Should Jets Look For Offensive Line Help?

After a troubling performance by second year lineman Vladimir Ducasse and an ankle injury to the top reserve on the offensive line, Robert Turner, is it time for the Jets to look for veteran help?

By no means, am I suggesting it is time to throw in the towel on Ducasse. However, it is very clear he isn’t ready to play a prominent role on this team as of right now. He is not somebody you want one snap away from having to play major reps. He is probably going to need another year to develop and pick up the right tackle position, to go with what he learned at guard last year before he can become some type of contributor.

Considering that Nick Mangold and Brandon Moore have both already been banged up this year and Wayne Hunter hasn’t played a full season as a starter yet, it might be wise for the Jets to scan the free agent market. Many people are suggesting a call to Damien Woody, but I doubt he’d be willing to come back as a backup, even though he could provide terrific depth all line positions. A few other “name” veterans out there include Jonathan Stinchcomb, Shaun O’Hara, and Leonard Davis.

The severity of Turner’s ankle injury will likely determine if or how quickly the Jets look to add another body. It certainly didn’t appear last night that they had any other reserves ready to step in after Turner went down, so it could be smart to make a move sooner rather than later.

Thoughts On Jets vs. Texans: Depth Concerns Remain

A look back at the Jets opening pre-season game, a 20-16 loss to the Houston Texans —

Mark Sanchez was an efficient 6/7 for 43 yards. His only incompletion was on a drop from Matthew Mulligan (teaching Sanchez a valuable lesson, to avoid throwing to a backup blocking tight end). The Jets didn’t take many risks with him, which was probably a smart thing since their offensive line was getting beat like a drum, including Sanchez being sacked twice before he even had a chance to finish his drop. Sanchez got both Santonio Holmes and Derrick Mason involved with a few catches each, although he didn’t target Dustin Keller at all.

Shonn Greene looked very good, and crisp with 5 caries for 32 yards despite the “starting” offensive line struggling in pass protection. The main story coming out of this game on the offensive side of the football will be the concern about depth on the line. Rob Turner left with what appeared to be a relatively serious ankle injury and Vladimir Ducasse was beat twice for sacks, including one that resulted in a fumble and one that resulted in an injury (Turner). Those are the Jets top two backups and they currently have nothing but practice squad fodder behind them.

On defense, the starting unit held Houston to only 24 yards. Bart Scott left after the first play with a rolled ankle but appeared to be fine. Josh Mauga filled in admirably with a tackle for a loss and then a sack the following play. He also had an interception later in the game, taking a major step to solidify himself as a top backup linebacker on the roster. Kyle Wilson had a nice play on a third down to force Houston off the field but beyond that it was just another efficient night in the office for the Jets defense. Eric Smith did get beat by Owen Daniels in what could have been a big play if Matt Schaub was more accurate, which was somewhat concerning. I wouldn’t be surprised if we start seeing more and more Brodney Pool on passing downs.

The second unit had their struggles initially, going against Matt Leinart of all people. They were continually fooled on the play-action bootleg and didn’t generate much pressure. I would have liked to see more out of Jamaal Westerman and some of the other reserve outside linebackers. Later in the game, Kenrick Ellis was very active and batted a pass up in the air which was intercepted. Marcus Dixon and Ropati Pitoitua also got a good push up front throughout the night, showing that the Jets defensive line depth could be better than expected. The backup corners and safeties were inconsistent and didn’t make as many plays on the ball as you’d like to see.

Similarly on offense, the backups started slowly but picked it up as the game went on. Greg McElroy showed a lot tonight by bouncing back from an ugly first few first series to put together an impressive overall night (22/39, 186 yards, 1 TD) even though he couldn’t finish the final drive to give the Jets a win. He stood in the pocket all night and was beat up behind a makeshift offensive line but kept putting the ball up down the field, even though his arm strength isn’t the greatest he could develop into this team’s long term backup.

