The Importance Of Bringing Shaun Ellis Back

Despite the New York Jets selecting defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson in the first round of the NFL Draft and then adding defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis in the third round, it still remains important to bring veteran Shaun Ellis back for the defensive line rotation.

Despite never being a truly great player, Ellis has been a consistently very good defensive end, against both the run and pass for his entire 12 year career with the Jets. We know he still has gas in the tank after the way he dominated the New England Patriots offensive line in the Jets divisional round win last year.

With the NFL having a shortened off-season (and maybe a shortened regular season for that matter), you can’t expect Wilkerson to be ready to step into a starting role from day one. Players like Ropati Pitoitua and Marcus Dixon also haven’t shown enough yet to be considered strong candidates for a starting defensive end spot. It would be beneficial for Wilkerson’s development to spend a year learning from Ellis and coming off the bench before taking over for him full time.

Ellis has spent his entire career with the Jets and is a leader in the locker room. However, that isn’t the primary reason to work something out with him. Ellis is still a productive player at a position the Jets need help at.

You can’t assume a rookie or a player coming off an Achilles injury can start on one of the league’s best defenses, especially after this off-season. Hopefully, Mike Tannenbaum can work out a short term deal with Ellis to ease Wilkerson’s transition to the NFL and give the Jets better depth on their defensive line.

New York Jets: Who Is On Thin Ice After Draft?

After seeing how the Jets spent their six draft picks over the weekend, which players from the 2010 team could be on thin ice heading into this upcoming year?

  • Shaun Ellis – Personally, I think it is still a smart move to bring Ellis back as a mentor for Muhammad Wilkerson and because the guy should finish his career where he started it. He is the longest tenured Jet and a respected leader on the team. However, the Jets aren’t going to overpay for him now after spending their first round pick on a defensive end. They could also bring Trevor Pryce back as a cheaper mentoring alternative for Wilkerson.
  • Kris Jenkins – Not that he was likely to be back anyway, but the Kenrick Ellis selection seals his fate.
  • Kellen Clemens – Good as gone.
  • Kevin O’Connell – Will probably be given a chance to compete in training camp with Greg McElroy but unless he blows him away (not likely considering his past few summers) he will join Clemens.
  • LaDainian Tomlinson – Everything we have heard since the draft indicates that he will still be back and it would be the smart move to have him return. The Jets need his leadership, receiving ability, and pass protection. Yet, you have to wonder if Bilal Powell looks good in the pre-season, if the Jets would consider letting him go.
  • Joe McKnight – If he replicates his 2010 summer and Powell is productive, the Jets could part ways with their 4th round draft from last year to make room for their 4th round pick this year.
  • Brad Smith – If Smith is commanding too much money, the Jets have drafted a player with a skill set to be his replacement in Jeremy Kerley. Even if Smith’s contract demands aren’t outrageous, they will have a tough time bringing him back with Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards both looking for new deals.
  • Patrick Turner – Will Sanchez’s old buddy from USC get bumped from the roster by his new buddy on the team, Scotty McKnight?

All About Muhammad Wilkerson

Let’s get to know everybody’s new favorite player —

Background – For the second year in a row the Jets went with a Jersey boy, as Wilkerson grew up in Linden where he was one of the top players in the state. Wilkerson went on to spend one year at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia, before moving on to three years at Temple.

College – In 2008 as a freshman, he had 13 tackles with one sack. He followed up with 58 tackles, six sacks, and one forced fumble in his sophomore campaign. In his final year with Temple he finished with 68 tackles, 10 sacks, and a forced fumble earning 1st team All-Mac honors and the team defensive MVP Award before leaving school a year early to declare for the draft.

Vitals – 6 foot 4, 315 pounds, and a 85 1/4 inch wingspan (widest of any defensive tackle in the draft).

Position – For the Jets, he will be a defensive end in their three man fronts but has the ability to slide inside when they move to a four man line, which they frequently do.

NFL Comparison – Both Mike Mayock and Rex Ryan have compared him to Trevor Pryce, who still could return to the Jets next year in a reserve role.

Quotable –

“I want to show teams the type of person I am, my character, being humble,” Wilkerson said, “but that at the end of the day, I can help the team in any way possible. Whatever is asked of me will be done.”

“That’s a tremendous defense they’ve [Jets] got,” Wilkerson said. “I’m glad to be a part of it, and I think I can come in and help the defense be more destructive than it is.”

Quotes courtesy of Jenny Vrentas of New Jersey Star-Ledger.

