New York Jets Special Teams Questions

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First a few updates:

1. The NBA Playoffs is finally coming around a little bit. How can you not enjoy watching the Phoenix Suns play? They are like a #15 seed in the NCAA Tournament going for a upset with the amount of energy they play with. I just hope the Magic can overcome the corpse of Vince Carter dragging himself around the court to get another win tonight.

2. Some highlights from Rex Ryan’s video chat with fans today:

  • He was adamant that Nick Mangold isn’t going anywhere and that the organization will do what it takes to keep him a Jet for a long time.
  • He talked up Brandon Moore as one of the best guards in the NFL.
  • When discussing the running backs, he deflected a question about there being a battle for the starting running back job but said there would be weeks when Shonn Greene will have more carries and weeks when LaDainian Tomlinson will have more carries and that Tomlinson would also be the third-down back while Joe McKnight gets up to speed. He also raved about John Conner and discussed how he pushed for Mike Tannenbaum to draft him.
  • Ryan shot down the chemistry concerns and joked that nobody on the team but Eric Smith could pass a chemistry class.
  • He again penciled in Kyle Wilson as the starting nickel but said Dwight Lowery would still be used frequently at both corner and safety.
  • If the season started today Eric Smith would start at safety because of his knowledge of the defense but he expects Brodney Pool to be the opening day starter.
  • He talked up Brad Smith and the Jets use of the “Tiger” formation this year.
  • The player who has made the biggest improvements since he arrived is Mark Sanchez.
  • The biggest surprise and guy who has jumped out the most at OTAs has been Kenwin Cummings at inside linebacker and as of today he is the team’s #3 inside linebacker.

3. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets), I need all the ammunition I can when I talk with the Jets media relations guy in the coming weeks about getting a press pass for training camp and the pre-season games.

New York Jets Special Teams Questions

Hey, it is one-third of the game. No Jets fans can sleep on the importance of special teams after watching the negatives of Ted Ginn Jr. take two kicks back for a touchdown in a single game last season and Jay Feely miss three kicks versus Atlanta along with the positives of Brad Smith taking a kick back to the house in Indy and the Jets executing four successful fake punts in 2009. The Jets were up and down last season despite having one of the best special teams coaches in the business with Mike Westhoff and they still have plenty of questions heading into this year.

Kicker – The Jets got a problem here. Jay Feely was a reliable kicker the past two seasons and the Jets decided not to bring him back and replace him with Dallas castoff Nick Folk, who was an ugly 18/28 last season before being cut. Apparently Folk had an ugly start to his Jets career last week by missing just about every kick he took during OTAs. I know I don’t feel confident in Folk lining up for a big kick this season and if he continues to struggle this off-season look for Matt Stover to be added to the roster sooner rather than later. Stover might not have the greatest leg strength at this stage of his career but he is reliable in the 40-45 yard range and you can’t say the same for Folk right now.

Punter – Steve Weatherford managed to keep his job throughout the entire 2009 season and did an okay job. It looks like he will be the Jets guy going forward and hey the guy averaged 21 yards per carry last season. Hopefully a full off-season of working with Westhoff will improve Weatherford’s consistency in 2010.

PhotobucketKick Return – It will be very interesting to see what the Jets do here. Brad Smith did a pretty gob job in this role last season. Antonio Cromartie got some reps in OTAs and was impressive. Rookies Kyle Wilson and Joe McKnight will likely get some opportunities in training camp and the pre-season. David Clowney could get a shot. Aundrae Allison was impressive last pre-season and is probably the fastest guy on the team. Dwight Lowery took some reps last year before Smith locked the job down. If I had to guess today, Smith and McKnight will be the primary guys with Cromartie getting occasional reps. However, keep an eye on Allison during training camp as a dark horse.

Punt Return – This will be Kyle Wilson’s job to lose, although I could see Jim Leonhard or Jerricho Cotchery getting some reps in a big spot or when a team is kicking from around mid-field, when it would be better to have an experienced veteran back there.

