isn’t reliable.

2. How much Antonio Cromartie will we see on kick and punt returns?

– The Jets were giving Cromartie reps at both kick and punt return during their off-season workouts. He is an explosive player in the open field with the ball in his hands, displayed by his four career return touchdowns. However, none of those were on kick or punt returns. They were from taking a missed field goal back, along with a few interceptions. Cromartie did have a 91 yard kick return in 2006. The Jets kick return job is open since Leon Washington is no longer on the roster and regardless of who the primary return guy is, Cromartie still could get put back there once or twice a game.

3. Can Kyle Wilson handle full time punt return duties?

– After the Jets drafted Wilson, Rex Ryan claimed he would be the team’s starting nickel back and primary punt returner. It is a big task for a rookie to be pressed into the punt return job, where any small mistake or misjudgement can swing an entire game. Do you remember when the Titans had a rookie back there last year against the Jets? From all reports in OTAs and mini-camp, Wilson looked terrific fielding punts. However, it is different when you are under the bright lights of Monday Night Football week 1 against the Baltimore Ravens. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jerricho Cotchery or Jim Leonhard still put back deep in certain situations, especially if a team is punting into the Jets endzone. Regardless, Wilson should provide the Jets some explosiveness in the punt return game they were lacking last year.

4. Will Steve Weatherford last the season as the Jets punter?

– The Jets went through about 27 punters last season before finally settling on Weatherford, who was pretty good in 2009. The best part about Weatherford may be that he averaged a whopping 26 yards per carry last season and he took the time to compliment Turn On The Jets on Facebook, which of course puts him alongside David Clowney and Donovan Warren with first team all TOJ status. In all seriousness, it will be interesting to see if Weatherford can make it through another full season as the Jets punter or if the team has a quick trigger finger like they did before the 2009 season kicked off.

5. Who will return kicks for the Jets in 2010?

– There are a ton of candidates on the roster to take over the primary kick return duties. Brad Smith did a good filling in for Leon Washington last season and is the favorite to take the majority of kicks back for the Jets this season. However, Joe McKnight, Kyle Wilson, Aundrae Allison, David Clowney, and Danny Woodhead are also all in the mix. As previously mentioned, Antontio Cromartie should also get a few chances back there. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a committee approach to the kick return job this season, unless Brad Smith can do more of this on a consistent basis:

Jets Area Of Strength – Secondary

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First a few updates:

1. It is more than a little ridiculous that a player who has never won a ring is announcing his free agency decision during a 1 hour primetime special. Yet, I would be lying if I said I wouldn’t be watching it tomorrow night. I think it is down to the Bulls, Cavs, and the Knicks at this point for LeBron’s destination. For a guy who is so obsessed with his legacy, he wouldn’t be doing it much service by playing second fiddle in Miami to Dwayne Wade. The Bulls give him the best shot to challenge for a title immediately. The Knicks can now offer Amare Stoudermaire to run with him and the potential of acquiring another major free agent next year.

2. I am interested to see how Miami fills out their roster around Wade and Chris Bosh. Right now, they literally have two other players under contract along with their draft picks.

3. It has been very quiet on the contract negotiations front, especially considering how slow NFL news is right now. The pressure has to pick up on the Jets in the next week or two as training camp begins to creep closer and the question of how Darrelle Revis and Nick Mangold will handle their contract situation grows bigger. It wouldn’t be quality premium cable to start Hard Knocks without the Jets best offensive and defensive player.

4. I am still holding out hope that the Jets will sign Marques Douglas to a minimum deal at some point this summer to boost their depth on the defensive line and that they decide to pass on Mark Brunell unless he is coming in as their number three quarterback.

5. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets) and check out the new episode of Turn On The Jets TV, where we run through some of the top highlights from last season as we look forward to why the Jets have the potential to be so good in 2010.

Jets Area Of Strength – Secondary

Today we cover another area of strength for the Jets headed into the 2010 season, joining the linebackers and receivers, the Jets secondary should be one of their deepest, most talented position groups this year.

PhotobucketAny talk about the Jets secondary starts with cornerback Darrelle Revis, who is coming off one of the best individual defensive seasons in recent NFL history. There isn’t a better cover guy in the league, period. Revis has the rare ability to completely take a team’s top receiving top target out of the game, while still creating turnovers. The Jets defensive scheme dares teams to take a shot at Revis and when they did in 2009, they failed an overwhelming majority of the time. In the end, the Jets will find a way to appease his contract demands. Mike Tannenbaum can be stubborn in his contract negotiations but he isn’t stupid. Revis has the ability to become one of the greatest players in the organization’s history.

In 2009, the weakest spot of the Jets defense was the corner position opposite Revis. Veteran Lito Sheppard struggled to stay healthy and productive, when he actually was on the field. Dwight Lowery was doing an adequate job filling in Sheppard for a little while, but ultimately lacked the physical skills to match up with starting receivers on a consistent basis. The Jets didn’t hesitate this off-season to fix this weakness.