Where He Fits – In the likely scenario that Shaun Ellis doesn’t return, Wilkerson will become the starting defensive end alongside Sione Pouha and Mike DeVito in the Jets 3-4. It wouldn’t hurt for the Jets to bring back Ellis or maybe Trevor Pryce on a cheap deal to help mentor Wilkerson and allow him to start off more as a rotational player. Regardless, Wilkerson will see plenty of reps in both the Jets 3-4 and 4-3 looks, where he can slide inside to defensive tackle.

Best Case Scenario – Wilkerson becomes a capable starter in his rookie year, providing 5-6 sacks while being stout against the run, and thus showing immense promise for the future.

Worst Case Scenario – He can’t handle a starting role and struggles to stay in the defensive line rotation behind the likes of Marcus Dixon and Ropati Pitoitua.

12 Pack Of Jets Off-Season Thoughts – Edition #9

The 12 pack is back on Friday where it belongs, after a special Thursday edition last week. As always, a friendly reminder to follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter. Today, I will be summarizing where I think the Jets stand at each position and what the appropriate moves would be at those positions this off-season. Check back a little later in the day for a mock draft round-up as well.

1. Quarterback – Mark Sanchez took major strides in the right direction in the second year of his career. Despite his inaccuracy and inconsistency, he has the “it” quality all great quarterbacks need to succeed. He plays better when the spot is bigger and has quickly developed into a leader on the team. The Jets plan to bring Mark Brunell back as his primary backup, which is a foolish and shortsighted decision that could kill their 2011 season (if it ever occurs). They should investigate a better, younger veteran option like Bruce Gradkowski, Tyler Thigpen, or Billy Volek.

 2. Running Back – Despite a somewhat disappointing 2010 season, I remain confident that if given the proper amount of carries on a weekly basis, Shonn Greene can be a capable lead back. LaDainian Tomlinson should move into being the primary third down back and occasionally spell Greene. Joe McKnight also needs a shot on offense this year and should be given a few series as the third down back, split out wide occasionally, and have a package of plays to get him involved. John Conner will be the starting fullback, which means Tony Richardson will likely announce his retirement sometime relatively soon.

3. Wide Receiver – The Jets should prioritize getting Santonio Holmes back before Braylon Edwards, which they seem to have. Getting Edwards back would be a nice luxury but it shouldn’t come at the cost of Antonio Cromartie returning to the team. It has now been revealed that Jerricho Cotchery played through last season with a herniated disc in his back, explaining some of his struggles. He can handle the starting role if needed and I think will bounce back with a big year in 2011. It sounds like the Jets are interested in Brad Smith returning, but if the price gets too high they can afford to let him leave. My guess is that it is about 50/50 on seeing him back next year.

4. Tight End – One of the main reasons I think the Jets can handle Braylon Edwards departing is Dustin Keller. He can assume a bigger role in the passing game and provide the size on the outside that Edwards did last year. Matthew Mulligan is poised to become the primary blocking tight end with Ben Hartsock not returning, and should see plenty of playing time. Jeff Cumberland remains an intriguing prospect, who could factor into the Jets plans, especially if Edwards doesn’t return.

5. Offensive Line – Thank god we have Nick Mangold, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, and Brandon Moore. I believe Matt Slauson will continue to develop into a quality starter at guard. The battle for right tackle will be one of the biggest in camp, between Wayne Hunter and Vladimir Ducasse. Hopefully, Ducasse can pull it out or it means the Jets wasted a second round pick on him last year.

6. Defensive Line – The Jets need to add two or three players to their defensive line rotation, while getting younger and faster. Sione Pouha and Mike DeVito will return as starters and I’d like to see the Jets get Shaun Ellis back on a short term deal so he can finish his career where he started it, and can mentor whomever the Jets draft to replace him. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kris Jenkins return at a cheaper price. Marcus Dixon and Ropati Pitoitua will both be given chances to become part of the rotation and both have flashed potential.

7. Linebacker – The Jets need to improve their depth and find a long term replacement for Bryan Thomas, who can rush the passer. I don’t expect Jason Taylor to return to the team. Calvin Pace needs to put together a full 16 game season and reach his double digit sack potential. It would be nice to see more impact plays from both David Harris and Bart Scott, but especially Scott.

8. Secondary – I don’t know if there is a Jets writer out there who is more pro bringing back Antonio Cromartie than me. I am not the number one person in his fan club but in terms of how this team is constructed, he is needed back before Braylon Edwards is. Kyle Wilson gave no indication that he is ready to start and Drew Coleman and Dwight Lowery are better suited to be role players. Personally, I don’t think the Jets can swing Nnamdi Asomugha in the free agent market and why go get somebody else besides him when Cromartie is already comfortable in the system? They also need to decide what they are doing at safety opposite Jim Leonhard. The team will likely pick between Brodney Pool and Eric Smith to return, and I’d go with Pool because of his upside. I also wouldn’t object to taking a long look at UCLA’s Rahim Moore with the 30th overall pick.

9. Special Teams – The new kick return rules could arguably limit Brad Smith’s value as a returner and might make somebody like Cromartie or Joe McKnight a better fit. Rex Ryan has said Jim Leonhard won’t return punts anymore and that the job will be split between McKnight and Jerricho Cotchery, which I agree with. Leonhard needs to stay healthy for defense. I expect Nick Folk to remain the Jets kicker in 2011 and for Steve Weatherford to eventually return.

10. Coaching – My guess is that this will be the last year for Brian Schottenheimer before Bill Callahan takes over as the offensive coordinator and Mike Pettine’s last year before he gets a head coaching job, leaving the defensive coordinator position to Dennis Thurman.

11. Front Office – There is no reason not to be confident in Mike Tannenbaum’s ability to navigate through this difficult off-season. However, he needs to get the most out of his six draft picks this year, after the Jets have only walked away with seven players in the past two years, many with question marks still around them.

12. Weekend Video Clips – Sanchise Edition

Concern About The Jets Front Seven

And now back to football…

Appropriately there is a general consensus that the New York Jets need to improve their defensive front seven this off-season, which has been spearheaded by most mock drafts pairing them with a defensive lineman or outside linebacker.

At defensive line and linebacker, the Jets are a little bit old and a little bit slow. Outside of David Harris, all three starting linebackers are over 30 and none (including Harris) have great speed. On the defensive line, Sione Pouhaand Shaun Ellis (if he returns) are both into their 30’s and if you saw Mike DeVito trying to cover Danny Woodhead last year, you know he didn’t run track in high school or college.

The depth isn’t great at either position, Jamaal Westerman and Josh Mauga don’t project as future starters at linebacker. On the line, Marcus Dixon, Ropati Pitoitua, and Matt Kroul have potential but still a long way to go to prove they deserve regular spots in the rotation.

Where will the help come from? At a minimum, the Jets need a long term replacement for Bryan Thomas at outside linebacker, a defensive end to replace Shaun Ellis (even if he ends up coming back), and another interior lineman to boost the rotation and maybe eventually take over for Pouha.

The draft could only solve so much, especially with the Jets missing a second round pick. Hopefully, Mike Tannenbaum’s first round pick can contribute immediately and he finds another later round prospect or two that contribute at defensive line or linebacker. The Jets will likely be handcuffed in signing new players in free agency, as they will be limited by the same “Final Eight” rules they were last year, if an injunction is granted as expected on April 6th.

In reality, it is going to take multiple off-seasons to get the defensive front seven where it needs to be. The Jets can take a big step in the right direction this year by having a strong draft, hoping a few of their developmental players (Dixon, Pitoitua) contribute, and maybe swinging a deal or two via free agency or trade.

TOJ Initial Thoughts On NFL Draft

Even though AJ is going to be taking the lead on TOJ’s NFL Draft coverage with his in-depth look at the prospects the Jets could target, that doesn’t mean I won’t be dropping my opinions in from time to time.

I agree with the sentiment that the team needs to focus on finding a defensive end or outside linebacker with their first round selection. This is already being talked up as an extremely deep draft for defensive ends, which should play to the Jets favor since they have to wait all the way to the 30th overall selection. Mike Mayock has stated nine defensive ends could go in the first round, which is an astronomically high number. Let’s see how that number looks after the combine.

There are still a handful of mock drafts which have the Jets taking a wide receiver in the first round based on the assumption of either Santonio Holmes or Braylon Edwards leaving the team. Even when one of them inevitably leaves, there is no reason for the Jets to target a wide receiver that high. They will be fine with Dustin Keller taking on a bigger role in the passing game and Jerricho Cotchery bumping up into the number two receiver role. The defensive front seven is a much more pressing need.

The Jets have only drafted seven players over the past two years, which is a dangerously low number. They have six selections in this year’s draft (every round but the second) and need to get a minimum of six players, if not a few more. This isn’t a year for the Jets trade up and give up even more picks, this is a year for them to trade down and add more selections. There is always the chance somebody high on their board could slide way down the first round leading to a trade up but I’d still be surprised to see them go in that direction.

