December 16, 2013

The Jets are Still Alive in the Playoff Hunt – So You’re Saying There’s A Chance…

NImageope. Not even as the eternally and irrationally optimistic Jets fan that I am, there’s no chance the Jets will make the playoffs this year. There’s even less of chance than we had in 2009 when Rex Ryan prematurely proclaimed that we were eliminated after our week 15 loss that year.

Despite this acknowledgement, I couldn’t help but look at all the stars that would need to align. Basically, there are 9 games that need to go a certain way. I grouped them into one of the following three categories of likelihood: probably, toss-up, and doubtful. In this crazy NFL, valid arguments could be made that I don’t have any of these games in the right category but that would just further another point that I’ll make shortly. However, first let’s waste a little more time and look at the games:

Probably
The Jets will beat Cleveland next week
The Patriots will beat the Ravens next week
The Packers will beat the Steelers next week or the Browns will beat the Steelers in two weeks
Toss Up
The Lions will beat the Ravens tonight
The Bengals will beat the Ravens in two weeks
The Chiefs will beat the Chargers in two weeks
Doubtful
The Bills will beat the Dolphins next week
The Raiders will beat Chargers next week
The Jets will beat the Dolphins in two weeks

As I mentioned, a valid case could be made that many or even all of these games are in the wrong categories. So let’s just assume that all of these games are a 50/50 proposition. If we proceed with that assumption (and the assumption that I correctly remember how to calculate probabilities), that would mean the Jets chances of making the playoffs are 1 in 512! Even Jim Carrey wouldn’t like those odds.

Here’s what I’d like to see in the final two games… I want our team to show improvement, play well and WIN. Draft position is highly overrated and a crapshoot at best. I want wins to build on for next year. Sit Santonio Holmes and any other players that aren’t anticipated back next year and work on building a winning culture.

April 29, 2013

In the 2013 NFL Draft, The New York Jets Should Have Selected…

Jets Draft

Round 1, 9th overall pick

  • Chance Warmack, OG from Alabama; instead the Titans picked him with the 10th overall pick.

I think that Chance Warmack and Jonathan Cooper were rare prospects at Guard that happened to line up with a huge area of need.  I was surprised Warmack fell to us at 9 and was very disappointed that we didn’t draft him.  I would have been happy with any of the top 5 CB’s in this year’s draft and we could have landed one of them in the second round.  We could have added a future pro-bowler to Mangold and Richardson and really gone a long way to solidifying our Offensive Line.

Round 1, 13th overall pick

  • Jarvis Jones, OLB from Georgia; instead the Steelers picked him with the 17th overall pick.

Outside Linebacker has been a big area of need that we’ve been neglecting for the last several drafts.  I’m still not over passing on Melvin Ingram last year.  In this year’s draft, I thought there were three OLB’s worth taking in the first round.  With Jordan and Mingo off the board, I thought we should have drafted Jarvis Jones.  He was the anti-Gholston.  There were a lot of reasons for concern with him except when watching him play.  He was a highly productive and dominant player against excellent competition.  I’d welcome him to my team any day.

Round 2, 39th overall pick

  • Johnthan Banks, CB from Mississippi State; instead the Bucs picked him with the 43rd overall pick.

While I would have much preferred my draft to the one that the Jets actually had, I sincerely hope that I am wrong.  I did not agree with drafting Geno Smith in the second round despite his perceived value at that spot.  I actually would have much preferred taking Nassib in the 4th round if we had to take a QB.  While QB is certainly a huge area of need, I would have preferred to give Tebow and Garrard a chance this year and draft a QB next year if needed.  We just have too many holes to fill this year and the likelihood that any of the QB’s in this year’s draft class would have an immediate positive impact is, in my opinion, doubtful.

Round 3, 72th overall pick

  • Keenan Allen, WR from California; instead the Chargers picked him with the 76th overall pick.

Having Keenan Allen fall to us in the third round was a big surprise and I think that we should have jumped at the opportunity to add such value at that spot.

Round 4, 106th overall pick

  • Trade pick to the Saints for Chris Ivory, RB.  Well done Jets!

I love what the Jets did with their 4th round pick.  I think that Ivory was the Saints’ best running back on their roster but because he was an undrafted free agent and the Saints had traded up in the first round to draft Mark Ingram, have a $14M contract with Sproles, and have an established producer in Pierre Thomas, Ivory never had a fair shot at the starting job.  I think he will excel when given the opportunity to be the number one RB and is better than any RB we could have selected in the 4th round or that we had on our roster.

Round 5, 141st overall pick

  • Josh Evans, FS from Florida; instead the Jaguars picked him with the 169th overall pick.

Round 6, 178th overall pick

  • Michael Williams, TE from Alabama; instead the Lions picked him with the 211th overall pick.

Round 7, 215th overall pick

Safety and Tight End are areas of need that obviously didn’t get addressed in the draft.  If we had more cap space, I wouldn’t try and address every need via the draft but, as we all know, the current state of Jets’ cap makes it tough to do anything.

  • Chase Thomas, OLB from Stanford; instead went undrafted but signed with the Saints.

With the final pick, I think teams need to look for value more-so than in any other round.  I couldn’t believe that Chase Thomas was available.  I would have expected him to go no later than in the 4th round and was one of the players I’ve been tracking.  I would have been pleased if the Jets drafted him in the 5th or 6th rounds but when he was still on the board in the 7th round, and the Jets passed on him again, I just shook my head.  For him to fall that far, I think there must have been some negative info floating around the league that was not made public.  NFL.com actually had him rated higher than the Cowboy’s first round draft pick!

Anyway, the last time the Jets spent their first round pick the way I wanted them to was in 2008 when we drafted Vernon Gholston so I’m not going to get too upset.  One thing the draft teaches us is that none of us really know anything anyway (except maybe Ozzie Newsome).  I think the Jets draft choices give them the most opportunity for an immediate turnaround but they also carry with them the most risk.  If Geno Smith can come in and play like Russell Wilson did last year, if Dee Milner can start right away and at a high level and if Sheldon Richardson proves to be the dominant force our scouts believe he is capable of, we could be in for a very nice season.  However, when you have really high draft picks like the Jets had this year, I believe it is even more important to not miss.  The safest picks statistically when picking 1-16 (according to The Harvard College Sports Analysis Collective) are at Linebacker and at Offensive Line.  In this draft we had huge areas of need in those positions and had excellent draft prospects available to us in those positions.  I think it would have made a ton of sense to draft Warmack and Jones but, that said, I wish our newest Jets the best and hopefully Geno proves to be a better seer than his new head coach… and yes, somebody did say Playoffs!

April 23, 2013

In the 2013 Draft (2.0), the Jets Should Select…

nfldraftSince the scenario I proposed in my previous post hasn’t come to fruition (Revis for a 1st, 3rd and 5th round pick in this draft), I have amended my picks.  While I was disappointed that we only got two picks for Revis, I am glad that the deal is done and we now have two early picks in this year’s draft.  This post reexamines the draft in the Jets’ current scenario, with just one additional trade.

I’d like to see the Jets make a few more moves in free agency.  I would make signing Safety Charles Woodson and WR Braylon Edwards a priority.

I know the thought of having a 36 year old defensive back sounds borderline laughable but age is, after-all, just a number.  Woodson has played at a very high level for many years.  I believe that the main reason the Jets pass defense was so stout last year despite losing Revis was the much improved play at Safety.  We’ve now lost both our starting Safeties from last season to free agency.  While I like the pick-up of Dawan Landry and am looking forward to seeing Josh Bush continue to develop, I think Woodson could add a lot to the secondary even if its just for one year.

Despite not being helped by competent QB play last season, our wide receivers are in need of significant improvement.  Hill was the only WR who consistently got open but he dropped way too many passes to be trusted.  I think our WR’s need to be shuffled around.  Santonio Holmes should be moved to the slot.  Stephen Hill needs to step up this year.  Hopefully he has invested in a jugs machine this offseason and has worn it out.  Hill should be the Z Flanker and Braylon could come in as the X Flanker.  While I’m not crazy about some of the locker room reports that seem to follow Braylon around the league, he has always been solid for us.  It could be argued that he was our best receiver last year despite only being on our roster for three games.  I would sign Braylon to a two year deal without a lot of guaranteed money so he could be cut after a year if needed.  I have the Jets drafting an X Flanker in the 4th round this year to compete with Braylon.  If the rookie doesn’t win the starting job by the end of the season, I would recommend drafting another X Flanker in second round of the 2014 draft (1st round pick should be for a QB).  I also see Kerley taking over the slot role in 2014 and cutting Holmes after this season ends.  If it were up to me, I would have cut Holmes immediately after the New Year’s Day game in Miami in 2012 when our “captain” was on the sideline when the season hung in the balance.  I know it would have been a massive cap hit but sometimes, when team dynamics are in play, you can add through subtraction.   I also hope that Jordan White gets some playing time this preseason so he can prove that he deserves a roster spot.  I really liked this late round pick from last year but he has been really limited in his opportunities to showcase his skills.

Other free agents we should consider bringing in, based on price, are G Brandon Moore, TE Visanthe Shianco , NT Sione Po’uha and either ILB Carlos Dansby or ILB Larry Grant.

One trade we should still make before the draft, and is rumored to be in the works, is trading our 5th round pick (141st overall) to the Saints for RB Chris Ivory.

After this trade, we’ll have gained RB Chris Ivory and have the following draft picks:

  • Round 1
    • pick 9, 9th overall
    • pick 13, 13th overall (from the Bucs)
  • Round 2
    • pick 7, 39th overall
  • Round 3
    • pick 10, 72nd overall
  • Round 4
    • pick 9, 106th overall
  • Round 5
    • pick 8, 141st overall (traded to the Saints)
  • Round 6
    • pick 10, 178th overall
  • Round 7
    • pick 9, 215th overall

1st Round

  • Barkevious Mingo, OLB from LSU
    • If Dion Jordan, OLB from Oregon happens to is still on the board, as unlikely as that is, Jordan should be drafted instead of Mingo.
  • Chance Warmack, G from Alabama
    • If Warmack off the board, then Jonathan Cooper G from North Carolina should be drafted.

2nd Round

  • D.J. Hayden, CB from Houston
    • It is looking highly unlikely that Ryan Nassib, QB from Syracuse, will be on the board at 39 but if he is, the Jets should draft him instead.  If he’s off the board, I think the Jets should wait until next year to draft a QB.  However, I wouldn’t be disappointed if the Jets spent this pick on QB EJ Manual from Florida State although he will likely also be off the board by the 39th pick.
    • If Nassib, Manual and Hyden are all off the board, then the Jets should draft Johnathan Banks, CB from Mississippi State.

3rd Round

  • Travis Kelce, TE from Cincinnati

4th Round

  • Aaron Dobson, WR from Marshall

5th Round

  • none (traded to the Saints for RB Chris Ivory)

6th Round

  • Jordan Mills, OT from Louisianan Tech
    • If Mills is off the board, the Jets should draft Josh Boyd, DT from Mississippi State

7th Round

  • Eric Martin, OLB from Nebraska
    • I originally had Michael Buchanan, OLB from Illinois but he has been moving up the draft boards and will likely go in the fourth round.

UFA’s

  • Jordan Kovacs, SS from Michigan
  • Michael Mauti, OLB from Penn State
  • Oscar Johnson, OT from Louisiana Tech
  • Steve Demilio, OT from Gardner Webb
  • Levine Toilolo, TE from Stanford
  • Alec Lemon, WR from Syracuse (only if we draft Nassib)
  • Marcus Davis, WR from Virginia Tech
  • Zach Rogers, WR from Tennessee
April 19, 2013

In the 2013 Draft, the Jets Should Select…

Currently we own the following picks in this years upcoming draft:nfldraft

  • Round 1 – pick 9, 9th overall
  • Round 2 – pick 7, 39th overall
  • Round 3 – pick 10, 72nd overall
  • Round 4 – pick 9, 106th overall
  • Round 5 – pick 8, 141st overall
  • Round 6 – pick 10, 178th overall
  • Round 7 – pick 9, 215th overall

Three trades we should make before the draft:

  1. We trade Revis to the Bucs for their 1st (13th overall), 3rd (73rd) and 5th (147th) round picks.  The Bucs are balking at this deal but as the draft draws closer and Revis’ recovery progress is verified, hopefully another suitor (real or imaginary) will emerge and act as a catalyst to get the Bucs to agree.  In addition to making a ton of sense for the Jets, it would also add a little more drama to the opening game to the season.
  2. We trade our 3rd round pick (72nd overall) to the 49ers for one of their 3rd round picks (93rd), and both of their 4th round picks (128th and 131st).  The 49ers have a 13 draft picks this year and a team that is among the most complete.  They will likely be looking to trade volume for quality.  According to the Trade Value Chart, the value of the three picks from the 49ers equals 213 and the 72nd overall pick we’d trade them is worth 230.
  3. We trade the two 4th round picks acquired from the 49ers (128th and 131st), our 5th round pick from the Bucs (147th) and our 7th round pick (215th) to the Saints for Chris Ivory and their 4th round pick (109th) and their 6th round pick (183rd).  While the Saints have placed a second round tender on Ivory, it’s not realistic that any team would be willing to give that considering Ivory’s limited production.  However, given that the Saints only have five draft picks this year and have a fair number of needs, the prospect of gaining an additional two picks for a player they signed as an undrafted free agent should be attractive.  The Saints backfield is crowded and this would enable them to add players where they need them.

After these trades, we lose Revis, gain RB Chris Ivory and have the following draft picks:

  • Round 1
    • pick 9, 9th overall
    • pick 13, 13th overall (from the Bucs)
  • Round 2
    • pick 7, 39th overall
  • Round 3
    • pick 10, 72nd overall (traded to the 49ers)
    • pick 11, 73rd overall (from the Bucs)
    • pick 31, 93rd overall (from the 49ers)
  • Round 4
    • pick 9, 106th overall
    • pick 12, 109th overall
    • pick 31, 128th overall (from the 49ers) (traded to the Saints)
    • pick 34, 131st overall (from the 49ers) (traded to the Saints)
  • Round 5
    • pick 8, 141st overall
    • pick 14, 147st overall (from the Bucs) (traded to the Saints)
  • Round 6
    • pick 10, 178th overall
    • pick 15, 183rd overall
  • Round 7
    • pick 9, 215th overall (traded to the Saints)

Many of the guys I’ve had on my list have been moving up draft boards and are now not likely going to be available where we’re picking.  In some cases below, I’ve made mention of who I originally wanted to draft.

1st Round

  • Barkevious Mingo, OLB from LSU
    • If Dion Jordan, OLB from Oregon happens to is still on the board, as unlikely as that is, Jordan should be drafted instead of Mingo.
  • Chance Warmack, G from Alabama
    • If Warmack is off the board, then Jonathan Cooper G from North Carolina should be drafted.

2nd Round

  • Ryan Nassib, QB
    • A lot of sites have Nassib ranked somewhere in 40‘s among this year’s draft prospects, however some mocks have him going as high as number 8 to Buffalo.  If he’s available for the Jets with the 39th pick, we should draft him.
    • If Nassib is off the board, then we should draft Zach Ertz, TE from Standford.

3rd Round

  • Travis Kelce, TE from Cincinnati if Nassib is drafted in then second round.
    • If Ertz was drafted in the second round, then the Jets should draft Quinton Patton, WR from Louisiana Tech or Da’Rick Rogers, WR from Tennessee Tech.
  • Shamarko Thomas, S from Syracuse

4th Round

  • Brennan Williams, OT from North Carolina
    • I originally had Justin Pugh, OT from Syracuse slated for this spot but he has since risen up the draft boards and will likely go late in the second round.
  • Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB from Connecticut
    • He has been moving up draft boards and some people now have Wreh-Wilson going as early as the second round.  If he is off the board, then the Jets should draft Leon McFadden, CB from San Diego State.

5th Round

  • Kevin Reddick, ILB from North Carolina

6th Round

  • Eric Martin, OLB from Nebraska
    • I originally had Michael Buchanan, OLB from Illinois but he has been moving up the draft boards and will likely go in the fourth round.
  • Denard Robinson, WR from Michigan

7th Round

  • none

UFA’s

  • Michael Mauti, OLB from Penn State
  • Oscar Johnson, OT from Louisiana Tech
  • Steve Demilio, OT from Gardner Webb
  • Levine Toilolo, TE from Stanford
  • Alec Lemon, WR from Syracuse (only if we draft Nassib)
  • Marcus Davis, WR from Virginia Tech
  • Zach Rogers, WR from Tennessee

It’s been years since we’ve headed into a season with as many holes and unknowns on our roster.  A lot of the season will depend on if guys like Bush, Davis and Ellis can step up on defense and  if guys like Hill, Smith, Colon and Goodson can step up on offense.  Oh wait… having even just mediocre QB play will be necessary too if we are to compete this season.  I am really excited for the draft and to see how our new GM does.  So far, I really like what I see.  He’s made the cap room we need, secured some low risk/high reward players in free agency and has stated that he wants to build the team through the draft.

April 26, 2012

Could the Jets be Getting Ready to Trade Revis?

Image

(Schultz/AP)

Obviously much of what makes news just before the draft turns out to be part of an orchestrated smoke-screen of misinformation sent out to mask an organizations true intention. Normally, I would immediately chalk up the recent speculation that the Jets might have interest in Tent Richardson as pure gamesmanship. Surely a team that has much bigger needs at positions like OT, OLB, S and WR would not consider giving up the number of picks required to jump from the 16 spot to the 3 spot for what most would consider a luxury pick.

However, with Mr. T’s well documented proclivity for moving up, one needs to consider the possibility. As I looked at the math in swapping draft picks, it just didn’t add up. It is widely thought that the Browns will take Richardson with their 4th overall pick; so that would mean that the Jets would need to get the Viking’s 3rd overall pick if they want Richardson. While the old draft chart is not as accurate as it once was now that the rookie wage scale is in place, it is still a useful tool. According to it, the number 3 pick has a value of 2,200. All of the Jets picks (excluding the compensatory ones as they can not be included in a trade) are collectively less than 1,700. The Jets would need to dip into future drafts to make the deal work.

However, what if the Jets were to trade the person who, by the end of his career, I believe will be the consensus best CB in the history of the NFL? We’ve all seen the hold-out chatter AGAIN. We know that the Jets do not get along with Revis’ agent. We also know that the Buccaneers are sitting with the 5th overall pick are in need of a CB. They also have a lot of money to spend. If this deal were to happen, I could see the Jets trading Revis to the Buccaneers for the 5th overall pick and then trading the 5th pick to the Vikings to get the Viking’s 3rd pick. To get the 3rd pick, the Jets would likely need to trade their 2nd and 3rd round selections (47th and 77th) for the Vikings 4th and 6th round selections (98th and 175th).

To be clear, I am not saying the Jets should do this deal. I certainly do not think they should. If anything, I think the Jets should trade down if possible. I am simply saying that, given the Jets track-record of moving up and the Revis contract issues, this could be a plausible scenario.

April 24, 2012

The Jets’ #1 Draft Need

Image

Stew Milne-US PRESSWIRE

An elite pass-rusher is simply not even close to our most immediate or pressing need and should not be addressed with our first draft pick.  Many analysts believe that the Jets will take the best available pass-rusher with the 16th pick or, worse yet, trade up for a short-armed pass-rusher.

While it would be great to have an elite pass-rush, an elite pass-rush by no means directly translates into wins.  For example, neither of the two teams that were tied with the most sacks last season even made the playoffs (Minnesota and Philadelphia).  Having an elite pass rush is simply not essential to winning – especially for the Jets.  The Jets have arguably the best group of CB’s in the NFL.  By having an outstanding secondary, it eases the need for defenses to have an outstanding pass rush.  You need to be good at at least one to have a sound defense.  If you can be great at one and even just average at the other, you’ll have a very good defense – which is what the Jets have.  The Jets were in the middle of the pack last year in sacks.  They were tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers at 17th in the league with 35 sacks.  In each of the last three years, the Jets’ defense has been ranked in the top five (yds/g).  In 2009, when the Jets had the number 1 ranked defense, they had fewer sacks and were ranked lower in sacks than last season.  It would be great if we could improve our pass rush through the draft, however, our other needs are too severe for us to afford that luxury.  With our CB’s, it is possible to have a top defense while having just an average pass-rush.

In a year when it seems that there are more holes in the roster than usual going into the draft, one, in my opinion, looms larger than any other.  Offensive Tackle is a need that I believe needs to be addressed with our first pick.  My choice would be Jonathan Martin.  While he was once considered a top ten pick, following his lackluster pro day, his draft stock has fallen considerably.  That said, his subpar performance at his pro day doesn’t detract from a stellar collegiate career at Standford.  In addition to being of prototypical size, he is a highly intelligent player with high character and effort.  Martin turned down the opportunity to attend Harvard.  Had he opted to attend Harvard, he would have been the first fourth-generation African-American Harvard student.  Martin is a player, like Furgeson and Mangold, that could be plugged into our line day one and be a stalwart contributor for the next 10 years.

I think games are won from the inside out – the battle in the trenches is crucial.  Inconsistent and poor play by the OL negatively impacts everything teams try and do offensively.  QB’s can’t throw when given no time and RB’s can’t run when given no holes.  Nothing else matters offensively if you’re line is not effective.

The Jets were ranked 22nd in the league in 3rd down efficiency last season converting 34.6% of 3rd downs.  In 2010, the Jets were ranked 11th in 3rd down efficiency converting 40.4% of 3rd downs.  I believe the main reason for this sharp decline was the departure of Damien Woody.  They are certainly big shoes to fill and, in my opinion, it should be the Jets number one priority.  If we can improve that 3rd down efficiency, it obviously helps our defense.  One of the core benefits of a ground and pound philosophy is to minimize the opponents offensive output by limiting their opportunities to score.  It also helps to keep our defense fresh.  Last year, the Jets lost several games in the forth quarter because the defensive gave up critical plays at the end of the game.  Adding a solid RT will help our defense by extending our offensive drives thus keeping opponent’s offenses off the field and keeping our defense fresh.

Tags:
February 25, 2012

In the 2012 NFL Draft, the New York Jets Should Select…

Despite our mild temperatures, it has been a cold dark winter for Jets fans.  I’m sick to my stomach about the prospect keeping some players on our roster who are clearly not team guys.  That said, the Combine will be in full swing today and we can once again bask in the only thing the Jets have had for the last 40+ years – potential.  I have started to look at some of the prospects in this year’s draft and have assembled an initial watch list of 38 prospects.  You can click here to download the list.  The Jets obviously have a lot of needs but, as of now, here’s who I’d like to see the Jets draft:

1st round / 16th pick: Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama 

After the combine and individual workouts and as free agency starts to take shape, my list will almost certainly change but, as of now, I actually like these guys quite a bit.  A lot of NFL 3-4 OLB’s are converted from college DE’s.  Alabama is one of the few elite college programs that run an NFL style 3-4 defense and have an elite OLB entering the draft.  I think he’d be a good fit for the Jets in a definite area of need.

2nd round / 47th pick: Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State 

We are in obvious need of help on the offensive line.  I like to draft offensive lineman either really early or really late in the draft.  With high picks, offensive lineman tend to be safer bets (there are fewer busts than in other positions).  You can also find real value in the late rounds.  There are many reasons why I like Zebrie Sanders.  He is highly skilled, powerful, durable and versatile (he can play both sides of the line).  He’s a very bright guy and has high character (he is an Eagle scout).  We need to start replenishing the void of high character guys in the locker room.  Offensive lineman, given their historic durability, is a great place to start.  Plus if things get a little tense in the locker room, Zebrie can break out his viola and calm the team’s nerves (although I could see Bart Scott going Jim Belushi on him).

