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Sunday, May 20, 2018

Jets Picks Fall Into Their Laps, but why?

In 2015 Leonard Williams was thought to be one of the best players in college. He was projected in most mock drafts to be picked as one of the top three players. In fact many had him rated
as the best player. With the Jets picking sixth, I remember there was talk of taking receiver Amari Cooper or maybe defensive end Vic Beasley with the pick. What happened and it seems to happen a lot, is he fell to number six and the Jets swooped him up. In 2016 the Jets had the twentieth pick. Darron Lee, the Ohio State linebacker projected as a top ten pick again fell to the Jets. In 2017 LSU safety Jamal Adams was rated as the best player in the draft. Many thought the Jets had their eye on tight end OJ Howard but again Jamal Adams fell to them. Then this year with the Jets picking third and expecting Baker Mayfield to be there, Sam Darnold who they had rated as the best QB again fell into their laps. Is this four year trend good or bad for the Jets? Or do the other teams have better scouting? Let’s see! 

Leonard Williams
Leonard Williams benefited his first two years in the league playing with both Mo Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson when they both actually cared a little. People forget that Williams was only 20 when he was drafted. Has he lit it up? Not exactly but he is far from a disappointment like some are quietly saying after a modest 2017 season. In his second season he produced 7 sacks and was selected to the Pro Bowl. The players surrounding him right now are not exactly lighting it up either though Steve McLendon is one of the more underrated players in the NFL. Drafting Nathan Shepherd in the 3rd round will help Williams. If there were points in the NFL for players who stay out of trouble, don’t get hurt a lot-he has played in 47 of 48 games thus far, and don’t get a lot of penalties, then Leonard Williams has been a solid pick. Sure the Jets could have drafted Vic Beasley, Todd Gurley or Marcus Peters instead of Williams but this is a solid pick. Look for him to have a breakout year in 2018. In Pro Football Focus for players under 25 years old, Leonard Williams was rated 16th best in the league. Mark my words if by some chance the Jets let him go into free agency, there will be a ton of demand for him.

Darron Lee
This one is tough. There are times that when you are watching the Jets defense you will see a quick blur go across your television screen and he makes a great play with incredible lateral movement. It turns out it was Darron Lee. The problem is there are not enough of these plays. That on top of his pass coverage which to me looks like one of the worst in the league for a linebacker and you have a player that is not living up to expectations but does give you some production. The book is not closed on Lee but there is pressure on him to produce. Pro Football Focus did have an interesting stat on Darron Lee and his play during the season:

“New York Jets linebacker Darron Lee has enjoyed an impressive three-game run, culminating in the highest single game grade of his career against the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night. Lee posted a grade of 86.0 in the Jets 34-21 win, largely due to an impressive run defense grade of 87.1. Lee compiled two sacks and a hit as a pass-rusher along with two run stops on a very productive night for the second year linebacker. It follows two weeks of impressive play that started in Week 7 against the Miami Dolphins where he racked up 11 tackles and six defensive stops. Over the past three weeks, Lee has accumulated nine stops in the running game for a run stop percentage of 12.5 percent. Up to this point, Lee had struggled somewhat in his young NFL career. After being selected with the 20th pick in the 2016 NFL draft, he posted a PFF grade of just 36.2 as a rookie. Through six weeks of his sophomore season, Lee had only managed an overall grade of 31.9 before his recent string of breakout performances”.

Let’s hope Lee can build on this.

Jamal Adams
Jamal Adams was rated as the fourth best Jet for the 2017 season according to Pro Football Focus. I thought his play was a little suspect at times and number two pick, safety Marcus Maye looked more polished than Adams a lot during the season. Adams is an incredible talent with an amazing upside. He was burned by Gronk in the first Patriots game but in the second game, he shut him out. Jamal Adams has greatness written all over him. One only has to look at that great play he made against the Raiders tackling Marshawn Lynch from behind. Marston Lattimore the cornerback from Ohio State had a much better year than Adams but I still wouldn’t trade Adams even up for him. 