Former All-Pro cornerback Antonio Cromartie was acquired in a trade from the San Diego Chargers. Cromartie is one of the most physically gifted players in the NFL and had a 10 interception season in 2007, along with creating a reputation for racking up highlight reel plays. He has struggled the past few years. However, the Jets are banking on their aggressive man to man scheme bringing the best out of Cromartie, along with him recovering from a hip injury that nagged him last year. Cromartie is a huge boom or bust player heading into 2010. Hopefully, he won’t replicate the bust performance offered by Lito Sheppard last season.

The Jets added further support to the corner position by drafting Kyle Wilson out of Boise State in the first round of the NFL Draft. Wilson was a player who shot up most draft boards after a strong performance during Senior Week. He was rumored to potentially be a top 15 selection. Fortunately for the Jets, he managed to slip all the way to number 29 for them to snatch up. Rex Ryan instantly handed Wilson the starting nickel job, where he could face some early struggles adjusting to playing in the slot. However, his physical skills are far superior to Dwight Lowery and as the season progresses, Wilson should develop into a integral part of the Jets defense. Ryan will utilize his athleticism as both a cover guy and a blitzer off the edge.

PhotobucketWith the acquisitions of Cromartie and Wilson, Dwight Lowery bumps down to the team’s number four corner. In terms of the fourth guy, Lowery has tons of experience and should be used in a selective way as both a corner and safety in certain packages that allow him to take advantage of his ball hawking skills. Marquice Cole and Drew Coleman round out of the cornerback position, as primarily special team players.

At safety, the Jets traded away Kerry Rhodes who has already ticked off his new teammates in Arizona with his desire to vacation over working out in the off-season. Brodney Pool was signed from Cleveland to replace Rhodes. Despite having his season cut short by a head injury in 2009, Pool had a much better statistical season than Rhodes in only 11 games. The coaching staff has been raving about his work ethic this off-season, and that work ethic combined with his athleticism gives Pool the potential to have a big season in the Jets defense.

Jim Leonhard returns as the other starting safety. Most people look over Leonhard when discussing the Jets defense, but he was one of the most consistent players on the team last year and has a complete mastery of the Rex Ryan’s system. He won’t rack up a ton of big plays but he will always be in the right place at the right time and won’t give up big plays either.

The Jets have excellent depth behind Pool and Leonhard. Eric Smith is a versatile player, who has extended starting experience. He will see plenty of action in the multiple packages the Jets use on defense. James Ihedigbo came on towards the end of last year as a quality reserve off the bench and somebody who was effective as a blitzer off the edge. The Jets also added UDFA Donovan Warren from Michigan this off-season, who was talked about as a second round pick before a poor combine showing.

Revis

Cromartie

New TOJ TV

The Not So Big Name Jets Starters

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First a few updates:

1. Jason Taylor practiced with the team today and was wearing #95. I guess he hasn’t been able to pay off Bryan Thomas yet for a number switch to #99 or Thomas has decided to hang on to his number.

2. The Jets will have the day off tomorrow and then be back at practice on Thursday with full media availability. They will have the same schedule next week.

3. How about those Yankees last night?

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

The Not So Big Name Jets Starters

When most people think about the New York Jets in 2010, they will refer to their number one ranked rushing attack and number one ranked defense. They have some big name lineman in Nick Mangold, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, and Damien Woody. Any NFL fan who watched the playoffs should know all about Shonn Greene. Despite not having a big time passing attack, Mark Sanchez, Braylon Edwards, and Dustin Keller are well known names. On defense, Darrelle Revis, Bart Scott, David Harris are the big names associated with the Jets, along with Kris Jenkins. Calvin Pace got a big contract and Shaun Ellis is a respected veteran. The Jets also added some big name backups this off-season in Jason Taylor and LaDainian Tomlinson. Santonio Holmes and Antonio Cromartie are also big name players who were added. However, lesser known starters on the Jets will be a major factor in determining whether or not the team can reach their goal of a Super Bowl this season. When looking at all the big names on the Jets roster, don’t forget about these players who will be running out of the tunnel as starters this season.

Brandon Moore – Moore quietly has been a very good player on the Jets offensive line at the right guard position. He has started 94 games for the team since 2004. After nearly letting him walk, the Jets smartly signed him to an extension before last season. Even though Alan Faneca made the Pro Bowl last year, it is arguable that Brandon Moore had a better year in 2009. He turns 30 this year and will hopefully be able to give the Jets 4-6 more seasons of his consistent play.

PhotobucketBryan ThomasThomas has put together an up and down career with the Jets since being a first round draft pick 9 years ago. He had a breakout season in 2006 with 8.5 sacks but hasn’t approached those numbers since. In year one of Rex Ryan’s defense, Thomas started 16 games and had 53 tackles, 2 sacks, and 1 forced fumble. However, he is constantly cited by defensive coordinator Mike Pettine for doing the little things that don’t show up in the stat sheet. Thomas is a versatile player who does a good job on run contain, coverage, and can occasionally get after the quarterback. He will lose some reps to Jason Taylor this year but is still the starter at outside linebacker and a big part of the defense.

