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Sunday, June 16, 2019

Jets Gain(e) A GM And Veteran RB

So much has happened within the Jets organization the last 40 days, they continue to win the off-season Super Bowl of news and dysfunction. After a very unsure period, the Jets finally hired their General Manager Joe Douglas. Make no mistake, when the Houston Texans fired their GM, Brian Gaine, the Jets were under pressure to get the Joe Douglas deal done or he might be in Houston today. From everything I’ve read about Douglas he seems to be by far the best person available for the Jets GM position. But we have all seen this movie before. I remember when the late Dick Steinberg was hired as the Jets GM in 1990, the same atmosphere was felt. Steinberg was hired away from the Patriots after helping to build a team that made it to Super Bowl XX. This was after he was involved in the drafting of a very good group of players for the Rams who made it to Super Bowl XIV. But for whatever reason success did not follow Steinberg to the Jets. In his five-plus seasons the Jets posted a 33-51 record. Let’s hope that Joe Douglas has better success with the Jets. My feeling is that he will. He knows and talks about how you build teams up front in the trenches with the offensive and defensive lines. He realizes Sam Darnold’s talent and wants to keep him healthy. Mike Maccagnan moved too slow for me and the word is he could not pull the trigger on some proposed trades. Watch Joe Douglas. He gives me the impression of being a “shaker and a mover.”

Adam Gase reached out to Bilal Powell and signed the veteran to a one year contract. This tells me a few things. First off Powell may be completely healed from his neck surgery. Secondly Gase recognizes what Powell brings to the Jets. Besides being a great locker room guy, he does everything well on the field, running, catching the ball and picking up blitzes. He has been one of the most underrated players since he came into the league. When the Jets signed Matt Forte for the 2016-17 seasons, I thought it was an unnecessary signing even though those two seasons were very productive for Powell. The signing of Powell also tells me that  Adam Gase is not in love with Le'Veon Bell no matter what he says to the press about him. In addition to Bell and Powell, the running back position seems to be overloaded with Trenton Cannon, Elijah McGuire, Ty Montgomery and De'Angelo Henderson Sr., all listed on the roster. If I was a betting man I would say either Cannon or McGuire are not on the roster once the season starts.
                                        

Jets Put Up Their Duke(s)
The Jets have a long snapper from Duke, Thomas Hennessy. Including him who is the most talented football player from Duke playing at MetLife Stadium? Some might say Daniel Jones (Giants draft pick) but looking closer, Jamison Crowder who the Jets signed as a free agent from the Washington Redskins may be the best pickup by Gang Green in the off season. With all the hype around Le'Veon Bell, the Crowder signing was something of an under the radar move that will give Sam Darnold another weapon. Only 25 years old, Crowder is quick and has some incredible moves. He was hurt last year but in the three seasons before he put up some very respectable numbers catching 192 passes for 2,240 yards and 12 TDS (15 lifetime). He is a very good punt returner and ran one back 85 yards for a TD in 2016. He measures only 5’9” but this guy is exciting. Kirk Cousins thought so highly of Crowder that he was targeted 103 times in 2017. Just to put this into perspective, in the same season Tom Brady targeted Rob Gronkowski 105 times. The Jets may use Crowder in the slot but I would not hesitate to split him out wide and give Quincy Enunwa some receptions in the slot. If Sam Darnold can make that second season leap everyone is expecting, look for Jamison Crowder to have 90+ receptions.

                             
                            Jamison Crowder Highlights


Jets Center Position Is Still A Concern
Besides the signing of free agent Jamison Crowder, another underrated signing the Jets made was landing offensive line coach Frank Pollack. I wrote about Pollack before and how he is a real purist when it comes to coaching the offensive line. He is not just an offensive coordinator in waiting. He was a former player (OL) who worked his way up the coaching ladder peaking with the Dallas Cowboys as their OL coach from 2015-17. After spending one year with the Bengals, by some miracle he decided to come east to the Jets. Now he has his work cut out for him. I’m sure he was given the ultimatum that he must keep Sam Darnold healthy and put him in a position to succeed. The Jets missed out on free agent center Matt Paradis who wanted to come to the Jets but supposedly his price was too high. Mitch Morse probably the best free agent center available signed with the Buffalo Bills. I had my heart set on Stefen Wisniewski of the Eagles but he resigned with them a few weeks ago. Now the market is thin. I had thought Jonotthan Harrison played respectable but according to ESPN’s Rich Cimini (see following) he did not. Now the Jets are in a bind and the one player I see available is Rams former center John Sullivan. The negative is he will be 34 years old in August but the Jets should go after him with a two year contract.  