Jeff Cumberland had a terrific night with 6 receptions for 77 yards. He is a big target, with soft hands and very good speed for a tight end. Brian Schottenheimer needs to find a way to involve him in some packages with the first unit. Patrick Turner used his size to catch a touchdown in the red-zone and provides potential Plaxico insurance. Jeremy Kerley didn’t have the monster night everyone expected but was still good after the catch and on returns.

Both Joe McKnight and Bilal Powell were productive. Powell was particularly impressive on a 19 yard reception out of the backfield. He showed good burst and a natural ability to run north and south.

Overall, it was about what you would expect out of a first pre-season game. The Jets have their home opener this Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.

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 Training Camp Wrap Up: August 11th, Jones on the Market?

Jets Training Camp Wrap Up: August 11th, Jones on the Market?

New Starting Running Back?: According to the National Football Post, the Jets have been placing some calls around the league to gauge trade interest in starting running back Thomas Jones. The article specifically cites a NFC West team that the Jets have been in discussions with. You have to think that team would be Seattle, since the 49ers have Frank Gore, the Cardinals have Tim Hightower/Beanine Wells and the Rams have Stephen Jackson. Personally, I think it’s a crazy idea to trade Jones. If the Jets are going to run the ball as much as they say they are, why would you trade a pro-bowl workhorse like TJ? I understand the factors with his age and contract but just let him go after the season, that way Shonn Greene/Danny Woodhead/Jehuu Caulcrick all have a year to develop and gain some NFL experience, especially Greene. There is nothing wrong with having a potent three headed monster at running back, especially when you are thin at receiver/tight end and starting an inexperienced quarterback.

Camp Story of the Day: Both quarterbacks stepped up their games today. Sanchez was accurate and in-control while working with the first-team offense. Clemens had one of his best practices working with the second team and made an acrobatic play to Britt Davis for a two-point conversion. He also hit Brad Smith for a 50 yard bomb down the sideline…encouraging signs for both Smith and Clemens.

Pre-Season Update: Kris Jenkins, Darrelle Revis, Nick Mangold, and Damien Woody won’t play on Friday…likely giving starts to Sione Pouha (NT), Dwight Lowery (CB), Rob Turner (C), and Wayne Hunter (T). Kellen Clemens will start at quarterback but Mark Sanchez will receive some work with the first team offense, although he won’t play into the second half. Rex Ryan said Erik Ainge will probably see the majority of snaps, likely playing most of the second half…oh boy. It will be important for Clemens to set the tempo early, avoid turnovers, and move the football. Sanchez will have lowered expectations because it is his first NFL action, but if he can engineer a scoring drive with the first-offense and protect the football, it might be lights out for Clemens in this QB battle.

First Pre-Season Game Ramble: You have to be excited as a Jets fan about this Friday. The best part of the first pre-season game is finally seeing what your team’s offense and defense looks like, in terms of formations and play calling, along with seeing all the new additions out there in Green and White. We will also get to see our new coaching staff on the sideline for the first time, and get some type of a sense about the 2009 team’s style and attitude.

X and Z, Receiver Talk: Rich Cimini pointed out how Jerricho Cotcheryhas been working at split end (X) with the Jets first offense, with Chansi Stuckey in the slot (Z). Cotchery has been the Z the past few years, but playing at X will allow him more 1 on 1 match-ups and create more space for him to get open. Stuckey has had a great camp but playing Z will be a big test for him, it is a tough position that requires alot of movement, different types of routes, and versatility.

Number Crunching: It will be real interesting to see if the Jets decide to keep 6 running backs, 6 receivers, or 10 secondary guys. People like Danny Woodhead, Britt Davis, and Drew Coleman need to show value on special teams in these upcoming pre-season games.

Jets Highlights of the Day: Speaking of Thomas Jones and the Rams, here is Thomas Jones highlights against the Rams from last year, not the best quality but still a decent watch.