New York Jets: A Few Target Free Agents?

Brian Bassett over at The Jets Blog did a nice round-up today of how the Jets could approach free agency. He hit on a few interesting names, considering most of the Jets free agency hype has been centered on players like Randy Moss and Nnamdi Asomugha, most likely because of their reputation of making a splash by adding big name guys. However, don’t discount Mike Tannenbaum’s ability to look down every possible avenue to improve his roster. Here is a run down of a few players they could target and how much sense they would make…

Wide Receiver – Bassett mentioned both Chansi Stuckey and James Jones as options. Jones jumps off the page to me because if the Jets do lose Braylon Edwards or Santonio Holmes, I believe they should target him before looking at a big name player with tons of baggage like Randy Moss, Chad Ochocinco, Plaxico Burress, or Steve Smith. Jones is 27 years old, coming off a productive season in Green Bay (679 yards, 5 touchdowns) and has the potential to develop into a long term starting receiver. He has played behind Greg Jennings and Donald Driver the past couple of years and could thrive in a starting role with more opportunities.

I am not as interested in Stuckey, whose skill set really limits him to being a slot receiver. He does know the offense and could be a good mentor to Jeremy Kerley, but I don’t think signing him comes anywhere adequately replacing Edwards or Holmes. If they were interested in just adding a slot receiver, I’d rather see them look at Lance Moore who has more big play potential than Stuckey.

Outside Linebacker – The Jets didn’t add a pass rusher through the draft, which has led some to think they will bring back Jason Taylor for another year. It seemed like he was done at the end of last season and I’d be surprised to see him back, unless the Jets get into camp (if that ever happens) and realize they desperately need depth. When the new Collective Bargaining Agree is figured out, Kamerion Wimbley could be a free agent and he has a skill set that could intrigue the Jets. Matt Roth is another player the Jets could target, although New England is rumored to be interested as well.

Cornerback – If Antonio Cromartie happens to get away (despite the 1,000,000 million words I have written against it this off-season) and Asomugha signs a huge deal somewhere else, the Jets could look at Jonathan Joseph or Ike Taylor. Both of those players would be a downgrade from Cromartie considering his athleticism and familiarity with the defense. Yet, the Jets would be foolish just to hand the starting job to Kyle Wilson so they would need to add somebody else to compete with him.

Offensive Line – Personally, I think if the Jets make sure both Wayne Hunter and Robert Turner are back. They will be in good enough shape next year. Hunter could hold down the fort at tackle if Vladimir Ducasse flames out and Turner provides good depth at both guard and center.

New York Jets: Now Is Ducasse’s Time To Shine

Some of the more encouraging reads this off-season related to the New York Jets have been about the work second year lineman Vladimir Ducasse has been putting in to improve.

The Jets took a risk in last year’s draft by selecting Ducasse in the second round. Despite having good size and potential, he was from a small school (UMass) and the Jets planned to move him from his college position of left tackle to left guard. He struggled heavily picking up the playbook in the summer and was easily beaten out by Matt Slauson for the starting job. Ducasse also fell behind Robert Turner and Wayne Hunter as the top backups on the offensive line and never saw meaningful reps last season.

Now for the second straight year, the Jets have released a veteran offensive lineman in hope that Ducasse can fill the void. Last year it was Slauson who beat him out to take over for Alan Faneca, this year the Jets will hope that after moving Ducasse out to right tackle he can take over for Damien Woody. Veteran Wayne Hunter will likely be re-signed to compete with Ducasse and as insurance, but you know the coaching staff will be pulling for the second round pick to seize the position.

Despite the lockout, it sounds like Ducasse is motivated to live up to his expectations and has put together a grueling workout regimen these past few months. Ultimately, he will have to master the Jets playbook and show he can hold his own consistently in a game situation. The transition back to tackle should help, considering how much time he spent there in college.

If Ducasse can’t beat out Hunter this summer to be the starting tackle, it likely indicates the Jets made a mistake by selecting him so high and may have to continue on their search for a long term replacement at right tackle.

