New York Jets: Last Second Free Agency Considerations

TOJ with some last second considerations for the New York Jets on the first day of free agency

The NFL free agency floodgates open at 4 PM today. Here are a few last minute thoughts related to the New York Jets before anything can become official later this afternoon –

1. Jamaal Westerman, Matthew Mulligan, and Marquice Cole weren’t tendered, leaving them unrestricted free agents. Mulligan is a goner, which is a good thing unless you are in favor of penalty yardage. Rex Ryan is a big Cole fan and he is a very good special teams player, so I would expect the Jets to make a strong push to resign him. Westerman could probably go either way, I am sure Greg Schiano will want to bring his former college player in for a visit to Tampa Bay. How hard the Jets work to bring him back, will likely depend on their luck bringing in other linebackers in free agency.

2. Bryan Thomas gave an interview yesterday to Jenny Vrentas of The Star Ledger about his desire to return to the team. It makes sense for the Jets to monitor his progress rehabbing from his injury last year and then consider bringing back on a veteran’s minimum deal. Thomas is a good fit in Rex Ryan’s defense and is stout against the run. If Thomas comes back healthy, they could sign Jarret Johnson and spend a first round pick on a player like Courtney Upshaw, Melvin Ingram or Andre Branch, it gives them leverage to move Calvin Pace in a trade.

3. If the Jets are looking improve wide receiver through free agency, they’d be wise to make a strong push to sign former San Francisco 49ers receiver Josh Morgan, who likely won’t be brought back now that the team has signed Randy Moss. Morgan will likely come much cheaper than Laurent Robinson or Robert Meachem, but could have way more upside.

4. I still remain hopeful the Jets will seek out Vikings linebacker Erin Henderson, particularly if they can’t sign Jameel McClain. It is hard to feel comfortable cutting Bart Scott until you sign a viable replacement. It certainly didin’t look like Josh Mauga was ready to be a full time starter last year.

5. It will be interesting to see who the Jets get after first later today. I can’t see any fathomable reason for them not to redirect any previous plans and shift their primary focus to Eric Winston but you easily them focusing on players with a history with their coaching staff out of the gate like Chad Henne, Ronnie Brown, Vernon Carey, Jarret Johnson, and Jameel McClain.

New York Jets: What About Those Special Teams?

You can never forget about 1/3rd of the game. Let’s take a quick look at what the New York Jets special teams situation should look like this year:

Kicker – Nick Folk and Nick Novak are battling for the starting job. This is the type of contest that could go deep into the pre-season as Folk is far from having the job locked down. I am not sure either answer is a terrific one but at least we have seen Folk make it through a whole season in the Meadowlands being passably good. They still haven’t found a long term answer at this position.

Punter – TJ Conley is back in training camp for the third time and will now compete with Ben Graham 2.0, aka Chris Bryan. The lefty from Australia is already getting good reviews out of camp and seems to be the early frontrunner. Whomever the punter is, hopefully they know not to run the ball on 4th and know the shake-weight guy.

Return – On both punt and kick return, we should see some combination of Jeremy Kerley, Joe McKnight, Kyle Wilson, and Antonio Cromartie (just on kick returns). This probably won’t be sorted out until the end of the pre-season and could change throughout the year.

Coverage – No Brad Smith. No James Ihedigbo. No Lance Laury. No Drew Coleman. Look for players like Josh Mauga, Jamaal Westerman, Marquice Cole, and Emmanuel Cook to lead the way.

What Role Players Will Step Up For Jets In 2011?

I have decided that if I write enough of articles about the 2011 season, it actually has to happen, right?

Let’s take a look at a few role players for the Jets, who should have the opportunity to take on a bigger role in 2011 than they had in 2010.

Marquice Cole – A reserve corner who has carved out a small role in some of the Jets nickel and dime packages. He has played well in his limited duty on both defense and special teams. Antonio Cromartie and Drew Coleman are both free agents and Dwight Lowery could be seeing more time at safety, which should lead to more reps for Cole.

Jamaal Westerman – An undrafted free agent before the 2009 season who impressed his rookie year in a limited role on defense but had a disappointing second year. Westerman dealt with a few injuries and frequently ended up on the inactive list. He has shown an ability to rush the quarterback in pre-season and did have a sack in 2009 against Houston. The Jets are thin at both inside and outside linebacker. Westerman is versatile enough to play both, and could see a bigger role in a few defensive packages this year.

Ropati Pitoitua – At 6 foot 8, 315 pounds you can understand why the coaching staff is excited about Pitoitua’s potential. Unfortunately, he missed the entire 2010 season with a pre-season Achilles injury after occasionally working his way into the defensive line rotation in 2009. Pitoitua should be a prominent part of their rotation this season if he recovers well from his injury.

Marcus Dixon – Another defensive lineman who the coaching staff appears to be high on. Dixon worked his way into the rotation late last season and recorded a sack against the Chicago Bears. Mike Tannenbaum has mentioned him potentially moving down to defensive tackle. Whether it is at end or tackle, Dixon will have a good chance to get some reps on the defensive line rotation this year.