Mike DeVito – The Jets are confident in DeVito’s ability to fill in for Marques Douglas at defensive end after he put together a strong year off the bench in 2009. DeVito won’t put up gaudy numbers but seems to have a good grasp on what Rex Ryan wants out of his ends and does a good job in the running game.

Brodney Pool – The Jets are talking up Pool as a big off-season acquisition that is being overlooked by everybody. It is worth pointing out that Pool did have more sacks and interceptions than Kerry Rhodes in six less games last season. The real question about Pool is whether he can stay healthy or not. He has a history of concussions and if he gets another one, that could be it for him. However, it looks like he will get the first crack at replacing Rhodes alongside Jim Leonhard.

April’s Fools Joke on The Jets D-Line

Ten Monday Thoughts On The Jets Defense

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First a few updates:

1. Mark Sanchez threw some passes during the Jets OTA practice today, which is obviously good news. The entire roster participated outside of Kris Jenkins and Jason Taylor. Jenkins was continuing to rehab his injury on the sideline and Taylor was finishing up charity work in Miami. There is a ton of pictures of today’s action on www.newyorkjets.com, including shots of Santonio and LaDainian in the green and white.

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

Ten Monday Thoughts On The Jets Defense

1. It will be very interesting to see how the reps are divided up in the Jets defensive backfield this season. Rex Ryan loves using packages that are overloaded with DBs but beyond Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Kyle Wilson, and Jim Leonhard, who else will be prominently featured in the Jets various sub, nickel, and dime packages? Brodney Pool, Eric Smith, Dwight Lowery, James Ihedigbo, and to a lesser extent Drew Coleman, Marquice Cole, and Donovan Warren will all be competing for a bigger role on the defense.

2. Most people are targeting Jason Taylor as the guy on the Jets who could come up with double digit sacks. Yet keep in mind, Calvin Pace had 8 sacks in only 12 games last season. How about the Jets get two guys in the double digit sack range?

3. Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has been talking about second year player Matt Kroul as a key piece of the Jets defensive line rotation this season. Players like Kroul and Ropait Pitoitua need to step up to give the Jets the necessary depth on the line and take pressure off Kris Jenkins up front, who will also have his reps limited by the presence of Sione Pouha.

Photobucket4. I know we are all excited about Kyle Wilson’s coverage skills but don’t sleep on his value as a blitzer in Rex Ryan’s defense. He loves sending defensive backs off the edge and Wilson is athletic and physical enough to get 3 or 4 sacks this season to complement his coverage skills.

5. Nobody is a bigger fan of Darrelle Revis than Turn On The Jets but 20 million dollars a year? The guy is the best corner in football but he wants to be the highest paid player in the league, which is hard to swing if you aren’t a quarterback. These negotiations aren’t going to be pretty.

6. What is the reason we can’t resign Marques Douglas? We can’t give him a one year deal to boost the depth on the defensive line? Maybe I am underestimating Mike DeVito, who for some reason is my cousin’s favorite player on the defense.

7. What are the odds that Vernon Gholston is even active for more than half of the Jets games in 2010? I just can’t see him making a successful transition to defensive end, especially in the 3-4. He isn’t going to play special teams over Lance Laury or Jamaal Westerman.

8. Unlike last year when the Jets defense dominated the offense throughout training camp, it should be a little more even this season. How about watching Revis, Cromartie, and Wilson battle against Edwards, Cotchery, and Holmes on a daily basis? That kind of competition is going to make everybody better…and yes, Dwight Lowery and David Clowney could make each other better also.

9. I want some more defensive touchdowns this season…I am looking at you Antonio Cromartie…and Revis, you really can’t get any better than you were last season but if you want 20 million dollars, let’s take a couple back to the house this year.

10. What defensive player jersey are you looking to buy this season? I got Revis but beyond that I am swamped with offensive jerseys…Harris? Wilson? Leonhard? Drew Coleman?

A Defense Of The Jets Off-Season

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First a few updates:

1. The Patriots have finally cut ties with outside linebacker Adalius Thomas. Will the Jets still puruse Thomas, who excelled in Rex Ryan’s system during his time in Baltimore? Initially you would think not, considering they just signed Jason Taylor and still have Calvin Pace and  Bryan Thoams in place as starters. However, you could never have enough pass rushers, especially in this defensive system. The Jets may be able to get Thomas at a low price depending on the amount of interest he generates around the league and his desire to reunite with Ryan and stick it to the Patriots for cutting him. I say if they can get him at a reasonable price, then why not? Also keep in mind Thomas is versatile enough to play multiple positions in Rex Ryan’s defense. Overall, don’t be shocked to see the Jets add yet another big name in the next few days.

2. The Jets have restructured Vernon Gholston’s contract to make it primarily incentive based. Apparently, Gholston approached the team about redoing the deal in an attempt to actually earn his contract money. If that is true, than it is a very admirable move by Gholston who will hopefully begin to turn his career around somewhat at the defensive end position.

3. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook…Good links today on the Jets/Giants business relationship and Peter King’s inside information of what went down before the Leon Washington deal.

A Defense Of The Jets Off-Season

I have been caught off guard by the amount of negativity expressed by many Jets fans after their draft weekend decisions. On the whole most people who follow and write about the NFL initially praised the Jets pro-active approach this off-season, however there is starting to be some questions asked about adding too many big name players, destroying team chemistry, and an overall skepticism about the direction Mike Tannenbaum/Rex Ryan have taken this team. You can poke holes in any team’s roster and any personnel decision they make, yet I have this to say to people who haven’t liked the Jets off-season: are you kidding me?

Let’s start with the defense. The consensus weakest part of the Jets defense last year was their secondary outside of Darrelle Revis. Everybody agreed they needed a major upgrade at corner after Revis and that Kerry Rhodes was a disappointment in Rex Ryan’s system who wasn’t a good fit in the locker room with his “Hollywood” personality and selfish anger over Jim Leonhard calling the shots in the defensive backfield. What did the Jets do? They replaced Lito Sheppard with Antonio Cromartie as the other starter at corner. They replaced Dwight Lowery with Kyle Wilson as the nickel back and they shipped Rhodes to Arizona for two draft picks.

Photobucket Cromartie and Wilson should be substantial upgrades over the players they replaced. Cromartie is out to prove he can return to his all-pro level in Ryan’s man to man scheme and validate the Jets decision to give him a chance, along with a nice advance on his contract to help pay his child support. Wilson was a steal at #29 in the first round and should immediately be one of the most talented nickel backs in the NFL. Everybody wants to criticize the Jets chemistry for this upcoming year but didn’t they improve it by shipping out the disgruntled Rhodes? Brodney Pool has been tabbed as his replacement and had more sacks and interceptions than Rhodes last year, despite only playing in 11 games. Yes, Pool has injury concerns but if he gets hurt, wasn’t Eric Smith just as productive as Rhodes last season. Beyond that the Jets didn’t break the bank for Cromartie, Pool, or Wilson considering where he was selected.

The other big problem on the Jets defense last year was their lack of a pass rush. In order to improve this they added Jason Taylor, who notched seven sacks last year despite not being put in the best position to rush the passer in Miami’s defense. Rex Ryan should be able to put together enough schemes and blitz packages to get somebody with Taylor’s talent 9-12 sacks. Also don’t forget Kris Jenkins is coming back from injury and while he won’t ever rack up monster sack numbers his presence on the line will open up things for everybody else. Beyond that, there is a decent chance Adalius Thomas will also be thrown in the mix as a pass rusher at outside linebacker, inside linebacker, and defensive end.

So on defense the Jets replaced three starters: Kerry Rhodes, Lito Sheppard, and Marques Douglas with three younger players in Brodney Pool, Antonio Cromartie, and Mike DeVito. They removed the biggest personality/chemistry problem by getting rid of Rhodes. Yes, Douglas was a quality player and it remains to be seen if DeVito can be a full time starter but the Jets defense isn’t dropping from the number one spot in the league because they removed the 60 tackles and 1.5 sacks from Douglas. On top of that, they now have Jason Taylor as their top reserve at linebacker instead of Vernnon Gholston and Kyle Wilson at nickel back instead of Dwight Lowery. So tell me what the problem is again? It sounds to me like there is a good chance the Jets will be repeating as the league’s #1 defense.

PhotobucketNow let’s look at the offense where there is a popular misconception that the Jets signed LaDainian Tomlinson to replace Thomas Jones. Actually it will be Shonn Greene replacing Thomas Jones, with LaDainian Tomlinson taking over the #2 role and stepping in as the goal-line/short yardage back. The Jets also replaced Leon Washington, who may have begun the season on the PUP list with a player who has the skill set to be a young, healthier version of him in Joe McKnight. Washington also would have been leaving the Jets after this season anyway because of his contract situation, while the Jets now have McKnight for the next 4-6 years at a minimum.

Most people agreed the Jets needed to upgrade their receiving core. They responded by adding Santonio Holmes for a fifth round pick. Holmes has the talent to be a #1 receiver on many teams in this league, yet will basically be the Jets #3 receiver when he begins playing in week five. They will also be benefitted by having Braylon Edwards spend a full off-season with the team and having both Edwards and Holmes looking to prove they deserve long term contracts from the Jets or another team.

Yes the Jets had to make the tough choice of parting ways with Alan Faneca. However, considering they just gave Brandon Moore a long term deal and will have to give Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson ones after this season, did they really have a choice? Let’s have a little faith in Bill Callahan, widely considered one of the best offensive line coaches in the game, to develop Vladimir Ducasse or Matt Slauson into capable starters this year and long term quality players for the team.