3rd round / 78th pick: Nick Toon, WR, Wisconsin 

Wide Receivers are deep in this year’s draft and there’s a good chance that we could pick up a good one in the 3rd round.  If Al Toon’s son is still on the board for our 78th pick, I think the Jets would be smart to nab him.  While Nick Toon has had to battle some nagging injuries at his Dad’s alma mater, at 6’ 2” and 220 lbs he has the physicality to become a starting WR in the NFL.

4th round / 108th pick: Harrison Smith, SS, Notre Dame 

I like drafting Safeties and Running Backs in the middle rounds.  While I’m not that impressed with this year’s crop of Safeties (other than Mark Barron of Alabama), Notre Dame’s Harrison Smith is ranked as this year’s third best Strong Safety and should be on the board for our 108th pick.  Harrison is properly sized at 6’ 2” and 212 lbs and is a hard hitter.  He will definitely be a bit of a project but he was very productive in college and should be able to contribute immediately on special teams.

5th round / 146th pick: Robert Turbin, RB, Utah State 

Robert Turbin of Utah State is a big, powerful and surprisingly quick running back that is also a reliable receiver and blocker.  He could be an every down back for the Jets or at least push Shonn Greene and provide some competition.  Turbin has some durability concerns as he missed an entire season with a torn ACL.  There is also some concerns about the limited competition he faced.  That said, he was highly productive last year rushing for 1,517 yards and 19 touchdowns.  He is well worth taking a flier on if he’s still available for the Jets 146th pick.

6th round / 177th pick: Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma 

While I’m almost never an advocate of drafting low character guys, Ryan Broyles has stayed out of trouble since he was arrested as a freshman for attempting to steal gasoline.  I guess a positive is that he was caught so he must not have had much practice.  Given that he hasn’t had any other incidents since then, he warrants a closer look.  He has been the most prolific wide receiver in Oklahoma history.  In addition, he could contribute right away in the return game.  While he’s best suited as a slot receiver and his skill set is very similar to that of Jeremy Kerley’s, he’s definitely worth interviewing and working out.

7th round / 207th pick: Rhett Ellison, TE, Southern California

At this point in the draft I think teams should target guys that can contribute on special teams.  While I believe we are in need of a good TE complement to Keller, I’m not sure Ellison is the man.  Ellison is a guy that improved throughout his career at USC and will likely continue to improve.  He was extremely versatile there playing TE, FB, WR and special teams (he even blocked a field-goal attempt).  He is known as having very good intangibles and high character.  He is also the son of an NFL linebacker.  I think Ellison is the perfect selection for this point in the draft.

Please let me know what you think of these suggested selections.

December 5, 2011

Will The Real New York Jets Please Step Forward

I am typically a very upbeat Jets fan.  I’m usually the guy that is unrealistically optimistic about the Jets.  I thought they’d go 13 – 3 this year and secretly thought they could be even better.  Among my circle of Jets fan friends, I’m the guy who always thinks things are better than they are.  However, this season, I have not been that guy.  I have been profoundly disappointed with how ordinary the Jets have been.  Their offensive line, play-calling, quarterback play, and defensive play have all been major disappointments.  That said, I still believe that they have the talent and potential to be and play like an elite, Super Bowl contending team.

While I knew they weren’t mathematically out of it, after the Debacle in Denver, I declared the season over.  However, I am ready to admit that I may have prematurely declared their End of Season.  Despite the Jets winning in spite of themselves against Buffalo and putting together a fairly ugly win against the Redskins, they have the same record as 3 other teams for the final wildcard spot.  If the Jets beat the 5 – 7 Chiefs this week, they could find themselves all alone in the final wildcard, controlling their destiny, spot with only 3 weeks to play.  This week the other three teams the Jets have the same record as are all facing stiff competition.  Their competition has a combined record of 30 – 6 (the Titans are facing the 9 – 3 Saints, the Bengals are facing the 9 – 3 Texans and the Raiders are facing the 12 – 0 Packers).

Here’s why I’m now cautiously optimistic that the Jets’ season isn’t over…

  • I think the root of many of the teams struggles this year has been the offensive line.  The offensive line has looked much improved over the last two weeks.  For the second straight week, they did not yield a sack.  The Redskins were 3rd in the league in sacks with an impressive group of pass-rushers and the Jets were able to hold them in check.
  • Last week, I was concerned that the Jets weren’t able to get Greene in the end-zone despite him averaging an impressive 6 yards a carry.  This week the Jets more than made up for it getting Greene in the end-zone 3 times while averaging 4 yards per carry.
  • Last week, I was alarmed at how the Jets, despite having their backs up against the wall, were unable to close out the game.  They did not win the game; Buffalo lost it.  This week, the Jets were impressive in the forth quarter when it mattered most.  Granted, the Jets were fortunate to be facing a quarterback who was really struggling but Jets defense deserves some credit for making him struggle.  Other than a really poor opening drive, the Jets defense played quite well.
  • I think it is safe to say that Aaron Maybin has turned out to be a true diamond in the rough.  He is emerging as the Designated Pass Rusher that Ryan hoped Westerman would be.  While playing in less than 10 games this year, Maybin leads the Jets in sacks accounting for 25% percent of the teams production with 6.  If, when the Jets first signed him, someone would have said that at this point in the season, he’d have the same number of sacks as Richard Seymour, Clay Matthews and Brian Orakpo or have more sacks than Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, I doubt many would have believed it.

Here’s why I’m “cautious” in my optimism…

  • The Jets seem to have their best games when getting Dustin Keller involved.  This week Keller had a meager 12 yards.  That isn’t going to cut it.
  • The Jets need to stretch the field in the passing game.  Their passing game has been limited to underneath passes and dump-offs.  If the Jets want to get the safeties to back off the box and open up running lanes and underneath passing, they are going to need to challenge the defenders down the field and make them respect the threat.
  • With a league high 6 fumbles in the return game, the sure-handed Jim Leonard should be the only Jet returning punts.
  • The Jets still need to figure out how to start games faster.  The defense looked awful on the opening drive.  The offense has yet to score 10 points in the first quarter all year long.  If the Jets want to be a playoff team, they should be putting away teams like the Bills, Redskins and Chiefs in the first half.  When you let teams hang around, bad things can happen.

Each week we don’t lose is another week we have to figure some of these things out.  With the Giants and resurgent Dolphins in weeks 16 and 17 to close out the season, we are running out of weeks to right the ship.  I think we will learn a lot this week when the Jets play the Chiefs.

September 21, 2011

Why Can’t We Ground & Pound – It’s Not Just the O-Line, But It Starts With Them

While I think the Jets struggles in the run game are obviously in large part due to an offensive line that has gotten progressively worse over the last couple of years, I think some focus also needs to be placed on a receiving corps with no real deep threat.  Braylon Edwards was a guy that could stretch the field for the Jets.  Secondaries needed to respect his ability to run the 9 route and get behind them.  The Jets don’t really have that kind of threat with Holmes, Burress or Mason.  Holmes is the fastest guy of the three but he tends to run a lot of quick slants.  Burress has been used more on the deep routes but its his size that makes him dangerous, not his speed.  I don’t think there are many corners that are worried about Burress running by them.  If we had a speed WR that could stretch the field, secondaries would need to play back more and this would help to loosen up the run.

I’d like to see Kerley worked into the offense and see if he has the speed and ability to stretch the field.  He is listed on the depth chart as an X receiver behind Burress.  As an X receiver, lining up on the line of scrimmage, they are the ones more likely to run fade patterns and stretch the field.

Another possibility is Scotty McKnight.  I was glad to see Scotty McKnight was signed to the practice squad yesterday.  McKnight is faster than Kerley (at least according to their 40 yard dash times).  While McKnight might look more like a slot receiver, I think he’s an option worth exploring.  I was really surprised and disappointed that McKnight was not given more of a chance in preseason.  Hopefully on the practice squad he can develop his special teams skills and work his way onto the 53-man roster.

All this business about stretching the field said, even this starts with the O-line.  Without good protection, Sanchez won’t have the time to throw the ball downfield no matter how fast the receiver.  Much has been written about our O-line woes.  Ryan in many of his press conferences seems to minimize the issues we’ve been having here.  However, it doesn’t take anything more than the knowledge of a casual fan to realize that we are in need of some serious O-Line help.  I wouldn’t expect Ryan to acknowledge the problem publicly but I sure hope he and Mike T are working the problem privately.  With all due respect to Colin Baxter, it is a sad state of affairs when a team with Superbowl aspirations is relying on a rookie unrestricted free agent who was cut by another team to be the one guy who touches the ball on every offensive play.

August 20, 2011

Thoughts on the Jets 1st Preseason Game

Here are some thoughts on the Jets 1st Preseason Game (in no particular order):

