New York Jets: Your Monday Morning Vent

Your various reactions via Facebook and Twitter, my full reaction coming later this afternoon.

“We can not keep killing ourselves with these turnovers. Anybody else feel like they were watching the AFC championship game all over again? Slow start, mistakes leading to 3 of there TD’s, NO running game.”

“For the first time blame falls on Rex and Tannenbaum. How do u go into the season with such little depth at o-line. As soon as turner went down they should have brought in a veteran. They gambled and now the season is in jeopardy.”

“For the last two games i hoped for that second half awakening like last year. Sanchez played like crap on the first half but then he came back to play much better on the second one. Now it starts bad ends bad. We have to thank tony romo for the victory on week one. Other wise we would be sitting here at 1-3.”

“I was at the game and was disgusted. Jets are built to win now. Sanchez is a work in progress. Give Cinci a first rounder for Palmer. Let Sanchez learn. In 2 years when he is READY. He can take over.”

“I think.. they should get on phone with Leonard Davis.. they need beef up front on oline to push the pile… this line was the best with happened.. its not mangold cause even with him in their they couldnt run against dallas.. i dont blame the RB cause everytime he hits hole theirs 4or 5 guys waiting for him… hunter sucks… vald which is turing into a bad pick sucks, also we need beef we need athletic guys sorry but we need thugs on the dline.. look at the ravens man they were putting fear in our oline… we need intimidation on defense.. we have a good d but those players play well in system.. we need ppl to get after the qb.. other teams like pats and ravens play us agressive looking to hurt our qb but we dont have that… we are soft.. our dline is not good our lbs are getting exposed…”

“Is it me or should we trade Cro for a hard-hitting safety, a lineman & pass rusher I love Rex but this $*#% gotta stop no hits no protection for Sanchize and not to mention Cro getting burned consecutive game like WTFFFFF ?!!”

“We made fun of Namath’s comments, but are we ALL buying the hype? Do we believe this team is better than it actually is?”

“We can’t expect much this season. O-line can’t protect and Sanchez knows it. He is scared. The formula to win has been run”

“is it me or does it seem the #Jets have lost that fire they have had the last 3 years?!!”

“Where to start. Sanchez holding on to the ball way too long and locking into receivers. No ball security. O line went from one of the best to one of the worst. Add to it we cant stop the run, that surprises me since we have the same guys up front with the exeption of ellis but wilkerson seems to be doing a decent job.”

“sanchez sucks the end”

Final Thoughts On Jets/Jaguars

A few final thoughts on Jets/Jaguars…

Game MVP – It has to be Antonio Cromartie, who bounced back from being last week’s Goat in this article. Cromartie came up with 2 interceptions and 2 big kick returns, demonstrating his big play potential.

Game Goat – I will go with Wayne Hunter, who has given Jets fans no reason to believe the right tackle position is in good hands moving forward without Damien Woody.

Play of the Game – The first quarter touchdown strike from Mark Sanchez to Santonio Holmes, ending the team’s first quarter touchdown drought, showing Sanchez’s accuracy and that Holmes was healthy.

Trending Up

  • Dustin Keller – Back to back big games, as he finished with 101 yards and another touchdown.
  • Muhammad Wilkerson – First career NFL sack went for a safety.
  • Bart Scott – Second straight week with a sack. Scott looks poised for a big year.
  • Nick Folk – 3/3 on field goal attempts.

Trending Down

  • Nick Mangold – Will likely be out 3-4 games with a high ankle sprain.
  • Wayne Hunter – Badly in need of a steady performance against Oakland.
  • Derrick Mason – Still hasn’t found his niche in the offense.
  • Mark Sanchez – Two ugly interceptions. He must protect the football better.

1. Calvin Pace and Scott have been consistently getting pressure on the quarterback, which is limiting the need for the Jets to blitz as much. This is an encouraging trend moving forward. It will also help if Muhammad Wilkerson can continue to get after the quarterback.

