Turn On The Jets Roundtable – New York Jets Pre-Season Concern Edition

The TOJ Roundtable discusses the most concerning things about the New York Jets pre-season so far

What has concerned you the most so far about the New York Jets Pre-Season?  

Joe Caporoso – I’m not sure the New York Jets defense is going to be quite as good as many fans and optimists tend to think it will be. Rex Ryan is a terrific defensive coach. Muhammad Wilkerson and Antonio Cromartie are studs. There are a few other intriguing pieces with potential but are we so sure this a top five unit? I’m not. They are still slow (David Harris and Calvin Pace) and inexperienced at linebacker (Demario Davis, Garret McIntyre while Quinton Coples is out), weak at safety and will have growing pains at corner from Dee MIlliner. If the Jets want to be a playoff team, they need to be an elite defense, not just a pretty good one. We haven’t seen the makings of an elite defense yet this summer.

Mike Donnelly The thing that concerns me the most as this Jets team gets ready to start the season has nothing to do with the QB situation or the shaky defensive performance to start the preseason. We know what to expect with the QB’s and from the offense in general, and I have the utmost confidence in Rex Ryan to get the defense right. What does concern me, however, is the amount of nagging injuries that have begun to pile up across the roster. Geno Smith is still nursing a sore ankle, Chris Ivory has a hamstring issue, Joe McKnight had a concussion, Stephen Hill always seems to be dinged up, Santonio Holmes isn’t 100%, Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow are so brittle they only practice half the time, Brian Winters has been hurt pretty much all of training camp, Kenrick Ellis has a back injury, Quinton Coples has a broken ankle, and Dee Milliner has had some leg issues. For a team with a lack of depth across the roster, they can’t afford to have this many injuries, and that is what concerns me the most at this stage.

Mike O’Connor –  So far in this pre-season, many Jets have wowed me and many have been disappointing. However, the one who rises above all at the top of my head is the beyond underwhelming David Harris. Harris is a shadow of his former self, which is extremely concerning already considering he’s only 29, but this was already common knowledge.

What puts my concern over the edge with Harris are two new factors: the surrounding help at inside linebacker, and the increasingly evident flaws in Harris’ game that just arose this year. To start, Demario Davis is an intriguing athlete and there’s certainly room for lots of development, but he’s just not there yet as a starter and I still wonder why the Jets didn’t draft another inside linebacker. With Davis learning and adjusting, Harris’ play needs to be at least close to what it was at the start of his decline.

Yet, Harris has only disappointed me in the two games we’ve seen in the pre-season, and I’m actually shocked at how poor he’s played.  We were witnesses to Harris missing tackles due to his tight hips and subpar overall speed last year, but at this stage, Harris is hardly making it to these tackling opportunities. His reads and play recognition have been worse than ever at the start of this year, and his speed seems to have only gotten more stuck in the mud. When you combine the factors, you have a linebacker who can’t play the entire field and is a major liability when he’s lucky enough to reach the position to make the play. I really worry how David Harris will hold up as the year goes on.

Connor Rogers – The running back group is quite thin and packed with a ton of question marks. While this seems like a committee one shouldn’t “worry” about, their failure can cause a really bad chain reaction. Geno Smith is going to start at some point this season and having a solid ground game is necessary for a rookie quarterback’s success. Mark Sanchez lives and dies off of how successful the Jets run the ball. The defense became fatigued last season when the Jets offense struggled stay on the field (thanks to a poor running game disabling them to set up the passing game). See where I’m headed here? The question marks in this group range from health (Joe McKnight), the unproven (Bilal Powell, Chris Ivory), and the mysterious (Mike Goodson). Adding a veteran to this core could pay dividends. Your move, John Idzik.

TJ Rosenthal –  To be honest, our sights were set low enough overall going in, that we aren’t concerned about much. We want any success this year to be a pleasant surprise. Let’s sneak up on people this year.

On D we don’t like the Coples injury. He looked like a guy who could be a playmaker. The defense will be able to do more things creatively with him in there.

We are pleasantly surprised with the system this offense has to run. The pieces are not set in stone at the skill positions yet and of course neither is the QB1 spot. The potential is there though for some better consistency and big plays.

