New York Jets

Jets NFL Team Column
By Ngernnak Michael

4 September 2012

Pre-Season Outlook

The approach to the 2013 NFL regular season for the New York Jets has been a completer one eighty in comparison to the past three seasons, starting with head coach Rex Ryan. With the cross town rivals, the New York Giants hoisting another super bowl banner, the Jets have taken their slice of humble pie into the offseason and training camp, and with the exception of the acquisition of quarterback Tim Tebow, have attempted to stay under the radar. Many questions circled around the club, and many still linger.

The offensive line has shoulder much of the blame the past season and a half for the lack of production offensively. And in true trench-men fashion, they do so without a peep. With the trade that sent Wayne Hunter to St Louis for tackle Jason Smith, another under producing tackle, the Jets were able to give journeymen tackle Austin Howard an opportunity and he delivered to positive reviews from teammates and coached alike. Howard will get the nod heading into week one.

The defense has looked strong, the signing of safety Laron Landry has seemed to be paying off, and Yerimiah Bell has looked strong. First round pick defensive end Quinton Coulples was tied for the NFL lead in sacks throughout the playoffs and should provide a much needed spark.

Now the much talked about and never old story surrounding incumbent quarterback Mark Sanchez and new comer Tim Tebow. Tebow showed flashes of improvement in mechanics, but was halted with interceptions in multiple games. For now, it seems that Sanchez is the leader of this team and will not have to worry about anyone climbing his shoulder for reps. But Rex Ryan and new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano have noted that there are multiple packages designed for Tebow so it’s yet to be seen in what way he will be utilized.

The Jets are taking the more traditional role of staying quiet and letting their play do the talking. The offense will rebound from a tough pre-season with help from first year receiver Stephen Hill which should open the field for Dustin Keller and Santonio Holmes. In a beefed up AFC East I expect the Jets to turn out a 9-7 season and hope for the best.

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Jets 2nd & 3rd Day Wrap up

The Jets stayed busy over the next two days in New York stacking up on not only ‘best available,’ but need. With first round selection DE Quinton Coples, everybody around Jet nation was able to not only soak in the selection, but understand the reasoning behind the pick. Many analysts and writers, myself included, felt that OLB Chandler Jones out of Syracuse or Melvin Ingram out of South Carolina would have been not only safer picks, but would have fit a strong need. However, on many boards Coples was the highest ranked senior on the board overall regardless of position. Here is a look at the rest of the Jets selections

2nd rd (43) Stephen Hill WR 6’4 215
A big target to replace Plaxico Burress who most certainly will not be returning. Hill was clocked in the four three range forty time at the combine and can break defenders well. Sure hands and should compliment WR Santonio Holmes and TE Dustin Keller

3rd rd (77) Demario Davis OLB 6’2 235
Might be the most NFL ready selection for the Jets in this year’s draft. A big physical backer with speed and good lateral movement. Had some underclassmen not declared he most definitely would have been a higher round selection

6th rd (187) Josh Brown SS 5’11 208
Brown is a hard hitter who will add depth to a secondary that’s thin at the safety position. Also will contribute on special teams

6th rd (202) Terrance Ganaway RB 6’0 240
With Davis, could be one of two Jet steals in this years draft. Participated in an offense that included Heisman trophy winner Robert Griffin III and excelled. Had a dominate performance in the Alamo bowl. Like current Jet RB Shone Green, he is a north and south runner, but at 240 lbs he might be more physical

6th rd (203) Robert Griffin OG 6’6 335
Teammates with Ganaway, he is a big physical pass protector. Did not pull much in college but with some coaching up he should be able to add depth to an offensive line that has seen a decline this past season

7th rd (242) Antonio Allen SS 6’1 210
Another safety to add to the secondary and special team unit. Hard hitter and can play moderate coverage. High football IQ, not the most gifted athlete

7th rd (244) Jordan White 6’0 208
Can play the slot, return punts and return kicks. Might compete for time on the practice squad but a solid athlete all around.

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27 April 2012

Jets Stay Put, Take Coples

By Ngernnak Michael

Coming into the draft, many draft boards did not have Coples making it out of the top ten, let alone past the Jaguars at seven. But once the slew of trades took over the top portion of the draft, all hands were on deck. The Jaguars moved into the fifth spot to select WR Justin Blackmon out of Oklahoma State to give second year QB Blaine Gabbert a solid number one option.

Once the Jets were on the clock, some of the top pass rushers were available and the Jets had options. Chandler Jones of Syracuse, Melvin Ingram of South Carolina and dark horse OG David DeCastro, offensive guard out of Stanford were all needs and were available. The Jets nearly exhausted the entire ten minute time limit but when the pick was in DE Quinton Coples was there selection and he crossed the stage to a mix of cheers and boos.

At 6’6 285 lbs, Coples has the size to be a force in a defensive front that undoubtedly hasn’t had a pass rush specialists since the Jets traded John Abraham to the Falcons six seasons ago. Coples ran a 4.78 forty at the combine and physically blew scouts away during senior bowl activities. His work ethic has been a debate and he has been tabbed as a ‘high risk high reward’ player. He dropped in sacks from ten his junior year to seven and a half during his senior season, but in both instances he drew intense double teams. Coach Rex Ryan has been enamored with Coples since they first met at the senior bowl and many sources have stated the Ryan would select Coples if he fell to the Jets at sixteen. In an interesting twist Coples was a high school teammate with Jets first round selection from 2011, Muhammed Wilkerson.

With nine selections over the next two days expect the Jets to make a play at more pass rushers and offensive linemen.

Short list of best fit for New York Jets for second and third round

1) Courtney Upshaw OLB Alabama
2) Kendall Reyes DT UCONN
3) Lamar Miller RB Miami
4) Peter Konz OG/C Wisconsin
5) Vinny Curry DE Marshal

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26 April 2011

Jets Look for Super Draft

By Mark Stein

Rex Ryan wants pass rushers!  Hey, it’s not a secret.  Although the Jets had Stein’s 4.5th rated defense last year, Head Coach Ryan wants more defense.  (The rating is a complex formula of the average of yardage defense (3) and scoring defense (6).)  Lucky for Ryan and all loyal Jets fans, this year’s 2011 NFL Draft is loaded with D.  With a few correct choices, the New York Jets may get over that hump to the Super Bowl.

The Jets could use a good edge rusher, and will look for the best outside linebacker or defensive end at pick number 30 in the first round.  Of course, General Manager Mike Tannenbaum may trade back a bit to make up for not having a second round pick, but at slot 30, New York should be able to pick up a fine player.  Georgia linebacker Justin Houston may still be there or defensive end Ryan Kerrigan from Purdue may be the choice.  Both have fine speed and good motors.

On the second day of the draft, if the Jets stay in their current position, they could go wide receiver.  The team should expect to lose one or two receivers if and when free agency resumes, so the third round may be time to pick a young WR for QB Mark Sanchez to throw to on Sundays.

The Jets will also need to look at defensive tackle, safety and offensive line, but after a fine 11-5 season, they can just target the best player available in later rounds.  As it stands now, the team only has six picks in the seven rounds, but it seems Coach Ryan’s style is to draft conservatively, and grab key free agents.  No matter how short the free agent signing period will be, there will be one, so the Jets surely have their plans in place.  With a good draft to bolster depth, 2012 may finally see the New York Jets playing in the Super Bowl once again.

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4 September 2010

REVIS HOLDOUT TURNING JETS NATION AGAINST THE STAR CORNER!
 
Nobody with even a basic understanding of the beating and constant pounding the professional football players take year in and year out would ever begrudge a player, especially a star player who is not only the best at his position in the NFL today, but might very well be the best at his position since Deion Sanders. Sanders, for all his talents and achievements, last made a tackle in Madden 99.’ It’s becoming increasingly difficult to find any sympathy for Derelle Revis in his ill-advised, ongoing hold out.

First off, Revis held out for 25 days for this very same contract when he was drafted in the summer of 2006. Secondly, his agent/s have been a thorn in the side of Mike Tannenbaum since Tannenbaum took the reigns as GM of the Jets. Tannenbaum had one holdout on his resume’ up until 2006 and that was Revis. His second holdout in his tenure as GM was, well, Revis redux 2010. In addition, Tannenbaum had dealt with 2 ugly contract squabbles with two players who played significant roles on the Jets; LG Pete Kendall and TE Chris Baker. Kendall was getting poor advice and although he did not hold out, he acted like a petulant little child and it ended up being a huge distraction to the team during training camp. Inevitably, his actions (and that of his agent) forced the Jets to let him go to Washington. Kendall’s out of the league barely 2 years later.

Trust me on this one, because I watch every snap of every Jets game, the loss of Kendall killed that teams line that year and ended up nearly getting Kellen Clemmons killed in New England late in the season. They were forced to go with a guy, Adrienne Clark, who should have been in the private sector selling insurance, not protecting quaterbacks in the NFL! The Jets have NEVER, AT LEAST NOT DURING MIKE TANNENBAUMS VERY SUCCESSFUL TIME IN THE GM’S CHAIR, EVER TREATED A JETS PLAYER UNFAIRLY! Quite the contrary, in fact, as they have allowed long time Jets the opportunity to follow their desired career paths, even though it might have been detrimental to the NY Jets and the overall success of the team. Laverneous Coles is a prime example.

Coles bargained and negotiated to have his final 2 yrs, roughly 7 million, guaranteed. He was an all time Jet but with some fading skills. Reluctantly, and out of the respect for what Coles had done and what he has meant to the organization, Tannenbaum agreed and guaranteed the remaining compensation on his contract. Then just before Rex Ryan had a chance to sit in his coaches chair in his new office for the very first time since he was hired in January 09’, Coles asked to be released from the very same contract he lobbied to have guaranteed, just so Coles could find another long term deal that was more financially palatable to the player. He eventually signed with Cincinnati and he had one less than successful year with the Bengal’s before being released this off-season.
What transpired next, however, was no surprise; Coles phoned the Jets and asked for a shot to come in and compete for a spot, and again, to nobody’s surprise, Tannenbaum and Ryan said yes.
Revis is sitting on an offer (and has done so since memorial day) of 10yrs, 122 million.

With roughly 40 million guaranteed against injury. And this is not enough to come in and play? The Revis camp is insisting on “fully” guaranteed money, where the Jets are offering the option of guaranteeing against injury or failing skills. This was not a problem for D’brickashaw Ferguson and Center Nick Mangold, who both signed extensions this summer. Both of whom had the option to hold out and, in fact, had more of an argument and basis to do so since the two of them were in their final years of their original rookie deals. Yet, they chose to come into camp. Why? They are two players more concerned with winning a championship than milking every last dollar out of the organization and disrupting the pre-season. Brick and Mangold are two players who seem to have vastly different goals and priorities than Revis. Let’s face it, folks; And for the purposes of full disclosure, I am a HUGE Revis fan, but Revis, at least by all outward appearances, seemingly could care less about the Jets going all in for a Super Bowl this season. With Revis, it’s all about the money. And to think anything different would be both naïve and would sound as if your either a Revis family member or one of his less than realistic and professional representatives.

The contract the Jets have had on the table(reported and confirmed by NY Daily News NFL correspondent, Gary Myers. Sunday 8/29/10) is more than generous for a guy who still has 3 years remaining on a contract he held out for! What’s more, his desire to beat the ridiculous and absurdly out of whack contract given to Nnamdi Asamoguh by the walking cadaver Al Davis is both unfair and unrealistic. Firstly, is there any other organization that any team should do whatever they can to avoid emulating and copying than the hapless Raiders? This is a man who drafted Jamarcus Russel, (Surpassing Ryan Leaf as the biggest bust ever), gave contracts like 50 million to Javon Walker, drafted Darrius Heyward Bay number 7 overall, when some teams had him red-flagged even as a second rounder and with the consensus top receiver, Michael Crabtree, on the board. The same fellow who gave his kicker 9 million per year this past winter. The very same kicker he drafted in the 1st round of one of the deepest drafts in years. And the Jets are supposed to fall in line with this team and follow suit with them? Right!

I absolutely cringe when I hear a player mention how he needs to “feed his family and put food on the table!” Especially when this comes from a player, Revis, who already pocketed 16 million guaranteed in his pockets to feed his family. Hopefully, with that sort of compensation, he would have been able to cancel his call to “meals on wheels!” He should realize that the contract the Raiders gave to their star CB came after he fulfilled his innittial rookie contract and it’s obligations! Secondly, although there was a ridiculous base salary of 1 million this year that everyone knew and agreed he was not going to play for, he did have 20 million guaranteed coming to him in his final 2 years of the original contract.