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In an article ESPN’s Rich Cimini said of the Jet center situation:
“One of the biggest issues for the Jets is the center position. Gase has talked up incumbent Jonotthan Harrison, who replaced the ineffective Spencer Long last season, but you have to wonder if Harrison is the right guy for the job.Statistics aren't everything, especially with an offensive lineman, but they tell a clear story in this case. In Harrison's starts, Weeks 10 to 17, the Jets' success rate on running plays (41.9 percent) ranked 32nd, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. Their success rate on inside runs (40.5) also ranked 32nd. The numbers were nearly identical in Weeks 14 to 17, when the offense showed signs of life during Darnold's late-season rally. (By definition, the success rate is the percentage of run plays resulting in a successful play based on the yards-to-go by down -- 40 percent on first down, 50 percent on second, a conversion on third/fourth.) Harrison's performance on passing downs was similarly concerning. His pass-block win rate (plays in which a player holds his block for at least 2.5 seconds) was only 71 percent, eight points below the league average for centers, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.”


More from Rich Cimini:
New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas came from an organization that won a Super Bowl with a young quarterback as its primary starter, and he believes Sam Darnold gives him the chance to attack his new job with the same mentality.

"When you know you have the right guy, there's a sense of urgency: 'Let's go win right now,'" Douglas said Tuesday at his introductory news conference. "I feel like that confidence is here right now."

Douglas, hired to replace Mike Maccagnan, inherits a team that hasn't reached the postseason since 2010. This is a daunting job. In fact, only the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers have won fewer games than the Jets over the past three seasons. Jets' new GM Joe Douglas: Solid hire, but it guarantees nothing. Instead of preaching patience and tamping down expectations, Douglas, 42, expressed a sense of conviction in the organization. He praised coach Adam Gase and said the roster includes "a lot of exciting pieces." He said it starts with Darnold, the third overall pick in 2018 -- just as it did in his former job with the Philadelphia Eagles and quarterback Carson Wentz.

"I'll say this: Building around a young guy, there was a sense of urgency in Philadelphia, knowing we had a young quarterback, and we wanted to put the pieces around him," said Douglas, the Eagles' vice president of player personnel for three seasons. "I think there's going to be that same urgency anywhere, especially here with a young quarterback like Sam."
…….
Douglas also will hire an executive to work alongside him. He confirmed that ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay, a former college teammate, is under consideration for a position. But he quickly added, "We're going to cast a wide net. We're going to get the right person." Former Cleveland Browns GM Phil Savage also is a candidate. Douglas downplayed reports that said he was hesitant about taking the job because of uncertainty with ownership. Owner Woody Johnson, the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom, could return to the team in 2020, depending on the outcome of the presidential election. That would create questions about Christopher Johnson's role.

"I can promise you," Douglas said, "I wouldn't be standing here if I didn't have a comfort level with where this franchise was in the leadership position."

Under-the-radar standouts from the spring: running back Ty Montgomery, tight end Daniel Brown, defensive end Bronson Kaufusi and linebacker Jordan Jenkins. 

Underwhelming: quarterback Trevor Siemian, running back Trenton Cannon, cornerback Parry Nickerson and defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd.


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Brian Costello,NY Post
The Jets now have their leaders. After a tumultuous month, the Jets introduced Joe Douglas as their new general manager at a Tuesday press conference. The word of the day was collaboration, which was said repeatedly as the organization hopes to find harmony with this hire.

“I feel that we now have the right people in charge of our football operation,” Jets chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson said.

The Jets hope the tandem of Douglas and head coach Adam Gase can end a nine-year playoff drought and a 50-year championship drought. The two worked together with the Bears in 2015 and have remained friends. Now, they will run the Jets together.

“We’re going to find passionate people that love the game of football, that hate losing more than they love winning, that love to prepare, that love to practice, that love to compete,” said Douglas, who spent the past three years as the Eagles vice president of player personnel.
…….“His evaluation skills are unbelievable,” Gase said. “Coaches, our staff, guys that have worked with him in the past, they always would say if Joe says a guy is a good player, believe him. He knows what he’s doing. Coaches trust him. You don’t hear the squabbles because he does such a great job evaluating players.”
The Jets showed how much they believe in Douglas with a six-year contract. Douglas will have control of the 53-man roster while Gase will control the depth chart, but Douglas said he will listen to Gase on personnel matters.

“Just because there is control of the 53 doesn’t mean there isn’t going to be strong collaboration,” Douglas said. “That was the model in Philadelphia and Baltimore and Chicago. It’s collaboration not only with the head coach, but every position coach and the entire personnel staff.”
…..
Douglas said his first priority will be connecting with people inside the Jets organization. One person who already has connected with him is Gase, who was giddy.

“I was excited when Christopher called me and told me what was going on [with hiring Douglas],” Gase said. “I was borderline ex-girlfriend harassing Joe: ‘When are you coming up, when are you coming up?’ The last couple of days have been awesome.”