2. Colin Baxter should be living at the Jets facility the next month. After Oakland, he has Haloti Ngata and Vince Wilfork headed his way. Brandon Moore and Matt Slauson need to step up to help him out.

3. Regardless of double teams and his mature attitude on the situation. The Jets must do a better job of getting Plaxico Burress involved in the offense, in the first half. Throw the guy a quick hitch or slant and let him get in the flow of the game.

TJ Rosenthal reviews his top 5 keys from the game

New York Jets Moving Forward With Offensive Question Marks

It is hard not to feel good about the New York Jets defense this year, or any year where Rex Ryan is the head coach. There has been a few minor changes and they will need a handful of young players to contribute, like Kyle Wilson,  Jamaal Westerman, and Muhammad Wilkerson but on the whole they should be one of the league’s top units again. However, the Jets still have plenty of question marks on the other side of the football, where there could be issues with Mark Sanchez’s supporting cast.

Rob already raised the valid questions about the Jets backfield yesterday and now even more questions surround their group of wide receivers. Derrick Mason still hasn’t signed a contract with the Jets, so at the moment we are a Plaxico Burress rolled ankle away from Patrick Turner starting opposite Santonio Holmes with rookie Jeremy Kerley or journeyman Logan Payne in the slot.

Mason coming on board would add some stability but the guy is 37 years old and Burress will remain a question mark until we start see him producing on the field. I don’t care how good a player like Kerley, Payne, or Scotty McKnight looks in practice, they are all completely unproven at the NFL level and you can’t expect anything out of them until they do it in a regular season game. Do you remember how good Kyle Wilson looked in camp and pre-season last year?

The overall instability of the receivers around Mark Sanchez isn’t a good thing. It now becomes critically important that Santonio Holmes becomes the veteran leader of the group and a reliable safety valve for Sanchez on top of being a big play threat. There should also be a ton more targets going Dustin Keller’s way as he should be the receiver Sanchez is the most comfortable with. He must respond by giving the Jets the Pro-Bowl caliber year he is capable of, talent-wise.

Don’t forget the Jets are also breaking in a new full time right tackle in Wayne Hunter.

If the Jets are going to be back to competing for a Super Bowl, the overwhelming majority of these questions need to be answered “Yes” –

  • Can Mark Sanchez take another step in his development and improve his completion by at least 4-5 percentage points?
  • Can Santonio Holmes give the Jets the production of a true number one receiver for a full year?
  • Can Dustin Keller finally meet his potential for a full year?
  • Is Shonn Greene ready to be a lead back?
  • Can Wayne Hunter make sure there isn’t a substantial drop off from Damien Woody?
  • Can Plaxico Burress stay healthy and produce at a reasonable level for a number two receiver?
  • Can the Jets find a number three receiver, if Derrick Mason walks on them?

Despite One Loss, New York Jets Put Together Strong Off-Season

Prior to the past week’s free agency frenzy starting, we knew the following, whether you wanted to believe it or not –

  • The Jets prioritized Santonio Holmes well ahead of Braylon Edwards
  • The Jets needed a number two cornerback
  • Brad Smith wasn’t coming back
  • Their remaining group of veteran free agents would be a toss up on who stayed and left

Nnamdi Asomugha was a long shot who stormed out of nowhere to become a reality that quickly captivated Jets fans and their free agency coverage, and why wouldn’t he as the top player on the market? The contenders for his services began to drop off making it look like Asomugha ending up on the Jets was a sure thing.

We obviously know what happened. He shocked everybody by choosing the Philadelphia Eagles. Was it a stinging loss? Yes. Was it a death blow to the Jets free agency plans this off-season? Absolutely not. Asomugha was a luxury. Your off-season isn’t a failure if you can’t land both the best offensive free agent, which the Jets did in Santonio Holmes, and the best defensive free agent. Your team isn’t not a Super Bowl contender because they don’t have the two best corners in football on their team, especially when you still have arguably the best tandem in the league.