So even if he “lowered” himself and swallowed his pride by playing the next 3 years, he would have pocketed 38 million, not including endorsements, many of which have been coming rather quickly as a result of his ascending to the top of the corner ladder in the NFL. What’s more, let’s not forget that the Titan’s all world RB, Chris Johnson, found himself in the same situation. The Titans increased his salary this season by roughly 2 million or so. The Jets offered to raise the 1 million salary to about 5. Revis was “insulted.” That would have meant he would have, in the worst case scenario, made 25 million guaranteed over the next 3 seasons. Where exactly are the Jets being unfair here?
 
Another aspect of this whole mess that we need to look at is the Raiders guaranteed at least 29 million of a 48 million contract with the possibility of the final year (year3) being fully guaranteed at almost 16million. That is not just lunacy, it is absurd and its terrible business! This is not going to happen with Revis! He and his agents might as well close up shop and come back next off season if they think they are getting a contract with over 65% of it guaranteed. Revis needs to understand that he will be a rich man as a Jet, but if he doesn’t want to play here, then tell the Jets that you have no interest in being here for a contract that will guarantee you 40 million. Even if Revis settles for the same type of contract that was offered to and subsequently accepted by Ferguson and Mangold, where Revis would choose whether the guarantee is for injury or diminishing skills, Revis would still come way out on top.

If he chooses to guard against injury, that would be the smart play, given that Revis is 24 and has very little to worry about in the next 4 or 5 years relative to losing his skills as a dominant player.
This is a Jets team that went all in this year and brought all the pieces in to give this team every opportunity to win it all. They traded for Antonio Cromartie, a gifted corner who they envisioned augmenting the play of Revis in the secondary, not taking over his responsibilities. This team needs you, Derelle! Kyle Wilson needs to be in the slot not starting as a rookie. Wilson needs to be handling the likes of Welker, and Garcon, not Dwight Lowery!

Memo to Revis; The perception among a very loyal and hungry Jets Nation is steadily turning against you. In all our minds, the remaining three of the Jets version of the “core 4” are all here and are “all-in” like the rest of this organization in it’s quest to finally win the Lombardi Trophy. Stay out even one game in the regular season, then you might as well stay home for good. You can sit there and wonder where, when, or even if, the Jets decide to trade you.

Make no mistake, if it does indeed comes to that, Tannenbaum will be just as greedy in his negotiations as your thieving reps have been with the Jets. Sitting this year out and you will never even see a contract offer like the one that’s currently on the table from the Jets. It’s clear to the fans you care more about a kings ransom than you do a Super Bowl.

If that’s the case, go play for Dan Shneider…..3 yrs from now after, sitting on your tuft this year and maybe next year if there’s a lockout.

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17 August 2010

Hope Springs eternal in the SUMMER! REVIS WHO?

Say what you want about the talents of Derelle Revis and how important he is to what the Jets do on defense, but nobody in Cortland is crying about the fact that the all world corner is not in camp and practicing with his teammates. As Head coach Rex Ryan said in his weekly press conference last week, “Don’t cry for us! We have everything we need here on defense. Nobody should feel bad for us!” Judging by the many less than inviting comments emanating from training camps around the league, Ryan has little to worry about in that regard.

Heading into tonight’s pre-season tilt with their Jersey Roommates, the Jets and Giants have added a little more juice to an otherwise meaningless pre-season game by trading barbs back and forth with some of the Giant players. Big Blue “back-up” DB Terrel Thomas was quick to point out that he still considers the new stadium and NYC to be owned exclusively by his Giants. Thomas stated that they(the Giants) were “looking to send the Jets a message!” He needs to realize it’s a pre-season game, though.

Bart Scott, in response to the comments by Thomas added; “I don’t even know who is!” Ahh, you have to love this time of the year. These players are chomping at the bit to hit another jersey other than the same colored uniforms that they have been colliding with for two weeks now. The bottom line is, no matter how much talking you get involved with leading up to this game, it’s a meaningless pre-season game! As a fan, the last thing I want is for my team to go out there like a bunch of crazed dogs, looking to shut a player or a team up in August, and then having an important player go down for the year with an injury.

That’s not to say, however, that the game has no significance. Rex Ryan said his starters will play “a series into the second quarter. Usually, the starters are out after a series or two in the opening period of the first pre-season game. Ryan, however, is going to push his starters a little bit more. Jets’ fans should look at the following players and situations to gauge how much better this team is from the squad that walked off the field in late January in Indianapolis, 30 minutes short of making the Super Bowl!

- Mark Sanchez and his progress from patella tendon surgery and his command of coach Brian Schottenheimer’s offense in year two. Sanchez had to play the end of the regular season last year and throughout the playoffs with a cumbersome brace on his knee, as a result of an unstable patella tendon. Sanchez has indicated that his surgically repaired knee feels much stronger than it has going back to his days at Southern Cal. Only action in real time, however, and maybe a couple of pops by a defender when he scrambles will give the quarterback a true indication of the progress he has made with the knee.

Sanchez has looked very good in the OTA’s and during camp in demonstrating his command of the offense. He is light years ahead of last year with regards to his check downs and identifying formations and pointing out the defense’s “MIKE” linebacker. Every quarter-back needs to be able to recognize the defense the other team is in and tell his offensive line which way to slant with the blocking. There were times last year where Sanchez had to lean on All-Pro center Nick Mangold. That’s not the case this year, however.
In addition, Jet fans should keep an eye out for the new talent spread out all over the offense. The speed Sanchez has to work with this season, compared to last is really eye opening. Santonio Holmes has been by far the best WR in training camp on a team deep with a deep crop of talented pass-catchers.

-The new Tag team at Running back and the rookie from USC, Joe McKnight. There are many people who have killed the Jets for going away from Thomas Jones and signing future first ballot hall of famer, Ladainian Tomlinson. Tomlinson has been ripped by many in the media who have gone out of their way to say he is finished and shot as a playmaker. Honestly, while I am really skeptical, Thomas has looked really spry this summer. In fact, on the very first play during the Jets annual green and white scrimmage, Tomlinson caught a Sanchez pass down the sideline out of the backfield on a simple go route and scampered 70 yards for a touchdown.

The Jets had no threat receiving out of the backfield last year after former Jet Leon Johnson went out with a gruesome knee injury in week six against the dopey Raiders ( I loathe this team and their walking cadaver Al Davis for putting the Jets in this mess with Revis!) Speaking of Leon Johnson, he has taken his play-making abilities to the state of Washington and his replacement(we hope), Joe Mcknight will look to ease the fears of Jet coaches and it’s worried fan base by showing off his immense skills and making some plays from the line of scrimmage as well as producing on special teams. From what I have seen thus far, Ill be happy if he makes it through the game without throwing up his stomach!

- The battle for the left guard position. Right now, according to Rex Ryan, second year man out of Nebraska, Matt Slaussen, has the clear edge over raw but talented and massive Vlad Ducasse (2nd round, 2010, UMass). Ryan has stated that he loves Slaussen’s nasty streak, calling him “Just a big, nasty old player” that’s “ready to start in this league.”

It’s the nasty attitude that has put the talented but mild mannered Ducasse behind Slaussen in the battle for the OG position between stalwarts Nick Mangold and LT D’brickashaw Ferguson. Ryan wants Ducasse to get nasty and “finish his blocks” through the whistle. Ryan and the offensive coaching staff, while remaining high on Ducasse, feel he has played a little too tentatively thus far and want to see him pick it up with regards to his intensity.

-Defensively, keep your eyes out for the trimmed down NG, Kris Jenkins. Jenkins, coming off of an ACL repair after tearing his knee up mid season last year. He has not only looked like he is all the way back from the injury, but he has looked quicker than ever. He shed some 30 pounds, winning the biggest loser contes between he, Rex Ryan and OT Damian Woody. He really has looked liked a man on a mission this summer. You would never know this 350lb monster was recovering from a torn ACL just 9 months ago. He (Jenkins) truly is one of the most gifted athletes I have ever watched in person, in any sport.

Jason Taylor, the former public enemy number 1 of Jets’ Nation, has looked good in his first camp as a pass rushing specialist at LOLB. He had a mild groin strain that he suffered a week and half ago but returned a few days ago and has looked good running around the field. He recorded another sack in 11 on 11 action yesterday. Taylor admits his only problem thus far has been picking up a defense that is more complex than any he has been in in his 13yr career.

-Last but not least, the Defensive backs; The new Jets in the defensive backfield make this Jets secondary, on paper, deeper and more talented than last years group that helped the Jets defense sore to number 1 overall against the pass. Revis was a monster shutting down every teams number 1 each and every week, but the RCB position was picked apart in the playoffs by Payton Manning, spurring the Jets on in trading for the talented but enigmatic Antonio Cromartie, and drafting the big, physical CB from Boise State, Kyle Wilson. Wilson has looked the part, playing well and gaining valuable experience at the RCB position in the midst of the Revis hold out.

Cromartie has slid into Revis’ spot and until the all world corner comes in, he will assume the responsibilities that were delegated to Revis last year. Quite honestly, Cromartie has been the most electrifying player in camp on either side of the ball. He looks like he is on a mission. He’s in a contract year and he is playing in a defense that he loves and feels is “more suited to my physical abilities.” If Cromartie returns to the type of player-and he has looked just like that in practice this summer- that he was with San Diego 3 yrs ago, the Jets will not suffer a precipitous drop in overall defense. That’s my personal guarantee to Jets nation.

This team is not falling out of the top 3 spots in overall defense by not having Revis, even as great as he is! There is more to the Jets defense than Revis. And to say they are a “run of the mill defense” without him is a slight on the other defenders on the Jets defense. Really, folks… a defense with Jenkins in the middle and Shawn Ellis to his left, backed up by one of the best middle linebacker tandems in the NFL, with OLB’s on the corners Calvin pace and Jayson Taylor, to go along with a secondary sporting Jimmy Leonhard, Cromartie, 1st round pick Kyle Wilson and rangey, hard hitting Brodney Pool is really an average secondary?

The Dallas defense that won with Deion Sanders was a top notch defense solely because of Sanders? So Woodson, Kevin Smith, Charles Haley, Tony Tolbert, Leon Lett, etc. were average players?? If Ryan had this same cast of characters last season, his defense finishes no worse than third.

You have to realize that the Jets gave up a shade over 15points a game last year. However, they had 8, YES, 8 returns for touchdowns. 6 on fumbles and interceptions as well ass two by Ted Ginn, who is still running past my window. That’s almost 60 points factored into the Jets overall defensive numbers. No team, in the top 15, had anything remotely close to the craziness that the Jets dealt with when it came to having the opposing team secure a bunch of cheap points. What’s more, all I keep hearing is they were a 9-7 team that backed into the playoffs last year because the Colts and Bengals gift wrapped the playoffs for the Jets. Well, yes, the Colts did give that game away and, no, I feel the Jets have no shot winning that game if Manning stays in. However, the Bengals were annihilated by the Jets that Sunday night on national television in week seventeen, They were not beating the Jets. In fact, the Jets went into their house, opening the playoffs the very next week and they were beaten by the better team.

Well you say the jets were really an 8-8 team then and still had no business making the playoffs? First off, yes, they lost a few games they had no business losing last year. What people feel to remember is they did it with a qb who was a rookie and had 22 int’s! Moreover, he fumbled a few times earlier in the year and they were costly. The point is, everyone is focusing on the Revis holdout as the key to this team. That’s not looking at the entire picture. The kid under center is the key to this team. With or WITHOUT Revis, Rex Ryan will give you a top 5 defense and any top 5 defense is worthy of winning it all.

If the defense plays anywhere like it did last year and IT IS, IN FACT BETTER-ON PAPER-THIS YEAR, and the quarterback plays like he did the last 5 games of the regular season and throughout the playoffs last year, ON THE ROAD… Well, this team is going to be difficult to beat, no matter WHO they play and WHERE THEY PLAY! I will say this and take note Dolphins’ fans, you are not winning any games this year in which your offense rolls up a whopping 109 total yards, 8 points and allows 7 sacks. TED GINN’S IN SAN FRANCISCO. GOOD LUCK PHISH PHANS! DEFENSE TRAVELS, FOLKS! ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?