  •  I thought Sanchez looked sharp.  He went 6 for 7 and he should get a Mulligan on his one incompletion since it was a dropped by Matthew.  It was nice to see some chemistry with Mason.  It would have been nice to see Sanchez throw the ball down the field more but with a decimated offensive line, I’m glad he was only really asked to make the short underneath throws.
  • When I saw the replay of Bart’s injury on the Texan’s fist offensive play, I felt like we dodged a bullet.  That could have been very ugly.  In one of Rex’s press conferences this week, Rex mentioned how savvy veterans like Bart have a feel for situations like this and that Bart was alert enough to let go so his body would fall with his leg.  It is amazing that, prior to this injury, he had only missed 3 practices since coming into the league in 2002.
  • One of my major concerns coming into this season was depth at ILB and when Bart went down, I was certainly holding my breathe.  While we’re all rooting for Bart to come back soon and healthy, it was a pleasant surprise to see Josh Mauga come in for Bart and on his first two plays have a tackle for a loss and sack.
  • The most glaring struggle of the Jets defense was covering RB’s and FB’s.  Running-backs and Full-backs accounted for 9 of the Texan’s 16 completions.  While you’d certainly expect a higher completion percentage to RB’s and FB’s given the depth of their typical routes, the numbers in the Texans game were stark.  The Texan’s Quarterbacks completed 82% of their passes to RB’s and FB’s and just 35% of their passes to WR’s and TE’s.
  • The most glaring struggle of the Jets offense was their offensive line.  In all fairness to them, they didn’t have Mangold or Moore but their performance was nonetheless poor and cost Rob Turner about 3 months.  Ducasse obviously needs to step his game up significantly.  I feel for the guy in that he keeps getting shuffled around from position to position but the coaches wouldn’t be doing that unless they thought he could handle it.  After the one play where he was beaten badly to the outside, the ‘b’ word started floating around in my head.  However, after the heat of the game, I shed those thoughts.  For one, on that particular play, Rex mentioned in one of his press conferences this week that they went to a silent count without Ducasse knowing.  He was beaten so badly because he didn’t know the ball was snapped.  Also, offensive lineman can take a while to develop.  We all knew Ducasse was a developmental project when he was drafted.  We can take some comfort in knowing that he has one of the best offensive line coaches in football.  Wayne Hunter has been in the league since 2003 and never started a game until he started once for the Jets in 2009.  Last year he had 4 starts and this year, he’ll hopefully start 19.
  • I like Westhoff’s kick return strategy of returning kickoff’s even from deep within the endzone.  I’ll probably write another post on this later.  Kerley is going to be fun to watch.
  • I thought Shonn Greene looked good.  He had a nice run and it was great to see him catch a ball out of the backfield.
  • I thought Joe McNight looked pretty good though the play-calling for him could have been better.  He ran a lot between the tackles and I think he’d be better utilized on the edges where he can leverage his quickness in space.  Also, there’s no way he should be expected to block an untouched rushing LB with a full head of steam – someone should have at least chipped Reed before he got to McNight.  McNight didn’t even slow Reed down; it was like a fly hitting a windshield.
  • When the rosters are as big as they are for the first preseason game, I know it’s nearly impossible to work everyone in but I was really hoping to see what Scotty McNight in action.  Hopefully he’ll get some targets this Sunday evening against the Bengals.
  • I am very pleased with how Greg McElroy played.  I wrote a post before the Jets draft stating that they should draft a QB and I was thrilled when they drafted McElroy.  He’s knows how to win – he won the Texas state championships in High School and a National Championship in College.  His accuracy and smarts remind me of Chad Pennington.   In the Texan’s game, he reminded me of another Jet, Ken O’Brien, in that he showed he’s as tough as nails.  He got pummeled when he first got in the game.  On the play where he fumbled, with the way his head hit the turf, I thought for sure that he sustained a concussion.  With about 5 minutes left in the 2nd quarter, I thought the Jets did a good job of adjusting their play-calling.  They gave him a bunch of short dump-off passes to gain some momentum and confidence while slowing down the Texan’s pass-rush.  For only spending a couple of weeks at an NFL training camp, I thought he was remarkably poised and had a natural command of the game.  Furthermore, I’d be curious to see if he could improve his accuracy even more if he didn’t take helmet-wearing advice from John Hall.  I think he’ll be great in the quarterbacks room and will become a more-than-adequate back-up for Sanchez.  Playing back-up is something that McElroy has done before.  In High School, as a sophomore and junior, McElroy backed-up Chase Daniel, who later contended for the Heisman Trophy while playing for the Missouri Tigers.  I’m very glad he’s a Jet.
  • It’s tough to zero in on non-skill players when watching the game on TV but it looked to me like Kendrick Ellis held his own.  I’m looking forward to seeing the Jets play Bengals in person to watch him more closely.  Lineman are obviously coached to get their hands in the air to disrupt passing lanes when they don’t get penetration but it’s not too often that they successfully knock down a pass.  It was nice to see Ellis do it and it might be an indication that he has some good natural instincts.  We know he has the frame and the Monday Night Football broadcast crew was quick to point out Ellis’ unusual speed, range and motor for a big man.  All this gives us good reason to get excited about him.  That said, I’m still bummed that Jenkins is no longer our man in the middle.
  • Cumberland looks like he could make some nice contributions to the team this year.  I think both Cumberland and Keller will benefit from having Tom Moore on the coaching staff.  Moore loves to utilize his TE’s.  Cumberland caught 6 of the 8 passes that were thrown in his direction and averaged almost 13 yards per reception.

In the upcoming Bengals game, I expect the offensive line will play significantly better.  I also expect that the RB’s and FB’s won’t have nearly bonanza that the Texan’s backs had receiving the ball.  I’m looking forward to seeing McElroy throw the ball downfield more and to see which WR’s step up and seize their opportunity.  The Texans only averaged 2.2 yards per rush against the Jets.  I’d like to see the Jets young defensive line have another solid outing.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.