In the later rounds, I would like to see the Jets keep adding youth and speed to their defensive front seven. At least two picks should be dedicated to that area of the team. I am sure they will take a defensive back at some point because of Rex Ryan’s influence and because a few will probably leave via free agency. I wouldn’t be surprised if they added a receiver in the later rounds, likely one with some size to help replace Braylon Edwards who will likely leave via free agency. They could also add another offensive lineman, especially if Damien Woody, Robert Turner, or Wayne Hunter don’t return next year.

DT Phil Taylor from Baylor has frequently been linked to the Jets

Looking Back on 2010 New York Jets Predictions Part 1

Before the season began, I made 40 predictions for the 2010 New York Jets. Let’s see how I did in my first 20…I never claimed to be Nostradamus and I have a feeling this article will show that I am far from it

1. Despite potentially missing up to four games, Calvin Pace will still lead the Jets in sacks this season with 8.5. David Harris and Jason Taylor won’t be far behind with 6.5 each. WRONG — Bryan Thomas led the team with 6 sacks, Pace only finished with 5.5. Harris finished with 3 sacks and Taylor ended with 5. Can we get a pass rush?

2. Darrelle Revis won’t begin playing at his 2009 level until around week five. However, that doesn’t mean he still won’t be very, very good the first few weeks. WRONG — Revis was good week one against the Ravens but hurt himself in week two. He didn’t start playing at his 2009 level until around week 7 or 8.

3. Antonio Cromartie will lead the Jets in interceptions with 7. RIGHT…Kind of — Cromartie did tie Dwight Lowery for the team lead in interceptions, but it was only at 3, not 7.

4. Kris Jenkins will benefit from having Sione Pouha spell him and from his weight loss this off-season to put together an All-Pro year. WRONG — Jenkins was lost for the season in the first quarter of the Jets first game this year.

5. Vernon Gholston will finally record his first NFL sack at some point during the 2010 season and prove to be a decent part of the defensive line rotation. WRONG — Gholston never recorded a sack and never became a consistent contributor on the defensive line.

6. Mark Sanchez will throw for more touchdowns than interceptions in 2010, finishing with 19 TDs to 14 INTs. RIGHT — Sanchez did throw for more touchdowns than interceptions, finishing with 17 touchdowns to 13 interceptions…not bad TOJ…not bad.

7. LaDainian Tomlinson will finish with 950 total offensive yards and 8 total touchdowns. WRONG — Tomlinson finished with 1,282 rushing yards and 6 total touchdowns, exceeding most of our expectations.

8. Shonn Greene will lead the Jets in rushing yards with 1200, and also add on 6 touchdowns of his own. WRONG — Tomlinson led the Jets with 914 rushing yards, Greene finished with 766. I still want to see what Greene can do with 20+ carries in more than one game next season.

9. Joe McKnight will make no significant contributions to the Jets offense this season. RIGHT — Bingo…no week 17 doesn’t count.

10. Jerricho Cotchery will lead the Jets in receptions, Dustin Keller won’t be far behind him and lead the team in touchdown receptions. WRONG — Dustin Keller led the Jets in receptions and Braylon Edwards led the way in touchdown receptions. Cotchery had a fairly disappointing year.

11. Motivated by not being the only member of the Core Four who didn’t get paid, David Harris will put together his best career season and get Patrick Willis type money next off-season. TBA — It is hard to say whether Harris had his best career year, statistically he certainly didn’t but he was voted Team MVP. He just received the franchise tag, which gives him the average pay of the top five linebackers in the league and there is still a good chance he will get a long term deal.

12. Kyle Wilson will put together a strong rookie year as the Jets nickel back and will eventually become the primary punt returner. He will have two interceptions and two sacks in 2010. WRONG — Wilson struggled on defense and special teams, finishing with zero interceptions and zero sacks.

13. Shaun Eliis will have a quiet but productive year with 4 sacks, in what will likely be his final season in green and white. RIGHT — Sounds about right to me as Ellis finished with 4.5 sacks but was still strong in run support. Let’s hope he comes back to finish his career in New York.

14. Brodney Pool will get his feet under him in the Jets defense after the bye week and finish the season strongly, proving to be an upgrade over Kerry Rhodes. RIGHT — It took a little longer than I thought but Pool did play better after the bye week and finished the season especially strong. I would argue he was better than Kerry Rhodes was for the Jets in 2009.