In the end, the Jets got Antonio Cromartie back on a reasonable contract and did keep that best tandem of corners in the league together. They did the right thing by bringing back Santonio Holmes over Braylon Edwards and suffered the obvious but necessary consequences of seeing Edwards and Brad Smith leave. Fortunately, there isn’t a gaping hole opposite Holmes as the Jets found a cheaper, short term alternative in Plaxico Burress, who does come with plenty of questions but also with plenty height, experience and talent.

Drew Coleman left but Donald Strickland was signed and if he is healthy can be a more than adequate replacement, never mind the hopeful improvement of 2010 first round pick Kyle Wilson. Eric Smith and Wayne Hunter were brought back to start at safety and right tackle, respectively. Were Brodney Pool and Damien Woody better options? Maybe, but the gap isn’t substantial enough to expect a major drop off at either position. When you throw in the expected return of Shaun Ellis and James Ihedigbo, along with the potential addition of another outside linebacker it is looking like another strong off-season for the Jets led by Mike Tannenbaum.

Is the team better on paper than it was last year? Probably not, but the potential is there for it to be substantially better especially if players like Kyle Wilson, Jamaal Westerman and Joe McKnight bring something to the table this year and the Jets get contributions out of rookies like Muhammad Wilkerson, Kenrick Ellis, and Jeremy Kerley. Never mind the continued growth of quarterback Mark Sanchez.

With a few minor moves left to finish up, the Jets are still a Super Bowl contender and will be a handful for any team to deal with on both sides of the ball. If you don’t think they have something good going on in Florham Park, you’ll have to explain why Bart Scott and Calvin Pace restructured their contracts, LaDainian Tomlinson took a pay cut, Mark Sanchez volunteered to restructure his contract, Santonio Holmes took less money to stay here, and Plaxico Burress came here despite likely being able to get a better deal somewhere else.

Yes, I know Jason Taylor did leave for the Dolphins…but hey, we never liked him anyway.

2011 NFL Free Agency: New York Jets Day Two Primer

Let’s get right to it

The only official move the Jets have made so far is resigning right tackle Wayne Hunter to a 4 year, 13 million dollar deal. It is also being reported that in conjunction with this move Damien Woody has retired.

– The Washington Redskins have resigned Santana Moss to a 3 year, 15 million dollar deal and just signed Donte Stallworth to a one year deal. This would seem to indicate they have less money to throw at Santonio Holmes, but you never know with Daniel Snyder.

– Speaking of Holmes, Jenny Vrentas of The Star-Ledger is reporting the Jets have made a formal contract offer to him. ESPN’s Rich Cimini has also followed up today that it is likely Holmes will end up staying in New York.

– Manish Mehta of The Daily News is reporting cornerback Drew Coleman is likely to leave via free agency.

– It is being widely reported that wide receiver Brad Smith will likely sign with the Chicago Bears today.

– ESPN’s Rich Cimini is reporting the Jets are pursuing outside linebacker Antwan Barnes and cornerback Drayton Florence.

– It is widely being reported the Jets are making a strong push to bring safety Eric Smith back. We haven’t heard anything about Brodney Pool yet.

– And now the biggest news, the Nnamdi Asomugha to the Jets talk is heating up by the second. After The Star-Ledger reported yesterday the team made formal contact with him, the NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi has stated today “I keep hearing from well place reliable NFL source that this Jet talk and Nnamdi Asomugha is serious, and I mean serious.”

We can only imagine the smile on Rex’s face.

Damien Woody Retires, New York Jets Resign Wayne Hunter

In a somewhat surprising move, considering the reported interest the New York Jets were expressing earlier in the day about bringing veteran right tackle Damien Woody back, the team has instead resigned veteran RT Wayne Hunter to a four year, 13 million dollar deal and Woody has retired.

The Jets will now move forward with Hunter competing with second year lineman Vladimir Ducasse competing for the starting right tackle job. It is clear the Jets weren’t willing to meet whatever contract demands Woody had, who had made it clear he wanted to come back to the team but not at a veteran’s minimum salary and with a guarantee to start, obviously the Jets weren’t offering that. Hunter was pretty decent filling in for Woody at the end of last season and his contract is likely structured not to have a major impact on the Jets cap situation this year.