Our main fear here is that the original blueprint for the backfield never gets a shot to work together. We would love to see Joe McKnight healthy and in space. Where the heck is Mike Goodson? Does anyone know?

Mike Nolan – As an offensive line enthusiast, the thing that has concerned me most is the fact that the Jets only have 4 starting caliber Offensive Linemen on their current depth chart. I like where the OLine is with Brick, Mangold, Colon, and Howard, but Left Guard is a big concern.  Brian Winters has missed too much time to determine if he will be ready to start week one at this point. Stephen Peterman has been horrible in both preseason games and Vlad Ducasse is Vlad Ducasse. While alot of people don’t pay attention to the line, a glaring hole in one spot can lead to penalties, TFLs, and Sacks that can completely halt drives. This is not an offense that can afford to shoot itself in the foot and a lot is now riding on the development of Winters. Depth is also a concern as there isn’t alot of established talent on the 2nd unit.

Daniel Marcus – There are a few obvious ones for me right off the bat, the first and most obvious is Sanchez’s propensity for making at least one bone-headed mistake per game. I feel like whoever wins the job, I’m still going to have to watch them make rookie mistakes. Of course watching Quinton Coples go down with an ankle injury that’s now going to cost him a month is also very concerning, considering that the Jets are counting on his pass-rushing abilities.

The fact that Antonio Cromartie still seemingly does not know how to tackle is also disheartening but the thing that has me concerned is that he must have given Dee Milliner some lessons because he’s starting to look like Cro in that playoff game when he was a member of the Chargers.

The fact that Brian Winters has not been able to get on the field for most of camp/the preseason has also given me some pause because I was hoping he could step up and take a starting job. However, the thing that has concerned me the most, above all else has been Mark Sanchez’s facial hair choices, he went from dirty-looking goatee to a Fu Manchu that makes him look more like “Machete” than Joe Namath circa 72 but that’s just one man’s opinion.

Dalbin Osorio – When our EIC first put this question to the group, I actually thought I was going to have a litany of things to choose from: Mark Sanchez’s choice to resemble a Dragon Ball Z villain, the Wide Receivers making Marty Mornhinweg’s job as de-facto head coach significantly harder since Rex only coaches defense (sarcasm, Jets Nation), to Mike Goodson’s disappearing act. However, when I sat down and thought about it, there are two things that have me more concerned through two games of the preseason.

The first is a strictly on the field issue, and it deals with the Jets’s continued inability to deal with the hurry up offense. Last year, I thought teams decimated us because we were old and slow, with very few athletes on the roster. We got rid of the “old dinosaurs”, like Bart Scott, Yeremiah Bell, Mike Devito, and Sione Pouha, and replaced them with athletes like Demario Davis, Dee Milliner, Sheldon Richardson, and Antwan Barnes. Gone were the days where teams will hurry up us to death, because we had speed on defense now. And then, the incomparable Blaine Gabbert comes into Metlife Stadium and no huddles us up and down the field. Now, in the NFL the hurry up is as prevalent as the pick and roll in basketball. I think Rex is a good coach with an incredible defensive acumen. You mean to tell me you still haven’t figured it out? When every team in your division will be running a variation of this? That was concerning for me. Also, the Jets will play the Falcons, Saints, Steelers, Browns, Panthers, and Ravens on top of the division opponents, so that’s potentially 12 out of 16 games where the defense will have to defend the no huddle against teams with better QBs than Blaine Gabbert.

The second concerning thing for me has been Rex’s attitude. Gone is the fire breathing head coach that we’ve known and loved and he’s been replaced with a stoic, sympathetic version of himself. It makes me question whether Rex is really all in for this year, or if he believes that he will be fired. We at TOJ have broken down how we feel about Rex as a head coach (he’s the 2nd best coach in franchise history), but his lack of fire has been concerning. A hint of Old Rex reared it’s head yesterday when stating that the Jets will finish with a top 5 defense, and we need to see more of that Rex because it’s that Rex that the players want to play for, and it’s that Rex that needs to coach this team in order for this team to surprise some people this year.

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the EVP of Content at Whistle Sports