PhotobucketSo on offense the Jets replaced two starters: Thomas Jones and Alan Faneca. Two guys who were productive last year and well-respected in the locker room, yet two guys who are 31 and 33 years old, respectively. Shonn Greene certainly looked the part of a a number one back in the playoffs last year and if he struggles the Jets have quality depth behind him in LaDainian Tomlinson and Joe McKnight. Ducasse and Slauson are unproven but will be surrounded by four high quality players and a great offensive line coach. Beyond that, they moved from having their number three receiver either being Brad Smith or David Clowney to being Santonio Holmes. Mark Sanchez should also be better in his second year but hey the Jets went to the AFC Championship game with him throwing 20 INTs to 12 TDs, along with a 53 completion percentage, so imagine what they could do if he makes strides this season.

I am sure players hated to see people like Faneca, Jones, and Washington leave the team. Yet, let’s not go crazy with the chemistry or leadership concerns. Last time I checked on offense the Jets will still have Tony Richardson, Jerricho Cotchery, and Damien Woody in the huddle, along with the same quarterback, three other returning starters on the offensive line, the same top two tight ends, and a new strong veteran presence in LaDainian Tomlinson. On defense Bart Scott, Jim Leonhard, Darrelle Revis, David Harris, and Shaun Ellis will still be out there along with Kris Jenkins returning to the huddle.

You want to criticize the Jets for something? Fine, they downgraded at kicker by replacing Jay Feely with Nick Folk, yet somehow I think Tannenbaum will find a way to add another kicker at some point this summer.

Like I said before, you can poke holes in any roster or personnel decision. Yet, sometimes you just have to call things as you see them. The Jets are loaded right now, on both sides of the football. This team is built to be a legit Super Bowl contender and in my mind are the second best team in the AFC right now and a top five overall team in the NFL.

Let’s Go

With The 29 Selection In The 2nd Edition Of The Fanball Mock Draft, The Jets Select…

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First a few updates:

1. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook…we have been on a nice run of adding fans the past week and we need to keep that momentum going because Santonio Holmes promised me he’d still be a 1,000 yard receiver in 12 games if we could get 300 fans by May 1st.

2. A reminder that the first edition of “TOJ: The Podcast” will be premiering early next week, with draft coverage and opinions on the Jets off-season thus far. I will also be updating the TOJ Facebook page throughout the first round of the draft with my witty thoughts and opinions.

3. Kellen Clemens signed his RFA tender today. Depending on what happens with the Jets signing Mark Brunell (which depends on what happens with Jason Taylor) the Jets could shop Clemens around for a 6th or 7th round draft pick if they don’t want him to remain their #2 quarterback. Personally, I’d like to see them upgrade their backup position but they can likely survive with Clemens as their #2 for another year, as long as Sanchez only misses games against teams like the ’09 Bucs.

4. The Dolphins are reportedly shopping Ted Ginn Jr. The frustrating thing about Ginn is that he is terrible 14 games a year but then finds a way to kill the Jets…the guy had 3 touchdowns in 2 games against them last year…and 0 in his other 14 games…are you kidding me? Get this guy out of the division or trade him to the Jets for a Rex Ryan old pizza stained Jets sweatshirt so he can be our #5 receiver and return kicks for us.

5. Updates on the Jason Taylor situation: His agent (who apparently is pushing for him to come to New York) is playing it off like Taylor has always really liked the Jets fans because of their passion and was just teasing them…c’mon now, we aren’t stupid. We understand he hated us and we hated him right back, if he gets 10 sacks for the Jets this year and helps us win a Super Bowl then all is forgiven or he could go back to Miami, go 7-9 and have 4 sacks.

6. Look out for the NFL schedule this Thursday or Friday.

7. NBA Playoffs start this weekend and as of right now the only match-up that is locked in Thunder vs. Lakers…whooo, that is going to be a great match-up with Durant going against Kobe.

With The 29 Selection In The 2nd Edition Of The Fanball Mock Draft, The Jets Select…

If you have been following the site, you know us Fanball bloggers did a mock draft earlier in the year, in that edition I selected corner Kyle Wilson…but since that was on March 1st and things have changed since then (see trading for Antonio Cromartie), here is what I am thinking this time around:

Here is the current big board:

1. Rams – Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
2. Lions – Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
3. Bucs – Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
4. Skins – Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
5. Chiefs – Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee
6. Seahawks – Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State
7. Browns – Joe Haden, CB, Florida
8. Raiders – Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama
9. Bills – Brian Bulaga, OT, Iowa
10. Jags – Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State
11. Broncos (from Chicago) – Earl Thomas, S, Texas
12. Dolphins – Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan
13. San Francisco 49ers – Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
14. Seattle Seahawks (from Denver) – Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech
15. New York Giants – Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland
16. Tennessee Titans – Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida
17. San Francisco 49ers (from Carolina) – C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson
18. Pittsburgh Steelers – Mike Iupati, OG, Idaho
19. Atanta Falcons – Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri
20. Houston Texans – Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State
21. Cincinnati Bengals – Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma
22. New England Patriots – Sergio Kindle, LB, Texas
23. Green Bay Packers – Taylor Mays, S, USC
24. Philadelphia Eagles – Marukice Pouncey, C, Florida
25. Baltimore Ravens – Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers
26. Arizona Cardinals – Ricky Sapp, LB, Clemson
27. Dallas Cowboys – Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers

28. San Diego Chargers – Terrence Cody, DT, Alabama

That leaves me very happy to select…Penn State Defensive Tackle, Jared Odrick.