12 Pack Of Jets Off-Season Thoughts: Edition #8

The 12 pack is back with a very special Thursday edition, for the the very special reason that I will be in New Orleans for the weekend and don’t plan on having the laptop out on Bourbon Street tomorrow afternoon. However, the site will still be updated throughout the weekend, make sure you are following the Facebook and Twitter page.

1. My thoughts on the report about Mark Sanchez leading the league in dropped interceptions this past season…Yes, we all saw defensive backs dropping balls that could have been intercepted and yes we all know Sanchez needs to improve his accuracy (his completion percentage shows that). However, it is foolish to try to argue that he didn’t take major strides forward in his second year. The bottom line is that he threw 5 more touchdowns and 7 less interceptions, won two more games, was substantially more consistent and routinely clutch in big games. I will take Sanchez and his dropped interceptions any day over Chad Henne, who threw the ball so accurately at the other team’s defensive backs that only one “dropped” one all season.

2. I have harped on this all off-season and will continue to do so until he is  in a Jets jersey for 2011. This team needs to find a way to bring Antonio Cromartie back next year. When you play the type of aggressive man to man coverage the Jets do, you need a big time corner opposite Darrelle Revis, especially when you have a weak pass rush. Nnamdi Asomugha isn’t coming here and the Jets aren’t spending a first round pick on a corner. If you think Kyle Wilson, Dwight Lowery, or Drew Coleman can handle being a full time starter in this system right now, you need a head examination.

3. You have to be encouraged by the reports of the work Vladimir Ducasse is doing this off-season. Hopefully, he will grab the starting right tackle job by the throat this summer because if he can’t beat out Wayne Hunter, his long term future with the team will start to become fairly cloudy. Let’s hope Joe McKnight follows Ducasse’s lead these next few months.

4. If I had to guess today who the Jets will end up with in April’s draft, I would go with either Baylor’s Phil Taylor or Temple’s Muhammad Wilkerson. Both defensive lineman have a good shot of being available at #30. I am also intrigued by potentially taking safety UCLA safety Rahim Moore, just because I am anxious to see Rex Ryan finally get a play-making safety here in New York.

5. “I’d rather beat the Patriots, than maybe go to heaven” — That’s why we love you Mike Westhoff.

6. Speaking of our friends up north, Randy Moss recently said he’d be interested in returning to the Patriots. Somehow, I don’t think they will be interested. Personally, if Braylon Edwards ends up leaving I wouldn’t mind if the Jets could get Moss on a cheap, one year deal to provide a vertical threat and some size at split end.

7. It is going to take more than the draft to improve the Jets defensive line depth. Let’s hope either Marcus Dixon, Ropati Pitoitua, or Matt Kroul can step up and become a quality rotation player this year, similar to how Mike DeVito did a couple of years back and eventually worked his way to being a starter.

8. Can we not forget the Jets need to address the backup quarterback position this off-season? Mark Brunell isn’t the answer and is better suited to being the #3. Clearly the coaching staff has no confidence in Kellen Clemens. It is either time to find somebody in free agency or draft a developmental backup to be a long term solution.

9. I am very anxious to see how Shonn Greene handles this season, which is really a make or break year for him as a lead back. It sounds like he will get the amount of carries necessary to show he can be a 1,200 yard type guy, let’s see if he can protect the football, stay healthy, and bring the consistency that is needed to put up those kind of numbers.

10. If you haven’t been able to tell, I am trying to be optimistic that an injunction will be ruled on April 6th and we will have football games this year.

11. As you know, we like to get off topic occasionally here — so here is wishing good luck to St. John’s in the NCAA tourney tonight and hoping the Knicks wake up sometime soon because they have looked like garbage the past week.

12. Weekend Video Clips – Assorted Highlight Tapes Edition

New York Jets Release Damien Woody, Kris Jenkins, Jason Taylor, Vernon Gholston

It is being reported the Jets have released right tackle Damien Woody, nose tackle Kris Jenkins, outside linebacker Jason Taylor, and defensive lineman Vernon Gholston. Quick thoughts….