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25 April 2010

2010 NFL Draft Coverage

More Help for some already impressive and solid units.

The New York Jets, staying true to their promise to sit tight at 29 and let the board dictate where they go with their first pick, snagged one of the top 3 cover corners in the draft, Boise States CB Kyle Wilson, by way of Piscataway NJ. Wilson according to coach Rex Ryan, was the player they were targeting all along with their first round selection. Their was much anxiety in the Jets war room when the teams the Jets expected to take a corner came on the clock.

The anxiety started to reach its apex among the Jets brain trust when the Texans were on the clock at 20. Sure enough, the Texans took a corner, opting for Alabama’s Kareem Jackson. New England selected a corner as well, tabbing Rutgers Devon McCourty with their first round selection. Ryan, at that point, nervously repeated, “Just hang in there!”

And hang in there Wilson did. The board aligned with the Jets need and they got their man. Wilson is joining already impressive stable of shut-down corners(Darelle Revis and Antonio “bump and run“ Cromartie).

Had the Jets not gotten Wilson, they almost certainly would have gone for TCU’s Jerry Huges (the best pass rusher in the draft. I compared him to Dwight Freeney and, funny, he winds up going to Indianapolis) or pass- rushing OLB from Texas, Sregio Kindle. It seems as if the Jets are going to play even more man and a lot of cover “0,” sending defenders from all over and creating the pass rush through elaborate blitzes.

With their second round pick, the Jets took a mauler of an offensive lineman that I had targeted in my draft review as a strong possibility for the them in round 2, Vladamir Ducasse, from that football powerhouse UMASS! Ducasse paved the way for the release of pro-bowl LG, Alen Fanneca in a salary dump. This is a guy who, at 6’ 6” 335lbs. Is just an absolute mauler and road-grader in the running game. He can also play the tackle position, so he gives the Jets much needed depth.

The Jets were without a 3rd round pick as a result of last October’s Bray- lon Edwards trade. In round 4, however, the Jets traded up for USC’s all purpose, electric back, Joe Mcknight. Much like with Ducasse’s arrival pav-ing the way for the release of Fanneca, the McKnight selection, whom the Jets moved up to pick in round 4 by trading their 4th rounder and 6th rounder to Carolina, signaled the end of fan Favorite, leon Washington‘s tenure with the Jets.

Washington, just a short time later, was dealt to Pete Carrol’s Seahawks, along with a 7th rounder, in exchange for Seattle’s 5th round selection, which the Jets used to select Kentucky FB John Connor. is a bruiser of a FB, who was dubbed the “Terminator” by his teammates at Kentucky, for the way he would destroy would-be tacklers in his path. I’m guessing the name John Conner ha something to do with the terminator nickname as well. He will play on special teams and he is, without a doubt, the heir apparent to Tony Richardson at the FB position.

What the Jets did was ensure the “Ground & Pound” stays in tact. There was much concern over whether or not Leon Washington would be ready for the opening of the season, and the belief amongst the Jets hierarchy was that Leon would have to start the season on the “PUP” list. In addition, Mcknight does everything that Leon did while with the Jets and, to be quite honest, he’s just as explosive. The Jets now boast a formid-able, young, talented duo, in Shonn Green and Mckinght.

So, once again, the Jets were active and they opted to go with their usual “Quality over Quantity” approach in the draft. Remember that just 3 yrs ago, the Jets traded up in the first round all the way from 15, while they were sitting in the mid 20’s, and selected Darelle Revis. The very next round they did the same thing, jumping up to the top of round 2, leap-frogging New England, and grabbing ILB David Harris. The Jets ended up with three picks (WR Chancey Stuckey was added in round seven and contributed to the team. He was also part of the trade that brought us Braylon Edwards).
So all in all, I give them a B+! I still would have liked the pass-rusher, But I guess Jason Taylor is expected to provide some of the pressure the Jets lacked last year from their front 7.

The Jets did fantastic thus far with the un-drafted player signings. Michigan’s Donovan Warren had a grade on many teams draft boards between the 2nd and 4th round, but the medical grade caused him to slip all the way out of the draft. Folks, this kid -and you heard it here first- will see significant time in the Jets defensive backfield in their nickel and dime packages. Also, he has the ability to challenge for significant playing time at safety. GREAT, GREAT sign by Mike Tannenbaum and Rex Ryan. This is the third round pick they never had.

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21 April 2010

2010 Draft Preview
Defense
Defensive Line and LineBackers

You would think the number 1 overall defense would not need a lot of tinkering, but that’s not the case with the 2010 NY Jets. Despite finishing near or at the top in virtually every statistical category, Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum have made no secret of their desire to get better and fix the flaws exploited by Peyton Manning and company in the conference

Championship game. The Jets defense, especially their DB’s not named Darelle Revis, were picked apart by Manning & company.
The Jets started out in the off season by adding troubled Charger CB Antonio Cromartie. The Jets are looking to add an edge pass rusher until Vernon Gholston’s ready to chip in (Kidding!). Anyone who watches the Jets realizes that Rex Ryan can never have enough cover corners. Rex and company would also like to improve the 5 technique position on the Defensive line, where Sean Ellis turns 33 and the depth is very thin.

Needs on Defense- OLB, DE, CB, S

If the Jets use their first pick (29 overall) on an edge rusher, Brandon Graham (Michigan 6’ 1 ¾” 264lbs.) or Sergio Kindle (Texas 6’ 3” 250) would be the likely targets, although it’s highly unlikely that either of them will be there when the Jets pick. They would have to jump up a few spots in order to grab either of the two.
Graham is a shorter defensive end that many project to the edge rush position in a 3-4 defense. He’s a tenacious and relentless pass rusher that dominated the best competition in the Senior Bowl.

He showed he can play the run well, and get after the quarterback. There is some concern with projecting conversion ends to linebacker, however. The one knock on Graham is scouts are a little concerned with his somewhat short build, but the guy really is a monster pass rusher. Besides, how tall is Graham’s Michigan Alum, Jamar Woodley? In fact, Woodleys partener on the opposite side, James Harrison, is barely 6’ 2.” The bottom line is Graham, like Harrison and Woodley, can really get after the QB.

Kindle is more rangy and thinly built. At 6’ 3” 250 lbs. he really has to convert to OLB at the next level because it’s doubtful he will hold up against the run at his weight while playing the edge in a 4 -3 defense.

Other Linebacker prospects who may tempt the Jets:
Jerry Hughes (TCU 6’ 2” 255lbs) Strengths- A tenacious, relentless pass rusher. Explosive first step. He is rising on draft boards and may be gone before 29 because of all the teams switching to 3-4 defenses. His one special talent is his ability to pass rush and would fit nicely with the Jets opposite Calvin Pace. Downside- Does not have prototypical size and may be a little bit of a liability against the run. This would be a solid pick for the Jets at 29.

Ricky Sapp (Clemson 6’ 4” 240lbs.) Strengths- Has the prototypical size the scouts look for in a 3-4 linebacker. Has shown great lateral pursuit and closing speed. Played the stand up line backer position this past year at Clemson and showed great instincts. Downside- Has had an injury history with his knees. Did not dominate in college.

Jermaine Cunningham (Florida 6’ 3” 255lbs) Strengths- Has the size scouts look for and played at a big program in the best conference in college football. Often played better than fellow teammate and book end, Carlos Dunlap. 3 yr starter who is strong at the point of attack. He can rush the passer. Downside- Does not have great measurables. Productive player but rarely dominated. Concern is whether or not he could switch to a stand up position in a 3-4 and play in space.

Jason Worlds (6’ 2” 250lbs Virginia Tech) Strengths- Strong, physical player. Played this past season with a shoulder injury. Tough at the point of attack and may be able to play either DE in a 4-3 or OLB in a 3-4.

Good size and athleticism. Good football smarts and a solid individual Downside- he needs to learn better technique. Has a little bit of an injury history. Does not have the explosive first step scouts look for.

Eric Norwood (South Carolina 6’ 0’ 245lbs.) Strengths- Disruptive blitzer. Big hitter. Smart player who has a nice burst and explosive first step.

Downside- Does not have the prototypical size for an outside linebacker in a 3-4. Does not play in well in space and there is concern whether or not he can handle dropping into coverage.
The Jets, with the signing of Jason Taylor, may be less inclined to spend their first pick on an edge rusher. This, in my opinion, would be a mistake. They need a relentless pass rusher because no matter how well Taylor performs as a situational pass rusher, he’s 36 yrs old and it’s unlikely he will be a Jet beyond 2010

2010 NEW YORK JETS
DRAFT PREVIEW
DEFENSIVE BACKS


Despite finishing first against the pass last season in year one of the Rex Ryan era, the Jets defensive secondary has already undergone a facelift.

Gone are Starting CB Lito Sheppard and S Kerry “Hollywood” Rhodes, along with nickel back Donald Strickland. And in is the talented cover corner, Antonio Cromartie along with hard hitting S Brodney Poole.

The make-over will not stop there. As GM Mike Tannenbaum said in his pre-draft news conference with the media, “When we hired Rex, I spoke to Ozzie(Newsome, Baltimore GM) who said he’s sending Ryan down I-95 with a sign around his neck that says “I need corners!” So with that, here’s a look at some DB’s who could be donning the green and white when this weekend comes to a close.

Cornerbacks:

Kyle Wilson (Boise State 5’10” 190) Strengths- Talented corner, who is rising on some draft boards. He is an appealing player to the jets because you cannot be a DB in Ryan’s system and not be a solid tackler( see Kerry Rhodes). Fluid athlete, who plays bigger than his size. Flips his hips nicely and is a solid tackler. Explosive. Covers well in man to man. Downside- Sometimes has a little trouble locating the ball downfield.

Patrick Robinson (Florida State 5’ 11” 190) Strengths- Fast and is a premier cover/ man to man corner. Fluid hips. Good size and athleticism.

Downside- Reminds many people of former FSU standout and NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, because he tackles like my mom. For a corner his size, to avoid contact like he does is disgraceful. I’ve see him do this too often. He has skills Ryan would covet, but can you really have him on the field with Cromartie at the same time? When neither of the two can tackle?

Donovan Warren (Michigan 6’0” 185) Strengths- Good size and has the skills to play the press and shadow NFL receivers. Good size/speed combo. Downside- He was hurt by the instability within the Michigan coaching ranks. He really only produced at a high level for one season.

He is willing to step up in run support, but his tackling needs work.
Devin McCourty (Rutgers 5’ 11” 185) Strengths-Solid “cover 2” corner. There has been a lot of talk about McCourty being the Jets pick, but he played in a cover 2 all four years at Rutgers and has shown little in the way of excelling in press/man to man. He’s a good tackler and has nice athleticism. Downside- Where’s the ball skills? He has a lot of ability, but he is still raw. I don’t see him as the guy. He’s talented but I can’t see the Jets taking a first round flyer on a guy who played in a cover 2 defense his entire college career.

Jerome Murphy (South Florida 5’ 10 200lbs) Watch this guy, folks! This is a Rex Ryan type of corner. He plays the ball well and excels in man to man. Solid build with good size. Strong in run support. Good closing ability. Downside- He does have a tendency to bite on double moves. Not overly fluid when flipping his hips
Chris Cook (Virginia 6’ 2” 210) Another Rex Ryan type of corner. Strengths- Big, physical and hard hitting. Great in run support. Scouts see him as making a move to safety. Relies more on technique than physical skills, Downside- Not as fluid as scouts would like, which is why there’s talk of moving him to safety on the next level. He lacks the top end speed to stay with receivers.
Kareem Jackson (Alabama 5’ 10 190) Solid player. Strengths- Well coached. Solid cover skills and a physical corner. Supports the run well and will make a big hit. Downside-Lacks straight line, top end speed. Not exceptional at any one thing. May have to play in a cover 2 system.

Safeties:

Earl Thomas (Texas 5’ 10” 195) Strengths- Elite prospect. There’s a premium on safety these days because of the onset of the spread offense in an increasingly pass happy NFL. Lacks ideal size but plays a lot bigger. He’s a solid tackler who is more than willing to step up in run support. Elite ball-hawking safety. Rare, great instincts for a safety coming out of college. Downside- What’s not to like? He doesn’t have the great size you would like in a safety. So what? He’s going to numerous pro bowls on the next level.
Taylor Mays (USC 6’ 3” 230) He would have been a top 10 pick had he turned pro last year. Strengths- Big, Physical safety. Strong in run support. Will deliver the big hit. Off the charts athleticism. Physically imposing. Downside- For a big hitter, he has very few forced fumbles. Gets caught out of position too often and sometimes gets caught taking the wrong angle. Some see him as a linebacker on the next level.

Nate Allen (South Florida 6’ 1” 210) Strengths- Solid, centerfielder at the safety position. Great ball skills and excels when roaming the field. Good tackler with good athleticism. Downside- Not great in man coverage. Not all that fluid when flipping his hips.
Morgan Burnett (Georgia Tech 6’ 1” 210) Strengths- Good ball skills and shows solid potential in coverage. Has gotten better each year in college. Good size and good instincts. Sees the field well when roaming at free safety. Downside- Not physical enough in run support. Not a sound tackler. Will not be a safety who can play in the box in the NFL. Strictly a free safety on the next level.

Chad Jones (LSU 6’ 3” 230) Strengths- Great size. Smart ball player, who won a national championship in 2 sports(Football, baseball). Tackles well. He will only get better because he was never able to fully concentrate exclusively on football because he played 2 sports at LSU. Downside- Only started one year at LSU. Not a big hitter for someone his size.

Jets 2010 Draft Preview (continued)
Defensive Line

 
There has been some heavy rumors circulating about the Jets trading pro bowl guard, and future hall of famer, Alen Fanneca. This would alter their draft strategy significantly in the early part of the draft. They would al-most certainly have to snag an offensive lineman in rounds 1 or 2 who can step right in and play from day one. Tinkering with their biggest strength is a gamble, and to lessen the chances that it would backfire on them, they would have to grab a player like Maurkice Pouncey, if he is available at 29, with their 1st round pick.

They could address their OLB hole and fill it with a player like Jermaine Cunningham and allow him to learn behind a player like Taylor. As for the problem at defensive end, they have to use an early pick on a 5- technique defensive end such as Jared Odrick (Penn State 6’ 5” 300lbs) Odrick played mostly inside at Penn State, but has the athleticism, build and talent to slide over to DE. I suspect he will be gone by 29 because this is a guy who is extremely versatile and he fits almost any defensive system that is run in the NFL.

Carlos Dunlap (Florida 6’ 6” 270lbs.) is an extremely talented player who fit’s the Rex Ryan mold as a long armed 5-technique DE, or a big, pass-rushing OLB in the Adalius Thomas mold. He has great pass-rush potential but is not a disciplined player. Scouts wonder if he can humble himself and do the dirty work that a 5 technique DE does in a 3-4 scheme, not rack up the individual stats and sack numbers, but be a team player and good soldier. Which leads to questions involving his character and, quite honestly, there are many. He was locked-up for DUI the week before the SEC championship against Alabama. He has been accused of not having a high motor and taking some plays off.

Other top D-line prospects: (players who are realistic options for the Jets) Everson Griffen (USC 6’ 3” 275) Strengths- Explosive pass-rusher. Played at a big time program and was well coached. Great athleticism and can play end in either a 3-4 or 4-3. Fit’s the mold of a Rex Ryan OLB (Calvin Pace, Adalius Thomas). Downside- Despite coming from USC, he started only one year. Needs to get stronger. Disappeared for a 6 week stretch at the end of last season and did not record a sack.

Corey Wooton (Northwestern 6’ 6” 270lbs) Strengths- Great athleticism and strength. Smart player with good football IQ. Fits nicely in either a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme. Tough player who often played through injuries. Good motor. Downside- Injury history is somewhat extensive. Not a great pass-rusher. Not really strong at the point of attack and can get pushed around by bigger offensive lineman.
Alex Carrington (Arkansas State 6’ 5” 285lbs.) Has the size teams covet to play end in a 3-4, either 2 gap or 5-technique. Has the size to play inside. Good motor and is strong at the point of attack. Plays the run real well and is a solid all around player. Versatile. Good but not great first step. Downside- Short armed, which could hurt him in the pass rush department. Small school player who did not play against top competit-ion. He would be a great pick for the Jets in round 2.

Tysosn Alualu (California 6’ 3” 295lbs.) Great motor, relentless in pursuit. Played inside at Cal and figures to kick outside in a 3-4 on the next level. Strong and plays low with great leverage. Instinctive and tough. Plays with a mean streak. Downside- Has not played outside on the edge and is not a force as a pass-rusher. Lacks burst and the initial quickness needed to be an effective pass-rusher.
Austen Lane (Murray State 6’ 6” 270lbs.) Strong, athletic, rangy Defensive end who has the athleticism to play OLB on the next level. Played down in a 3pt stance and played standing up at Murray State. Showed the ability to drop into coverage and play the run well. Dominated his comp- etition in college. Downside- Competition level is a concern, even though he dominated. Lacks ideal strength needed to play end in a 3-4.

Greg Hardy (Mississippi 6’ 4” 275lbs.) Strengths- He has all the measure-ables scouts look fo.r. Looks like the prototypical defensive end in the pro’s. He has first round talent and ability, but he has some character issues. He performed well against some of college footballs top talent. Downside- He is generally accepted as a good kid, but his overall interest in a career in football is in question. Does not have a high motor and has been known to take plays off. In fact, he was suspended for a game in 08 due to lack of hustle.

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20 April 2010

Do the Jets Need a Running Back?

The Jets running game was every bit the “ground and pound” Rex Ryan hoped it would be. Behind a solid offensive line, Thomas Jones, Leon Washington and rookie Shonn Green blew through canyon sized lanes in Mike Callahan’s zone blocking scheme. But the winds of change have blown right through the backfield for the New York Jets in 2010. Gone is Thomas Jones and his 1,402 yards and 14 TD’s and in comes future hall of famer and former San Diego Charger, Ladainian Tomlinson.

Leon Washington has just signed his tender this past Thursday, but he was MIA up until that point because of his unhappiness with his contract situation. Ryan, in fact, expressed disappointment that Washington was not rehabbing in New York from the serious compound fracture he suffered last season. Shonn Green enters his sophomore season in 2010 as the “featured back” in a backfield that will be somewhat by committee.

Will the Jets be as good in the ground game again? Probably not! Then again, averaging 170 yards a game on the ground is really something special and doing that two years in a row would truly be something.

If Washington recovers well from his injury (and reports are that his rehab is on schedule) and he’s ready to start the season, and LDT(only one LT, sorry!) has a little something left, then Shonn Green will have all the help he needs in keeping the Jets runaway train rolling on. However, there are no guarantees that will be the case and in today’s NFL, you have to have a staple of backs. The Jets could look at the long term health of the position and decide to add a talented, workhorse type back like Fresno State’s Ryan Mathews (5’ 11” 218lbs.) or a home run threat such as Cal’s Jahvid Best (5’ 10” 195).
Mathew’s was the nations leading rusher last season. He has the size and speed ratio that appeals to NFL teams. He’s a physical runner who fits Ryans ground and pound rushing attack perfectly. He and Shonn Green would absolutely wear defenses down each week and would be as imposing a duo as you could find in the NFL. Mathews Possesses a great stiff arm and, he, just like Shonn Green, will often dish out the punishment rather than end up on the receiving end.

Jahvid Best was on a Heisman ram-page before a serious concussion de-railed his final season at Cal. He’s big enough to run between the tack-les, but that’s not as much of an issue these days with teams shifting from the work-horse, featured back rushing attacks to running back by committee backfields. He’s quicker more than he’s fast. He’s a legit home-run hitter. Unfortunately, his injury concern is a big one- concussions!
In today’s NFL, there is a push to treat players with head injuries with ex-treme caution and there has been much debate as to whether or not a player is susceptible to concussions after he suffers his first one. It’s been reported that Best had suffered a moderate to severe concussion.

Therefore, you are likely going to see a legit first round talent like Best slip out of round one.

It’s highly unlikely that an NFL team will make the type of financial investment that comes with being a first round draft pick in a medical risk like Jahvid Best. If you’re the Jets, however, and he is sitting there in round two, I would think there’s a chance they could pull the trigger because of the uncertainty surrounding Washington’s injury and contract and Tomlinson’s age.

OTHER RB OPTIONS

Johnathan Dwyer (Georgia Tech 5’11” 240lbs) Strengths- Dwyer, like Mathews, is a big, bruising back. This is a guy who another perfect fit for the Jets and the type of rushing attack that Ryan likes to employ. They want to wear down a defense and I cannot argue with taking a big, talented back to pair with Shonn Green. That’s a difficult chore for a defense to handle. Getting pounded on an average of 25 - 30 times a game by a combination of bowling ball shaped backs like Shonn Green and Johnathan Dwyer isn’t something NFL defenders, especially the lighter and quicker DB’s, will be looking forward to on Sundays. If you don’t agree, well, then just ask Antonio “BUMP & RUN” Cromartie.

C.J. Spiller (Clemson 5’ 10 195lbs) Folks! Truth be told, Spiller is by far the best back and the most talented and electric player in the entire draft! And for my money, once Bradford comes off the board on Thurs- day night, the best player and THE MOST EXPLOSIVE (Suh’s certainly in the discussion) ATHLETE IS, IN FACT, C.J. SPILLER! I have watched this young man closely since his freshman year at Clemson and the very first time I laid eyes on Spiller, I was convinced that this kid was a future pro-bowler.

Strengths- Spiller has so many attributes and he possesses the skills and instincts that scouts look for in an NFL running back. His vision is tre-mendous and he’s downright scary when it comes to having to prepare and game-plan for a player with his skills. He’s a great football player who is also top track star. That’s why one could easily make a sound argument that Spiller does indeed have the goods to be drafted as high as first overall. He has every God given ability there is and, on top of it all, the young man is a polished, affable and urbane sort. All of these attributes add up to a safe, solid selection no matter where Spiller is drafted.

Remember, too, that you are throwing a boat load of money at top 10 picks, especially the top 3 in the draft. Missing on a top 10, top 5 pick could be absolutely devastating to the viability and growth of an NFL franchise. This is one prospect, however, that I know will come through as a Player. I listed Spiller as I did other top prospects like Russel Okung and Trent Williams, although these are players that seem to be out of even Mike Tannenbaum’s lengthy reach.

Tannenbaum, however, has traded up in every draft at some point and when he does trade up, he usually strikes it big- Darelle Revis, David Harris (same draft as Revis. back 2 back rounds), Mark Sanchez, Dustin Keller, SHONN GREEEEN! What can I say? The man has faith in his scouting department and he’s tremendously trustworthy of own instincts! So, who knows? Perhaps a stud like Spiller could be a Jet Thursday night. I do expect the Jets to draft a running back, but more likely after round 2.

Monterio Hardesty ( Tennessee 5’ 11” 210lbs) In his first year as the defacto guy in the Vol’s backfield, Hardesty had a huge year (1,345 yds on 282 carries. 4.8 avg. w/13 TD’s/25 receptions 302yds 12.1 avg. 1TD) in the nation’s toughest conference (SEC). Physical runner despite good not great size. Physical runner, who can catch a pass out of the backfield and picks up blitzes well. Steady type of running back, who will gain yards after he is hit. Tough runner. Downside- Not a fast back. Has average speed for a running back. Long injury history with some serious knee injuries. One year starter.

Toby Gerhardt (Stanford 6’ 1” 235lbs) Solid physical runner, who will run between the tackles. Good speed and is a work-horse type of back. Blocks well in blitz pick up. Hits his lane quickly. Downside- Lacks the break away speed and acceleration when he hit’s the second level of defenses. Not a receiving threat out of the backfield. He is also a top baseball prospect as an outfielder and would have to commit to football if he is going to be selected high in the draft.

Ben Tate (Auburn 5’ 11” 215) Ran well at the combine and showed excellent speed. When he got into a more balanced offense and got away from the spread in his senior year at Auburn, he produced solid numbers. Downhill runner who can take a hit. Physical back. Downside- considered to be cocky and somewhat immature. Decent but not great as a pass catcher. Has taken a lot of hits and some scouts worry about his ability to hold up long term.