Coverage – The Jets lost valuable special teams players like Wallace Wright, Larry Izzo, and Ryan Fowler this off-season but did sign Lance Laury who was a stand out special teams player in Seattle. They will also look to guys like Kenwin Cummings, Jamaal Westerman, and Marquice Cole to fill the void. Eric Smith, Brad Smith, and John Conner should all also be core special teams players.

Maybe the play that saved the Jets season in 2009

Expectations For Jets New Additions

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First a few updates:

1. The Jets had OTAs today but it has been a quiet day of news, most of the focus is on the vote tomorrow for the New York Super Bowl in 2014. From all indications, it looks like it is something that is going to happen.

2. I honestly wish the Jets would stop wasting time and sign Matt Stover right now. Let him and Folk compete throughout the summer and then if Folk keeps shanking every ball he puts his foot on, then you could at least feel somewhat comfortable with a reliable kicker like Stover on the roster.

Expectations For New Jets Additions

I have already went over what should be fair expectations for the Jets rookie class in 2010 but how about their new acquisitions via trade and free agency, here is a look:

PhotobucketSantonio Holmes – It is hard to project Holmes production since he won’t be joining the Jets offense until week 5. Yet, the most important thing the team needs him to be is a consistent big play threat. In the Jets offense, he isn’t going to average 5 catches for 100 yards each week but he needs to continue doing what he did in a Steelers uniform. Holmes has to turn those quick smoke screens into 15-20 yard gains and get down the field to pull in a few deep balls. The most important thing for Holmes will be to learn all the receiver positions in the Jets offense, so he has the ability to move all over the formation and get himself into one on one coverage situations. It is hard for me to pinpoint stats for him in 12 games, especially when it could take a couple of games for him to integrate into the offense, but how about 40-45 catches for 650 yards with 4-6 touchdowns?

LaDainian Tomlinson – When Leon Washington was traded to Seattle, the expectations for what Tomlinson would bring to the Jets offense rose substantially higher. The Jets need him to spell Shonn Greene for a series or two each half, be the full time third down back until Joe McKnight is ready to consistently contribute and be the team’s goal-line and short yardage back. Tomlinson’s yards per carry has to be way up from the 3.3 it was last year and get it closer to 4.o. If the Jets could get 700-900 total yards and 5-8 touchdowns, I think they’d be very happy.

Antonio Cromartie – The Jets need the consistency opposite Darrelle Revis at corner in 2010 that Lito Sheppard and Dwight Lowery couldn’t give them. Cromartie is now playing in a defense that plays to his strengths, with a strong emphasis on man to man coverage. He will have plenty of balls coming his way as teams attempt to avoid Revis Island and he needs to not only provide steady coverage but also bring the big play element that made him an All-Pro a few years ago.

Jason Taylor – The Jets brought Taylor in to improve their pass rush and considering the way Rex Ryan is likely to use him in his style of defense, the team is expecting 9-12 sacks out of him. If Calvin Pace could get 8 sacks in 12 games last season, than Taylor who is a better pure pass rusher should be able to hit double digits in a full season of work.

Brodney Pool – The Jets need Pool to be everything Kerry Rhodes wasn’t for them last season. They want a player who will be aggressive in the running game and wrap-up when he makes tackles. Nobody wants to see anymore of the Rhodes “turn my back to the runner and jump into him” tackle attempts or their starting safety being steamrolled by a scrub like Laurence Maroney. Pool was having a very good season in 2009 before he was hurt so hopefully he can pick up where he left off in 2010.

Oh wait…you thought I wouldn’t have thoughts on the LOST finale?

From everything I have read, it seems the finale was relatively polarizing. Personally, I liked it. I thought the first 2 hours and 20 minutes were terrific and was LOST at its absolute best. I was surprised the Jack/Locke conflict was so early in the episode, along with Desmond heading down into the “source” so early. However, they all filled their purpose. Desmond was able to live through pulling the cork out, which gave Jack the chance to kill Locke (well Kate technically did it) and then Jack sacrificed himself to place the cork back in and save the island, leaving Hurley behind in the “Jacob” role. I am just waiting for the spin off of the years when Hurley and Ben ruled the island, when ABC realizes all their other Lost spin offs like Flashforward and V are failures.