Woody has been the Jets starting right tackle the past three years and was consistently very good for the team. He was kind enough to do an interview with me last season for SB Nation New York and we wish him well in his future endeavors. Congratulations on a long, productive NFL career.

Right Tackle: A Priority For Jets Receiving Little Attention

TOJ is very happy to announce the addition of TJ Rosenthal to our writing staff. We have worked together previously at Pro Football NYC. TJ runs a Tumblr page called The Jet Report and is also active on Twitter. Welcome aboard! – JC

Scouts Incorporated Matt Williamson broke down all 32 NFL teams needs going into free agency. In doing so, he broke down the categories into groups. Need 1, Need 2, Need 3. By combining all three columns into 96 spots, we found that 14 of 96 in total were offensive linemen. Not a seemingly sought after position you say? Think again.

Offensive lineman are a top four group, which includes defensive linemen, linebackers and the secondary, which lead the list at 20. This brings us to the Jets RT Wayne Hunter and the recently released ex-Jet Damien Woody. Assuming that Williamson’s breakdown is reasonably accurate, then the need for the Jets to address the situation regarding the right tackle position looms larger than many might think. 

Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards have been the headline grabbing Jets free agent names. CB Antonio Cromartie has been one as well. Franchise tagged free agent LB David Harris is a shoe in to return to Florham Park.

The issue of right tackle however, has slipped under the radar. Hunter filled in well for an injured Damien Woody late in 2010 and earned his stripes by helping keep the Jets offense moving during their playoff run, from Williamson’s chart, it is obvious that teams clearly need help up front. 

The Jets must work hard to keep Hunter AND look to bring the experienced Woody back as well. The latter move to insure depth for a unit that sets the tempo for the Jets on offense. If a scenario presents itself where Hunter, 30, leaves for more lucrative pastures then don’t be shocked if Woody, 33, who has been a part of the Ground and Pound for two years and owns two Super Bowl rings, gets his old starting job back.

A lees trustworthy option would be last year’s second round pick Vladimir Ducasee, who would be a fall back option to fill the role, depending on his improvement from 2010 to this training camp. Last year as a rookie, Ducasse looked confused and not quite up to starting speed. His confusion is normal for many first year players whose job it is to protect against the complexities of NFL defenses. 

A plan ought to be in place by the Jets to solidify this position with Hunter AND Woody within the first three days of free agency. A window of time where teams will have the sole right to negotiate with their own.

Hunter’s value will of course play a part in the decision. There is no telling what a player like Hunter, a player with playoff experience and one of the few available at his position, will command on the open market.

Another element involved in the equation will be the current mindset of desperate owners. Ones like Jerry Jones of the line starved Cowboys, who is in need of filling this spot for his own team. This dangerously unknown element can alter the Jets plans that for now, remain on paper.

Recent Jets history proves that a reasonable measure of concern is understandable regarding rogue owners altering market value and salary cap strategies. Look at how Al Davis and his over generous three year, 45.3 million dollar deal with CB Nnamdi Asomugha in 2009 altered the scope of how the Darrelle Revis team handled negotiations during the 2010 offseason. Going back further, former Jets starting RG Randy Thomas, was lost during the Dan Snyder “Jet Skins” purge of 2003. Outbid by an owner willing to do whatever it took to win in 2004.

In Hunter’s case, it is possible that a team in dire need of help at Right Tackle could overpay in their offer, thus forcing the Jets hand. Raising the price to an unrealistic number worth matching. Doing this while knowing that aside from Hunter, the Jets will already have alot on their plate (Besides Holmes, Edwards and the versatile Brad Smith, secondary members Brodney Pool, Eric Smith, Drew Coleman and James Ihedigbo are ALL free agents as well). What teams may NOT take into account though, is that GM Mike Tannenbaum may be willing to call a bluff on a position that MUST continue to remain solidified.

