A Closer Look At The Jets Defensive Line

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First a few updates:

1. I have to say I am feeling pretty good about the Lakers taking game 7 tonight.  The Celtics are going to have a tough time getting over the Perkins injury and the Lakers obviously have the advantage of playing at home. It will be a tight game but in the end, I think the Lakers will escape with the title.

2. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets)…live NBA Finals commentary starting at 9 PM tonight.

3. The Jets are now on break until July 29th when the rookies report for training camp. The veterans report on August 1st. Hard Knocks starts on August 11th. This means there were will a downturn in the amounts of coverage they receive from the beat writers, unless there is an article on somebody’s contract negotiations or it is Manish Mehta, who is beat writing beast these days. However, TOJ will be in full swing the next six weeks, with the normal amount of articles and coverage. We are in the process of getting a press pass for training camp and pre-season and working on a few more interviews.

A Closer Look At The Jets Defensive Line

The general consensus for the weakest spot on an otherwise loaded Jets roster is the defensive line position. Outside of Kris Jenkins returning from injury and Vernon Gholston moving to defensive end from outside linebacker, the Jets haven’t made any major additions to the group from last year. They also let defensive end Marques Douglas walk, who was a productive starter for them last season. Here is a look at what the Jets will more than likely head into the 2010 season with:

The Starters

Defensive End – Shaun Ellis – Despite getting up there in age, Ellis had a good overall season in 2009. He finished with 53 tackles and 6.5 sacks, which is a solid number for a 3-4 defensive end. He is the longest-tenured player on the team and a valuable leader in the locker room. His primary value on the field comes from his ability to play both the run and the pass at a relatively high level. The Jets do need a long term replacement for him and this might very well be his last season in green and white. However, Ellis should be fine this year in a starting role and post numbers similar to the ones he did in 2009, when he only played in 15 games because of a suspension.

PhotobucketDefensive End – Mike DeVito – A guy who has worked his way up from a UDFA, to a reserve, to a rotational player, and now to a starter. DeVito had his best season in 2009 with 28 tackles and 1 TFL. He has a reputation for being one of the strongest players on the team and Rex Ryan likes his ability to stop the run. The Jets apparently believe DeVito can give them what Douglas gave them last season (64 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 4 TFLs) if he is given a full time starting role. It remains to be seen if that is the case, but at worst DeVito should be a steady player against the run.

Nose Tackle – Kris Jenkins – Jenkins was a dominant pro-bowl player in 2008 but had his 2009 season cut short by a torn ACL in week 6. He has worked his way back to participate in minicamp the past three days, but the Jets will be very cautious with his reps this season to get the most out of him. He ran out of steam towards the end of 2008 and the team needs him fresh for the stretch run and the playoffs. Jenkins obviously has the ability to be one of the best defensive lineman in the league when healthy and properly rested. Hopefully, the Jets will get the Jenkins from the first 12 games of 2008 for an entire season in 2010. If they do, the defensive line won’t be considered a weakness.

The Backups

Nose Tackle – Sione Pouha –Pouha had a terrific season last year filling in for Kris Jenkins after his injury. He finished with 45 tackles and 3 TFLs and was stout against the run. The Jets will rely on him to spell Jenkins frequently this season to help keep him fresh. Don’t be surprised if the Jets also use looks on defense that have Pouha and Jenkins on the field at the same time, with one of them sliding to defensive end. Pouha is the team’s top backup and should see near a starter’s amount of reps off the bench.

Defensive End – Vernon Gholston – The first round bust at outside linebacker has now been moved to defensive end. Gholston has the strength and size to be a productive end in the 3-4 system, but it remains to be seen whether he can successfully make the transition. The Jets would likely be satisfied if he became an adequate rotational player, who does a good job against the run and can provide some energy to the pass rush…not exactly what you want to be hoping for from the #6 overall player in the draft, but it is better than nothing.

Defensive End – Ropati Pitoitua – A guy with ridiculous size (6 foot 8, 310 pounds) who worked his way into the rotation for a couple of games last season. The Jets are hoping he can develop into a reliable player off the bench, similar to how DeVito did last year. It would be a nice boost to the Jets depth if Pitoitua can give them more than 3 tackles this season.

Defensive End/Defensive Tackle – Matt Kroul – Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has raved about Kroul this off-season and basically made it sound like he was a guaranteed roster player. Kroul is a UDFA heading into his second year, who spent his first season on the practice squad. It sounds like he will be given every chance to be a rotational player this season.