Damien Woody – The biggest loss out of these four. Woody gave the Jets three quality years at right tackle and was a leader on the offense. He struggled with injuries towards the end of last season and the Jets managed to get by with backup Wayne Hunter filling in. Hunter (who is a free agent) will likely be re-signed and compete with second year lineman Vladimir Ducasse for Woody’s old job. Ducasse was recently moved to right tackle after losing out on the chance to start at guard in his rookie year. Similar to when the Jets released Alan Faneca last year, they will be taking a risk that a younger player on the roster can become an adequate replacement. They guessed right last year, let’s hope they do it again.

Kris Jenkins – Jenkins was a beast for the Jets in 2008 but suffered a season ending injury early in the 2009 season, and then after extensive rehab had another season ending injury in the first quarter of the 2010 season. He has claimed he wants to continue his career and is in the middle of another rehab. The Jets simply owed him too much money to bring back under his current contract. I would guess there is a good chance he is brought back if he agrees to a cheaper deal down the road. If not, Sione Pouha has been very good filling in for him the past two years, however the Jets still need to address their defensive line in this year’s draft.

Jason Taylor – The Jets took a shot with Taylor when it became clear the Miami Dolphins weren’t interested in bringing him back before the 2010 season. He was decent as a rotational player in their defense last year, finishing with 36 tackles, 5 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. This team still needs to find a long term answer for their pass rush at the outside linebacker position.

Vernon Gholston – The bust of busts. A guy who wowed at the combine and was drafted with the #6 overall pick to sack the quarterback, yet never registered a single sack in three seasons with the team. Goodbye Vernon.

Moving up the depth chart —

  • RT Wayne Hunter (when he is re-signed)
  • RT Vladimir Ducasse
  • OLB Jamaal Westerman
  • DL Marcus Dixon
  • DL Ropati Pitoitua
  • DL Jarron Gilbert

This also increases the Jets need to draft two to three players for their defensive front seven.

Don’t Forget How Dominant Jenkins Could Be

New York Jets 2010 Draft Class Needs To Grow Up

This past season wasn’t a productive one for the Jets rookies. Mike Tannenbaum has hit on his share of picks since becoming the Jets GM but the early returns on the 2010 draft class weren’t very promising. Let’s take a look back at what they did but more importantly what they are going to need to do in 2011 for the Jets to remain a top team in the AFC —

Kyle Wilson – 21 tackles, 5 passes defenses, 7.4 yards per punt return, 300 pass interference penalties

Before the season started, Rex Ryan declared Kyle Wilson his starting nickel and top punt returner. In the summer, he said the Jets could survive without Darelle Revis because Wilson had shown so much promise…um, not exactly. Wilson struggled heavily in coverage and was eventually passed on the depth chart by Drew Coleman and he also never looked comfortable on punt returns. It is too early to call Wilson a bust but he clearly needs to re-adjust his game to the NFL level and learn how to play the football in the air.

I wouldn’t be shocked if Drew Coleman wasn’t back in 2011 and there is also a chance Antonio Cromartie might not return. Either way, the coaching staff is going to give Wilson another shot to at least be the full time nickel corner. The Jets need him to develop so slot receivers can stop slicing them apart in the middle of the field. Wilson also needs to pick it up as a punt returner so the Jets don’t have to risk Jerricho Cotchery (who could be a starter again if Braylon Edwards leaves) or Santonio Holmes back there.

Vladimir Ducasse – 1 King Ugly Runner-Up Award

Winning the King Ugly Runner-Up Award in training camp was about the most memorable moment of the season for Vladimir Ducasse. He clearly wasn’t ready to compete for the starting guard job in August and Matt Slauson held the position down well all year. There is a good chance Ducasse will have a chance to compete with Wayne Hunter for the starting right tackle spot this year, if the Jets decide to let Damien Woody walk. If Ducasse can’t win that job, you would hope he shows enough progress to at least contribute in their big packages and provide decent depth.