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If there is one spot the Jets currently need help and youth it is on the defensive line. Currently, they have Kris Jenkins (30 years old) at nose tackle, with Shaun Ellis (32 years old) at defensive end, along with Mike DeVito currently penciled in as the other defensive end since the Jets haven’t resigned last year’s starter Marques Douglas yet. DeVito is miscast as a starter and should be nothing more than a rotational player. Beyond that, the Jets currently have no depth behind Ellis and DeVito at end. Their top backup on the line is Sione Pouha (31 years old), who will see most of his time spelling Jenkins at nose tackle. Odrick is a versatile guy who will bring the needed youth and depth to the Jets front and likely have a good chance of starting at end opposite Ellis. He could also be the long term replacement for Jenkins at nose tackle. Odrick is 6’5, 304 lbs and last year at Penn State had 43 tackles and 7 sacks. Odrick has been rapidly moving the draft board and the Jets would be lucky to get him at 29. He has visited the team but I don’t know if the Jets interest is strong enough to trade up for him.

Odrick Highlights

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

Comments On Lingering Jets Issues

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First a few updates:

1. Interesting article up at www.thejetsblog.com about the Jets low-balling Leon Washington on his contract offer last year and then releasing to the press that they offered him more money. The source for the article is “close” to Washington and is also reporting that two other teams are currently interested in him. Obviously, the validity of that claim and generally all his claims could be questioned considering he is in Washington’s camp but it is still worth a read. Overall, I will remain steadfast in my belief that no team is giving up a second round pick for Washington and that he will be back with the Jets next year.

2. Follow Turn On The Jets on facebook…because we are only 8 fans away from 250 and you want the chance to be #250.

3. Around The NFL…It amazes me the Eagles are willing to part with Donovan McNabb for a high second round pick. Nobody in the Philadelphia appreciates how productive and how many winning seasons that guy has brought them. I am not sure what Kevin Kolb has ever done to prove he can handle being a franchise quarterback, but I have to say I am looking forward to Eagles fans whining about how much they miss McNabb when they are 6-10 next year. I know Giants fans will be thrilled to see McNabb leave since he has owned them the past two years…Dez Bryant had a rough workout for scouts yesterday, hopefully enough teams will be dumb enough to pass on him to allow him to get within range for a reasonable trade for the Jets, and Bryant will be in “pissed off Randy Moss rookie year” mode about falling so far for our offense next year. (Yes, I know I have been against drafting a receiver in the first round but to get somebody with Bryant’s talent anywhere in the 20s would be a steal)…If I was the Rams I would be taking Sam Bradford with the first pick, they need a quarterback to build around…The NFL regular season schedule isn’t going to be released until April 13th.

Photobucket4. Thoughts On Lost Season 6, Episode 10 “The Package” – I am not usually a big fan of Jin/Sun episodes, especially since Sun has been reduced to a broken record asking for her husband the past season and a half but last night was a good episode that touched on all the characters/storylines. We saw a little more bleed through between the sideways timeline and the main timeline, with Sun’s inability to speak English and her seeming to notice the bump on her head from the island in the sideways action. Considering she accidentally got shot in the stomach, I don’t think her baby is going to make it, although I am sure Jack will be the operating doctor at the hospital. On the island, it is confirmed that Sayid is nothing more than a zombie/Locke’s killing machine and we got some dialogue from Widmore indicating he may be against the Man In Black. I don’t know who to believe but I do know I am beyond pumped that Desmond is back. All I can say it is about damn time and it will be interesting to see how Widmore wants to use him to stop Locke. My guess is that it involves the wheel that moves the Island since Widmore’s team took Jin to help them locate the pockets of energy on the island.

5. Other quick entertainment comments…Go see Hot Tub Time Machine, and if you haven’t been watching How To Make It In America, wait until after this week’s season finale and take the time to watch the 8 season 1 episodes online or on-demand.

6. Jets Pre-Season Schedule:

  • Week 1 vs. Giants
  • Week 2 at Carolina
  • Week 3 vs. Washington
  • Week 4 at Philly

Comments On Lingering Jets Issues

#3 Receiver: I think it is obvious we won’t be going into training camp with just Brad Smith, David Clowney, and Britt Davis battling it out for the #3 receiver spot. Unless somehow the Jets swing a move to grab Dez Bryant in round 1, I think they draft a receiver in either round 2 or round 4 if they find somebody who’s value they like at that spot. If for some reason the Jets leave the draft without adding a receiver or just adding one in the 6th or 7th round, I think at that point they would sign Laveranues Coles, who would be a nice fit for a year or two in the slot. Another guy I wouldn’t mind the Jets looking at is former Bills receiver, Josh Reed who is younger than Coles and has put together some productive years in the slot for Buffalo.