Joe McKnight (Southern Cal 6’ 0 190) Multi purpose back in the mold of Reggie Bush who does possess some big play ability, although he’s not as explosive as Bush was during his tenure at USC. Versatile back who can be a big help in the return game. Has the ability to be a difference maker. Downside- Slight build for a running back and looks more like a receiver. Is not a guy who can run between the tackles consistently on the next level. Needs to get stronger.

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14 April 2010

NEW YORK JETS 2010 DRAFT PREVIEW

Offensive Line

So much for the Jets being quiet this off season because of the “Final Eight” rule. In Mike Tannenbaum’s four year reign as Jets GM, he has proven to be one of the leagues most aggressive and proactive ex-executives. However, due to the restrictions placed on teams who made it past the wild card round of the playoffs, very few people around the league expected even an aggressive GM like Mr. T. (As he is known around the New York area) to be as active as he has been these past few weeks.

Even with the additions of some very talented (but problematic) players the Jets have brought in this off season, they do have some holes to fill in next weeks draft. Lets take a look at what the Jets might be focusing on in next weeks college draft on the offensive side of the ball.

Offensive needs : Depth on the “O” line, RB, WR
The Jets have a terrific and cohesive offensive line that has played together for 35 straight games now. However, Robert Turner, a tough and versatile OT, is their only true NFL caliber offensive lineman that can fill in if one of the starters go down. The fact that Turner was not signed away as a restricted free agent when he was tendered by the Jets is a pretty big mystery to me. This is a guy who is versatile, rugged and he looks the part and plays the part. His off the field issues (minor arrest for assault when he was a member of Mike Holmgren’s Seattle Seahawks) may be a big reason for the lack of serious interest in signing Turner away from the Jets. If a team needs a guard or RT, he can step in and do a real good job.

Age is going to become a factor for the Jets on the offensive line at some point in the near future. Stalwarts like RT Damien Woody and LG Alen Fanneca are on the wrong side of 30. So at some point, the Jets are going to have to look at grooming a successor to both Damien Woody and Alen Fanneca. The Jets could also use a guy who they can stick in at center in the event that pro bowler Nick Mangold goes down for any length of time. I can absolutely see the Jets taking a prospect like OT Vladamir Ducasse from Umass in round 2. He reminds a lot of scouts of New England’s 2009 2nd round pick, Sebastian Vollmer. He’s not polished and he needs to be coached up, but the guy has off the chart measurables. He’s a mauler in the running game and his run blocking is NFL ready. However, he needs work in pass protection. He has only played organized football since 2002, but he’s such an incredible specimen that he just might tempt the Jets early.

Top Offensive Lineman

Russel Okung OT (SR 6’ 6” 305 Oklahoma State) Top Rated Tackle in the draft. Four year starter. Strengths- Franchise Left tackle prospect. Should step in and start from day one. Fluid athlete and natural knee bender. Run blocks very well and is a powerful tackle with excellent lower body strength. Should anchor a line for years. Downside- Sometimes does not look natural as a pass blocker. Has had some trouble against smaller speed rushers.

Trent Williams OT (SR 6’ 4” 315 Oklahoma) Strengths- franchise tackle who’s rated just a shade behind Okung. Skillful pass protector, who is a fluid athlete. Tough player who has often played through injuries. Downside- Like Okung, not much to dislike. Short arms for a tackle. Some scouts feel he may end up as a tackle on the right side.

Brian Bulaga OT (6’ 6” 315 Iowa) Strengths- Solid player and polished individual. Great athlete. Former TE. Powerful masher and run blocker.

Downside- Better run blocker than pass protector. Needs to learn better technique. May start out on the right side
Anthony Davis OT (6’ 6” 325 Rutgers) Strengths- Powerful tackle. Young and still growing. Fluid feet for a big guy his size. Downside- Immature. Character red flags all around him. Suspended for a game in 08 for violating team rules. Showed up late for a meeting last year and was benched for a quarter. Weight problems have always been a concern. Boom or bust, who could slip to the Jets at 29 even though he is a top 10 talent.

Bruce Campbell OT (6’ 6” 315 Maryland) Mark it down Raider Nation because I would be shocked if this isn’t your pick! Al Davis never met a superior athlete he didn’t want to throw millions of dollars at, regardless of their football skills-or lack there of. Strengths- Superior athlete. Had a showing at the scouting combine in February that will go down in history as one of the best scouting combine work outs in its history. Then again, so did Mike Mamula and, ughh, Vernon Gholston! Agile, quick, looks the part. Long armed Tackle who should be able to handle speed rushers.
Downside- Started only 17 games at Maryland over his 3 year career. Injury history is a concern, Game tape does not match up with his athleticism. Not ready to step in and start.

Maurkice Pouncey C/G (6’ 5” 320 Florida) Strengths- Versatile. Can play guard as well as center. Powerful. Great run blocker. Smart tactician. Pass blocks as well as he run blocks. Downside- Even with his massive size, scouts think he’s strictly an inside lineman. (I have to really reach to find a negative on this guy) This would not be a need, but I could not fault the Jets for taking this guy at 29. He’s a guy who could anchor your line for years while he goes to multiple pro bowls.

Mike Iupati G (6’ 5” 325ibs. Idaho) The most physically imposing lineman in the draft. Bar none! Strengths- Road grader. Mauler with a nasty de- meanor. Big, physical and powerful. Has the size, athleticism and talent to play Tackle on the right side. Has everything scouts look for in an NFL offensive lineman. Downside- Has not played organized football for a long time. Has not exactly gone up against the best of the best in the WAC. A certain first rounder and nice fit for the Jets, but won’t be there at 29.

John Asamoah G (6’ 4” 300 Illinois) Good athlete and fine pass blocker. Can play well in space. Nice fit for a zone blocking team like the Jets. Agile for his size. Downside- Not much to dislike with Asamoah. He needs to get a litle stronger and may struggle with powerful defenders.

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10 February 2010

New York Jets Future is Bright

The New York Jets season ended, but not in disappointment, it ended in hope. The Jets exceeded all expectations by playing in the AFC Championship Game. Even though it would’ve been great for the Jets to make it to the Super Bowl, the high powered Colts offense passed right by them. Don’t get me wrong, the Jets did put up a good fight, but QB Peyton Manning (#18 6-5” 230 lbs) finally wore down the defensive unit of the Jets. After many people, including Head Coach Rex Ryan, considered the Jets season over after their week 15 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, the fact that they almost made it to the Super Bowl is absolutely extraordinary.
Saying that, the Jets do have a very bright future, but they do have a few off season needs when reflecting back on the 2009 NFL season.

2009 NFL Season Grades

Coaching- A- In his first year as the New York Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan changed the overall feelings and expectations of the New York Jets franchise. He coached in his own way and how he believed, which proved to be very affective. As a defensive minded coach he set out goals for his defense and achieved every one of them. He turned this Jets team into a tough, hard-hitting, pound the ball, football team. On the offensive side of the ball Brian Schottenheimer was in control. The offense had many doubts concerning rookie QB Mark Sanchez (#6 6-2” 225 lbs) and these doubts were justified, but Schottenheimer developed a nice game plan to effectively run the ball most of the time, while giving Mark Sanchez his opportunities. In the playoffs Schottenheimer’s play calls were accurate and executed very well. He would lull the defense to sleep with the running game and then hit them with a nice gain on a pass.

Quarterbacks- C- During the regular season the New York Jets were 31st in the league in passing yards per game. However, the Jets were not expecting much out of their rookie QB Mark Sanchez. Mark Sanchez threw 12 touchdowns, 20 interceptions and 2,444 yards with a 63.0 passer rating in the 2009 regular season. However, M. Sanchez did improve as the season went on by showing more leadership skills and by going 4 consecutive games without turning the ball over. He did show the right attitude towards the New York media and fans and he did seem to be poised in his first three playoff games. There is a lot to look forward to with Mark Sanchez taking the snaps in the future.

Draft Outlook- Not much to do in the offseason regarding the quarterback position, but there are some questions concerning backup QB Kellen Clemens that need to be answered.

Running Backs- A The New York Jets physical running game led by RB Thomas Jones (#20 5-10” 212 lbs) finished first in the NFL in rushing yards per game. After RB Leon Washington (#29 5-8” 195 lbs) was lost for the season due to a leg injury early on in the season, the Jets were unsure where the explosive part of their game would come from. Thomas Jones stepped up and took control, finishing 3rd in the league in rushing yards with 1,402 yards and 14 touchdowns. T. Jones was the main source of the Jets offense in the regular season and then rookie RB Shonn Greene (#23 5-11” 226 lbs) came onto the scene. The rookie running back showed promise throughout the regular season breaking out with 144 yards and 2 touchdowns on 19 carries in the Week 7 matchup vs. Oakland. He continued this dominant, explosive and physical running game in the playoffs, leading all running backs with 304 yards. S. Greene is just another bright spot for the Jets to look forward to in seasons to come.

Draft Outlook- They need to worry about the contracts of Thomas Jones and Leon Washington, but if they do keep those two players the Jets will not need to draft a running back this offseason. Greene is young and he is the Jets future at running back.

Wide Receivers- C+ The Jets were lacking a #1 target for Mark Sanchez until they traded for WR Braylon Edwards (#17 6-3” 215 lbs). B. Edwards did improve the receiving core, but he did not prove to the coaching staff or the fans that he could be a #1 target for Mark Sanchez. Jerricho Cotchery (#89 6-0” 203 lbs) is a very good #2 Wide Receiver, making some very nice grabs throughout the season and picking up a lot of yards after the catch. The Jets could use some depth at the receiver position next season.

Draft Outlook- The Jets should look at drafting another weapon for M. Sanchez to throw to in this year’s draft. Golden Tate could be a possibility with their 1st round pick.

Tight End- B- Dustin Keller (#81 6-2” 248 lbs) certainly underachieved this season, but that could be due to the lack of production of the Jets passing offense. He was a good target for Mark Sanchez in the red zone, finishing up the season with 7 touchdowns. Nobody can doubt his pass catching abilities, but his blocking ability could use some work.

Draft Outlook- Tight End is not a big need for the Jets, but they could select a talented #2 tight end in this draft.
Offensive Line- A The offensive line of the Jets is the best in the NFL with three pro-bowlers making up the line. LT D’Brickashaw Ferguson, LG Alan Fanaca and C Nick Mangold were all voted to the 2009 NFL Pro Bowl. Also, the two offensive linemen that weren’t voted to the Pro Bowl, but were still staples in the Jets’ offense were RG Brandon Moore and RT Damien Woody. The Jets offensive line needs to be credited with a lot of the success of the Thomas Jones and the running game. The offensive line was fierce, especially towards the end of the season when they were wearing down opposing defensive lines

Draft Outlook- Not a class deep in offensive tackles, but it is a class pretty deep in guards and the Jets could add some depth to their line.

Defensive Line- C+ The Jets defensive line lost a key player in Kris Jenkins (NT #77 6-4” 360 lbs) early in the season due to injury. The Jet defensive line finished the regular season recording only 8 sacks, most of them coming from LE Shaun Ellis (#92 6-5” 285 lbs) who had 6.5 sacks. With Kris Jenkins back next season the defensive line will instantly improve, but they should still get a high quality pass rusher off the edge in the offseason.

Draft Outlook- Defensive end is a major need for the Jets at defensive. They should draft a pass rushing defensive end in this draft. The Jets should find a good defensive end with great value in this draft to fill the position that Vernon Gholston has not filled.

Linebackers- B+ The linebacker core of the Jets mainly consisted of MLB David Harris, ROLB WLB Bart Scott, Calvin Pace and LOLB Bryan Thomas. This fierce, hard-hitting core of linebackers that Rex Ryan assembled, adapted to the new defense very well. MLB David Harris (#52 6-2” 245 lbs) finished the regular season with an outstanding 127 tackles, leading the defense in that category. Harris also finished with 5.5 sacks. Also, Bart Scott (#57 6-2” 240 lbs) backed up his trash talking with 92 tackles throughout the regular season.

Draft Outlook- You cannot doubt the fact that Rex Ryan has an eye for linebackers late in the draft or in free agency. They could use some depth to their linebacker core and Rex Ryan’s ability to find great value at the position will be extremely helpful.

Defensive Backs- B Darrelle Revis (#24 5-11” 198 lbs) was the brightest spot on the Jets team this regular season. He finished the season as one of the best cornerbacks, if not the best in the NFL. He compiled 54 tackles and 6 interceptions in the 2009 regular season. The real story was that he held Andre Johnson, Randy Moss (twice), Marques Colston, Terrell Owens (twice), Roddy White and Chad Ochocinco all under 40 yards and only allowing 1 touchdown in the regular season. SS Jim Leonhard (#36 5-8” 186 lbs) also had a good season, while FS Kerry Rhodes (#25 6-3” 214 lbs) greatly improved from the beginning of the season, after Rex Ryan benched him. However, the cornerbacks opposite Darrelle Revis, such as Lito Sheppard, Donald Strickland and Dwight Lowry all underachieved. Considering all this, the Jets retained the #1 pass defense in the 2009 regular season.

Draft Outlook- Another one of the Jets’ needs is at the cornerback position. They need a solid cornerback opposite Darrelle Revis and their pass defense will once again be the best in the league.

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19 January 2010

New York Jets Stun Chargers: 17-14

The extremely hyped and supposedly always competitive divisional round was a disappointment to most. Many expert analysts predicted this week would be full of close and exciting games, except the game of the New York Jets vs. San Diego Chargers. Most analysts confidently picked the Chargers in a playoff blowout. The Jets thrive on being the underdog because they gladly proved every expert analyst wrong.

1st Quarter
The Jets offense and special teams unit started off the game very slowly. The few times that Mark Sanchez did throw the ball, he had open receivers, but he looked very unsure of himself. In the first quarter rookie QB Mark Sanchez (#6 6-2” 225 lbs) went 0 for 3 with negative 1 yard and missed a few receivers that he could’ve gotten the ball to. The inability to pass the ball also negatively affected the running game. In the 1st quarter the Jets offense only gained 7 total yards and did not have a first down. However, the defense came out, as always, blitzing and confusing the opposing offense. Although it may have seemed like the Chargers were moving the ball with ease, the defense refused to allow them any points in the 1st quarter. The offense of the Chargers did gain a very impressive 109 total yards and controlled the ball for an outstanding 11 minutes and 20 seconds in the first quarter, but the Jets held them, without points. The Jets did not receive any help from the offense in terms of time of possession, but they did catch a break when the usually consistent all-pro kicker Nate Keading missed a 36 yard field goal. Then at the end of the half N. Keading missed another field goal, this one further out from 57 yards. After the missed field goals, the San Diego Chargers had nothing to show for their dominating first half performance and the Jets were still in the game.

2nd Quarter
The Jets came out in the 2nd quarter and had the same lack of offense that they showed in the 1st quarter. They punted on their first possession giving the Chargers even more momentum. The Jets did not stop the Chargers pass game as well as they stopped the run game. RB LaDainian Tomlinson (#21 5-10” 221 lbs) and RB Darren Sproles (#43 5-6” 185 lbs) were not factors in this game, but the multiple weapons in the pass game presented a problem for the Jets. CB Darelle Revis (#24 5-11” 198 lbs) did a very nice job taking whoever he was covering, mostly WR Vincent Jackson (#83 6-5” 230 lbs), out of the game, but the Jets could not handle the rest of the weapons, especially TE Antonio Gates (#85 6-4” 260 lbs). Early in the 2nd quarter QB Phillip Rivers (#17 6-5” 228 lbs) lead the Chargers right down the field, passing the ball to WR Kris Wilson for a 13 yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead. K. Wilson was wide open in the back of the end zone because SS Jim Leonard (#36 5-8” 186 lbs) blitzed and ILB Bart Scott (#56 6-2” 240 lbs) was caught looking in the Chargers back field and didn’t pick up his assignment. The Jets offense did show a little promise getting their first 1st down of the game in the middle of the second quarter. The offense did move the ball a little on that drive, always starting off on 1st down running off tackle to the right. This rushing attack led the Jets into San Diego territory and although they had to punt the ball it was nice to see them move the ball. Slowly, the Jets let M. Sanchez use his arm more and more, but not enough to score points in the 1st half. At half, the Jets offense had just 99 total yards but the defense kept them in this game and the score was 7-0

3rd Quarter
The 3rd quarter came and the Jets offense came out ready to play. The consistently used 1st down off tackle rush to the right and pass as least as possible approach finally worked for the New York Jets. They scored on their first drive of the 3rd quarter, kicker Jay Feely making a 46 yard field goal and making the score 7-3 in favor of the Chargers. Later in the 3rd quarter, Mark Sanchez threw an interception that was partly his fault, partly lack of effort by WR Braylon Edwards (#17 6-3” 215 lbs) and partly a very nice play by CB Quentin Jammer. This interception worried just about every Jet fan wondering if M. Sanchez would have the confidence to come back throwing sharp passes.

The momentum was shifting towards the Chargers and the crowd was loud. At this point in the game, the Chargers moved the ball down into Jets territory and it looked like they would pull ahead to a two possession lead, but the Jets biggest playmaker came up big for them. D. Revis made an amazing interception lying on the ground, preventing Vincent Jackson from catching the ball and preventing the ball from touching the ground. After this interception Phillip Rivers showed his frustration and the Jets were right back in the game and the momentum shifted again. The Jets offense did not take advantage of this turnover, but did take advantage of the next turnover caused by the Jets. Confusion on the offensive side of the ball caused by the Jets defense caused Phillip Rivers to throw another interception, but this time to Jim Leonard, marking the end of the 3rd quarter.

4th Quarter
The Jets took advantage of the great field position and scored on a 2 yard rollout pass by Mark Sanchez to TE Dustin Keller (#81 6-2” 248 lbs). After being dominated most of the game, the Jets finally took the lead 10-7 over the Chargers. The defense forced yet another punt and on the next Jets’ drive RB Shonn Greene (#23 5-11” 226 lbs) plowed over a defender on his way to a 53 yard rushing touchdown, making the score 17-7. This rush was the longest run by a running back in New York Jets’ postseason history. A few drives went by and then N. Keading missed an unheard of 3rd field goal in a game, and this one was 40 yards away. But later in the quarter Phillip Rivers led the Chargers down into Jets territory against the Jets defensive unit that was now focused on playing it safe. However on this drive, frustration was shown by Vincent Jackson when he kicked Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan’s challenge flag off the field, costing the Chargers 15 yards. Besides this mistake, P. Rivers punched the ball in the end zone for a touchdown on a quarterback sneak. The score was now 17-14 and it was a game that could come down to the wire. San Diego Chargers’ punter Mike Scifres kicked a beautiful onside kick, but Jets FS Kerry Rhodes (#25 6-3” 214 lbs) made a great play and punched it out of bounds, giving the Jets the ball.

The Chargers used their timeouts and the Jets drive came down to a 4th and 1 on the Chargers 29 yard line with 1:09 left in the game. Most coaches would choose to kick, but that is not Rex Ryan’s style. He decided to go for it instead of taking the easy 3 points and putting the game on the line with his defense on the field. Ryan’s risk paid off and Thomas Jones ran 2 yards for the 1st down and the game.

Final- Jets 17- Chargers 14.

In this game, the Jets did not panic when they were losing and not getting any offensive production and stuck with their game plan. They ran the ball 37 times and passed the ball 23 times, which has been their offensive game plan this whole season and Jets Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer deserves credit for sticking with what has worked for them the entire season. Another great game came out of rookie running back Shonn Greene with 23 carries, 128 yards and 1 touchdown. LaDainian Tomlinson was not a factor in this game, which might be the last game of his career in San Diego. It seems that when the scoring is low the Jets will win the game.

The New York Jets are playing the Indianapolis Colts in the 2010 AFC Championship game on Sunday, January 24 at 3 p.m.

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10 January 2010

Jets “Unchallenged” in 24-14 Win Over Bengals

Reason for article title- Marvin Lewis blows all of the Bengals’ two challenges on two unimportant plays in the 1st half.

Pregame Implications
1. Jets win + Ravens win= Jets play San Diego Chargers
2. Jets win + Patriots win= Jets play Indianapolis Colts
3. Jets lose= Well it’s a playoff game, win or go home!

Special Teams

The New York Jets special teams unit started the game shaky at best. On the opening kickoff they allowed rookie kick returner Bernard Scott (RB #28 5-10” 200 lbs) a 56 yard return into Jets territory. Another problem was presented when Head Coach Rex Ryan and Special Teams Coach Mike Westhoff received news that punter Steve Weatherford wouldn’t be able to play due to an irregular heartbeat. This meant that kicker Jay Feely would be punting in an NFL playoff game, without any punting experience in the NFL or college. However, Feely punted the ball surprisingly well, pinning the Bengals down inside their own 20 yard line 3 times.

Also, the Jets kickoff return game was average as expected, since they lost their dynamic kick returner, Leon Washington (RB #29 6-8” 195 lbs) earlier in the season to a leg injury. Finally, the biggest mistake from the Jets came in the 2nd half of a close game. Jay Feely set up and kicked a 42 yard field goal that split the uprights, but a holding penalty was called on the Jets. So, Feely attempted a 52 yard field goal that again split the uprights, but a false start penalty was called, again taking 3 points off the board for the Jets in a close game. Feely then came out on the next play and punted the ball without putting any points on the board, but pinned the Bengals down inside their own 20 yard line. Could it be that kicker Jay Feely who kicked field goals, punted and kicked kickoffs could actually be the MVP of the game for the Jets?
Offense

With the game time temperature below 20 degrees in Cincinnati, who knew if Mark Sanchez (QB #6 6-2” 225 lbs) would be comfortable throwing the ball or how many balls Rex Ryan and Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer would actually allow him to throw. As it turns out M. Sanchez seemed very comfortable playing in a cold playoff game as a rookie from Southern California. Although he only threw the ball 15 times in the game, most of those throws were passes right on target and he did not try to force anything. In addition, M. Sanchez’s stats would have been a lot more impressive if Braylon Edwards (WR #17 6-3” 215 lbs) had been able to haul in a perfectly thrown deep TD pass. But not to my surprise, B. Edwards, who is in a contract year; let the ball slip through his hands once again.

On the other hand, every QB in the NFL should be expected to have a great game with the blocking that Sanchez received from his offensive line. The New York Jets offensive line is considered one of the best if not the best in the NFL, consisting of: LT D’Brickashaw Ferguson*, LG Alan Faneca*, C Nick Mangold*, RG Brandon Moore, RT Damien Woody. Sanchez went virtually untouched in this game, but it wasn’t only the quarterback that the offensive line helped in Saturday’s game. The consistent Jets running game had yet another good day, but not from the normal suspect Thomas Jones. The running attack in this game was lead by rookie Shonn Greene (RB #23 5-11” 226 lbs), who became just the 3rd rookie running back since 2000 to run for over 100 yards in a playoff game. Greene rushed for 135 yards and 1 touchdown on 21 carries. Between the holes that the offensive line was opening up for him and his great vision and toughness, Brian Schottenheimer couldn’t go wrong calling a running play.

Another highlight in this Jets offense was the conservative, yet effective play call by offensive coordinator B. Schottenheimer. Schottenheimer would continuously lull the Bengals defense to sleep by pounding the running game play after play and then hit them with a pass play that always seemed to go for a big gain every time. He ran the ball 38 times in this game, compared to 15 passes and he adjusted very well when he realized that a big part of their offense, the wildcat run by Brad Smith, would not be a factor in the game. Finally, another thing that the Jets did well in this game was protect the ball and not allow a single turnover. It was basically, a great all-around physical and smart effort out of the Jets offense.

Defense

The Jets proved to everybody watching the game why they were ranked the number one pass defense and number one overall defense in the league during the regular season. Darrelle Revis* (CB #24 5-11” 198 lbs) shutdown yet another great WR and this was the second game in a row he has taken Chad Ochocinco (WR #85 6-1” 192 lbs) completely out of the game. Although D. Revis had a few penalties that hurt the Jets, he did his job holding C. “Ocho/No Show” to just 28 yards on 2 catches with one of those catches coming while the Jets were in prevent defense. He also had an acrobatic interception in this game, when Carson Palmer (QB #9 6-5” 235 lbs) was trying to force the ball into his number 1 WR, Ochocinco. The Jets’ secondary and cornerbacks opposite D. Revis also had a surprisingly good game, not letting one receiver get over 50 yards, nor letting Palmer hit the Jets with a big play. One of the only real downsides for the Jets in this game was their run defense.

