Tuesday Thoughts On Jets/NFL Free Agency

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1. What the Folk? The Jets signed former Cowboys kicker Nick Folk to a one year deal today, which means they are going to let Jay Feely test the free agent market. Simply put, Folk was terrible last season. The guy was 5/12 on kicks between 40-49 yards and missed a big 23 yarder in a late season game against the Saints. I understand the Jets might be hoping that Feely picks up a decent deal with another team, giving them some flexibility to sign a free agent at another position, but isn’t this a big risk? The style of football the Jets play is conducive to a high amount of field goal attempts and a high amount of close games. Can the Jets really rely on Folk in a big spot next year?

2. The Jets hosted free agent defensive end Travis LaBoy yesterday. LaBoy sat out the ’09 season but prior to that was a decent pass rusher for both the Titans and Cardinals. He is only 28 and the Jets aren’t limited by any “final four” restrictions to sign him because he was released and isn’t a true UFA. He could be worth a shot, he has 23.5 career sacks and has started 32 games, which puts Vernon Gholston’s numbers to shame. He is only 250 pounds, so he would likely be a situational pass rusher on the Jets defense.

3. It also being reported that the Jets are going to let Marques Douglas hit the open market on March 5th, and then look to re-sign him, if he isn’t offered a big deal anywhere else. I hope Douglas ends up back next season, he was an underrated and valuable part of the Jets defense last year.

4. LaDanian Tomlinson and Brian Westbrook have both been released. Westbrook obviously has some serious injury concerns if the Eagles let him go. We all saw how washed up Tomlinson was in the playoffs last year, maybe the Patriots will sign him and then he could join Fred Taylor and Sammy Morris on the inactive list with injuries for 10 games next year.

Photobucket5. Some people on the Jets ESPN Message Board disagreed with my thoughts about the Jets not really needing a receiver that badly. They made some valid points about the importance of having a quality slot guy to aid in Sanchez’s development and questioned whether Keller could be counted on as a consistent third option in the passing game. However, I am still not sure how many looks a #3 receiver is going to get in the Jets offense. Nobody in the NFL is anywhere near running the ball as much as the Jets do, are we going to spend a first round pick on a guy who is going to have 1 ball thrown his way a game? If the value doesn’t match the Jets need at corner or defensive line at number 29, I’d rather see them trade back than take a receiver, unless it is a guy the scouting department is convinced is a “must-get” or steal at 29. I wouldn’t have thought the Jets should be trading multiple picks to move up to grab a running back last year, but it turned out to be the right move. If they feel strong enough about a WR at 29, than you have to stick to your draft board. It will be interesting to see who is available at that point however because there seems to be a wide range of opinions on who the best receivers in this year’s draft are and what order they should be taken in.

6. I continue to be surprised by how many people believe the Jets should just let Thomas Jones go. Again, with how run heavy the Jets offense is, isn’t it a major risk to rely on Leon Washington (coming off major surgery) and Shonn Greene, who has never been a #1 back for an entire season and had some injury issues of his own last year. Jones isn’t going to be a 1400 yard back next year, but that doesn’t mean he can’t contribute and add necessary depth, leadership, and intangibles.

7. I am interested to see if the Jets allow Leon Washington to return kicks next season. Brad Smith did a decent job last year and I would rather save Leon’s touches for the offense. The Jets completely lacked a screen game last year, after being successful with it in 2008. Sanchez’s completion percentage will improve with a reliable pass catching running back, and more screen passes called.

8. The Jets are going to have a big hole to fill, if Tony Richardson decides to retire. Hopefully, T-Rich decides to give it another year. He showed no signs of decline last season and I am not sure Jason Davis is ready to step into the job full time.

I Can’t Believe Somebody Actually Made This Video…I Hate Cowboys Fans

Grading Out the Jets/Ravens Game

First a few updates:

1. John Clayton speculated it would take a 1st and 4th round pick for the Jets or any other team for that matter to acquire Brandon Marshall from the Broncos…that is a steep price for the Jets, who only drafted three players last year and still badly need to add depth/talent to the WR, TE, and OL/DL. However, how much better would Mark Sanchez be with a guy like Marshall to throw to? It is an interesting debate, as of now I still wouldn’t expect anything to happen.

2. The Rex Sox just acquired Billy Wagner…did somebody say desperate? Also, it is really historically unbelievable how bad the Mets season has gone, in terms of injuries and everything else that has happened around the team.

3. I just found out you can download something called “NFL Replay” which allows you to watch any NFL game on your computer within 24 hours of it ending. Thank god…I was contemplating not going to Italy with my family because I would miss the Jets/Colts week 16 game.

4. My fantasy football league is holding our live draft this Saturday…and I am stuck the #5 pick. Suggestions are still welcome.