Joe McKnight – 39 carries, 189 yards, 3 receptions, 20 yards, plenty of vomit

Joe McKnight didn’t show up to rookie minicamp ready to play and it was really all down hill from there. He couldn’t protect the ball in the pre-season and was buried on the inactive list for most the year. McKnight did show some promise on special teams toward the end of the season and played well in the Jets regular season finale against Buffalo.

There is a good chance that Brad Smith won’t be back and also a small chance LaDainian Tomlinson won’t return in 2011. Either way, the Jets will need McKnight to take a bigger role on the offense and special teams. Tomlinson can’t handle as many touches on offense and McKnight needs to show his ability to be a dual threat as a runner/receiver the Jets drafted him for.

John Conner – 8 carries, 44 yards, 1 touchdown, 1,000,000 compliments from Rex Ryan

For a player who did so little this year, Conner gets a ton of hype. However, to be fair Tony Richardson put together another solid year at the fullback position and it is a good thing that Conner had a full season to be mentored by him. He did show a ton of potential in the pre-season and should be the Jets fullback for a long, long time or for at least as long as Rex Ryan is around. I am anxious to see him be a starter and hope he learned plenty from Richardson.

Change Of Perspective: Jets Training Camp

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In case you have been living under a rock…

1. The Jets officially locked down Nick Mangold today with a 7 year, 55 million dollar contract with 22.5 million dollars guaranteed. Anytime you can lock down the best center in the NFL, along with one of the best left tackles in the NFL within a few months of each other, it is a job well done.

2. The “Darrelle Revis…he says, she says” battle waged on today, with Tim Cowlishaw’s report picking up a little more support. Fanhouse is also now reporting a deal should be done in the next few days, as is Bill Daughtry of ESPN 1050 Radio, along with ESPN News. Beyond that, I get the impression from a OCNN representative I am in contact with that a deal is going to happen sometime this week (OCNN = OchcoCinco News Network, which Darrelle Revis recently became a part of). I would strongly advise Twitter users to closely monitor the following accounts @OGOochoCinco, @ocnnfeed, and @Revis24.

3. Also, Turn On The Jets will be appearing on the New York Sports Exchange tonight http://www.themirl.com/nyse.html at 9:20 PM to talk Mangold, Revis and plenty of other Jets related topics.

4. The Jets have signed wide receiver Brooks Foster and safety Keith Fitzhugh, along with releasing offensive tackle Adam Tadish and receiver Vic Hall.

5. Rex Ryan strongly implied the Jets will keep both Tony Richardson and John Conner on their 53 man roster and that Jason Davis even might have a chance to stick. It is a very smart move by the Jets to keep Richardson around.

Change Of Perspective: Jets Training Camp

As the Jets head into their third pre-season game, my perspective on a few issues surrounding the team has begun to shift, while others have been reinforced —

Matt Slauson/Vladimir Ducasse – Prior to training camp it seemed like Vladimir Ducasse would basically be handed the starting left guard job. Rex Ryan has spoken before about his desire to play high draft picks and I didn’t think the Jets were about to sit their second round pick (and a guy they nearly took in the first round) for a 6th round pick from 2009 with no experience. However, it now appears the battle is all but over and Slauson will be the opening day starter at left guard. You have to give credit to Slauson, who took advantage of his knowledge of the offense and Ducasse’s difficult transition to the NFL from Division I-AA. The real question is if the Jets will now begin grooming Ducasse to take over for Damien Woody at right tackle and are comfortable with Slauson as the long term answer at guard.

Kellen Clemens/Mark Brunell – Prior to camp, I adamantly stated that Kellen Clemens should remain the number two quarterback, while Mark Brunell fills the #3/mentor to Mark Sanchez position. I still feel the exact same way, even though Rex Ryan refuses to budge on Brunell being the primary backup. Brunell hasn’t thrown a meaningful pass in three full seasons and is going to be 40 years old. Kellen Clemens knows the offensive system better, can move around better, and has easily outplayed Brunell in both pre-season games.