They allowed Bengals' RB Cedric Benson (RB #32 5-11” 225 lbs) 169 yards and 1 touchdown on 21 carries. The Jets had trouble wrapping Benson up behind the line of scrimmage and that could partly be due to the Jets leading tackler David Harris’ ankle injury which prevented him from planting his foot and cutting. The defensive line and blitzing schemes had great penetration, but just couldn’t wrap anyone up behind the line of scrimmage. Also, while watching Calvin Pace, it was extremely noticeable that he had a lot of trouble tackling anyone in this game. When the Bengals got down into Jets territory, the Jets defense was very impressive only allowing 14 points. The frustration that the Jets caused the Bengals’ offense was basically summed up at the end of the game, when C. Ochocinco was shown on the sideline crying on one of his teammate’s shoulder.

A key stat for the New York Jets that most people don’t realize is that they are one of the best teams in the NFL at finishing off the game. When leading by 8 or more points at the end of the 3rd quarter, the Jets have won an NFL’s best 59 straight games.
So with that win, are the Jets now considered a true Super Bowl contender? There are many opinions about this topic, but it seems right now, with the physical running game, offensive line, defense and the smart play of QB Mark Sanchez, the Jets are a team built to win in January and maybe even February. As Rex Ryan said in his post game press conference, “…I don’t care how we got in. I’m just telling you we are going be a tough out.”

With the Jets 24-14 win and the New England Patriots loss to the Baltimore Ravens it is now official that the Jets will go to San Diego to face the San Diego Chargers in the AFC Divisional Round.

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15 December 2009

Jets Defense Shines, Hope Remands

The Jets defense posted three sacks and three interceptions on way to allowing only three points to Josh Freeman and the Buccaneers. Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris said after the game, “ This week, I think we played the best defense in the National Football League, and he (Josh Freeman) went out there and they showed him why.” The Jets defense was relentless, never allowing the rookie quarterback to establish any momentum at any point in the game. The defensive line combined for eleven tackles, but it was the pressure they cause that allowed the secondary to intercept three passes, one by Darrel Revis who also added three tackles and a forced fumble continuing his All-Pro campaign.

Offensively the Jets were efficient. No one expected coach Ryan to let Kellen Clemens sling the ball all over the field, but comments made by Clemens after the game easily displayed his distaste, “I’d be lying if I didn’t say I came here with a little higher expectation.” Clemens went 12 for 23 throwing for 111 yards. Thomas Jones had another solid game, rushing just shy of 100 yards while chipping in two touchdowns. The offensive line has started to form a real firm cohesion amongst each other, which sometimes takes years to form. As a team the Jets are the number one rushing team in the league and that’s highly attributed to the offensive line.

Up next for the surging Jets are the Atlanta Falcons who nearly up ended the New Orleans Saints this week. The secondary for the Jets will be challenged with Matt Ryan and company who won earlier this year at the Meadowlands defeating the NY Giants. If the Jets want to further extend their life support the Falcons is a must win game. Ryan is questionable for this game as well as Michael Turner, the falcons’ running back. For the second straight week Mark Sanchez, the Jets rookie quarterback is also questionable. All signs lead to Sanchez starting however. The Jets are in the driver seat, win and your most likely in. Coach Ryan turned forty seven on Sunday, lets see if the Jets can add another gift with a win this week.

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10 December 2009

Clemens To Start

In a move that has shocked many, NY Jets coach Rex Ryan said Wednesday morning that Kellen Clemens would start Sunday at Tamp Bay. Ryan cites that Mark Sanchez is responding well toward the treatments for his knee, but that this is more of a precautionary measure. Ryan added “ Mark is our future, I will not jeopardize that for one game.”

Some have speculated the move. The Jets are in a situation where not only does every game count, but every snap counts. Cleary without a doubt Sanchez gives the Jets the best opportunity to win. But chew on this, most players have breakout seasons in their walk years, or last years of their contracts. It is inevitable that Clemens will not be back next season. While endorsing Clemens for Sundays tilt, Ryan still added, “Sanchez is our guy, he’s just not where we need him to be physically.” So this could be one of Clemens last chances to show the rest of the league what he is capable of.

This might also be Ryan sending a message to his young gunslinger. Ryan was clearly annoyed after the win over the Bills last week in regards to Sanchez diving for a first down. Whatever the motive the Jets offensive line will need to be assertive for whoever is under center come Sunday, Clemens was sacked three times in his brief playing time last week.

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8 December 2009

Even After Win, Season Still In Doubt

Fans do not want to hear it, and players will not hear it, but this season is all but over. For the Jets to make the playoffs the football Gods will have to twist fate, and we all know that never happens in New York. The Jets embarked on a deceiving second half of the season with mixed hopes. Win and your in, lose and, well you know the rest. However when you lose games your suppose to win, whatever that means anymore, it’s hard to lobby for your case.

As it stands, the Jets do have a realistic long shot at the playoffs.  Notice the prefect on long shot. Standing with a 6-6 record is quite ominous at this point of the season.  However heading down south to play the Buccaneers should be a “gimme.” But the two Dolphins games were “gimme’s” and the Bills should have been a clear sweep. That didn’t happen so the Jets find themselves in this perplexing situation. If the Jets had won the “winnable” games, their current record would be 9-3 with the Patriots trailing behind by two games and the Jets having the tie brake because of more divisional wins. But let’s come back to reality and look at the facts. The Jets are still in the hunt. With Help from other teams the Jets could someway find a back way into the playoffs and recent losses by the Patriots over the weekend and Baltimore on Monday night gave the Jets a glimmer of hope.

Mark Sanchez did not practice this past Monday, leaving some to question his status for Sunday; however, all sources say he is a go.  His knee has responded well to treatment and his injury was not threatening to begin with. Coach Ryan does not hide his less than enthusiastic support for backup Kellen Clemens so unless the Jets sign a quarterback this week Sanchez will start, if for nothing more than Ryan’s lack of trust in Clemens. Had the Jets been more of a lock for the playoffs maybe Coach Ryan takes a chance with Clemens but with the end of the season seeming more like a crap shot in Vegas, Ryan will place all bets with the young gun slinger.

The Jets have a way about them. You never quite know what you’re going to get. This upcoming game at Tampa should be a tune up for the rest of the season. The favorable weather should benefit the aching veterans and Sanchez’s knee. Remember a few things though. Josh Freeman has become something of a revelation for the Bucs leading hope into the future. With the Jets being 1-3 in “winnable” games this year nothing should be taken for granted though.

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22 October 2009

Jets Suffer Another Loss, Season On The Line

With the Jets reeling from two straight losses, players remained rather quite on this week’s trip up I-95 as they prepared themselves for they’re second meeting the New England Patriots. In week 2 the Jets escaped with a win and went on to defeat the Tennessee Titans for a quick 3-0 start to the season. Well the mighty have fallen, and fallen hard. Since that 3-0 start the Jets have gone one and five and were facing a Patriots team that had much steam to let off after their crushing loss to the Colts last week.

The game plan was simple, establish the run, and keep pressure off of Mark Sanchez. Neither mission was accomplished, as Sanchez threw for four interceptions. Thomas Jones added hundred yards on the ground, but had no touchdowns and was unable to keep pressure off the Jets rookie quarterback. The Patriots got off to a quick fourteen nothing lead by the end of the first quarter and the Jets looked hopeless until a blocked punt right before the half made the score twenty four to seven and gave false hope to a team that never really seemed focused.

Tom Brady never wavered. He threw for over three hundred yards while adding a touchdown threw the air. What was most shocking was the multiple delays of game penalties that have seem to be commonplace for Brady this season. Randy Moss only had thirty-four yards receiving, but had a goal line touchdown, right in the face of Darrel Revis. Revis and Moss have had a war of words the past few weeks through the media and Moss had the upper hand today.

Looking past this week the Jets sit at four and six. The remainder of this season is not difficult for a team that was 3-0, but that team is no where to be found. They host the Panthers next week, who coming off a tough loss on Thursday night football are poised to steal a win from the Jets who seem to can’t buy win. After that the Jets travel to Buffalo and Tampa Bay respectively, but with the Jets having already loss to Buffalo no games can be taken lightly. The final three games are against Atlanta at home, Indy on the road and the surprisingly strong upstart Bengals.

The Jets have much work ahead of them. But the whole that has been dug may be too deep for any team to climb out of. One thing that we can be sure of is that there will be no stone left un-turned. At the end of the day though, words can only win you but so many games, for the Jets that seems to be about only three.

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17 October 2009

Jets Midseason Report Card

In order to really grade a team you have to look at the organization from the ground up. Most reports cards simply grade offense, defense and special teams. However, there are so many more avenues to look at. What I have put together is a break down of positions, still rather general but more invasive then the traditional report card.

Front Office A-
Mike Tannenbaum has put together a team that not only could make a long run in the second half, but rather should make a run. When the media of New York proclaimed that a Mike Shanahan type of coach was the only answer he went with his gut, and brought in a loud, brash and simply cocky figure to an organization that has not been known for being a talkative bunch. So for that Mike gets a solid A here. Bringing in Mark Sanchez via Eric Mangini was a very bold move. Although he has become victim to recent struggles this was a solid pick and will pay dividends down the road. Also the additions of Bart Scott, Jim Lenoard and Braylon Edwards could potentially cement his fate as the most aggressive Jets GM, ever.

Quarterbacks B-
Mark Sanchez has been a breathe of fresh air for everyone who bleeds green and white. During the Jets most recent skid his numbers looked more like that of a second day pick, but the way he is doing it is what is most intriguing. It takes players years to command a locker room; he seems to have everyone on board including the fans.

Running Backs C
The Jets running game strung together two back-to-back three hundred plus rushing games, the first team to that. But how much of that was due to the Jets offensive line. Thomas Jones has looked solid of late, but with injury to Leon Washington it is becoming obvious that his days as a feature back are numbered. Shaun Green looks like a stud but has to handle the ball a bit more carefully. That can be worked on; the Jets running game will be fine down the road.

Wide Receivers C+
Fine, a C+ is generous, but all things considered it could be a lot worse. With the addition of Braylon Edwards via Eric Mangini the Jets wide receivers can now be spoken in the same breathe with some of the top receiving corps in the game. The addition of Edwards not only gives Mark Sanchez a prime target, but also now allows his fellow receivers to slide into their proper slots. Jericho Cotchery could be a number one, but is better suited in the two slot crossing the field while David Clowney and company are no doubt no better then complimentary pieces. Dustin Keller continues to impress when incorporated into the offense.

D-Line C-
The defensive line cannot put pressure on the quarterback without assistance from the linebacker corp. and strong defenses put solid pressure with only three and four man pushes. Kris Jenkins loss has not largely been felt yet as the Jets defense had not allowed a one hundred yard rusher till this past weekend against Maurice Jones-Drew.

Linebackers B-
Bart Scott has played as advertised. Ferocious, while running with reckless abandon all over the field making highlight quality plays. David Harris leads the team with tackles as he cements himself as the team’s leader by example. Calvin Pace had a great game against the Oakland Raiders registering three sacks, but since his return from being suspended the Jets have won only one game.

Defensive Backs C-
Jim Leonard has played solid and Darell Revis is putting together an All-Pro campaign, but the rest of the crop has suffered. Kerry Rhodes has played average at best while Lito Sheppard has been a non-factor and Dwight Lowery continues to show he is just merely a nickel back and cannot keep up with NFL quality receivers every down.

Coaching D+
Rex Ryan talks a great game; he builds confidence in his team and the fans, but for some reason has not been able to win the “winnable” games. He has made questionable play calls throughout the season on offense and needs to better equip himself with knowledge of how to run an offense. Mike Westhoff, one of the games best special teams coach has seen spotty play from his players, which was magnified in the Jets second loss to the Dolphins when Ted Ginn ran all over their kickoff.

Jets- C-
As a whole the Jets sit at 4-5, which with all things considered could be much worse. However the Jets have left themselves with a small margin of error. The season is far from over, but a loss to the Patriots in Foxboro could all but cement the Jets fate as another season of watching the post season from home.

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6 October 2009

WR Braylon Edwards Speeding Into NY

At around 9 AM eastern standard time ESPN NFL analyst Adam Schefter broke news that the Cleveland Browns would be sending disgruntled and fallen out of favor Wide Receiver Braylon Edwards to the New York Jets. In exchange the NY Jets will be parting with special team staple and reserve LB Jason Trusnick, and WR Chansi Stuckey, and a pair of middle round picks were also included.