Grading Out the Jets/Ravens Game

Quarterbacks: D+ – Yeeesh. Let’s be honest here, outside of one play it was an ugly, ugly night for Mark Sanchez. The rookie threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown (a ridiculously athletic play by Haloti Ngata), threw another ball right into the arms of Ray Lewis, fumbled an exchange, had two delay of game penalties, and a miscommunication with Jerricho Cotchery. Yes, he did make an athletic play and a great throw on a 19 yard touchdown pass to Leon Washington on a third down, which shows some character and a short memory, both necessary for a successful quarterback but outside of that play, he was simply bad. Hopefully, this night be will remembered as an important part of his development and learning curve as a NFL QB. The Ravens in their building are as good as it gets in the NFL…Sanchez will learn from last night and be better prepared the next time around.

Kellen Clemens had a real shot to make the quarterback battle alot more interesting last night but didn’t respond to the challenge. He threw a horrible interception at the end of the first half, which was returned for a touchdown and only completed 50 percent of his passes. He did drop in a nice 28 yard touchdown to David Clowney (who else?) and threw a beautiful long ball to Brad Smith that was dropped (shocking…I know).

The Jets are built to play defense and run the ball. They need a quarterback who can protect the football and not give points to the opposing team. If you take away the 2 INT’s for touchdowns last night, the Jets win that game handily. They can’t have turnovers from the quarterback position, period.

By the way, Erik Ainge looked pretty good last night and is probably on his way to being the #2 quarterback next year when Clemens isn’t resigned.

Running Backs: A – Pay Leon Washington. Pay Leon Washington. Pay Leon Washington. Pay Leon Washington. #29 is the engine the keeps the Jets offense running. He put on a display last night that clearly showed his value to the Jets. 48 rushing yards on a 6.0 yards per carry (just like last season…give him more touches), 2 receptions for 35 yards including a 19 yard touchdown, and a 52 yard kickoff return. Pay Leon Washington. Thomas Jones also looked like he was in 2008 form with 32 yards on 8 carries. Shonn Greene had a nice 15 yard catch but took a rib shot that limited his action. I am still not that impressed with Danny Woodhead, who isn’t going to make the roster. Brock Christopher looked pretty good filling in for Jehuu Caulcrick. Good to see Tony Richardson back out there.

Wide Receivers: D – Nothing from Jerricho Cotchery or Chansi Stuckey, who combined for 1 catch for 7 yards. Brad Smith dropped a touchdown and had an offensive pass interference penalty. Britt Davis dropped a long touchdown. Marcus Henry couldn’t get open on the 2 point conversion that could have won the game. Wallace Wright was quiet. On the positive side, David Clowney just keeps making plays as he caught another touchdown pass, using his speed to blow by Frank Walker. How can Clowney not be the Jets #2 receiver right now? Everybody talks about how much they love Stuckey in the slot, so put Clowney and Cotchery on the outside and have Stuckey work the slot.

Tight Ends: C – Quiet night from Dustin Keller. Jack Simmons had a drop and Kareem Brown didn’t have a catch, although they all deserve some credit for strong blocking in the running game.

Offensive Line: B+ – It says alot about Nick Mangold and Alan Faneca that they strapped it up last night…that is exactly what you want to see from your veterans, that they are excited about the team/season and are raring to get back out there. The offensive line did a great job opening up holes in the running game and did decent in pass protection, considering the amount of blitzes the Ravens threw at them. Wayne Hunter played much better filling in for Damien Woody than he did last week.

Defensive LIne: B+ – Very strong games from both Howard Green and Ropati Pitoitua, who both recorded a sack and are showing that the Jets have pretty good depth along their defensive line. The run defense was great and the entire line got a solid push all night. It will be a huge boost to get Kris Jenkins back in the next couple of days.

Linebackers: B – David Harris is going to record alot of sacks in Rex Ryan’s defense. He continued his terrific pre-season with 5 tackles and a sack. Bart Scott missed a tackle in the backfield on third down that would have ended a drive. Bryan Thomas and Calvin Pace both had productive games, including another sack from Pace who the Jets are going to miss badly for the first four games this year. Kenwin Cummings and Marques Murrell were both active. Vernon Gholston did nothing except get out-run by Joe Flacco.

Secondary: C – They badly miss Darrelle Revis. Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman were picked on all night. Coleman had a nice pass deflection but was toasted deep by Derrick Mason. Lito Sheppard was beat a couple of times. Kerry Rhodes was pretty active and had a nice pass deflection, to break up a screen play. Marquice Cole had a nice interception but was beat deep later in the game. James Ihedigbo had an interception called back on a penalty.

Special Teams: C – Average punting, decent kicking, a big kick return by Leon Washington, a nice job on punt returns by Jim Leonhard and a near turnover by Aundrae Allison.

Highlights From the Game Last Night: