Early Thoughts On Jets Draft

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First a few updates:

1. We are in the process of putting together a network wide mock draft, so keep a look out for it on Fanball and my article on what I decide to do with the 29thpick after seeing how the rest of the first round breaks down.

2. We picked up 5 new facebook fans yesterday for Turn On The Jets, which we means we are 9 away from 200, so once again follow Turn On The Jets on facebook.

3. Shaun Ellis has begun the rehab process for his broken hand and should be ready to go in time for the Jets off-season program.

4. The Jets have been linked to Adalius Thomas on multiple occasions as a potential target this off-season, if he is cut by New England (which he likely will be). I would be all for the Jets finding a way to get him without overpaying. I think he could rotate with Bryan Thomas at outside linebacker and improve the pass rush.

Early Thoughts On Jets Draft

With the Fanball mock draft rapidly approaching, I figured this was a good time to do a better job of familiarizing myself with some potential prospects the Jets could target with the 29th overall pick in the first round. The Jets also have the 29th overall pick in the 2nd, 6th, and 7th round, along with one of the Eagles 5th round selections. My initial thoughts on the draft, is that knowing his history, Mike Tannenbaum is likely to make multiple moves either trading up or trading down. I would also expect the first two selections to be defensive players unless there is a receiver the Jets fall in love with who is available at number 29 or at the end of the second round. Hopefully, one or two of those late round picks will be on offensive lineman for the Jets to develop behind Faneca and Woody.

Tim Graham did a nice job on his AFC East blog at ESPN.com, rounding up the latest mock selections for the Jets in the first round. Here is what he came up with:

  • ESPN’s Todd McShay – Arrelious Benn, Wide Receiver, Illinois
  • SI’s Don Banks – Damian Williams, Wide Receiver, USC
  • National Football Post’s Wes Bunting – Arrelious Benn, Wide Receiver, Illinois
  • Football Future’s Robert Davis – Patrick Robinson, Corner, Florida State
  • Arizona Republic’s Bob McManaman – Jared Odrick, Defensive Tackle, Penn State
  • PFW’s Nolan Nawrocki – Demaryius Thomas, Wide Receiver, Georgia Tech
  • CBS Sports Rob Rang – Damian Williams, Wide Receiver, USC
  • CBS Sports Chad Reuter – Trent Williams, Offensive Tackle, Oklahoma
  • Fox Sports Peter Schrager – Kyle Wilson, Corner, Boise State
  • Scout.Com’s Chris Steuber – Dan Williams, Defensive Tackle, Tennessee

PhotobucketMy first thoughts when looking at this collection of names is that 5 out of 10 people think the Jets are going wide receiver and only 2 out of 10 think they are going corner, which surprised me. I would be shocked if the Jets spend a first round pick on an offensive tackle because he probably wouldn’t play next year and I think the Jets want instant help. I wouldn’t be as surprised if they went defensive lineman because of concern about Jenkins coming back from injury.

Here are some other sites that I looked up and who they had the Jets taking:

  • Draft Countdown – Golden Tate, Wide Receiver, Notre Dame
  • Walter Football – Jerry Hughes, OLB/DE, TCU
  • Draft Site – Brandon Graham – Outside Linebacker, Michigan

From everything I have read about this year’s draft (which honestly isn’t that much at this point), Kyke Wilson, Dan Williams, and Jared Odrick sound like guys the Jets would like to get their hands on. Damian Williams and Golden Tate are both big time receivers from big time programs, who have skill sets that could fit well into being the Jets #3 receiver next year. It also can’t hurt Williams that he has some experience with Mark Sanchez already. Overall, considering where the Jets are picking unless they really fall in love with somebody, I could easily see them trading back and trying to get more picks to improve their overall depth. Obviously, whatever moves they make in free agency will also impact their decisions during draft weekend.

Golden Tate Highlights

Damian Williams Highlights

Jets Offense Has Bright Future

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First a few updates:

1. Well, there really isn’t too much to update about the Jets. Last week the Jets signed Chiefs practice squad long snapper Tanner Purdum, which could mark the end of James Death era. They are in the running to sign CFL MVP linebacker Rickey Foley, and some people are talking about the Jets signing Donte Stallworth, which I don’t think is happening. From a football perspective, it wouldn’t be a terrible idea but I don’t think the Jets want the PR of signing a guy who was suspended a year for manslaughter.

2. Further in the category of jinxing the Jets next year, Herman Edwards picked the Jets and Cowboys to play in the Super Bowl next year, just like Gary Myers of the Daily News. My pick? Rams vs. Browns.

3. I have made the educated decision to not do any of my work for the rest of the week since we are supposed to be hit with 2 feet of snow, so now I am just playing the waiting game. The only thing left on my agenda from now until is Friday is blogging and watching LOST tonight, yes it is an exciting life I live.

4. Follow Turn On The Jets on facebook…we are locked in at 186 fans right now, and I need to get 200 by the end of the month.

Jets Offense Has Bright Future

Yesterday I wrote about the Jets defense and the holes they need to fill over the upcoming few off-seasons. Today, I am going to turn the focus over to the Jets offense. Despite a sluggish regular season, the long-term potential of this unit was on display during the playoffs. You have to be encouraged by the young core of talent the Jets have assembled on the offensive side of the football.

The regular season statistics were ugly but Mark Sanchez stepped up his game in the playoffs. With another year in the system and his knee taken care of, Sanchez should be a much improved quarterback next season. Nobody is saying he is ready to become a pro-bowler but I think the days of 6/12 for 65 yards are over with. There were flashes of what the Jets offense could be when Sanchez is playing well against the Texans, Patriots, Titans, and Dolphins last year during the regular season and of course in the wild-card round and the first half of the AFC Championship Game. There will be more responsibilitygiven to Sanchez next season and he should have better chemistry with Braylon Edwards after having a full off-season to work with him. Beyond that, he will be benefited from having Leon Washington as a check-down option and a threat in the screen game. It would be nice to see the Jets get a veteran backup for Sanchez, to give Erik Ainge another year to develop as a long-term backup. I am all for Chad Pennington coming back.

One of the most interesting parts of the Jets off-season will be seeing how they handle the situation with Thomas Jones. I think the Jets should pay him the bonus he is due and bring him back as their 1B option at running back. It is too risky to head into the season with Shonn Greene, who had some injury issues last year and Leon Washington who is coming off major surgery. Even though I think the Jets will open up the offense a little more, they will still be a run heavy unit so there is nothing wrong with having a 3 headed monster. Greene is going to be the primary guy and if he can stay healthy will be a 1500 yard back. I hope Leon can get back to where he was on offense and give the Jets the third-down back/screen threat they desperately needed last year. Even with Greene getting the bulk of the carries and Washington hopefully getting 10 offensive touches a game, Jones would still have value as a short-yardage/goal-line back and a guy who can chip in 10-12 carries or maybe more depending on the game plan. The Jets could also have a hole to fill at fullback if Tony Richardson decides to retire, but hopefully he will decide to come back on another 1 year deal after a productive season.

PhotobucketI have heard some people say the Jets need need a legit number one receiver but I think they are in good shape with Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery as their starters. Yes, Edwards made his share of mistakes last year but he also made his share of big plays. With a full off-season to work with the team and Sanchez, there is no reason Edwards can’t be the #1 receiver the Jets traded for him to be. Cotchery played at the level of a #1 receiver for most of last year and if it wasn’t for an ankle injury, would have been a 1000 yard guy. Is it crazy to think both Edwards and Cotchery could be right around or slightly over 1000 yards next year, with Sanchez a year better?

The Jets do need a number 3 receiver/slot guy. Brad Smith deserves a roster spot because of his value on special teams and gadget plays. However, either Wallace Wright or David Clowney need to be replaced with a guy who can make some plays out of the slot. Chansi Stuckey was really perfect for this role but unfortunately he had to be sent back in the Edwards trade. Dustin Keller needs to be used the way he was in the playoffs, because he should be much more than a 500 yard, 2 touchdown a season guy. I would love to see Ben Hartsock replaced with a player who can block but is also somewhat of a receiving threat. Overall, even if the Jets don’t add another receiver this off-season Edwards, Cotchery, and Keller are a pretty strong top three targets for Sanchez to grow with over the next few years.

The offensive line was superb last season but is getting old at couple of spots. Nick Mangold, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, and Brandon Moore should all be in place for a long time but the Jets have to start thinking about who will eventually replace Alan Faneca and Damien Woody. Hopefully, both guys can give us another two strong seasons but nothing is guaranteed at their age. Robert Turner and Wayne Huner have gained some valuable experience the past few years as extra tight ends and could eventually be looked to as starters. Also, Matt Slauson was drafted in the 6th round last year and will hopefully develop into something down the road. I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Jets grab another lineman in the late rounds of this year’s draft.

With a core of Mark Sanchez (23), Shonn Greene (24), Leon Washington (27), Dustin Keller (25), Braylon Edwards (26), Jerricho Cotchery (27), Nick Mangold (26), D’Brickashaw Ferguson (26), Brandon Moore (29), and Brad Smith (26), the Jets offense could be very good, for a very long time. I know many Jets fan have a strong hate for Brian Schottenheimer(that is an article for another day) but I think he did good last year, considering he was dealing with a rookie quarterback and a receiving core that was shuffled around in the first half of the season from trades and injuries. He is a creative guy and it will be a big benefit for Sanchez to play in the same offense with the same coordinator for the second year in a row. Ideally this off-season, the Jets will get Thomas Jones and Tony Richardson back, find a #3 receiver, improve their #2 tight end, get a veteran backup QB and draft a lineman in the late rounds.

Could It Be? Another 2009 Highlight Tape

Jets Training Camp Wrap Up: August 11th, Jones on the Market?

Jets Training Camp Wrap Up: August 11th, Jones on the Market?

New Starting Running Back?: According to the National Football Post, the Jets have been placing some calls around the league to gauge trade interest in starting running back Thomas Jones. The article specifically cites a NFC West team that the Jets have been in discussions with. You have to think that team would be Seattle, since the 49ers have Frank Gore, the Cardinals have Tim Hightower/Beanine Wells and the Rams have Stephen Jackson. Personally, I think it’s a crazy idea to trade Jones. If the Jets are going to run the ball as much as they say they are, why would you trade a pro-bowl workhorse like TJ? I understand the factors with his age and contract but just let him go after the season, that way Shonn Greene/Danny Woodhead/Jehuu Caulcrick all have a year to develop and gain some NFL experience, especially Greene. There is nothing wrong with having a potent three headed monster at running back, especially when you are thin at receiver/tight end and starting an inexperienced quarterback.

Camp Story of the Day: Both quarterbacks stepped up their games today. Sanchez was accurate and in-control while working with the first-team offense. Clemens had one of his best practices working with the second team and made an acrobatic play to Britt Davis for a two-point conversion. He also hit Brad Smith for a 50 yard bomb down the sideline…encouraging signs for both Smith and Clemens.

Pre-Season Update: Kris Jenkins, Darrelle Revis, Nick Mangold, and Damien Woody won’t play on Friday…likely giving starts to Sione Pouha (NT), Dwight Lowery (CB), Rob Turner (C), and Wayne Hunter (T). Kellen Clemens will start at quarterback but Mark Sanchez will receive some work with the first team offense, although he won’t play into the second half. Rex Ryan said Erik Ainge will probably see the majority of snaps, likely playing most of the second half…oh boy. It will be important for Clemens to set the tempo early, avoid turnovers, and move the football. Sanchez will have lowered expectations because it is his first NFL action, but if he can engineer a scoring drive with the first-offense and protect the football, it might be lights out for Clemens in this QB battle.

First Pre-Season Game Ramble: You have to be excited as a Jets fan about this Friday. The best part of the first pre-season game is finally seeing what your team’s offense and defense looks like, in terms of formations and play calling, along with seeing all the new additions out there in Green and White. We will also get to see our new coaching staff on the sideline for the first time, and get some type of a sense about the 2009 team’s style and attitude.

X and Z, Receiver Talk: Rich Cimini pointed out how Jerricho Cotcheryhas been working at split end (X) with the Jets first offense, with Chansi Stuckey in the slot (Z). Cotchery has been the Z the past few years, but playing at X will allow him more 1 on 1 match-ups and create more space for him to get open. Stuckey has had a great camp but playing Z will be a big test for him, it is a tough position that requires alot of movement, different types of routes, and versatility.

Number Crunching: It will be real interesting to see if the Jets decide to keep 6 running backs, 6 receivers, or 10 secondary guys. People like Danny Woodhead, Britt Davis, and Drew Coleman need to show value on special teams in these upcoming pre-season games.

Jets Highlights of the Day: Speaking of Thomas Jones and the Rams, here is Thomas Jones highlights against the Rams from last year, not the best quality but still a decent watch.

Eight Observations on Jets Training Camp

First a few updates:

1. Some schedule news – The Jets open their pre-season schedule this Friday at home against the St. Louis Rams. On Thursday, their practice will be closed to the media. Wednesday is family night at 6 PM out at Hofstra, throwing a bone out to the Jets Long Island fans. Tomorrow they have one full practice in the morning and an afternoon special teams session.

2. The Jets released their first official depth chart today, I will update it accordingly on the site which can be accessed on the top of the home page.

Ten Monday Observations on Jets Training Camp

– I know it is only one game and I know that it was somewhat expected but don’t underestimate the blow of not having Shaun Ellis for week one against the Texans. The Jets will now have their top two sack leaders from last season suspended for week one against a Houston offense that loves to spread it out and throw the football. They will be also now be giving two players their first ever NFL start, likely Mike DeVito at defensive end and Vernon Gholston at outside linebacker. If you want to look at the silver lining, DeVito and Gholston will gain some valuable playing time which will improve the Jets overall depth. However, in reality the Jets will be hurting without Pace and Ellis.

– Speaking of hurting, the list of minor Jets injuries is starting to concern me. It is almost comical how Rex Ryan brushes off every single injury as not significant and it’s not that I don’t believe him, it is just that a high number of key guys are nursing injuries. Nick Mangold’s knee is bothering him, Kris Jenkins is still out with a sore calf, Darrelle Revis isn’t taking part in team drills because of a tight hamstring, Tony Richardson is out with a hip pointer, Shaun Ellis sat out today with a tight back, and Donald Strickland is still out with a knee bruise…how can that not bother you a little bit? Richardson and Jenkins won’t play on Friday, which will give a big opportunity to Sione Pouha and Jehuu Caulcrick.

– Mark Sanchez has taken a few baby steps back since his big time performance with the starters on Saturday. He has struggled the last couple of practices with his accuracy, missing a few open targets while Kellen Clemens has been decent although he threw another interception today, giving him 11 throughout camp compared to Sanchez’s 3. Ryan is giving Clemens the start at home against the Rams because he will logically alternate and given Sanchez the 2nd start in the pre-season. Why would Ryan want Sanchez starting week 2? He wants to throw his highly touted rookie right into the fire on national television against his former team, the Baltimore Ravens on the road. You want to see what Sanchez has before the regular season…in Baltimore, against their starters for a full quarter on ESPN is a great test.

– So it looks like Wayne Hunter is really going to be the Jets #2 tight end. Apparently the big fella caught a 20 yard out route in front of Bart Scott the other day….impressive. Here is a fun fact about Wayne Hunter, the guy had an overall 100 morale rating in Madden 2008. Why is he so happy? I don’t know, but keep your spirits up Wayne and keep catching those passes.

– Rex Ryan raved about Vernon Gholston today like he was Bruce Smith because he has recorded a couple of sacks in the Jets last few practices. Yes, we are all happy to see Gholston finally making some plays in practice but keep in perspective that he has been outplayed all camp by Marques Murrell and Jamaal Westerman. I think we all would be encouraged by a sack this Friday night.

– I am disappointed by the quiet training camps from Brad Smith and David Clowney, especially Clowney. However, I am intrigued to watch Britt Davis and Wallace Wright this Friday and see if they can make a move up the depth chart.

– You have to love Leon Washington for putting together such a strong camp despite the Jets playing hard-ball with him on his contract negotiations…just pay the man his money, Mike Tannenbaum.

– A few observations on the Jets depth chart – Surprised to see Kareem Brown in front of Jack Simmons at tight end, Jamaal Westerman has already hopped Larry Izzo and Kenwin Cummings at inside linebacker, good to see Matt Slauson behind Alan Faneca at LG.

Green and White Scrimmage Recap

Green and White Scrimmage Recap

The Jets defense is way ahead of their offense, but hey…we knew that already. The Jets ‘Green and White’ scrimmage didn’t do anything to change that notion. Neither the first or second offense was able to manage any points (keep in mind, a couple of fourth down conversions were attempted and failed in field goal territory), the lone touchdown of the day came from the third offense, when backup receiver Paul Raymond scored on a 15 yard reverse. Let’s go over what we saw from each position….

Quarterback – Kellen Clemens didn’t turn the ball over, which was a positive. However, he didn’t do anything to separate himself from Mark Sanchez. He mostly threw short, safe passes and finished roughly 5-7 for 26 yards. His best throw was probably a 11 yard completion in the seam to Dustin Keller on a third down. His worst throw was on a 3rd and 20, when Chansi Stuckey got behind Drew Coleman and Clemens under threw him, leading to a jump ball that was nearly intercepted.

Mark Sanchez played very well and drew a high amount of praise from Rex Ryan. The rookie was victimized by four dropped passes, including two from Britt Davis (who received some press earlier in the day as the “mystery” receiver the Jets organization was excited about, maybe they jinxed him…) and one by Jack Simmons, who also didn’t help himself with an offsides penalty. Unofficially, Sanchez was 9-15 for 70 yards. He showed his chemistry with Wallace Wright, hitting him 3 times for 23 yards including a nice throw on a deep comeback route for about 15 yards. He didn’t have any turnovers but did take a sack, when he failed to notice a backside corner blitz. Sanchez made the quarterback battle even tighter with his performance today, I’d say right now it is an even 50-50, after it being slightly tilted in Clemens favor most of the week.

Erik Ainge actually played half way decent, hitting Marcus Henry for a 38 yard gain, which was the day’s biggest offensive play. He led the offense on their only scoring drive of the day.

Running Back – Thomas Jones was relatively quiet, except for a monster blitz pick-up. Leon Washington had 3 catches for 12 yards. Shonn Greene was the best news of the day on offense. The rookie third-round pick had 25 yards on 6 carries, including a 12 yard run when he broke to the outside. He also had a 33 yard reception on a screen pass. You have to get excited when thinking about the Jets potential three-headed monster at running back.

Receiver – Britt Davis received the hype today and struggled to validate the coaching staff’s excitement with two key drops. David Clowney had a quiet day with 1 catch for 7 yards. Brad Smith didn’t do anything of note. Chansi Stuckey and Jerricho Cotchery had 2 catches a piece. Marcus Henry had the play of the day with a 38 yard reception over Drew Coleman. Wallace Wright had a strong outing and is pretty much locked into a roster spot. The only way Davis or Henry make the roster at this point is if the Jets decide to keep 6 receivers.

Tight End – Jack Simmons had a drop and a penalty. Kareem Brown had a 8 yard catch. Dustin Keller had one catch for 11 yards…the Jets still need help at this position.

Offensive Line – Three plays were called as “sacks,” although two came from members of the secondary which could fall on the running backs and their blitz pick-up. The best news? No injuries.

Defensive Line – Mike DeVito left with an injury but according to Rex Ryan it isn’t that serious. The Jets showed some unique looks on the defensive line, with Shaun Ellis sliding over to nose tackle and Sione Pouha dropping to MLB (no, that wasn’t a error).

Linebacker – Vernon Gholston had an active today, which is a step in the right direction for him. He was around the ball alot and made a handful of tackles. Marques Murrell had a tackle for a loss, Kenwin Cummings had a tackle for a loss, Jamaal Westerman had a sack, Brandon Renkart had a quarterback pressure. Ryan singled out Cummings and David Harris as having particularly strong days.

Secondary – The secondary continued their excellent training camp. Darrelle Revis was lockdown as usual, Lito Sheppard played well and did good in run support. Dwight Lowery had a sack, Drew Coleman had a couple of passes defensed. James Ihedigbo had a sack, Kerry Rhodes had a tackle for a loss. The Jets secondary is going to be very good this season, especially if second-tier players like Ihedigbo, Coleman, and Eric Smith keep playing well.

Tomorrow – The Jets have off and are taking a trip out to the pro football Hall of Fame…however, I won’t take off and will write an article about what we have learned through the first week of Jets training camp.

Jets Training Camp Wrap Up: August 5th

First a few updates:

1. Big weekend coming up, starting tomorrow night with the Jets Green and White Scrimmage and of course, the beginning of a huge 4 game series between the Yankees and Red Sox. As of right now, it looks like the Yanks will head into the series with a 2.5 game lead in the standings, which means this series really gives them a chance to put some distance between them and Boston over the weekend.

2. A complaint from a frustrated New York sports talk radio listener – Due to my long commute to Newark everyday, I spend alot of time listening to both 660 and 1050 AM and I can’t tell you freakin’ tired I am of hearing about the Mets. The Yankees are in first place in the best division in baseball, the Jets and Giants are both in training camp, and yet all I hear is discussion about the Mets, a fourth place team who is 5 games under .500, enough, nobody cares, their season is over. We all understand how awful they are and how many injuries they have, now spend some more time talking about my Yankees and Jets. (Sorry for another Mets bashing paragraph, Mandy, but I can’t help myself).

3. A quick comment on the New York Football Giants – Congrats to Eli for signing his fat new contract. The guy won a Super Bowl, he earned it. The G-Men are arguably the best team in the NFC this year despite their pedestrian receiving core that is counting on the likes of Domenick Hixon, Mario Manningham, and Sinorce Moss to handle major reps. The only thing that bothers me about the Giants is how much they talk about being disrespected and flying under the radar, it isn’t two seasons ago guys, everybody respects you and realizes you are a good team.

Jets Training Camp Wrap Up: August 5th

Story of the Day: Good day for the rookie…Mark Sanchez slightly outperformed Kellen Clemens today and did a good job with his extended reps with the first team. This battle is basically even right now, with a maybe a slight tilt towards Clemens. However, Kellen struggled today, taking too many sacks and throwing another interception into the hands of Kerry Rhodes. Sanchez showed good pocket presence in practice and had a better two minute drill than Clemens, who went three and out. Tomorrow is a big day for Sanchez who will get to go head to head versus Clemens in the Green and White Scrimmage. If he wants more reps with the first team, tomorrow is the day to make a statement.

More Quarterback Daily News: Rex Ryan said he wants to name a starter before the Jets third pre-season game against the Giants. You would have to think he will let Clemens and Sanchez start a game a piece before then and hope one of them seizes the job. The third pre-season game is when the starters see extended work, meaning whomever gets the nod in that game will be in good shape to start the regular season against Houston.

Secondary Love: Ryan talked at length today about how good he believes the Jets secondary is. Dwight Lowery continued his strong camp by knocking down three passes in practice today and Drew Coleman also flashed a few times, with an interception and a pass defensed, drawing praise from Ryan who thinks his skill set fits well with the Jets new scheme on defense. Ryan’s also complimented Donald Strickland’s versatility to play corner, nickle, and safety. James Ihedigbo looks like he will have a bigger role on the defense this season and could be active in nickle and dime packages. Darrelle Revis? He is the best corner in football according to Ryan and you won’t get much of an argument from me, although Asomugha on Oakland is probably still #1.

Tight End Issues: First off, condolences to Kareem Brown who lost a close friend in a car accident, which is why he missed the first few Jets practices. Many of the beat writers dedicated articles in today’s paper to the Jets lack of depth at tight end. Unless Jack Simmons, Brown, or the newly signed Kevin Brock really picks things up in the next week or two, the Jets are going to have bring in a veteran. Right now, reserve tackle Wayne Hunter is working as the primary backup. Hopefully, somebody will make a few plays tomorrow in the scrimmage and then in the first pre-season game to distinguish themselves.

Injury News: Shaun Ellis, Kris Jenkins, Shonn Greene, Tony Richardson and Donald Strickland are all nursing minor injuries and should be back soon. I don’t know if any of them will play tomorrow, but it would be nice to see Greene out there since he is a rookie. There is no need to rush veterans like Ellis, Richardson or Jenkins back.

Receiver Transaction: The Jets released Mario Urrutia (what kind of person would pick this guy to make the 53 man roster and think he was an under the radar guy to watch in camp…ooops) and got Aundrae Allison off waivers from the Vikings. Allison is a speedy guy, who has experience as a kick returner. He also has 18 career catches for 231 yards, which is nothing to scoff at when guys like David Clowney (1 career catch) and Wallace Wright (6 career receptions) are competing for major playing time.

Good Camp/Bad Camp: Good Camp – Wallace Wright, Chansi Stuckey, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Bart Scott, Dwight Lowery, Howard Green, Jim Leonhard….Bad Camp (Or Quiet Camp) – David Clowney, J’Nathan Bullock, Mike DeVito, Sione Pouha, Jason Trusnik, Huey Whittaker, Marcus Henry

Tomorrow: Morning Session closed to the media and Green and White Scrimmage at 6 PM (Live play by play audio on www.newyorkjets.com, I know I’ll be listening).

5 Guys to Watch For in Tomorrow’s Scrimmage:

1. Mark Sanchez – Duh, big chance for the rookie to make some plays and a make a move in the QB battle.

2. David Clowney – He has been quiet all camp, can he make a few big plays?

3. Vernon Gholston – See above.

4. Jehuu Caulcrick/Shonn Greene – Who? Caulcrick will be the starting fullback with T-Rich out with injury. If Greene plays, he should be in line for some short yardage carries.

5. Kareem Brown/Jack Simmons/J’Nathan Bullock – Somebody could get a leg up in battle for the #2 TE spot.

Jets Training Camp Eve Updates & Predicted 53 Man Roster

Jets Training Camp Eve Updates & Predicted 53 Man Roster

– Leon Washington is the only Jets player who didn’t report to training camp today. Both Rich Cimini and Dave Hutchinson have stated that their sources indicate a deal is imminent and at the latest should be done by the end of the weekend, let’s hope so. It won’t kill the Jets if Washington misses 3 or 4 practices, but if he starts missing weeks of work, it will impact the development of their offense. Shonn Greene, Danny Woodhead, and Jehuu Caulcrick should all see extended work in his absence.

– Thomas Jones was present today but still not talking to any reporters. Hopefully, Jones has realized he isn’t getting a new deal and will play motivated to impress the Jets and other NFL teams for when he likely hits the market next year. The Jets didn’t trade all those picks to have Shonn Greene be a third string running back for more than 1 year. Jones is a professional and likely doesn’t want to incur daily fines, the guy has a right to ignore the media if he wants to and be unhappy with his contract, as long as it doesn’t affect his play.

– Calvin Pace made some comments today, nothing to note worthy except how he plans to push Vernon Gholston and Marques Murrell during the pre-season. He again explained his side of the story about taking a banned substance but has still owned up to his mistake and should have plenty of motivation to make a big impact on the Jets defense starting in week 5.

– Rex Ryan named Kellen Clemens the Jets number one quarterback heading into the first practice tomorrow, saying he will get the majority of the first team reps in the early going while they ease Mark Sanchez in…well, duh. Let’s not make this a bigger story than it is, obviously Clemens was going to begin camp as the starter since he is the veteran and is more familiar with the offense. Sanchez will have every chance to win this job.

– Rich Cimini has reported the Jets still have interest in a veteran receiver and that they still have plenty of room under the cap to get one (can’t we use some of that money for #29 and maybe a little for #20, to keep him happy) but who can the Jets really get at this point? Matt Jones might be the most talented guy out there, but apparently Rex Ryan isn’t a big fan of him. I’m not sure how much Amani Toomer can really add to this team and forget about Marvin Harrison with his gun charge. The Jets might be stuck with what they have, time to step up Chansi, David, Brad, Wallace, Marcus, Mario, and Huey.

– The Jets have two practices tomorrow, one at 8:15 AM and one at 4 PM. Hopefully, the big news of the day will be that Leon Washington has a new contract in place at the end of the day and that Mark Sanchez looked great with the second team, but we’ll see. The Jets beat writers and other individuals who attend camp do a great job of relaying all the details of the day, my goal will be to provide a daily synopsis after reading everything I can get my eyes on and then offer opinions and analysis throughout camp. I do plan on attending the Jets practice at Hofstra and a few of their practices in Florham Park, there is still a small chance I could make it out to Cortland, but that is a tough trip with my job and grad school starting up soon.

Predicted 53 Man Roster, Pre-Training Camp: Obviously, it is hard to know how Rex Ryan is going break down his roster in terms of how many guys he keeps at each position, but it’s worth taking a shot at before camp starts:

Quarterback –

  1. Kellen Clemens – Should put up a spirited fight but eventually be the #2.
  2. Mark Sanchez – The franchise quarterback, can he win the job by week 1?
  3. Erik Ainge – Will win a close battle with Chris Pizzotti for the #3 job.

Running Back –

  1. Thomas Jones – Still the #1 back, unhappy or not.
  2. Leon Washignton – Get him in camp, ASAP.
  3. Shonn Greene – Will be the Jets starter on opening day 2010.
  4. Tony Richardson (FB) – Valuable piece of the offense.
  5. Jehuu Caulcrick (FB/RB) – Hopefully, future FB and short yardage back.

Wide Receiver –

  1. Jerricho Cotchery – Chance for him to prove he is a #1.
  2. Chansi Stuckey – Should lead the committee approach to the #2 spot.
  3. David Clowney – Will have every chance to be the Jets big play receiver.
  4. Brad Smith – Is he more than an athlete and a gimmick player?
  5. Wallace Wright – Too good on specials not to make the roster.
  6. Mario Urrutia – My pick for #53 on the roster, just over Kenwin Cummings and Drew Coleman.

Tight End –

  1. Dustin Keller – Alot of pressure on Keller to have a big sophomore season.
  2. Kareem Brown – Hopefully he can continue his progress from the spring.
  3. Jack Simmons – Could end up being the #2 sooner rather than later.
  4. James Dearth – The long snapper.

Offensive Line –

  1. RT – Damein Woody – Hopefully can replicate last year’s consistency.
  2. RG – Brandon Moore – Just keep doing what you been doing.
  3. C – Nick Mangold – Anchor of the Jets offensive line
  4. LG – Alan Faneca – Didn’t show signs of age last season.
  5. LT – D’Brickashaw Ferguson – Keep getting better, especially in run blocking.
  6. G/T – Robert Turner – Pressure to prove he can provide adequate depth.
  7. T – Wayne Hunter – See directly above.
  8. G/T – Matt Slauson – Long term project, hopefully eventually replaces Faneca.

Defensive Line

  1. Kris Jenkins – Needs to stay healthy and productive for 16 games.
  2. Shaun Ellis – Veteran leader on defense and still a very good player.
  3. Marques Douglas – Needs to prove he can handle starting.
  4. Sione Pouha – Needs to provide quality reps off the bench.
  5. Mike DeVito – Big chance to see starter type reps.
  6. Howard Greene – Needs to support Jenkins off the bench.
  7. Ropati Pitoitua – Hoping to become part of D-Line rotation.

Linebackers –

  1. Bart Scott – Needs to provide swagger, leadership, and confidence to defense.
  2. David Harris – Should excel next to Scott.
  3. Calvin Pace – Looking forward to week 5.
  4. Bryan Thomas – Needs to step up, especially in first four weeks.
  5. Vernon Gholston – Huge training camp for the former first round pick.
  6. Marques Murrell – Chance to be major part of the defense.
  7. Jason Trusnik – Looking for more playing time.
  8. Larry Izzo – Special teams ace.
  9. Jamaal Westerman – Versatile, long term prospect at LB.

Secondary –

  1. Darrelle Revis – One of the best.
  2. Lito Sheppard – Needs to find 2006 form.
  3. Kerry Rhodes – Needs to find 2006 form.
  4. Jim Leonhard – Veteran of Ryan’s defense.
  5. Donald Strickland – Veteran nickle back.
  6. Dwight Lowery – Looking to build on last year.
  7. Eric Smith – Good depth at safety from the former starter.
  8. Ahmad Carroll – Looking to expand beyond special teams.
  9. James Ihedigbo – Trying to lock down #4 safety spot.

Special Teams

  1. K – Jay Feely – Just make your kicks.
  2. P – TJ Conley – Will beat out Reggie Hodges.

Jets Highlight of the Day: 2008 Jets Season Highlights

Jets Training Camp: Five Under the Radar Players to Watch

First a few updates:

1. Daily running back contract updates – It is apparently now 50-50 that Leon Washington will have a new deal in place before training camp starts on Friday. Washington’s agent is meeting face to face with Mike Tannenbaum tomorrow, hopefully to iron out the final details of the contract. The Jets aren’t planning on making any new offers to Thomas Jones and there hasn’t been any news about him planning to hold out, so I guess we’ll just have to see what happens on Friday.

2. TV Discussion of the Day – I was a big fan of the third episode of Entourage, much better than the first two. Funny cameo by 50 Cent and some progress in the plot line.

Jets Training Camp: Five Under the Radar Players to Watch

Anybody can watch out for Mark Sanchez and other high profile players, but here are some lesser known players to keep an eye on during Jets training camp.

1. Jamaal Westerman – Linebacker

The Jets signed the former Rutgers defensive end to a free agent contract immediately after the draft. Westerman stood out in both OTA’s and mini-camp impressing the coaching staff with his versatility and ability to learn both outside and inside linebacker. Rex Ryan said Westerman will begin camp at inside backer but he should still receive some work at outside, especially with Calvin Pace suspended. The backup positions at linebacker are wide open and from the way Ryan has praised Westerman’s early work, the UDFA should have a good shot at grabbing one of the Jets 53 spots.

2. Mario Urrutia – Wide Receiver

Urrutia has something no other Jets receiver has, height. He stands at 6’6 and weighs 232 pounds. The Jets receiver position is wide open after Jerricho Cotchery, giving a little known player like Urrutia a chance to battle for a roster spot. He had a huge freshman and sophomore year at Louisville before having a let down junior year and then becoming a 7th round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2008. They cut him after the season and the Jets picked him up, hoping he could develop into a red-zone threat. You can’t teach height and Urrutia displayed a ton of talent in his first two seasons at Lousville, maybe the Jets found a diamond in the rough to help their thin receiver core.

3. Jack Simmons – Tight End

Simmons is the only Jets tight end on the roster except for Dustin Keller, who played the position last season giving him a potential edge in the battle for the #2 tight end spot. He was a three year starter at Minnesota and caught 34 passes for 331 yards and 2 TD’s last year. Simmons was impressive in mini-camp, showing good hands and an ability to block, something the Jets desperately need at the tight end position. After Keller, it is wide open for the #2 and #3 tight spot, giving Simmons a great chance to be on the active roster despite being a rookie UDFA.

4. Ropati Pitoitua – Defensive End

After spending last season on the practice squad, Pitoitua could have a chance to work himself into the defensive end rotation in 2009. He has great size at 6’8, 310 pounds and the Jets are thin at his position, with inexperienced players behind starters in Shaun Ellis and Marques Douglas. If Pitoitua has a strong pre-season, he could end up on the active roster and be a part of the Jets long term defensive line plans.

5. Ahmad Carroll – Cornerback/Safety

Carroll is a former first round pick who was just about out of the NFL until the Jets took a shot on him last season. He responded by becoming one of their better special teams players, providing speed on their coverage units. The word out of the OTA’s was that Carroll looked good in his defensive back drills and Rex Ryan’s aggressive man to man scheme plays to his athletic strengths that made him a first round pick. Carroll could be a surprise contender for the nickel-back role or a spot in the Jets dime packages. The Jets are also a little thin at safety after Rhodes, Leonhard, and Eric Smith and Carroll has the size to potentially move over and play both corner and safety.

Jets Highlight of the Day: Thomas Jones may not be getting a new contract, but he is getting a highlight today on TurnOnTheJets.com (Turn off the music, if you don’t want to hear explicit lyrics)

Jets Training Camp: Five Position Battles

First a few updates:

1. RIP to former Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson, who was one of the brightest minds in the NFL.

2. Brett Favre has decided to stay retired…boohoo.

Jets Training Camp: Five Position Battles

1. Starting Quarterback: Mark Sanchez vs. Kellen Clemens vs. Erik Ainge (Just Kidding)

Why Sanchez Will Win: The Jets didn’t trade up to draft Sanchez and pay him 60 million dollars to have him sit on the bench. Rex Ryan watched Joe Flacco lead the Ravens to the AFC Championship game last year and will believe Sanchez can do the same. The rookie from USC only has to keep it close with Kellen Clemens this summer and the job will be his.

Why Clemens Will Win: He is more experienced in the offense and the Jets are built to win now. Sanchez only had 16 starts at USC and simply won’t be ready to lead a NFL offense by September. Similar to how Chad Pennington was out playing him last summer, Clemens will use his knowledge of Brian Schottenheimer’s offense to handily outplay the overwhelmed rookie this summer.

Prediction: The two quarterbacks will play relatively even this summer, which means Mark Sanchez will win the job.

2. Starting Wide Receiver: Chansi Stuckey vs. Brad Smith vs. David Clowney

Why Stuckey Will Win: He performed the best in mini-camp and OTA’s and is coming off the best season in 2008. He had more catches than Smith and Clowney combined last year, and is by far the most polished of the group at the position.

Why Clowney Will Win: Speed kills and the Jets desperately need it on offense. Clowney will get over his drops in the spring and be a big play machine all summer.

Why Smith Will Win: He has the best combination of size and speed and is the best overall athlete. He will finally put it all together this summer as a wide receiver.

Prediction: Stuckey will receive most of the reps as the #2, followed by Clowney, and then Smith.

3. Outside Linebacker (Week 1-4): Vernon Gholston vs. Marques Murrell

Why Gholston Will Win: The guy was the number 6 overall pick in the draft for a reason. Rex Ryan will push Gholston towards becoming the elite pass rusher the Jets drafted him to be.

Why Murrell Will Win: He is hungrier than Gholston and plays with more passion for the game. Gholston was simply a workout wonder and won’t be able to translate his talent to the NFL level.

Prediction: Gholston will start, but Murrell will still receive 25-30% of the reps.

4. Nickel-Back: Donald Strickland vs. Dwight Lowery

Why Strickland Will Win: The veteran has been a pretty good nickel back the previous few seasons and Ryan will feel comfortable with him in the game in key 3rd down situations.

Why Lowery Will Win: He showed plenty of talent in his rookie season and was a quality starter for the first few weeks of the year. Lowery will learn from his rookie mistakes and develop into a quality nickel-back.

Prediction: Even though most people expect Strickland to win the job, I like what I saw from Lowery last season and think he will be guy.

5. #2 Tight End: Kareem Brown vs. Richard Owens vs. Jack Simmons

Why Brown Will Win: After being moved from defensive end, Brown had a productive spring and impressed the coaching staff with the potential he has displayed. Somehow, he has the most experience in this offense despite only being on it since the 2008 season ended.

Why Owens Will Win: He is the only player among these three with NFL experience at tight end.

Why Simmons Will Win: The UDFA had a strong showing in the spring and will build on that in the summer. He was a productive player last season in college and is the only player of the three who played tight end at any level of football last year (Owens was out of the league and Brown was a DE).

Prediction: I think Brown and Simmons end up splitting the reps as the #2 tight end.

Jets Highlight of the Article: Who can forget this 2007 match-up between the Jets and Rex Ryan’s (as a D coordinator) Baltimore Ravens. Look at my boy Cotchery tearing it up, but more importantly look at $#%$% Justin McCariens dropping passes. I will never forget shattering a remote control on this day because of #81.

Jets Positional Analysis: Outside Linebackers

First a few updates:

1. Rich Cimini is reporting that there has been substantial progress in Leon Washington’s contract talks, with hopes of finishing up a deal by Friday. If they are really that close to a deal, you would think Washington won’t bother skipping any days of training camp and accumulating daily fines.

2. Speaking of Leon Washington, here is an encouraging quote from Rex Ryan about #29 given to Peter King in his MMQB article, “He had six touchdowns on 73 carries last year. That number has to go up — drastically, and it will” Thank you, Rex.

3. How about those ESPN pre-training camp Power Rankings? The Jets came in at #23, despite going 9-7 last year and adding Bart Scott, Jim Leonhard, Lito Sheppard, Mark Sanchez, Shonn Greene, and Marques Douglas. Yes, they lost Brett Favre and his 23 interceptions but #23, c’mon now? Behind the Texans? Behind the 4-12 Seattle Seahawks? Behind the Bills? Behind the Redskins? Behind the 49ers?

4. The Yankees can tie for the best record in baseball tonight with a win and a Dodgers loss…who wants to bat against Burnett, CC, and Joba right now?

Jets Positional Analysis: Outside Linebackers

I am motivated to finish this before the Jets first practice on Friday morning, all I got left is the LB’s and special teams.

1. Calvin Pace #97, Starting Outside Linebacker (Suspended First Four Games), Last Season: 80 Tackles, 7 Sacks, 7 Tackles For Loss, 5 Forced Fumbles, 3 Passes Defensed

History: The Jets signed Pace to a monster contract before last season and he responded with a very good all around year. Despite some struggles in pass coverage, Pace was still one of the Jets top playmakers on defense. Rex Ryan’s scheme should allow Pace more chances to rush the quarterback, which plays to his strengths. Unfortunately, he has been suspended for the first four games of the 2009 season for using a banned substance, putting pressure on the younger Jets OLB’s to step up.

Chance of Making Roster: 100%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: Pace comes back in week 5 as a man on a mission and exceeds his sack total from last season despite only playing 12 games. Ryan’s scheme plays to his talents and he provides a huge boost to the Jets D in the middle of the year.

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: He struggles to adjust and make an impact after missing the first four games and isn’t the same player he was last year.

Prediction: Unless Bryan Thomas and Vernon Gholston/Marques Murrell are revelations in the first four weeks, Pace will return as a starter in week 5 and should be even better than he was last season. Obviously, his numbers will be down because of his shortened season but he should still be more of a threat rushing the QB in 2009.

2. Bryan Thomas #99, Starting Outside Linebacker, Last Season: 57 Tackles, 5.5 Sacks, 6 Tackles For Loss, 3 Forced Fumbles, 1 Pass Defensed

History: Thomas has had a disappointing roller coaster career since the Jets drafted him in the first round back in 2002. After 4 quiet years, he had a breakout year in 2006 under Eric Mangini and was awarded with a new contract. He admittedly slacked off in 2007 and then rebounded with a strong start in 2008 but was very quiet in the second half of the year. With Calvin Pace suspended 4 games, Thomas needs to step up in 2008 as the Jets only veteran outside linebacker.

Chance of Making Roster: 100%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: Thomas flourishes in Ryan’s system and starts the year off with a bang as the featured playmaker at OLB with Pace suspended. He matches his 2006 production level.

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: Thomas picks up where he left off when the 2008 season ended, leaving the Jets extremely weak at the OLB spot, especially in the first 4 weeks.

Prediction: Thomas will be a decent starter for the Jets in 2009, but hopefully begin to be rotated out towards the middle of the year with younger players like Vernon Gholston and Marques Murrell.

3. Vernon Gholston #50, Last Season: 13 Tackles (I just winced)

History: Gholston was the sixth overall pick in the 2008 draft and showed nothing to merit that last year. He was basically invisible on defense and an average special teams player at best. The organization is hoping Rex Ryan can get the most out of Gholston’s immense talent and turn him into their version Terrell Suggs. Ryan has already proclaimed Gholston as the starter in Pace’s absence for the first four weeks, hopefully he can rise to the occasion.

Chance of Making Roster: 100%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: Gholston takes advantage of Pace’s absence and plays well enough to move over to the other starting OLB spot when Calvin returns. He begins to show signs of being a great pass rusher, finishing with 7-9 sacks after having zero last year.

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: Gholston is beat out by Marques Murrell or Jason Trusnik in training camp and isn’t a factor on the defense.

Prediction: I think Gholston will be adequate filling in for Pace but won’t play well enough to be a full time starter when he returns. I can see Gholston ending up with 5-6 sacks this year.

4. Marques Murrell #94, Last Season: 9 Tackles, 1 Forced Fumble

History: Murrell has been a practice squad/special team player for the Jets the past couple of seasons and shown some decent potential. Rex Ryan praised him effusively during mini-camp, leading many to think he could end up being a factor on the defense this year. He will have a shot to carve out some playing time with Calvin Pace suspended for four games.

Chance of Making Roster: 90%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: Murrell develops into a valuable pass rushing weapon and pushes Vernon Gholston for playing time at outside linebacker.

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: Murrell doesn’t rise to the occasion in pre-season and remains a special teams player.

Prediction: He will see some quality reps in the first four weeks of the year and then continue to have a role, though somewhat smaller, on the defense for the rest of the year.

5. Jason Trusnik #96, Last Season: 10 Tackles

History: Another young linebacker who showed some potential last season and could compete for extended playing time in 2009.

Chance of Making Roster: 85%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: He develops into a valuable role player on defense and remains a good special teams player.

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: He struggles in training camp and doesn’t end up making the active roster.

Prediction: Trusnik will be a role/depth player on defense and remain on the active roster.

Overall Position Analysis: All eyes will be on Vernon Gholston to step up and fill the void left by Calvin Pace. However, Bryan Thomas and Marques Murrell also need to step up their play to help fill the void for the first four weeks.

Jets Highlight of the Day: An entertaining highlight film of Vernon Gholston at Ohio State…the talent is there.