PhotobucketJoe McKnightI was skeptical to judge McKnight so early after his rough start in rookie minicamp. However, he hasn’t given Jets fans much to be optimistic about this summer. I don’t know about you but I already miss Leon Washington. There were signs of life from him against the Carolina Panthers, including an electric punt return but he struggled to hold on to the football. Hopefully, it will click for McKnight sooner rather than later.

LaDainian Tomlinson – I was hesitant about how much Tomlinson would be able to give the Jets offense this season. Let’s be honest, the guy looked pretty much done in 2009. Yet, Tomlinson has had a strong camp by all accounts and looked like he had plenty left in both pre-season games. It appears Tomlinson is going to get more carries and playing time than I initially expected and he looks up to it. I am thinking he can give the Jets over 900 total offensive yards and maybe 6-9 total touchdowns.

Backup Wide Receivers – I thought David Clowney would have a lock on one of the final roster spots, although Aundrae Allison would push him. However, Danny Woodhead and Larry Taylor are putting together strong summers and I wouldn’t be shocked if either made the roster over Clowney. Yes, I know Woodhead is technically a running back but he still lines up at receiver frequently and if he does make the roster, it will be at the expense of Clowney and the other backup receivers.

New TOJ TV

Green And White Scrimmage Preview

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First a few updates:

1. The Jets had a walk through this morning closed to the public in preparation of tonight’s scrimmage, which will kick off at 6 PM. They have off tomorrow and then will be back to two a days on Monday. Hard Knocks kicks off on Wednesday at 10 PM and the Jets open up pre-season on Monday Night Football on August 16th.

2. Take your talents to the Turn On The Jets Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnThJets) account.

3. Patriots guard Nick Kaczur could miss the entire 2010 season with a serious back injury.

Green And White Scrimmage Preview

A short preview of the Jets scrimmage tonight…

Left Guard Battle – Matt Slauson has jumped out to an early lead in the battle to replace Alan Faneca at left guard. Vladimir Dcuasse has been slightly hesitant and is struggling to pick up the offense, while Slauson has impressed with his physicality. If Ducasse wants to get back into serious consideration for the starting job, a strong performance tonight would be a good place to start.

Backup Quarterbacks – It doesn’t sound like Kellen Clemens has much of a shot to unseat Mark Brunell at the #2 spot. However, he will have a chance tonight to demonstrate his knowledge of the offense and maybe put himself back in the conversation of being Mark Sanchez’s backup. However, if he struggles and Kevin O’Connell puts together a good performance, it could accelerate his release.

Sanchize & Company – Mark Sanchez hasn’t had a great start to his second NFL training camp. His completion percentage has been low and he is still throwing an interception or two each practice. It would be nice to see him protect the football tonight and hit a few throws down the field. Let’s see how Sanchez takes advantage of the Jets collection of weapons. Braylon Edwards sounds like he has been the team’s off-season MVP so far. Santonio Holmes has been making plays all over the field the last two days. Jerricho Cotchery is Jerricho Cotchery and Dustin Keller has been Sanchez’s favorite target so far this August.

This Island Is Gone – In the absence of Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie has been stealing the show on defense. Dwight Lowery has struggled opposite him (shocking, I know). It will be interesting to see if Kyle Wilson gets some work on the outside and not just in the slot with the first team.

Vernon Gholston – The perpetual disappointment has turned heads the past week. How about a sack or two in the scrimmage, VG? Then we can worry about the pre-season and the regular season.

In Need Of A Good Performance – David Clowney (fighting for a roster spot and reps at wide receiver). Joe McKnight (he has continued to struggle holding on to the ball). Vladimir Ducasse (falling behind Matt Slauson in the LG battle). Kellen Clemens (falling behind Mark Brunell in the #2 QB battle). Donovan Warren (battling for a roster spot in a crowded secondary). Kris Jenkins (let’s see him keep progressing back from surgery). Nick Folk (let’s keep the strong camp up).

Weekend Video Clips

Jets Friday Morning Recap & What About The Gholston Hype?