No unit thrives on continuity like the offensive line. Keeping Hunter and Woody in Green and White allows the Jets to keep continuity and familiarity in the trenches. A major key when you consider how much offseason time has been lost in terms of units working together.

The offensive line becomes a back page story when penalties cost games or Quarterbacks like Tony Romo go down as a result of their ineptitude. No team can afford communication problems that lead to mistakes costing yardage. The Jets certainly cannot run the risk of exposing QB Mark Sanchez to any physical danger that results in a season long injury, like the one that the Cowboys Romo fell victim to, due to a lack of quality blocking, in the early part of the 2010 season. Especially when you consider who is behind Sanchez right now on the depth chart. 

Right tackle will be a key position to the Jets free agency strategy in the coming days. It has to be. After the issues of Santonio Holmes and who plays cornerback opposite perennial All-Pro Darrelle Revis are solved, Right tackle should be number three on the Jets soon to be free agent priority list. Bringing both Hunter and Woody back, perhaps in a reversal of roles with Hunter starting out as the starter, would be optimal.

When the lockout ends as reports claim it will over the next few days, talk will quickly turn to what will be a wild and short free agency period. The local media focus for the Jets will start at the glamorous position of wide receiver. Expect it to turn to the trenches, and right tackle shortly thereafter.

Jets Should Pay Up For Veterans Ellis and Woody

Two of the financial decisions the Jets will have to make this off-season will be how much they are willing to invest in bringing veterans Shaun Ellis and Damien Woody back. In both cases, the team shouldn’t hesitate to spend a little extra money to get another year or potentially two out of both players.

The 34 year old Ellis has spent his entire 11 year career with the Jets and you have to think he would like to finish his career where he started it. He approached the team to rework his deal last year and was denied but hopefully this off-season they could find a reasonable middle ground to get him back for a year or two as a mentor for rookie Muhammad Wilkerson. He put together another productive season last year with 36 tackles and 4.5 sacks and also had arguably the best performance of his career in the Jets divisional round upset of the Patriots. Trevor Pryce would be a cheaper option but isn’t as effective and had injury issues last season.

It would help Wilkerson reach his true potential if he had a season to learn behind Ellis, who is a very good 3-4 end against both the run and pass, and also remains one of the leaders in the locker room. Wilkerson wouldn’t immediately be forced into a starting role and could work up as a rotational player until eventually taking over.

As for Woody, it is too risky to now ask second year player Vladimir Ducasse to take over at right tackle considering he hasn’t the chance to work with any of the coaches in the off-season. They could bring Wayne Hunter back as veteran insurance but Woody is a better overall player and has good chemistry with the rest of the line. He likely won’t have high contract demands and bringing him back for at least one more season, gives Ducasse time to learn a new position behind a quality, proven veteran.

The money spent on getting Ellis and Woody back for 2011 doesn’t just improve the Jets depth and talent at defensive end and right tackle respectively, it will also help young players like Wilkerson and Ducasse by giving them more time to get acclimated behind veterans.

Where Will The Jets Go Cheap?

There will inevitably be some tough decisions the New York Jets front office will have to make when free agency starts. Certain positions are going to see a higher concentration of money spent, while others will be forced to be handled more cheaply with hopes of younger players stepping up. Where will Mike Tannebaum decide to invest the most?

Wide Receiver – We know money is going to be spent to keep either Santonio Holmes or Braylon Edwards, but would the Jets invest enough in the receiver position to keep both, or perhaps one along with Brad Smith? It doesn’t seem likely considering this is a run first offense, but they may want to insure Mark Sanchez has the best weapons possible at his disposal to help him flourish into a top-tier quarterback in the NFL.

Defensive Line – The Jets could go young and not pay up to bring Shaun Ellis back and also not work to coax Trevor Pryce out of retirement. However, they will be putting a high amount of pressure on first-round pick Muhammad Wilkerson to produce immediately and relying on unproven players like Ropati Pitoitua and Marcus Dixon to play large roles on the defensive line rotation. If they can’t work something out with Ellis, it would be smart to at least bring Pryce back on a cheap, one-year deal as insurance.