Manish Mehta, NY Daily News
(Sam) Darnold can be special. He has everything that an organization covets. Beyond the supreme talent that he flashed at times as a rookie, he possesses a rare gift for a young player: maturity. The soundtrack of his professional and personal life is pure and free of clutter. He’s unflappable. Darnold is authentic. He is nice, but not soft. He is a competitive S.O.B. who doesn’t believe in cutting corners or undercutting anyone. He is wise beyond his 21 years, handling the expectations and accompanying pressure like a much older man.

“I think it all starts with my family,” Darnold said Thursday. “My mom and dad back home and my sister…. an older sister, who’s been a great example for me throughout life. And my parents have a laid a great foundation. It all starts with them. And I have great friends back home, who I’ve had since high school who keep me grounded. If they ever see me say anything dumb in the media right now, they’d be the first ones to talk to me about it and let me know that I’m an idiot.

“So, it’s awesome that I have friends like that and obviously great teammates to keep my grounded as well.”

The Jets morphed back into a punchline in the past week after CEO Christopher Johnson’s unorthodox decision to fire general manager Mike Maccagnan after empowering him to make all the critical decisions this offseason (including hiring Adam Gase).

People around the NFL got their jokes out of the way to me privately before asking about Darnold.Darnold’s going to get out of there as soon as he can,” one NFC general manager predicted to me.

“I feel bad for 14,” one AFC GM said.

For all the fair criticism heaped on Maccagnan, he’ll always be the guy who drafted Darnold. Maccagnan and top lieutenant Brian Heimerdinger, whom the former GM credited for pulling together the trade with the Colts that put Gang Green in position to land Darnold, are gone now.

"It’s tough whenever someone loses his job in any business,” Darnold said. “You understand and you feel for them. But this business is tough. It's a hard deal. And that's just part of it. I'll forever be grateful for Mike and what he's done for me. Taking me No. 3 overall was a life-changing experience and I'll forever be grateful for that. But I do understand that it’s a tough business. I understand that and a lot of guys on the team do as well.”

Behind the scenes of the final straw in the Jets rift between Adam Gase and Mike Maccagnan »
It’s truly amazing, isn’t it? Darnold gave Maccagnan a more gracious, classy and thoughtful public send-off than Johnson and Gase combined. Those guys could learn a little something from this kid.



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NFL News and Rumors
..........The Rams aren’t ready to talk to agent Ryan Tollner regarding a new contract for quarterback Jared Goff. The Rams, however, are ready to talk about when they may want to talk about a new contract for Goff. Via Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times, Rams G.M. Les Snead said Friday that the Rams have had “preliminary discussions” with Tollner regarding a timeline for talks regarding Goff’s deal.

“Nothing heavy,” Snead said of the communications. “No heavy lifting.”

Like coach Sean McVay, Snead made it clear that the Rams intend to keep Goff around.........

......The tug-of-war that the Patriots and Texans engaged in over the past week or so ended with Houston in the mud and New England holding the prize, director of player personnel Nick Caserio. There are a number of theories as to why the Texans agreed to stop their pursuit of Caserio, but we learned on Friday that Caserio may have language in his contract with the Patriots that specifically forbids him from interviewing with any other team.
Indeed, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com believes that theory makes the most sense, and when Caserio signed his last extension with the Pats, Reiss says New England may have asked Caserio to not pursue any other openings in exchange for longer-term security and increased salary. Of course, the NFL’s anti-tampering clause could have superseded such a contractual provision if Houston elected to challenge it, but the Texans opted to avoid battle with one of the league’s most powerful owners, Robert Kraft. Speculatively, Caserio could have filed a grievance of some sort, but even if he were justified in so doing, he may have felt it was better for a GM hopeful like him to not go that route.
But Reiss says that Caserio does appear motivated to move on when contractual obstacles no longer prevent him from doing so, and we now know that Caserio’s contract expires after the 2020 draft.....
.....Tom Pelissero of NFL Media reports that Cowboys TE Rico Gathers been suspended without pay for the first game of the 2019 regular season for violating the NFL’s policy and program on substances of abuse.
The suspension comes from Gathers’ 2018 arrest for marijuana possession.
Gathers, 25, is a former sixth-round pick of the Cowboys back in May of 2016. He was, unfortunately, cut loose coming out of the preseason and later signed to the team’s practice squad at the start of the regular season.
.....One member of the Vikings will be using the pre-camp break to rehab from recent surgery. NFL Media reports that tight end David Morgan had arthroscopic surgery on his knee recently. He is expected to be ready for training camp.
Morgan joined the Vikings as a sixth-round pick in 2016 and has appeared in 38 games over the last three seasons. 
......Tom Pelissero of NFL Media reports that Cowboys TE Rico Gathers been suspended without pay for the first game of the 2019 regular season for violating the NFL’s policy and program on substances of abuse.
The suspension comes from Gathers’ 2018 arrest for marijuana possession.
Gathers, 25, is a former sixth-round pick of the Cowboys back in May of 2016. He was, unfortunately, cut loose coming out of the preseason and later signed to the team’s practice squad at the start of the regular season.
.....The Texans are still looking for a GM, they have no clarity on the Jadeveon Clowney situation, and they have some worrisome injury news concerning their cornerbacks. Per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, new CBs Bradley Roby and Lonnie Johnson Jr. are both dealing with ailments that have largely kept them off the field over the past couple of months.