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Friday Morning Recap:

Rex Ryan’s press conference was particularly interesting this morning –

  • He backed up his bravado of signing the ESPN Training Bus “Soon To Be Champs” on the Jets logo. Ryan claimed when he looks in the crystal ball for 2010 he sees the Jets winning the Super Bowl and doesn’t believe there is any reason to hide it.
  • Rookie UDFA tight end Jeff Cumberland has a head injury and could miss the green and white scrimmage tomorrow. Linebacker Brashton Satele and guard Marion Davis are also banged up and could miss tomorrow.
  • He discussed Joe McKnight’s role on the team and commented how he must find a spot on special teams, particularly in covering kicks. The Jets had Mike Westhoff call him before they drafted him and make sure he would willing to embrace that role. When discussing him at running back, he said there is no way he is beating out Shonn Greene or LaDainian Tomlinson on the depth chart but he could still have a large role on the offense. Sticking to the running backs, he continued to lavish praise on Tomlinson and rookie fullback John Conner.
  • Mike DeVito will be the starting defensive end opposite Shaun Ellis. Those two along with Kris Jenkins and Sione Pouha will get the bulk of the defensive line rotation reps, although he is expecting Vernon Gholston and Ropati Pitoitua to contribute on a weekly basis also. When pressed about Gholston deserving a roster spot, Ryan got defensive saying he was earning it with a great opening week of camp and his various roles on special teams. One of the reporters questioned whether newcomer Rodrique Wright should get a spot over him but Ryan claimed they play different positions and that Gholston is currently the best option to back up Shaun Ellis at defensive end.
  • Currently, Kenwin Cummings is the team’s number three inside linebacker behind Bart Scott and David Harris.
  • Ryan said  Nick Folk reminded him of Matt Stover, who struggled at times early in his career but eventually settled down.
  • He was frustrated with the defense allowing a 50 yard touchdown reception by Brad Smith because he saw it as a continuation of their late game struggles in 2009.
  • Matt Slauson is leading in the battle for LG right now because he is being more physical and not as hesitant. The coaches have got on Vladimir Ducasse about worrying less on making mistakes and concentrating on finishing his blocks each play.

Practice Highlights

  • Mark Sanchez – 5/11, TD, INT (Calvin Pace on a batted ball)
  • Nick Folk – 6/6, including a 51 yarder.
  • Smith with the previously mentioned 50 yard touchdown.
  • Another sack for Vernon Gholston.
  • Fight between Jamaal Westerman and Robert Turner.
  • Laveranues Coles banged up his leg but returned later in practice.
  • David Clowney is excused from practice today for personal reasons.

What About The Gholston Hype?

PhotobucketWe hear it every single year. Vernon Gholston is finally getting it. He looks great out there. The game is slowing down for him and on and on. This training camp has been no different. Every single day we are hearing about Gholston recording another sack or flushing the quarterback out of the pocket. Rex Ryan defended his roster spot today by saying he deserves a key spot in the defensive line rotation and that he looks substantially better with his hand in the dirt instead of playing outside linebacker. Honestly, I will believe it when I see it in a game. Yes, there is a chance Gholston will be much better off at defensive end. He certainly has the physical tools to play the position and the Jets aren’t exactly asking a ton out of him in 2010. Could be develop into a quality role player? What do you think, are you falling for the hype again?

Jets Practice #4 Recap & Thoughts On Offensive Depth Chart

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Practice #4 Recap

The Good – LaDainian Tomlinson beating David Harris on a slant route and taking it all the way to the end-zone. Mark Sanchez drawing Kris Jenkins off-sides. Joe McKnight holding his own against Bart Scott in pass protection drills. John Conner getting another big hit in, this time on Calvin Pace. Braylon Edwards beating Dwight Lowery for a 20 yard touchdown in 7 on 7 drills. Sanchez squeezing one down the seam to Jerricho Cotchery for a touchdown. Kyle Wilson getting his first interception of camp, when he picked off a Mark Brunell pass headed towards David Clowney. Aundrae Allison catching a long touchdown from Kevin O’Connell. Antonio Cromartie pulling in two more interceptions from Sanchez.