PhotobucketThe last scene? The sideways world basically being a purgatory? Yes, I can understand complaints about it but in the end, I liked the explanation of it and how all the characters crossed over and had their “realization” moment. I think the ending was relatively straightforward…almost too straightforward. The final shot of Jack’s eye closing was well done, along with the shot of Locke/Jack looking down the cave mirroring the shot of them looking down the hatch in season 1. Also what does everybody think that wreckage at the end during the credits was? Did the Ajira plane crash? Was it another plane that crashed after Jack died?

In the end, I am sorry for the people who watched it and couldn’t be satisfied unless one of the creators sat there for 3 hours and read answers to every minuet question. It was a great show and the real question is what I am going to watch now? I think I am heading to Blockbuster to rent season 1 of “The Wire.”

No Neil Rackers & My 2010 Ideal Jets Schedule

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First a few updates:

Photobucket1.  As I am sure most have heard by now, Neil Rackers has signed with the Texans who threw 4 million dollars at him to compete with Kris Brown. You can’t blame Houston who watched Brown lose about 8 games for them last year on last second kicks. However, this leaves the Jets in a difficult situation at kicker (by the way I completely jinxed them in my article today by saying Tannenbaum always gets his man). Look for the Jets to now target Shayne Graham or Matt Stover. Rex Ryan is familiar with Stover, which could give him a leg up…witty pun intended. There is no way they can go into camp with just Nick Folk on the roster.

2. In a matter of a few hours today, Rich Cimini wondered if the Jets would pursue Marc Bulger but then reported the Jets have no interest in him as a back-up to Mark Sanchez. He also reported the Jets have a high amount of interest in Clemson DE/OLB Ricky Sapp, who could be somebody the Jets trade down a few spots for and still get.

3. Man, I hate Duke.

No Neil Rackers & My 2010 Ideal Jets Schedule

Considering I didn’t want to leave up an article based around Neil Rackers being on the Jets as the top story on the site, I figured I should add a second post today. The NFL schedule isn’t being announced until April 13th but before they get to it, here is how I’d like to see the Jets 16 games break down:

Week 1: Home Vs. Miami, Monday Night Football – Like most Jets fans, I want to get the taste of those two ridiculous losses to the Dolphins out of my mouth as soon as possible. When better than opening night at the stadium for the green and white?

Week 2: At Buffalo – Let’s start out the year 2-0 with a couple of division wins.

Week 3: At Chicago – Before it gets too cold and windy for Sanchez.

Week 4: Home Vs. Cincinnati – Playoff re-match action to close up the first fourth of the season.

Week 5: At Pittsburgh – Tough early season test on the road.

Week 6: Vs. Green Bay – Interesting match-up, hopefully it goes the same way it did last time the Packers traveled to play the Jets.

Week 7: At New England, Sunday Night Football – Big prime-time showdown.

Week 8: Vs. Houston – Tough second fourth of the season for the Jets but it sets up well for a nice second half run like last year.

Week 9:  Bye – Split the season in half again.

Week 10: At Cleveland – Let’s ease out of the bye week with Mangini and company.

Week 11: Vs. Baltimore, Thanksgiving Night – Great showdown for national audience between Rex and his old team.

Week 12: At Denver – 10 days to prepare for the trip out to Mile High.

Week 13: Vs. Buffalo – Finish up the season sweep of the Bills.

Week 14: At Detroit – Stafford vs. Sanchez

Week 15: Vs. Minnesota, Sunday Night Flex – Jets beat up on Favre in primetime.

Week 16: Vs New England – For the division? Glad we are home.

Week 17: At Miami – Erik Ainge gets the start.

Why yes, I’d love a job Mr. Goodell

I Agree Rex, Those Refs Were BS

Good Stuff As Usual