The trade took place two days after the Jets suffered their first loss of the season to the New Orleans Saints. It should be noted that the Jets had been keeping tabs on the Browns stud receiver since mid July when training camp began. There was no secret that Edwards had wanted out of Cleveland. The Browns used their third pick overall in the 2005 NFL Entry Draft to select Edwards who was rated by many scouts as the clear cut top receiving prospect, but also one of the top prospects over all. During the 2005 and 2006 campaigns he put together 1396 receiving yards to go along with 9 touchdowns. In 2007, his most productive year during his first four full years, Edwards nabbed 1289 yards while boosting 16 touchdowns. 2008 was plagued with numerous dropped passes and many people began to question his overall mindset. He was with Donte Stallworth the night Stallworth got behind the wheel and took the life of a pedestrian, and he was also ticketed for driving 120 mph on a Cleveland highway.

His off the issues aside, Edwards is a tremendous talent, and when you look at what this does to the Jets aerial attack it is easy to see way Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum jumped on the opportunity. The Jets while under Tannenbaum’s reign have been conscience is selecting players whether it is through the NFL draft or free agency, and making sure they were “quality” individuals. Wednesday afternoon when asked about Edwards off the field issues Tannenbaum offered these words, “ We reached out to the league and Steve Yarnell (Vice President of Security) reached out to law enforcement…. We’re comfortable in adding Braylon. We’ll cooperate with all the authorities, but we’re glad he’s here. We did all our due diligence and we’re comfortable adding him to the team”

The departures, Jason Trusnick was an un-drafted linebacker in 2007 coming out of Division 3 Ohio Northern. He has since been a special team ace thriving in Mike Westhoffs scheme. Chansi Stuckey, a 7th round selection for the Jets in 2007 never really panned out the way the team might have hoped for. He showed modest production and caught a touchdown pass from Brett Farve in the first three games of the 2008 season. Both players were favorites of current Cleveland Browns head coach Eric Mangini.

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1 May 2009

Grading the 2009 NFL Draft

What’s becoming a trend in New York, the Jets once again lived by the drafting theory of quality over quantity.  Making the most memorable move of the 2009 draft, the Jets aggressively traded up from the number 17 spot to the fifth overall pick.  Swapping a pair of first, and throwing in a 2nd round pick along with quarterback Brent Ratliff, safety Abraham Elam, and defensive end Kenyon Coleman, the Jets rekindled a relationship with former head coach Eric Mangini.  On paper, this is a fantastic deal for the Jets considering no future picks were involved. Moving up those pivotal twelve spots, it’s assumed the first and second round picks were going to be included, but the Jets additionally only gave up a quarterback that was never going to see the field, a backup safety, and a mediocre defensive end.  

With the 5th overall pick, the Jets then proceeded to draft a new face of the franchise, Mark Sanchez (or I was like to call him Mark “Franchez”).  Sanchez instantly provides a spark to arguably the worst quarterback depth chart in the NFL.  Though projected starting quarterback and 2006 2nd round draft pick Kellen Clemens might have a batter arm, he lacks the pedigree, charisma, and leadership skills that make Sanchez the special talent that he is.  Already in just his few shorts days of wearing the green and white, Sanchez has already thrived in the hasty New York media.  Coming from a pro-style system ran at Southern California, it’s not out of the realm for Sanchez to start from opening week, but it’d be wise for the Jets to let him sit and learn the NFL game. Nevertheless, the selection of Sanchez fueled the Jets Nation with excitement as the cornerstone of the franchise is now in place.

After the trade, the Jets were only left with a 3rd, 4th, 6th, and 7th round picks.  Again, in the third round, the Mike Tannenbaum drafting strategy holds true.  As the clock struck 10 AM eastern time on Sunday morning, the Jets once again traded up.  The deal included the jets surrendering a 3rd, 4th, and 7th round picks to Detroit in exchange for the first pick in the 3rd round. With that pick, the Jets selected the bruising, tenacious running back from Iowa, Shonn Greene.  With Leon Washington already the future speed back of the team, the Jets felt they needed thunder to pair with lighting.  Greene is the epitome of a bruising back.  He loves contact, lowers his shoulders, has great vision, is extremely strong, and even has deceptive agility.  With the drafting of Greene, it appears Thomas Jones’ days in New York are numbered.  Though I expect Jones to stay put this year, it’s likely he’ll be cut next offseason as he’ll save the Jets roughly $5.9 million against the cap.  With the other remaining pick in the 6th round, the Jets drafted offensive linemen Matt Slauson from Nebraska.

The Jets draft of 2009 is reminscint of the Jets draft two years ago when the only two selected players were cornerback Darelle Revis and linebacker David Harris.  The quality of quantity approach on the defensive end worked out two years ago, and the Jets are hoping to strike gold again in the theory.  With the defense set for the next couple of years and the offense coming into place, the Jets, on paper, will have one of the most talented teams in the NFL for years to come.

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30 April 2009

The 2009 NFL Draft Review: The New York Jets

The New York Jets pulled off one of the most talked about trades and ended up getting one of the most talked about, if not the most talked about, players in the draft in USC quarterback Mark Sanchez.  Sanchez was someone that the Jets desperately needed and should be a solid piece for them to build their offense upon.  They also got a running back which they may need much more than they originally thought sometime down the road.

The following is a look at the players that the Jets drafted in the 2009 NFL Draft with a final grade on their draft at the end the article.

Mark Sanchez-QB-USC picked 1st (5th)
The Jets traded away several picks and a few players to land in this spot and get Mark Sanchez, the guy that they will stake their future on at the quarterback position for several years to come.  He has already become a huge hit in New York but may need some time to develop.  However, the Jets don’t have the luxury of having a good veteran so Sanchez may get thrown into the mix right away and this could make or break his career.  He is very talented but someone that should be developed and not thrown into the action right away.

Shonn Greene-RB-Iowa picked 3rd (65th)
With Thomas Jones aging and at a possible contract impasse, the Jets went out and did what they had to do in getting a good young running back who could be one of the better running back in the future.  While Greene didn’t have a long and productive career in college (being somewhat of a one year wonder) he should be able come in and boost the Jet’s rushing attack.  Overall, Greene is a fine player with a great future in the league.

Matt Slauson-OG-Nebraska picked 6th (193rd)
The Jets went for some depth on the offensive line with their final pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.  Slauson will be a developmental prospect to start out but he could crack the lineup as a backup in a year or two.  This was a smart pick for the Jets and one that might pay off down the road.

Despite the fact the Jets only had three picks, they took care of two huge needs in this draft and this draft should be one that pays dividends for them for several seasons to come

Overall Grade: B+

By Bryan Dietzler

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20 April 2009

What will the Jets do in the 2009 NFL Draft?

With the NFL Draft only a week away, here is the preview for the New York Jets’ defensive plans. In this preview, you’ll see a list of potential targets for the Jets at each position on the first day of the draft, what projected round they go in, why that player is a good fit, and a couple of sleeper targets that make sense towards the later rounds of the draft.

Defensive End – The Jets aren’t in dire need of a defensive end, but with Shaun Ellis getting up there in age and Kenny Coleman being serviceable, but nothing spectacular, it’s possible the Jets go defensive end early. Head coach Rex Ryan loves the idea of penetrating, versatile defensive ends, so expect him to look towards that style of play.

1. Tyson Jackson, LSU (1st Round) – Jackson is the ideal 3-4 DE leaving the college ranks. He has a great built standing 6’4, 296 pounds, and does an exceptional job clogging blockers. He’s stout against the run and is a powerful end. He doesn’t offer much in pass rushing, but may be the best defensive end in the class in terms of stopping the run.

2. Evander Hood, Missouri (1st – 2nd Round) – Evander Hood, nicknamed Ziggy, played defensive tackle during his career at Missouri. Ziggy has a quick first step, and does a great job penetrating for a 300 pound player. Against the run, he’s best at getting into the backfield where he’s able to use his quick first step. Fits the ideal, versatile defensive end for Ryan’s flexible 3-4 scheme.

3. Jarron Gilbert, San Jose State (2nd Round) – Ever since leaving San Jose State, Gilbert has become a Youtube sensation for jumping out of a pool, but he has other skills. He has a great quick first step, has the frame of a 3-4 DE, has a ton of potential in pass rushing, and has great burst. However, he isn’t stout all the time in the one game, but could be a nice fit to Rex Ryan’s flexible, one-gap 3-4 scheme.

- Late Round Targets – Fili Moala (Southern California) and Mitch King (Iowa)

Nose Tackle – The Jets have a stud nose tackle in last offseason’s acquisition of Kris Jenkins, but behind him, the Jets are paper-thin. Last year, when Jenkins was spelled, the run defense and defensive unit struggled immensely. Wouldn’t be out of the question for the Jets to go nose tackle early, but the value has to be terrific.

1. Ron Brace, Boston College (Late 1st – 2nd Round) – The other Boston College defensive tackle, Ron Brace, simply takes up space. He has staggering size of 6’3, 330 pounds, and is the prototypical nose tackle. He’s stout against the run, clogs blockers, and frees up lanes, but is virtually nonexistent in the pass rush. Would be a nice complement to Jenkins at the nose tackle position.

- Late Round Targets – Terrance Taylor (Michigan), Chris Baker (Hampton), Sammie Lee Hill (Stillman), and Myron Pryor (Kentucky)Outside Linebackers – The Jets already have a ton of money invested into the outside linebacker position, so don’t expect them to pick one early. With last year’s first round pick Vernon Gholston and last year’s free agent signee Calvin Pace, occupying a ton of cap space, the Jets would to be wise to avoid an outside linebacker early. Nevertheless, expect Ryan to continue building his system with late round projects for depth purposes and trade up for players that fall into the third round.

- Late Round Targets – Lawrence Sidbudy (Richmond), Clint Sintim (Virginia), Cody Brown (Connecticut), and Zack Follett (California)

Inside Linebackers – In terms of the starting jobs, the Jets are nearly set at the inside linebacker positions. Ryan signed one of his favorite players from Baltimore this offseason in Bart Scott, and the Jets already have a younger version of him on the roster in David Harris. With the two starters very formidable, don’t expect the Jets to go inside linebacker early in the draft.

- Late Round Targets – Jasper Brinkley (South Carolina), Scott McKillop (Pittsburgh), Josh Mauga (Nevada), Frantz Joseph (Florida Atlantic), and Antonio Appleby (Virginia)

Cornerbacks – The Jets have a young, stud cornerback in Darelle Revis, but opposite him, the position could use a boost. Lowery is slated into the opposing slot, thus, making it a real possibility the Jets can go corner in the first or second round if they like what they see on the board.

1. Malcolm Jenkins, Ohio State (1st Round) – Jenkins is a physical corner that can play at the line or away from his man. Has the recognition and physicality to play in zone, and the cover skills to play in man. Due to his strengths, Jenkins can also play some safety down the road. Jenkins would fit another prototypical Rex Ryan versatile defensive player.

2. Vontae Davis, Illinois (1st Round) – Davis is a physical freak for the corner position. He has terrific strength, has the speed to recover, and does an excellent job in run support. Though he’s a raw player, his physical skills are something Ryan would drool over if he’s able to work with him. Pairing up Revis and Davis could lead the Jets to have the best young corner duo in the NFL.

3. Sean Smith, Utah (2nd Round) – Smith is another corner, safety tweener who fits the mold of a versatile player. He’s flexible in coverage as he can play in man and in zone. He’s not as stout against the run as you’d like, but he’s more of a center fielder if he were to play safety. Another solid role player that feeds into the flexibility preached by Rex Ryan.

- Late Round Targets – Sherrod Martin (Troy), Kevin Barnes (Maryland), Mike Mickens (Cincinnati), and Coye Francies (San Jose State)

Safety – One of the centerpieces of the Jets defense is their safety Kerry Rhodes, and entering the offseason, there was a gap beside him. However, Rex Ryan signed his safety from a year ago, Jim Leonhard, to a contract, so it appears he’ll be the starter alongside Rhodes. Unlikely the Jets go safety early in the draft as they’re pretty set at the position.

- Late Round Targets – Chip Vaughn (Wake Forest), Emanuel Cook (South Carolina), Chris Clemens (Clemson), and Michael Hamlin (Clemson)

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