15. The Jets will go 4-2 in their six games prior to their bye week. WRONG — The Jets went 5-1 in their six games prior to their bye week, not far off though.

16. The Jets will finish 7-3, en route to a 11-5 record and AFC East title. — RIGHT…kind of, I know they actually finished 6-4 in these games but I still got the final record right despite them not winning the AFC East.

17. The Jets will split with Miami and New England. RIGHT — They split with both teams.

18. The Jets will avoid their yearly letdown against the Bills and sweep them in 2010. RIGHT — Yes, he is heating up…

19. Braylon Edwards will start the season strongly and remain a big play threat for the entire year. Yet, there won’t be enough touches for him to approach 1,000 yards receiving or have any more than 5-6 touchdowns. RIGHT — I am giving myself this one, Edwards started the year strong and was a big play threat all season. He didn’t reach 1,000 yards, finishing with 904 and ended with 7 touchdowns.

20. Santonio Holmes return will be a major boost to the Jets offense in week 5 and he will develop into their unquestioned number one receiver during the stretch run and into the playoffs. RIGHT/WRONG — Holmes was a huge boost to their offense and even though you would hesitate to say he was their unquestioned number one receiver during the stretch run and into the playoffs, he did lead the team in receiving yards in weeks 9, 10, 11, and 13 and led the team in receiving touchdowns during the playoffs.

Check back tomorrow to see how I did in the last 20…

TOJ's Initial Thoughts On Jets 2011 Defensive Depth Chart

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First guess on the what the defense will look like 2011…

A much needed reminder to follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook (www.facebook.com/TurnOnTheJets) and Twitter (@TurnOnTheJets)

Defensive Line – Draft Pick, Free Agent, Sione Pouha, Mike DeVito, Kris Jenkins, Shaun Ellis, Ropati Pitoitua – I think Kris Jenkins will agree to take a major pay cut and give it another shot for the Jets. What other option does he have? Nobody is paying him with how much time he missed the past two years. I can see negotiations with Shaun Ellis getting ugly, the Jets letting him waver in free agency for awhile but then ultimately finding a way to bring him back on a cheap, short-term deal. Does he really want to go somewhere else after spending his whole career here? He is another guy who won’t get big money elsewhere. The Jets do need to spend an early draft pick at defensive end and should sign a veteran to replace Trevor Pryce. Hopefully, Pitoitua can contribute this year.

Linebackers – David Harris, Calvin Pace, Bart Scott, Bryan Thomas, Draft Pick/Free Agent, Jamaal Westerman, Josh Mauga – This is another area the Jets need to spend a draft pick in. I am not sure what free agency will look like in this area but it would be good to see them add some youth here. Jason Taylor won’t be back. Westerman and Mauga have shown potential in the past couple years and are developmental players. David Harris isn’t going anywhere, you can bank on that.

Secondary – Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Jim Leonhard, Brodney Pool, Kyle Wilson, James Ihedigbo, Marquice Cole, Dwight Lowery, Draft Pick – I think the Jets will find a way to get Cromartie back after dealing with Harris and Santonio Holmes. They can’t keep everybody so don’t be surprised to see Drew Coleman and Eric Smith leave, as they will want Kyle Wilson to have a bigger role and Pool’s play improved down the stretch. I am sure Rex Ryan will insist they spend another draft pick in the secondary, either at safety or corner.

Overall – I think the Jets will be able to get Jenkins and Ellis back on the cheap as they work younger players into the defensive line positions. The bottom line is that long term replacements are needed for Ellis and Bryan Thomas and the Jets aren’t loaded with draft picks, so Mike Tannenbaum needs to hit in the first and third round or get creative with free agency or a trade. Rex Ryan loves his corners, which is why I think after taking care of Harris and Holmes, the Jets next priority won’t be Braylon Edwards or Brad Smith, but will rather be Cromartie. Eric Smith, Drew Coleman, Jason Taylor, and Trevor Pryce are the major contributors who won’t be back.

TOJ Mid-Season Awards

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Here we are half way through the 2010 regular season already. The Jets sit at 6-2 and are on pace for the 12-4 record that many predicted for them. It hasn’t always been pretty but overall it is hard to complain at this point. Out of the final 8 games, only 3 are against teams who are currently under .500, so the Jets still have plenty of work to do. However, here is what our awards are looking like heading into week 10 –

Offense

MVP – Mark Sanchez – Yes, you can make a strong case for LaDainian Tomlinson but I am going with our quarterback who has taken major strides in the right direction so far in year two. At this time last year, the Jets were 4-4 and Sanchez had 8 touchdowns to 10 interceptions, currently the Jets are 6-2 and he has 10 touchdowns to 5 interceptions. Beyond that, he has led the team to two late comeback victories, something he never did in 2009.