Whatever the reason when a pick falls to you and you have done your homework, pounce on it. Drafting the best athlete available is basic NFL Drafting 101. Getting Sam Darnold will change the Jets franchise around. As hard as it is Jet fans, be a little bit more patient. As sure as I’m writing this, the Jets will be in the playoffs in 2019 with a good franchise foundation.

Green Tidbits:
…..The Jets have acquired tackle Antonio Garcia on waivers via New England and have waived kicker Nick Rose. The Patriots traded up to take Garcia in the third round (No. 85 overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft. He didn't play at all last preseason as he battled blood clots in his lungs and was placed on the Pats' Reserve/Non-Football Injury list in September. In March, Garcia told New England media he was cleared to return to football, and in April it was reported he would be a part of the Patriots' left tackle competition following Nate Solder's departure for the Giants. However, the Patriots waived him last week…..The Jets have signed defensive lineman Nathan Shepherd, their third-round selection (No. 72 overall) in last month's NFL Draft. Shepherd (6'4", 315) grew up in Ajax, Ontario, Canada, and began his college football career at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, the only NCAA-affiliated school north of the border, in 2011…..Recently, appearing on NFL network, Charlie Casserly mentioned the Jets as one of the most improved teams in all of football heading into 2018….The beginning of OTAs on Tuesday afternoon marks the beginning of the road to the 2018 regular season for the New York Jets…..Entering his third season with the Jets, it seems Jordan Jenkins will no doubt be a starter on Todd Bowles’ defense. He enjoyed a successful season as a starter in 2017, recording 49 tackles and three sacks. Jenkins is young and has shown steady improvement…..Jets now are #1 with cap money to spend in 2019. Heading the list of unrestricted free agents right now are: Los Angeles Rams DT Aaron Donald, Oakland Raiders DE Khalil Mack, Houston Texans DE Jadeveon Clowney, Dallas Cowboys G Zack Martin….. 

What The Jet Scribes Are Saying:
Rich Cimini, ESPN
The New York Jets claimed left tackle Antonio Garcia off waivers from the New England Patriots on Monday. Garcia, the Patriots' 2017 third-round pick, was waived by the team on Friday with a non-football-illness designation. The Jets don't have a short-term need at left tackle -- Kelvin Beachum is the returning starter -- but they see Garcia as a player with potential to develop over time. If he makes it to training camp and performs well, he could challenge longtime backup Ben Ijalana for the No. 2 job. Ijalana re-signed in the offseason for one year, $2.4 million, but only $500,000 is guaranteed. The Jets didn't draft any offensive linemen.Also Monday, the Jets worked out free-agent tackle/guard Byron Bell, who has 74 career starts with the Carolina Panthers, Tennessee Titans and Dallas Cowboys.
The 6-foot-7, 302-pound Garcia was selected No. 85 overall last year after he was credited with 70 knockdown blocks and didn't allow a sack in more than 900 offensive snaps as a senior at Troy.
With Nate Solder entering the final year of his contract in 2017, the Patriots had traded a third-round pick (No. 96) and fourth-rounder (No. 124) to move up to select Garcia, with the hope of grooming him as a possible replacement in 2018. Solder signed with the New York Giants as a free agent this offseason.

Manesh Mehta, NY Post
Sam Darnold is the luckiest rookie quarterback for reasons that have nothing to do with scheme, playing time or immediate impact to his new team. He will have the good fortune of playing in a drama-free environment with quite possibly the most selfless player in the NFL. Which of the other first-year signal callers can say that? Spoiler: None.Consider the burgeoning frostiness in Pittsburgh, where Ben Roethlisberger has already taken public swipes at the Steelers' decision to draft Mason Rudolph in the third round. Look at former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco's apparent aversion to communicate with Ravens first-rounder Lamar Jackson. Football is family… until you think your job is at stake. Then, it's dog-eat-dog, passive-aggressive warfare between veterans and rookies. Strap on your big-boy pants, because it's every man for himself.The Jets will avoid any awkward and uncomfortable moments in their quarterback room this year thanks to Josh McCown, who will be an invaluable resource for Darnold.