Jeff Cumberland – The Jets held on to Cumberland as a backup tight end all of last season without making him active until their meaningless week 17 game. They are obviously intrigued by what he can bring to the offense. He looked good as a pass catching threat in the pre-season and has good size. Cumberland might be able to contribute near the red-zone and in certain formations, especially if the Jets lose a couple of receivers in free agency.

Patrick Turner – A receiver with some height, who has a history with Mark Sanchez at USC. Turner was on the active roster for a few games last season and recorded a couple of receptions. He will now be competing with rookies Jeremy Kerley and Scotty McKnight for reps behind whomever the Jets starting receivers end up being.

Joe McKnight – There has been no shortage of words written on McKnight this off-season but hopefully he is ready to reach his potential in year two and become a contributor on the Jets offense.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

12. Video Therapy (Wide Receiver Edition) —

Enjoy your weekend…

Jets Training Camp: Five Things We Learned In Cortland

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A few highlights from this morning –

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

Five Things We Learned In Cortland

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

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

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

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

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

5. Good Camp/Bad Camp –

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

Back To Camp: Jets Thursday Recap & Venting On Secondary

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First a few updates:

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

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

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

4. Of course, Hard Knocks 10 PM tonight.

Thursday Practice Recap

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

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

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

Sanchez Stats – 6/11, No INTs, No TDs

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

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

Rex Ryan Press Conference Highlights –

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

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

Venting On Secondary

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

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

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

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

Jets Week 2 Training Camp Wrap-Up

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First a few updates:

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

Jets Week 2 Training Camp Wrap-Up

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

New York Jets

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

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

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

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

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

Buffalo Bills

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

Miami Dolphins

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

New England Patriots

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

Jets 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

Jets Defense: Looking At The Bench

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First a few updates:

1. The sun is shining a little brighter today because America’s favorite touch football team had a nice second round upset victory in their march to a title yesterday. Next stop is the AFC Championship Game and we won’t be repeating the Jets performance in that particular game this year.

2. I am not a big soccer guy, but when I sat down to eat breakfast this morning and saw Portugal put a 7-0 whooping on North Korea, it caught my attention. If there is one place you don’t want to be heading back to after losing by 7 goals in soccer, it is North Korea.

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

Jets Defense: Looking At The Bench

We basically know who the Jets starting eleven will on be on defense this season:

  • DE – Mike DeVito
  • DT – Kris Jenkins
  • DE – Shaun Ellis
  • OLB – Calvin Pace
  • ILB – David Harris
  • ILB – Bart Scott
  • OLB – Bryan Thomas
  • CB – Darrelle Revis
  • CB – Antonio Cromartie
  • S – Brodney Pool
  • S – Jim Leonhard

However, there is going to be major roles for players not listed above. After watching all that basketball over the past two months, you can’t count out the value of a solid bench. Rex Ryan loves to throw different personnel groups out there and bring in a variety of players. Here is a look at who the key players off the Jets bench should be on defense this season:

Secondary

Nickel Back – Kyle Wilson: Wilson was handed the starting nickel job on the day he was drafted. He will see plenty of action in the slot and I am guessing will quickly become one of Ryan’s favorite guys to blitz off the edge. The amount of reps Wilson plays will obviously be bumped up when the Jets play teams who like to spread it out (New England, Green Bay, Houston) but I am sure he will still be worked heavily into the game plan, even against offenses who are more run orientated.

Fourth Corner – Dwight Lowery: As a fourth guy, Lowery is a very good option. He has starting experience over the past two years. While he lacks the physical skills to be an every down starter, he has good ball anticipation skills and a knack for creating turnovers. Lowery is the type of guy who will likely see a bunch of reps in certain game plans and then be used less frequently against run heavy offenses. However, he does still have very good value as a depth player and special teams option.

Fifth Corner – Drew Coleman/Marquice Cole: I expect both of these guy to make the roster again, but only of them will probably be active on a weekly basis. Coleman has a ton of speed but has a knack for getting burnt whenever the ball is thrown at him. Cole looked pretty good last pre-season and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him leap over Coleman on the depth chart this season.

PhotobucketSafety – Eric Smith: A versatile player who became a key contributor off the bench last season. He has the ability to play both safety positions, be used in coverage on tight ends or running backs out of the backfield, and be used frequently as a blitzer off the edge. There will be some weeks where he plays near a starter’s amount of reps and some weeks where he won’t be as big as a factor. However, he is a core special teams player and a very good depth guy to have in the secondary.

Safety – James Ihedigbo: As the season went on last year, Ihedigbo gradually received a bigger role on the defense. He is a good blitzer off the edge and had a couple of sacks last season and a forced fumble. In the AFC Championship Game, he played a ton of reps for Bart Scott in the dime package. Similar to all the bench players, his number of reps will be game plan specific but I think overall you will seeing a decent amount of Ihedigbo.

Linebacker

Outside Linebacker – Jason Taylor: Taylor was brought in to provide energy to the Jets pass rush. Rex Ryan will be lining him up all over the place to get him the cleanest rush possible to the quarterback. Expect to see a ton of Taylor on third downs and when teams are in two minute mode against the Jets. He should also get some reps at defensive end in certain packages.

Outside/Inside Linebacker – Jamaal Westerman: Westerman had a nice sack in week one last year but was relatively quiet on defense after that. The coaches love his long term potential and versatility. He should find his way on to the field in a few different packages this season at both the inside and outside spot.

Inside Linebacker – Kenwin Cummings: The coaching staff has been raving about him this off-season but unless there is an injury, he shouldn’t see any type of substantial time on the defense. I could see him coming in a goal-line look when the Jets load up on defensive lineman and  linebackers or maybe if Bart Scott or David Harris need a quick break.

Defensive Line

PhotobucketDefensive Tackle/End – Sione Pouha: The Jets top defensive lineman off the bench, who will be a key player in the effort to keep Kris Jenkins fresh and healthy. Ryan could also experiment with some looks that have both Jenkins and Pouha on the field at the same time.

Defensive End – Vernon Gholston – It would be nice to get ten productive reps out of Gholston a game, to spell Shaun Ellis and Mike DeVito and to provide a boost to the pass rush.

Defensive End – Ropati Pitoitua – Similar to Gholston, it would be nice to see him contribute ten or so reps off the bench to improve the Jets defensive line depth.

Defensive Tackle/End – Matt Kroul – The coaches have hyped him up this off-season, let’s see if can turn into  Mike DeVito part two.

Overall, I would say Wilson and Pouha will get the most total reps off the bench with Taylor and Smith not too far behind. Yet, for the Jets defense to remain at the top of the league they will need all the guys listed above to settle into their roles as productive players. The Jets depth is key to throwing different schemes and personnel groups at offenses, along with keeping their starters fresh.

TOJ TV

Tuesday Minicamp Review: Defense Still Ahead of Offense

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First a few updates:

1. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets). Also if you make it out to practice tomorrow keep an eye out for TOJ TV, we will be interviewing fans and getting footage of practice. What Jets fan doesn’t want to make a guest appearance on TOJ TV?

Photobucket2. A quick comment on Darrelle Revis since I caught some flak for being critical of him yesterday…I have always been in favor of paying Revis (look no further than an article I wrote last week called “Pay The Man” with a huge picture of Revis on top). However, I didn’t like the mini protest by walking off the practice field. If you are going to show up to practice, you go 100 percent. I also didn’t like the feed my family comments for obvious reasons. I just think the more Revis has talked the worse he has come off, especially while the Jets are making him the number one priority in negotiations with fellow All-Pro players Nick Mangold and David Harris having one year left on their deal.

Tuesday Minicamp Review: Defense Still Ahead of Offense

The impression you got from reading the notes on today’s practice was that there were ton of defensive players making big plays. Yes, Santonio Holmes made a ridiculous touchdown catch down the sideline to end a two minute drill and LaDainian Tomlinson also had a nice sideline grab (you can see the footage from practice on the TOJ Facebook Page). However, Mark Sanchez didn’t have a good overall day. His final stats in the morning practice were 7/17 with a TD and INT. There is no need to panic since it is June, Sanchez is still young, and he is going against the best defense in the NFL…

Speaking of that defense, they were all over the place today. Kyle Wilson pulled in his first interception in team drills. Turn On The Jets favorite for best new addition to the team, Brodney Pool, recorded two interceptions and had a bunch of passes defensed. Dwight Lowery had a pick six. Darrelle Revis broke up a deep ball for Braylon Edwards and later had a pick six. Marquice Cole had an interception. Kris Jenkins and Bart Scott were yapping with excessive amounts of trash talk, even for them.

PhotobucketI know everybody is excited about the Jets offense with the addition of Holmes and Tomlinson, along with Sanchez being a year older but let’s not forget about how good the Jets defense could be this year. They were already number one in the NFL last year and it was the first year in Rex Ryan’s system. Now, the overwhelming majority of starters and key reserves are experienced in his defense. Beyond that, Antonio Cromartie is going to be an upgrade over Lito Sheppard at the #2 corner. Kyle Wilson is going to be an upgrade over Dwight Lowery as the #3 corner. Dwight Lowery is going to be an upgrade over Drew Coleman as the #4 corner. Brodney Pool is going to be an upgrade over Kerry Rhodes. Jason Taylor is going to upgrade the depth at linebacker, along with the continued improvements of players like Kenwin Cummings and Jamaal Westerman.

Oh and Kris Jenkins is also coming back to the defensive line…The pieces are in place for them to have an historically great defense. I don’t say that lightly either. There is a legit All-Pro caliber player at all three levels (Jenkins, Harris, Revis). A player two seasons removed from being an All-Pro (Cromartie). A player three seasons removed from being Defensive Player of the Year (Taylor). Two linebackers with borderline pro-bowl talent (Scott and Pace). A group of quality veterans who are consistent (Leonhard, Ellis, B. Thomas). Finally, they have a first round talent at corner. starting out as their nickel back.

Rex Ryan must be salivating at the thought of the schemes he can come up with for these guys. Hopefully, he is only salivating at that or he won’t be winning that weight loss contest.

Jets Defensive Highlights From Last Year