The Bad – Dwight Lowery getting beat for a touchdown, where is our Island? Joe McKnight had yet another drop today. Mark Sanchez was picked off  twice by Antonio Cromartie in 11 on 11s. Kellen Clemens was picked off by Drew Coleman. Mark Brunell was picked off by Kyle Wilson. Sanchez botched a pitch to LaDainian Tomlinson. Nick Folk missing a 35 yard and 40 yard field goal.

Play of the Day – Braylon Edwards out jumped Antonio Cromartie for a one-handed reception that set up the game winning field goal in the two minute drill.

PhotobucketPlayer Who Helped Himself – John Conner is catching everybody’s attention at least once every practice. He might end up with a bigger role on the offense than Joe McKnight and his pan hands.  Antonio Cromartie has interceptions two consecutive days and from all accounts has put together a very good few days to start camp.

Player Who Hurt Himself – Mark Sanchez hasn’t gotten off to the best start this summer. His completion numbers have been a little disappointing and he has thrown a few interceptions over the past couple of practices.

Sanchez Stats – 8/17, 2 INTs in 11 on 11s (both INTs by Cromartie)…thanks to Manish Mehta for the numbers.

Folk Stats – 6/8 (1 miss from 35 yards and 1 miss from 40 yards)

Roster Moves – Kris Jenkins was taken off the Active/PUP list and was back to practice. Don’t expect to see Erik Ainge anytime soon, since it was reported that he has been checked into a drug treatment/rehab facility. Ainge was suspended four games in 2008 for substance abuse. Kellen Clemens is back to practicing 100 percent. Santonio Holmes has to pass his conditioning test this morning and then is expected on the field this afternoon.

Injury – Shaun Ellis sat out of practice today because the coaches advised him to take a day off.

Depth Chart – John Conner saw some reps with the first team offense at fullback. Matt Slauson was back to working as the starting left guard. Ropati Pitoitua and Vernon Gholston both received first team reps at defensive end, as did Jason Taylor.

Rex Ryan Press Conference Highlights –

  • Called today the “Cromartie and Braylon Edwards” show.
  • Santonio Holmes will have to pass his conditioning test after his suspension and will be a full go in this afternoon’s practice.
  • Praised punter Steve Weatherford’s work this off-season, including his holding.
  • Said he hasn’t noticed the Hard Knocks cameras in meetings and that they have been discreet.
  • He praised Antonio Cromartie’s desire to learn how to do things “the Jets way.”
  • Jim Leonhard is the top “hands” option as a punt returner, meaning if there is any poor weather conditions he would be placed back there. However, he said the coaching staff wants Kyle Wilson to win the full time job.

Revis Update – In an interview yesterday, Peter King of SI said he believed Revis had more leverage than the Jets and that a deal wouldn’t be finalized until around Labor Day.

Thoughts On Offensive Depth Chart

It sounds like Matt Slauson has a much better chance at winning the starting left guard job  than most people (including myself) originally gave him. He has been rotating every practice with Vladimir Ducasse and got the nod in the Jets first practice. Rich Cimini of ESPN New York gave him a slight edge when asked about the battle. If Slauson does happen to win the job, it will be interesting to see if the Jets spend the season grooming Ducasse to replace Damien Woody at right tackle in 2011. Ducasse could also be given a role in some of the Jets short yardage packages, similar to Robert Turner and Wayne Hunter.

Photobucket Tomlinson is off to a strong start in camp and has been receiving a good amount of reps with the first team offense. I still don’t buy him competing with Shonn Greene for the starting job but he will get plenty of work in the pre-season to show the Jets he still has the necessary burst. Tomlinson is probably looking at 9-13 touches a game until Joe McKnight gets his act together and can become a bigger part of the offense. Also in the backfield, it sounds like John Conner is having one of the most impressive overall camps so far. He may actually carve out a little role for himself in the offense this year in certain situations or if he keeps playing so well, is it possible the Jets could release Tony Richardson at some point this summer? Going back to McKnight, if he keeps struggling it only increases the chances of Danny Woodhead sticking on the roster.