Defensive End – Rodrique Wright – The Jets added Wright this off-season who was a seventh round pick of the Miami Dolphins in 2006. Wright spent most of his time there inactive or injured, but did actually see action in the team’s playoff game against the Ravens a few years ago. He will be battling for a roster spot with Kroul and Pitoitua.

 Collection of Non-Football Jets D-Line Highlights

April Fools Joke

Don’t Ever Throw Snow At Shaun Ellis

Don’t Ever Taunt Kris Jenkins

Jets Need Minor Moves To Supplement Major Ones

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First a few updates:

1. LaDainain Tomlinson and Mike Tannenbaum had a conference call with reporters today. There was nothing too newsworthy to come out of it. Tannenbaum was evasive about the decision to part ways with Thomas Jones and didn’t go into any details about the contract situation of either him or Tomlinson, along with how that factored into the Jets decision making. Tomlinson said the deciding factors in his decision was the familiarity with the Jets offense and a desire to play in New York. The best things to hear from Tomlinson was his comfort level in backing up  Shonn Greene, his sense of humor about Greene mocking his touchdown celebration last year, and his understanding that the Jets were a successful team without him and his goal to help push them over the top to a title.

2. In the category of big news that will likely fly under the radar, the Jets announced today that they re-signed Tony Richardson. Make no mistake, this a very smart move by the Jets. Despite his age, Richardson has been a very productive player for the Jets the past two years and is a crucial part of their running game. You can’t run the ground and pound without a quality fullback and now the Jets have one for at least one more season.

3. In the category of minor news, the Jets also signed defensive end Rodrique Wright. He was a seventh round pick in 2006 of the Miami Dolphins and in 13 games with them recorded 37 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and 1 fumble recovery. However, after being waived he was out of football last season.

Jets Need Minor Moves To Supplement Major Ones

Unless you are a believer in the Brandon Marshall rumors, it would seem that the Jets won’t be making any more major acquisitions the rest of the off-season. They parted ways with three starters (Kerry Rhodes, Thomas Jones, Lito Sheppard) and filled their places with Antonio Cromartie, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Brodney Pool. The Patriots haven’t released Adalius Thomas yet, but considering he missed the beginning of their workouts today because “he didn’t know about them,” I would say that move is eventually coming and hopefully he will end up in New York. The Jets off-season moves so far has left them with plenty of flexibility in the draft to take the best player available at each spot because they don’t have any glaring holes, that being said here a few loose ends the Jets should tie up:

  1. Re-Sign Tony Richardson– Check, the Jets must have read my mind because they took care of this today right after I saved the first draft of this article. As I said before, a very smart move to bring him back and not leave fullback in the hands of Jason Davis, just like it was smart not to leave the third running back spot in the hands of Chauncey Washington.
  2. Re-Sign Marques Douglas – The guy was very productive last year as a 3-4 defensive end, which is hard to come by. The Jets don’t have great depth along the defensive line so why wouldn’t they bring back one of their starters from last year? Douglas is a Rex Ryan guy, who likely prefers the Jets to any of the other teams currently showing interest in him. He won’t command a huge contract but the Jets should do what it takes to bring him back.
  3. Re-Sign Jay Feely – A pipe dream? Nobody has signed him yet, so I am holding out hope. I just can’t accept Nick Folk kicking field goals next season…not now, not never. You can’t underestimate the importance of a good field goal kicker.
  4. Sign Corey Ivy – Add a little depth to the cornerback position. Ivy is a Rex Ryan guy who could play the nickel role if Dwight Lowery reverts to Indianapolis mode or whoever the Jets draft isn’t ready to contribute yet.
  5. Keep Working On Long Term Extensions For Darrelle Revis and Nick Mangold – The sooner the best center and cornerback in the league are wrapped for the long term, the better.

If the Jets took care of all those moves, they would have tremendous flexibility in the draft. They could add depth to their defensive line and wide receiver core in the first two rounds, add another corner and safety to the mix in the middle rounds, and finish up by adding some developmental offensive lineman to learn from Damien Woody and Alan Faneca. I don’t know about you but that sounds like a pretty balanced, deep, and talented roster to me.

Yes, Somebody Actually Made A Jay Feely Slideshow On Youtube…95 Views and Counting