Offensive Line – When the Jets released Damien Woody this off-season, the original plan seemed to be allowing second year player Vladimir Ducasse battle with veteran Wayne Hunter to take over at right tackle. Hunter filled in for Woody a few games at the end of last season and is also a free agent, but would cost less to bring back. Now with the way this off-season has been affected by the lockout, can the Jets risk thinking Ducasse is ready to compete for a starting job and have somebody like Hunter as the only alternative or will they pay up to bring Woody back for another year? They also need to decide if they are going to bring back versatile back-up Robert Turner.

Secondary – Antonio Cromartie is going to be a highly sought after free agent and if the Jets decide to let him walk, they will be taking a risk at corner opposite Darrelle Revis by hoping Kyle Wilson is ready to step in as a starter. The Jets could always look to sign a free agent to compete with him but if they are going to spend money on a veteran, why not just stick with Cromartie who is comfortable in the system and handled the job well last year? They also need to make a decision at safety, where Brodney Pool will probably cost more than Eric Smith but provides better range and long-term potential next to Jim Leonhard.

Linebacker – The Jets could go into the year with their current depth chart and hope a player like Jamaal Westerman or Josh Mauga steps up as an option in certain packages and as reliable backups or look to bring back Jason Taylor or sign a free agent to support a position that is relatively thin.

TOJ Top Five: New York Jets Free Agency Decisions

Since free agency could be here sooner rather than later, let’s use today’s TOJ Top Five to look at the decisions the Jets will have to make in the coming month or two.

5. Offensive Line

The team released right tackle Damien Woody earlier in the year but may still bring him back since second year lineman Vladimir Ducasse didn’t have a formal off-season to work with the coaches. Wayne Hunter is a free agent and could be signed as a cheaper option to compete with Ducasse if the Jets decide not to bring Woody back. Versatile backup Robert Turner is also a free agent.

4. The Pass Rush

The Jets didn’t add an outside linebacker in the NFL Draft and remain thin overall at the linebacker position. A few people have speculated they could pursue Matt Roth, who spent last season in Cleveland. They could also decide to bring Jason Taylor back, although that seems like a long shot. On the defensive line, a decision has to be made on Shaun Ellis, who is the longest tenured member of the team and could provide an excellent mentor to rookie Muhammad Wilkerson for a year or two. Veteran Trevor Pryce could also be brought back to help take some of the burden off Wilkerson in his rookie year, if the Jets decide to let Ellis walk.

3. Safety Choices…

Brodney Pool and Eric Smith are both free agents, and the Jets will likely have to pick one to bring back as the starter opposite Jim Leonhard. Pool has more potential but could cost more money, Smith struggles in coverage but is a heady player who is good in run support. Backup safety and special teams ace James Ihedigbo is also a free agent.

2. Who to put opposite of The Island?

The Jets need to decide whether or not they are going to bring Antonio Cromartie back to play corner opposite of Darrelle Revis. If Cromartie does walk, the Jets are going to need to find another veteran to compete with Kyle Wilson and provide better depth throughout the cornerback position. Jonathan Joseph, Richard Marshall, Carlos Rogers, Ike Taylor and Chris Carr are all on the market…and no I don’t think the Jets will even pursue Nnamdi Asomugha. Nickelback Drew Coleman is also a free agent and and coming off a career year in 2010.

1. Braylon or Santonio?

Which of the free agent receivers is going to get the long term deal? There is always the possibility that Mike Tannenbaum could put in an early bid for executive of the year by getting them both back but in all likelihood, one will be leaving town…probably Edwards. How it plays out with Edwards and Holmes will determine which (if any) free agent receivers the Jets will pursue in free agency or via trade, whether it is Plaxico Burress, Randy Moss, Chad Ochocinco, Steve Smith, or any of the other names they have been associated with.