Santonio Holmes returns to the practice field this afternoon. I am anxious to hear about where Brian Schottenheimer is lining him up and if the Jets are trotting out any four and five receiver sets. There hasn’t been much talk about the Jets using their “Tiger” formation yet, however they could just be waiting until the more basic offensive installation is done.

Jets are back on the practice field at 4:20.

New York Jets Training Camp Preview: Position Battles

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First a few updates:

1. Nick Mangold has already announced he won’t hold out of training camp because of his contract. You can only hope the Jets will do the right and make sure he is properly compensated at some point in the near future. It doesn’t sound like a deal with Darrelle Revis is imminent and there remains a reasonable chance he holds out of training camp for a period of time, regardless of the guaranteed money he would be giving up by choosing that route. Every move Revis makes will face insane amount of scrutiny if he does show up. It is going to take a little bend from both sides to make this deal happen but unfortunately it sounds like everybody is firmly dug in at the moment.

2. There still has been no movement on the Mark Brunell signing. Hopefully, the Jets are considering keeping Kellen Clemens alongside Brunell. I’d much rather see Erik Ainge or Kevin O’Connell released.

3. A reminder there will be a 12 minute preview of Hard Knocks this Wednesday on HBO at 11 PM.

4. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets).

New York Jets Training Camp Preview: Position Battles

In the first part of our training camp preview, we look at the position battles across the Jets roster –

There isn’t a high amount of intriguing battles for starting jobs on the Jets heading into this August. However, many players will be fighting it out for reps off the bench and to create a bigger role for themselves.

Left Guard – Vladimir Ducasse vs. Matt Slauson: The battle to replace Alan Faneca doesn’t sound like it is going to be much of a fight. Every indication from OTAs and mini-camp is that unless Ducasse is a complete disaster, he will end up being the starter. The Jets didn’t spend a second round pick on somebody to stash away on the bench for a 2009 sixth round pick with no experience.

PhotobucketSafety – Brodney Pool vs. Eric Smith: Another battle that isn’t really a battle. Rex Ryan has already stated he wants Pool in the starting lineup, so he can use Smith off the bench in a variety of roles and so that he can remain a core special teams player. Pool has impressed the coaching staff and it would be a huge surprise to not see him opposite Jim Leonhard in week one, with Smith coming off the bench in the nickel and sub packages.

Running Back – Shonn Greene vs. LaDainian Tomlinson: Only Tomlinson seems to think this an open competition. Unless he gets hurt, Shonn Greene will be the opening day starter at running back.

Defensive Line Rotation – Ropati Pitoitua vs.  Matt Kroul vs. Vernon Gholston: Shaun Ellis, Kris Jenkins, and Mike DeVito will be the starters with Sione Pouha getting plenty of work off the bench to spell Jenkins. However, the reps behind those four will be battled out between Pitoitua, Kroul, and Gholston. Pitoitua is mammoth at 6 foot 8 and 310 pounds. He played a little bit in 2009 but the coaching staff likes his potential. Kroul was stashed away on the practice squad last season after being signed as an undrafted free agent, yet defensive coordinator Mike Pettine raved about him this off-season and basically guaranteed he’d have a spot in the rotation. Gholston was only the six overall pick in the NFL Draft ,who looked clueless at outside linebacker. The Jets are hoping he can at least use his strength to give them something off the bench.

Wide Receiver – Brad Smith vs. David Clowney vs. Aundrae Allison: Somebody has to play the majority of the number three receiver reps while Santonio Holmes is suspended. Smith isn’t really a traditional receiver. Clowney made a few big plays last season and has the inside track to the majority of the reps. Similar to Clowney, Allison has great speed and could provide a deep threat. Britt Davis and Danny Woodhead could also push for a roster spot and these reps.

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