Defensive Line: My guess on the Jets thinking at this time is that they plan to draft a defensive lineman with their first round pick…hopefully Jared Odrick. Yet, if they can’t get him or another guy they are satisfied with and end up trading back or going in a different direction, they will then proactively go re-sign Marques Douglas. Honestly considering how thin and old they are on the defensive line right now, it would be probably be smarter to draft a defensive lineman in the first round and re-sign Douglas.

PhotobucketSecondary Depth: You have to think with Rex Ryan’s love of defensive backs, the Jets will add at least another body or two to their secondary through the draft or free agency. As of right now, we are only one injury away from Dwight Lowery starting and Drew Coleman moving into the nickel role, which is no good. It is hard to project what positions the Jets will target on a round by round basis because they aren’t going to reach for a guy who isn’t a good value only because he plays a specific spot but here is what I think you could see:

  • Round 1 – Defensive Lineman
  • Round 2 – Receiver
  • Round 4 – Corner
  • Round 5 – Offensive Lineman
  • Round 6 – Linebacker
  • Round 7 – Defensive Lineman/Corner

Backup Quarterback: Kellen Clemens hasn’t signed his tender yet but I would guess at this point he will end up remaining the Jets #2 quarterback. I think both Erik Ainge and Kevin O’Connell will get a fair shot to unseat him in training camp and then one of them, Clemens, Ainge, or O’Connell will be let go or traded during camp/pre-season. The Jets are likely hoping that an injury occurs that will lead a team to offer a late round pick (6 or 7) for Clemens, who has some starting experience under his belt and could be viewed as a good backup prospect for some teams.

One Last Time If You Haven’t Seen It Yet, TOJ Movie Trailer:

Dez Bryant Highlights

Five Sunday Thoughts On The Jets

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First a few updates:

1. News has been slow on our Jets the past few days, clearly the front office is trying to catch their breath after the Hard Knocks frenzy. News has been slow enough that Mark Sanchez calling Brandon Marshall to wish him a happy birthday is being reported as a story. I am hoping I won’t wake up tomorrow to read about LaDainian Tomlinson not liking his eggs at a local Jersey diner. Going back to Marshall, I’d be shocked at this point to see him end up in a Jets uniform.

2. There is a general impression from some people that Rex Ryan is trying to run Leon Washington out of town. Honestly, I don’t see it that way at all. Leon is going to be back with the Jets in 2010 because no team is giving up a second round pick for him and I believe after a slow start, he will gradually turn into the player he has always been for the Jets. By the end of the year, I expect him to be getting more touches than Tomlinson on a weekly basis.

3. The 2010 draft section has been updated. As soon as I can figure out how to record Skype conversations on my Mac for phone interviews the first TOJ Podcast will be up and running.

Five Sunday Thoughts On The Jets

No Friday thoughts on the Jets this past week, but here are five Sunday thoughts as we get a week closer to the NFL Draft.

1. You have to wonder how long Bill Belichick will hold on to Adalius Thomas to prevent him from coming to the Jets. It is clear neither side is interested in Thomas spending another year with the Patriots but everybody in New England knows the second he is cut, he is signing with Rex Ryan and the Jets. I wouldn’t have a problem with another year of Bryan Thomas at outside linebacker, but it would be a nice improvement to the Jets pass rush if Adalius was rotating in on passing downs.

2. Jay Feely and Marques Douglas…still on the market. How could a team built around defense, running the football, and playing low scoring/close games feel good going into the season with Nick Folk at kicker? Can’t we pay Feely, who did a very good job the past two years and has proved he can handle kicking in the swirling winds of the Meadowlands? Douglas is a quality 3-4 defensive end, who is a perfect fit in Rex Ryan’s defense. Mike DeVito is miscast as a starter and is better served as a rotational player. Mike Tannenbaum, you do a great job but pay the men.

3. I feel good about Kris Jenkins having a big bounce-back year. He sounds motivated to give the Jets a few more high quality years and apparently has looked good in their off-season workouts. It will obviously be a major boost to the Jets front seven, who was still very productive without him last year, to have Jenkins back. If he can be the player he was in 2008, it is hard not to see the Jets defense repeating as one of the league’s top, if not the top unit, in the NFL.

Photobucket 4. How is Darrelle Revis going to follow up his performance last year? It will be interesting to see how much teams keep away from him and how he affects offensive game plans on a week to week basis. Antonio Cromartie is going to have every chance to be the ten interception guy he was in 2007 because there will be no shortage of balls coming his way. I wonder if Revis will be given enough opportunities to match or exceed the six interceptions he had last year. He has went from three in 2007 to five in 2008 to six last year, it would be nice to see seven or eight so he could get that DPOY Award he deserves.

5. When is the last year the Jets had a player with double digit sacks? The answer is 2005…when John Abraham had 10.5. We have to be due for it this year right? Calvin Pace? Shaun Ellis? David Harris? Bryan Thomas? Adalius Thomas? Vernon Gholston? Just kidding about the last one.