Make TOJ Look Like An Idiot – LaDainian Tomlinson – I predicted before the season that Tomlinson would only have 900-1,000 yards of total offense for the Jets and be a clear cut #2 to Shonn Greene…whoops. Tomlinson already has 790 yards of total offense, 5 touchdowns, and is clearly the Jets #1 back. However, he has slowed the previous few weeks and I still believe Greene needs a bigger role in the offense.

C’mon Man – Shonn Greene, Jerricho Cotchery, Brian Schottenheimer – Shonn Greene got off to a slow start but has looked better as of late. Yet, he still isn’t being given enough touches by offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer who has been inconsistent at best with his playcalling this year and downright infuriating at worst. Jerricho Cotchery leads the team in drops and really who could have saw that coming. He is also only averaging 10.5 yards per catch, en route to a weak 272 receiving yards.

Make TOJ Look Smart – Braylon Edwards- I did predict Braylon Edwards would lead the team in receiving yards and put together a better than expected year and so far he is making me look good with a team leading 453 yards, along with 5 touchdowns.

Pleasant Surprise – Matt Slauson – Slauson has been very good so far at left guard and made sure none of us miss Alan Faneca all that much.

Pro-Bowl CaliberBrandon Moore, Dustin Keller (447 yards, 5 TD’s), D’Brickashaw Ferguson, and Nick Mangold are all putting together excellent years so far.

Getting The Job Done – Ben Hartsock and Tony Richardson aren’t pro-bowl caliber but they are getting the job done also at their respective positions. Brad Smith remains a valuable, versatile weapon for the Jets.

Defense

PhotobucketMVP – David Harris – Most people have been saying Antonio Cromartie, but I am going with the Jets middle linebacker who never gets any respect. Harris has been rock solid in the middle and is a huge part of why the Jets are 4th in rushing yards allowed. He leads the team in tackles and is tied for the lead in tackles for a loss, along with recording a sack and having 2 passes defensed.

Make TOJ Look Like An Idiot – Brodney Pool – I spent plenty of time in the off-season hyping up Pool as quietly being the Jets best addition this off-season…um, what? After missing week one, Pool has been average at best for the Jets alongside Jim Leonhard at safety. So far through 8 games he has recorded 19 tackles, 0 sacks, 5 passes defensed, and 1 INT.

C’mon Man – Jim Leonhard, Jason Taylor, Darrelle Revis, Kyle Wilson – I know the Island is back now but you can’t let him off the hook for contributing nothing the first 6 weeks of the season. Jim Leonhard has been a liability in pass coverage and hasn’t made any impact plays yet. Jason Taylor had a pretty good start but has been invisible the past few weeks. Kyle Wilson apparently doesn’t know how to find the football in the air or when to turn around, which isn’t good for a first round draft pick. He doesn’t even play on defense anymore, as the immortal Drew Coleman and Dwight Lowery jumped him on the depth chart.

Make TOJ Look Smart – Sione Pouha – I have always loved the big fella and he is putting together a great all-around season. He is 4th on the team with 32 tackles, recorded a sack, and somehow has 3 passes defensed.

Pleasant Surprise – Mike DeVito – DeVito has shown that without question he is capable of being a full time starting defensive end. He has also racked up 32 tackles, along with 3 tackles for a loss and is a huge reason the Jets are 4th in rushing yards allowed.

Pro-Bowl Caliber – David Harris and Antonio Cromartie have both played at a Pro-Bowl level to this point of the season, although Cromartie’s lack of big plays could keep him from getting the national respect.

Getting The Job Done – I don’t know if he will ever be a pro-bowler but Pouha has been terrific this year. Shaun Ellis, Bart Scott and Bryan Thomas have been steady as usual. Dwight Lowery has been good in his role so far in 2010.

Special Teams

Just a paragraph to offer high praise to this entire unit. Nick Folk has been unbelievably consistent this year, especially considering how he played in 2009. Steve Weatheford, fake punt aside, has been booming the football and great at pinning teams inside their 20. Brad Smith has developed into a quality kick returner. Eric Smith, Lance Laury, and Marquice Cole have led the way on the coverage units.

First Half Highlights