"Obviously, he's a great guy," Darnold said. "I am just going to try and learn as much as I can from him. He's seen a lot of football, been in a lot of locker rooms, which helps him out in terms of understanding what you need to do and what not to do…. So, just learn from him, (and) gain all the knowledge that I can from him."

Josh McCown won't cause a quarterback controversy with the Jets. Josh McCown won't cause a quarterback controversy with the Jets. (JOE MAHONEY/AP) McCown's importance to Darnold's development this year shouldn't be marginalized. He will be a pivotal component to the rookie's transition to the next level. It'll also be an advantage that the former USC star has over the rest of the rookies.Think about it.
Josh Allen will have no Yoda in Buffalo. How much can AJ McCarron, who has four career starts in four seasons, teach the Bills’ top pick? Tyrod Taylor will be a quality teammate for Baker Mayfield in Cleveland, but if you don't think that the 28-year-old former Bills starter has designs on re-igniting his career with the Browns, I have some swampland in Florida you might be interested in purchasing.
Sam Bradford promised Josh Rosen that he'd be "an open book" in Arizona, but remember that this is the same guy who pouted after the Eagles drafted Carson Wentz a couple years ago.
Then, there's Roethlisberger, who didn't hold back his feelings on his team adding Rudolph: "I was surprised when they took a quarterback because I thought that maybe in the third round, you know, you can get some really good football players that can help this team now. Nothing against Mason… I'm sure he's a great kid. I just don't know how backing up or being a third [string]… helps us win now."
Ouch. Sam Darnold needs to take advantage of having Josh McCown as a mentor. Sam Darnold needs to take advantage of having Josh McCown as a mentor. (JULIO CORTEZ/AP) McCown resides on the other end of the spectrum.

"The best thing I can do is look back in five years and Sam Darnold is in the Pro Bowl," McCown told me after the Jets took Darnold with the No. 3 overall pick. "That would be the most satisfying thing. We'll see. It'll be fun."

Brian Costello, NY Post
There is always a quarterback storyline with the Jets. This year’s will be: How soon does Darnold start? McCown is the starter entering training camp, but the Jets have been clear that Darnold can win the job. Bridgewater’s health is a question that needs to be answered. The Jets could dangle him as trade bait if he is healthy. Upgrade? Yes. Though McCown might not be able to duplicate his 2017 success, this is a better overall quarterback room with Darnold and Bridgewater.

Around The AFC East
Buffalo Bills
Retiring a number in the NFL is no easy task.
While franchises in other sports may be quick to retire numbers, NFL teams are working with large rosters and a limited amount of available numbers to be worn on jerseys.
But there comes a time when a player is so legendary to a team and a city, no one should be allowed to wear his number ever again.The Buffalo Bills currently only have the No. 12 of Jim Kelly and the No. 78 of Bruce Smith completely off-limits. That will change this year. It was only a matter of time before the team made it official with Thurman Thomas. And to make it that much more exciting, the ceremony will come during the October 29 Monday night game against the New England Patriots.

Miami Dolphins
Danny Amendola evidently is making his presence felt even before playing a game with the Miami Dolphins. Amendola signed a two-year, $12 million contract with Miami earlier this offseason after spending the past five seasons with the New England Patriots. It remains to be seen how much of an impact Amendola will make between the lines with his new team, but Dolphins head coach Adam Gase is impressed by what he has seen from the veteran wide receiver thus far. “It’s one of those values that I don’t think you can put a price on,” Gase said this week on “PFT Live,” per ProFootballTalk. “He’s been great in our locker room. I think the guys watch him work on the field and in the weight room and they understand why he’s played as long as he has, why he’s had success in big situations.” Amendola had a knack for stepping up in clutch situations with the Patriots. The Dolphins are coming off a 6-10 season and have gone to the playoffs just once since 2009, but Amendola could play a major role in helping Miami improve moving forward, in large because of his intangibles.

New England Patriots
Matt Light will be immortalized forever in Patriots history. New England announced on Wednesday that the former left tackle will be inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame in September. Light was one of three selected as a finalist for The Hall by the Patriots Hall of Fame Committee back mid-April and through fan vote beat out the likes of Mike Vrabel and Richard Seymour…..The New England Patriots announced today the signing of 2018 second-round draft pick defensive back Duke Dawson. Terms of the contract were not announced. Dawson, 22, was selected by the Patriots in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft with the 56th overall selection out of Florida. 






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Sam Darnold Signed Autographed USC Trojans Chrome Full Size Football Helmet - JSA Certified - $635.99
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Monday, May 14, 2018

Jets Bridgewater May Be One And Done!

Because of circumstances beyond his control, Jet quarterback Teddy Bridgewater may be a Jet for only one year. Jet fans may have felt unlucky when Vinny Testaverde ruptured his Achilles tendon and went down for the season or when Chad Pennington injured his shoulder multiple times. If you don’t know the whole Teddy Bridgewater saga, he is actually lucky to wear an NFL uniform today and has to count his blessings. In 2014 the Minnesota Vikings drafted him out of Louisville with the 32nd pick of the first round. In 3 years at Louisville he passed for 9,987 yards with 72 touchdowns and 24 interceptions. He had a 3 year quarterback rating of 157. In his rookie season Bridgewater played in 13 games for the Minnesota Vikings, 12 as a starter (team was 6-6). He threw 14 TD passes, had 12 interceptions and had a QB rating of 85.2. In his second year (2015) the Vikings finished 11-5 as Bridgewater threw for 3,231 yards and was selected to the Pro Bowl. The Vikings lost a tough Wild Card playoff game to the Seahawks 10-9. This was suppose to be the beginning of the Teddy Bridgewater era for the Minnesota Vikings. In 2016 big things were expected from him. In the second preseason game he didn’t play because of a sore shoulder. In the third preseason game against San Diego, he looked sharp going 12-16 for 161 yards with a TD in two quarters. The Minnesota Vikings were as confident as ever gearing up for their September 11 opener at Tennessee. Then the fate of both Ted Bridgewater and the Minnesota Vikings changed. During a team practice on August 30, 2016, Bridgewater suffered a non-contact injury to his left leg dislocating the knee as well as tearing his ACL. Bridgewater dropped back to pass during a drill, planted his foot and immediately went down. Trainers rushed to his side and began inflating an aircast, and the quarterback appeared to be holding his left leg. So devastated was the whole Viking organization, the team called off its last practice of the preseason after the injury. When Bridgewater gave his first interview after the horrific episode, he revealed the damage to his knee was so severe that at one point, he thought he might lose his leg.  
Bridgewater Said:

"Probably," Bridgewater said when asked if he was in danger of losing his leg. "I just know that I was in the back of the truck and [Vikings trainer Eric Sugarman] was back there with me and we had a conversation and I'm pretty sure that both of us were pretty nervous about that conversation." 

According to Bridgewater, if the Vikings trainers hadn't responded so swiftly to his injury, he probably would've lost the leg. The severity of the injury was confirmed by injury expert Will Carroll who also said there was a chance he could have lost his leg. If fans ever thought the training staff is not important and there is not pressure on them, look at how the quick thinking of Viking trainer Eric Sugarman possibly saved a person’s leg. Bridgewater missed the whole 2016 season only payed in one game in 2017 passing only two times one of which was intercepted. After the season Bridgewater became a free agent and the Vikings decided to move on. Some on the Viking staff didn’t think Bridgewater would be an effective quarterback ever again. In the middle of March the Jets signed Teddy Bridgewater as a free agent.  According to Spotrac, Bridgewater’s contract is for 1 year. The contract is for $6,000,000 including a $500,000 signing bonus, $1,000,000 guaranteed with incentives.

I may be wrong but I can’t see Teddy Bridgewater ever taking a snap in a regular season game for the New York Jets. Even in preseason, Sam Darnold has got to get more reps than any of the other quarterbacks. The talk of late is that the Jets may throw Darnold into the line of fire from day one. I’ve said it before, the Jets should not rush this. We have to see what the offensive line does on the field. I would still wait and the target date should be the 6th game of the season on Sunday October 14th against the Colts at Met Life. By that time we could see what we have on offense in addition to the line namely tight ends, wide receivers and how the play calling goes with Jeremy Bates. Also hopefully the Robby Anderson garbage would have been settled. The Teddy Bridgewater saga is sad and we can only hope for the best for him. If by some chance he plays and lights it up, well then this is a good problem to have. But realistically it looks like Teddy Bridgewater will probably be on the PUP (Physically Unable To Perform) list for at least part of the summer and if he makes the roster, will probably ride the bench for the season.

Green Tidbits
…..Jets C Spencer Long is ready for an injury-free 2018 season with his new team. Last season, Long was only able to make six starts for the Redskins due to a knee injury and was placed on IR in November. The ailment plaguing the 2014 third-round pick was rooted in a chronic quad issue which was corrected this offseason by surgery and an improved regiment. "It was basically like a fraying rope," Long said, via Connor Hughes of The Athletic. "All of sudden it just snapped on me in pregame warm-ups." Long added "I feel better now than I did last year.”…..From Sam Darnold:“I embrace [the challenge of winning a Super Bowl], but I understand every single day that it’s a process,” Darnold said. “You have to come in here and earn respect. I’m not going to come in here and demand it. I know that I’m a quarterback and that I have to be a leader on the field and off it, as well. Just understanding that and going about my everyday life as I normally would.”….From the NFL Spin zone: Versatility is a very important word in sports, especially football. When a team has players who can do many things, it presents quite a few matchup problems. Heading into training camp, the New York Jets have four players who are versatile enough to play in multiple spots on offense. Robby Anderson, Quincy Enunwa and Jermaine Kearse are all valuable in one regard. They are all capable of playing the slot. The other versatile player is undrafted free agent Dimitri Flowers from Oklahoma who can line up at multiple positions on offense…..Former Giant QB Phil Simms wants the Jets to start Sam Darnold from day one, "They put all their money in Sam Darnold," he said. "I don't want to hear, 'Oh we don't want to hurt his confidence if he fails early.' Well if he fails early and hurts his confidence and can't overcome it, then he wasn't the guy.”…..BetDSI SportsBook projects that Darnold will throw for fewer yards and touchdowns in his rookie season than Mayfield, Rosen and Allen. The oddsmaker also believes that Darnold will be the last of the four to make his first NFL start.

More from BetDSI SportsBook-Fun stuff
2018 Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds (Bovada.LV)
Saquon Barkley: 3/2
Baker Mayfield: 11/4
Josh Allen: 8/1
Josh Rosen: 10/1
Sam Darnold: 12/1
Rashaad Penny: 14/1
Derrius Guice: 18/1
Lamar Jackson: 20/1
Ronald Jones: 30/1
Sony Michel: 30/1
DJ Moore: 33/1
Calvin Ridley: 40/1

Rookie QB regular-season starts Over/Under (Bovada.LV)
Josh Allen: 10.5
Baker Mayfield: 9.5
Josh Rosen: 8.5
Sam Darnold: 5.5
Lamar Jackson: 0.5

Around The NFL
…..At the Pittsburgh Steelers rookie mini camp for the second day in a row, the third round rookie quarterback Mason Rudolph stole headlines. According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, after several Day 1 fumbles under center, Rudolph let it rip and had a series of several completions in the team portion of practice…..At the Carolina Panthers rookie mini camp 1st round wide receiver DJ Moore was as advertised. His routes were crisp, he didn’t drop balls, and he made at least one really good catch under tough conditions…..At the NY Giants rookie mini camp Saquon Barkley was among the first guys out to the practice field, sprinting across the distance to the far end of the facility’s practice grounds. After practice, he made sure he was the last one to leave the field by hanging round after the team had been dismissed to catch passes from a teammate before heading inside….. In Denver, after bypassing a quarterback in a draft that was deep on passing prospects, general manager John Elway declared that Paxton Lynch and Chad Kelly would duke it out for the No. 2 job. That served as a vote of confidence in Lynch, his 2016 first-round pick who hasn't been able to win the starting job, and a golden opportunity for Kelly, "Mr. Irrelevant" in 2017 as the last player picked in the draft…..At the Arizona Cardinals mini camp, numerous mistakes were made, including by Josh Rosen, the 10th overall pick in the draft. He missed some throws, especially early in the two-hour practice, but improved as the practice progressed. Near the end, he completed a pass of 65 yards or so to receiver Christian Kirk, the second-round pick and Rosen’s friend since the two met as high school stars on the football camp circuit….  

What the Jet Scribes Are Saying
Rich Cimini,ESPN
 This will be remembered 20 years from now as "the moment the Jets shifted into a new year, that they became a great team," Jet owner Chris Johnsons said. OT Kelvin Beachum offered the perspective of a grizzled veteran who wants to see the kid perform before he canonizes him.

"Man, you know, I'm one of those guys, until you get hit in the mouth, I don't know what you got yet," Beachum said. "And he hasn't been hit in the mouth by an NFL defensive lineman. So when that time comes, we'll see."

There's nothing wrong with either opinion, but hearing both viewpoints triggered a question: Could the Jets be headed for a quarterback controversy?
That's a loaded question, to be sure, but it can't be overlooked. Incumbent Josh McCown, widely respected in the locker room, will be replaced at some point. It's inevitable. How that switch is handled -- the timing, the circumstances, etc. -- will be critical. The Jets have two things working in their favor: McCown is the ultimate team guy and won't make a stink. Coach Todd Bowles doesn't have a quick hook. If anything, his hook is too slow. Remember, he was prepared to go the distance last season with McCown over his young quarterbacks even though the team was hopelessly out of playoff contention. He turned to Bryce Petty only after McCown's season-ending hand injury.This is a different deal because Darnold, drafted third overall, must play -- and will play. The best-case scenario is for Darnold to show everyone -- even the McCown supporters -- he's the best quarterback on the team. That would make for a seamless transition. Otherwise, it could get a bit bumpy, especially if Teddy Bridgewater (can't forget about him) makes a run for the job……When Darnold is deemed ready by coach Todd Bowles, he will be the starting quarterback. It really doesn't matter how Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater perform in the preseason. They're the supporting actors in this new production; Darnold is the star of the show, and it makes no sense to hold him back if he can function in the position. Based on recent NFL history, I'd say there's a 65 percent chance he will start 

Brian Costello, NY Post
The Jets will have a new director of college scouting for the second straight year. Matt Bazirgan, who took over as Jets director of college scouting a year ago, is leaving to become the director of player personnel for the Texans. Bazirgan replaced Rex Hogan, who left for the Colts last year. According to a report from the Houston Chronicle, the Jets are hiring former Texans director of college scouting Jon Carr to replace Bazirgan. Carr had replaced Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan with the Texans as their director of college scouting and the two previously worked together in Houston.

Manish Mehta, NY Daily News
The Jets quietly pulled off a trade on the final day of the draft that might prove to be a downright steal. Sam Darnold's arrival rightfully grabbed the headlines, but Mike Maccagnan made another low-risk, high-reward deal to address one of his biggest remaining needs. Six weeks after the Jets made a blockbuster trade with the Colts to position themselves to land a potential franchise quarterback, the teams made another swap on Day 3 of the draft that barely registered a blip on the trade-o-meter.But it might turn into gold for Gang Green. Maccagnan gave up a seventh-round pick (No. 235) for defensive end Henry Anderson, prompting most of the us to shrug our shoulders and move on. Upon closer inspection, this was such a smart trade for the Jets.There's minimal downside. If Anderson, who will be asked to help replace Muhammad Wilkerson, flops, so what? The Jets wasted a seventh-round pick? Believe me, Maccagnan will soldier on.
The upside is significant. Anderson, who will turn 27 this summer, likely will be better than anyone the Jets would have taken at the 235th overall pick. He could immediately help a defensive line that lacks difference makers other than Leonard Williams. With no viable pressure from the outside linebackers, Todd Bowles will need Anderson and third-round pick Nathan Shepherd to generate consistent heat on the quarterback. The Jets basically got nothing out of Wilkerson last season. The good news: Anderson, a former third-round pick from Stanford, has shown promise in 29 career games (19 starts) in his first three seasons. The bad news: He's missed 19 games due to injury, including a laryngeal fracture that shelved him for the final seven last season.
New Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus' change from a 3-4 to 4-3 scheme paved the way for the deal. Anderson, who played in a 3-4 defense in college and his first three seasons in Indy, lost 15-20 pounds from his 300-pound frame this offseason to better fit a 4-3 scheme. He'll evidently need to hit the buffet line now to gain it back.
                              


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-Bobby Woods, former pro player and coach

"The only book I've ever seen that explains strategies in simple detail."
-Tony Milewski, coach for 30 years 

                      

Friday, May 11, 2018

Jets Weakness May Be It’s Strength!

All during last season I was a big critic of the Jets offensive line. Going into free agency and the draft I fantasized the Jets would get Kirk Cousins, they would sign guard Andrew Norwell and draft guard Quentin Nelson. With these three and filling in the pieces, the Jets offense would be set for a few years. It didn’t work out that way. I was blown away that the Jets did not address the offensive line in the draft. Is the offensive line as bad as we all thought? Or does the coaching staff know something we don’t know? When you look a little closer at the offensive line situation, it may not appear as bleak as we all thought. In fact the Jets offensive line may turn out to surpass everyone’s expectations in 2018. They picked up a couple of free agents in centers Spencer Long and Travis Swanson. Both had injury issues but the Jets expect Long to be ready to go. If he is healthy, this is a definite upgrade from last year. Swanson may take longer as he is battling concussion issues. At left tackle Kelvin Beachum and right tackle Brandon Shell are the starters. At guards the Jets have James Carpenter on the left side and Brian Winters on the right. Tackle Ben Ijalana, guards Brent Qvale, Dakota Dozier and center Jonotthan Harrison make up the depth as the back-ups. Last year the offensive line looked weak as can be to Jet fans. Many thought center Wesley Johnson was the weak link. According to Pro Football Focus,  Johnson earned the lowest overall grade in 2017 among 35 qualified centers. This is not good. In fact I was all over James Carpenter the left guard last year because of his play but looking at the films closely, a lot had to do with Johnson’s man collapsing the line penetrating every which way. This is not to blame everything on Wesley Johnson and let Carpenter off the hook but the center position should be improved this year. James Carpenter must have a better season himself and hopefully he comes into camp in shape. He seemed overweight and slow last year. The good news is he is 29 years old. Kevin Beachum  was ranked 37th out of at least 64 tackles by Pro Football Focus with a grade of 71.6 out of 100 which is not awful. I expect him to improve because he is another year removed from knee surgery. Right tackle Brandon Shell in the third year of his rookie contract, ranked the 44th best tackle in the league. Shell has improved every year and the Jets may have found a good one there. He does have a lot of trouble with athletic, quick edge pass rushers and has not shown me he can handle them one on one. To me the big question mark is Brian Winters who went down last year with a horrific injury tearing his abdomen and abductor muscles in week two against the Raiders. Winters tried playing through the pain and wound up playing 13 games before landing on the injured reserve list in December. If we get the Brian Winters from two years ago, when he was above average and pretty solid, it would be great! He is still only 26 years old. Last year his play was not good because of the injury and he had too many penalties. The Jets have brought in a number of un-drafted free agent offensive lineman. Among them Austin Golson from Auburn has the best chance to stick because of his versatility playing all the positions on the offensive line. The bottom line is the coaching must feel they are in good shape with the offensive line. The way they play in the 
pre-season may determine the plan for Sam Darnold. It would be stupid to play Darnold if there is no improvement in the OL. Let’s hope the coaches know best!

Below is a stat sheet that combines sacks plus quarterback hits. Even though the Jets total of 144 ranked 9th from the bottom, they were not as bad as Jet fans may have thought. 



Team               Sacks   +    QB Hits        Total
1.Oakland           24             51                75
2.New Orleans    20             58                78
3.Baltimore         27             59                86
4.Pittsburgh        24             65                 89
5.LA Chargers    18             76                 94
6.Jacksonville     24             78                 102
6.LA Rams         28             74                 102
7.Giants              34             70                 104
7.Cincinnati        40             64                 104
8.Carolina           35             70                 105
9.Tennessee        35             71                 106
10.Atlanta           24             87                 111
11.Miami            33             79                 112
12.Dallas            32             81                 113
13.Minnesota      27             87                114
14.New England 35             84                119
15.KC                 37             83                120
16.Chicago         39             84                 123
17.Buffalo          47             90                 137
18.Washington   41             98                 139
19.Tampa Bay    40            100                140
19.Detroit           47             93                 140
20.Philadelphia  36            107                 143
21.Jets                47             97                 144
22.Green Bay     51            104                155
23.Denver          52            104                 156
24.49ers             43            116                 159
25.Seattle           43            121                 164
26.Indianapolis  56            113                  169
27.Houston        54            117                  171
28.Arizona         52            123                  175
29.Cleveland      50            130                 180



Jets Last Eight Years
   
          Sacks   +    QB Hits    Total     Team Record       Starting Quarterbacks

2017       47            97           144           5-11         Josh McCown (13) / Bryce Petty (3)
2016       35            95           130           5-11        Ryan Fitzpatrick (11) Geno Smith (1) Bryce Petty (4)
2015       22            71            93           10-6         Ryan Fitzpatrick (16)
2014       47            96           143           4-12        Geno Smith (13) / Michael Vick (3)
2013       47            98           145           8-8          Geno Smith (16)
2012       47            76           123           6-10        Mark Sanchez (15) / Greg McElroy (1)
2011       40            70           110           8-8          Mark Sanchez (16)
2010       28            52            80           11-5         Mark Sanchez (16)



Around the AFC East
Buffalo Bills
…..Bills three day rookie mini-camp opened today…..The Bills signed four draft picks and twelve un-drafted free agents…..GM Brandon Beane said he had extensive talks with Browns GM John Dorsey about moving up for the 4th pick of the draft. Just didn’t work out…..

Miami Dolphins
…..According to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe Dolphins owner Stephen Ross wanted to trade back a few picks and save money in the first round. He was talked out of it as the Dolphins picked the player they wanted Minkah Fitzpatrick…..Dolphins third-year coach Adam Gase said Thursday he’s happy with the roster it’s taken him two-plus years to construct. “It feels right for us right now,” Gase said. “I feel like we’re in a good place. It feels like we’ve got the type of people all working in the same direction and working toward... 

New England Patriots
…..According to ESPN's Mike Reiss, left guard Joe Thuney is preparing for upcoming foot surgery that "isn't considered anything that should threaten his availability for the 2018 season," but will keep him off the field during passing camp practices…..From USA Today:The offensive line remains a concern, especially if Isaiah Wynn doesn’t make an impact as a rookie…..Belichick got a prototypical Patriot slot receiver in the seventh round in 5-9 Braxton Berrios of Miami. Belichick himself scouted the Hurricanes' pro day. He returns punts, too, cut from the Wes Welker mold. 


                                     


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