Jets Defense: You Shall Not Pass

Three Ways For The Jets To Live Up To The Hype

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First a few updates:

1. The big news of the day is that the Jets will be featured on HBO’s Hard Knocks this summer, an official announcement is expected from the team tomorrow. I am glad to know HBO was persuaded by my article last week on why the Jets had to be on this show. Yet even taking away all my natural Jets bias, they are a great selection. Everybody who I have talked to today, including plenty of Giants fans agree the Jets will provide an entertaining show. Rex Ryan is well on his way to winning an Emmy and having his own spin-off.

2. The NFL announced the full draft order for each round today and the Jets have six total picks but you knew that already from checking the 2010 Draft section of the site, right?

3. Apparently Denver is having so much trouble moving Brandon Marshall, the price is beginning to come down. I am not on board with bringing Marshall in unless Denver is willing to accept Vernon Gholston for him straight up.

Photobucket 4. Thoughts On Lost Season 6, Episode 9 “Ab Aeterno” – Now there is some high quality LOST. I won’t go crazy like some fans and rank it up there with the season 3 finale or “The Constant” but last night was a terrific hour of television. We have  been waiting three years for Richard Alpert’s story and the writers didn’t disappoint. I am big fan of both the actor who plays Jacob and the actor who plays the Man In Black, who was pretty awesome in his original form in this episode. The explanation of the island as a “cork” which contains evil aka the Man In Black needs to be fleshed out a little more for me. Yet, it is pretty clear this season is setting up for Jacob’s side to stop MIB from getting off the island at all costs because it sounds like it will basically be the end of the world if he does. I still am waiting to see how the flash sideways are going to play into everything. It looks like next week we are getting a Jin/Sun episode, hopefully it will be good considering Sun has been reduced to repeating “where is my husband” on a loop the past season and a half.

Three Ways For The Jets To Live Up To The Hype

Hosting a week one Monday Night game…hosting a Thanksgiving night game…being featured on HBO’s Hard Knocks, the Jets have come a long way from a dull, lifeless 4-12 team in 2007. The expectations are high in 2010. Rex Ryan wants it that way and is going to keep the back pages of the New York newspapers filled with quotes. Never in my life have I seen the Jets receive so much national media attention and such a larger share of the New York media attention than the Giants. There is no denying the Jets are the #1 football story in New York, but will they be the number show in New York as Ryan promised?

Here are three ways the Jets can live up to the hype in 2010:

Photobucket 1. Remember What Got You Here – I am talking about the ground and pound. It may be tempting to air it out with a young, improving Mark Sanchez behind center throwing to a talented group of receivers in Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, Dustin Keller, and a likely high draft pick but the Jets have to stick to their identity and formula that brought them success last year. The  offense should be run through Shonn Greene and the league’s best offensive line, with support from LaDainain Tomlinson and Leon Washington. Sanchez is a very good play action quarterback, who will benefit from having a strong rushing attack. Yes, there will be times the Jets need Sanchez to air it out a little bit but overall this should remain a decidedly run first offense.

2. Buy Into The System – The Jets defense must continue to grow and improve in year two of Rex Ryan’s system. Antonio Cromartie needs to reach his potential and take advantage of the chance to play a significant amount more of man coverage. Brodney Pool, Eric Smith, or James Ihedigbo needs to do what Kerry Rhodes never did, believe in the coaching staff and play physical. Dwight Lowery needs to rebound from a brutal AFC Championship Game to be a quality third corner and backup. Kris Jenkins needs to show he still has something in the tank and Sione Pouha must handle being moved back into a rotational role off the bench. Mike Tannenbaum needs to bring Marques Douglas back because he is a valuable part of the Jets front seven and add a guy through the draft to learn behind Douglas and Shaun Ellis.

3. Take Care Of the Division – The Jets were a brutal 2-4 in the division last year. They split with a crappy Buffalo team and were inexplicably swept by a Dolphins team that they were better than. The Jets have to take care of business in their division this year and focus on taking home the AFC East crown so they don’t have to go on the road three straight weeks. Buffalo is a mess right now. The Jets need to sweep them and find a way to get three out of four from the Patriots and Dolphins. You know every person in the organization wants a shot at Miami in week one on Monday Night at home to get some revenge for those two losses last year.

The story lines around this team are undeniably compelling: an entertaining, outspoken, confident head coach, a young potential franchise quarterback on the rise, an aging hall of fame running back looking to prove he still has something left in the tank, the best cornerback in football, a cornerback who was considered by some to be the NFL’s best in 2007 but now has to re-establish himself, a running back coming off  a gruesome knee injury, a loud mouth middle linebacker, one of the league’s top defensive lineman returning from injury, a third year player looking to prove he isn’t one of the biggest busts of all time (he is), and the best offensive line in football looking to build on last year’s success, yet nobody cares about interesting stories if you can’t find a way to win games.

Get Hyped For The Jets In 2010