.....Most of the attention on the Giants’ quarterbacks room this offseason has been focused upon Daniel Jones, the No. 6 overall pick in April’s draft, and Eli Manning, the 38-year-old two-time Super Bowl MVP. But as Paul Schwartz of the New York Post writes, the battle to be Big Blue’s third QB is expected to become quite heated once training camp opens next month.Jones was able to quiet some of the negative chatter surrounding him with an impressive spring, and Schwartz says that if the Giants are convinced the Duke product will be able to step in for Manning whenever he’s called upon — and OC Mike Shula has already expressed that level of confidence in Jones — then the club may elect to keep just two signal-callers and send both Kyle Lauletta and Alex Tanney packing.



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Sunday, May 19, 2019

The Dust Never Settles In Jet Land!

  Years ago on the old television Lucy show there was an episode where Lucy and her best friend Ethel, try to prove that a job is easier than housework. They get a job in a chocolate factory packing candy on a conveyor belt. But mayhem ensues as the conveyor belt speeds up and both women cannot keep up with wrapping the candy. They stuff the candy in their mouths, blouses and hats. The whole scene reminds me of the Jets front office. Total chaos and the fans cannot keep up with the mess! The events the past week frustrated and embarrassed Jet fans. I couldn’t help but picture the Patriots coaching staff gathered in BB’s office smoking cigars, drinking champagne and watching the NFL Network. When will this fiasco end? I always refer to the “curse of Bachelor’s 3.” This is in reference to when Pete Rozelle made Joe Namath sell his interest in a New York bar/restaurant because of undesirable patrons of the underworld were supposedly frequenting this establishment. Since that incident, everything has gone south without a few teasers along the way. Right in the middle of the draft, the Athletics' Mike Lombardi reported that Mike Maccagnan was on the hot seat and could lose his job after the draft. Rumors were rampant. Lombardi’s brother was on the Jets coaching staff last year and lost his job and this was revenge. Up I-95 BB wanted one of the players the Jets drafted and was said to be close to Mike Lombardi and had him plant the story. Everyone in Florham Park was on board that the story was 100% false. As we know Lombardi was right and the Jets lied including Adam Gase who won a power struggle with Maccagnan. When it happened, my phone was ringing off the hook and the text messages were in triple digits. Why in the name of Blair Thomas would the Jets give the keys to Adam Gase after free agency and the draft? I had said it before the situation would never work out and they should have fired Mike Maccagnan when they fired Todd Bowles. I was not a Maccagnan fan and felt he worked too slowly getting players. His greatest achievement was pulling off the trade last year with the Colts to move up to get Sam Darnold. He was also effective working the phones after the draft signing undrafted free agents and getting some talent such as Robby Anderson and Frankie Luvu. Unfortunately his positives will be outweighed by the drafting of Chistian Hackenberg and this will probably be his legacy. I was like every other Jet fan thinking what has Adam Gase ever won to get all this power? His lifetime NFL coaching record is 23-26 (0-1 in playoffs). Apparently Jet owner Chris Johnson had been in the building a lot the last few weeks. More than normal and observed how Maccagnan and Gase worked together and preferred Gase. 

                                          Lucy in the chocolate factory. Like the Jets front office.


Was It A Positive Move? 
When it first happened, I was flabbergasted and figured the Jets’ April Fools' joke was just 6 weeks late. But within 48 I was on board with the move and I’ll tell you why. When Gase traded away Darron Lee, I loved it! I could not wait to get rid of this underachieving first round pick. He had his best year last year but there were too many times when he was pushed downfield like a tackling dummy on roller skates. Maccagnan was trying to trade him and couldn’t do it whether it was pulling the trigger or overrating his value. Gase and probably Greg Williams saw all his game film and decided any draft pick was worth it to get rid of him. Great move. Then it came out that Gase did not want to tie up all that money in a running back when they signed Le'Veon Bell. I agree with him! He wanted to get a free agent center. I agree with him. If you take away the Colts trade and the undrafted free agent signings, what brilliant moves did Mike Maccagnan make? Sure he drafted Leonard Williams, Jamal Adams and Sam Darnold. But a quality General Manager/talent evaluator makes his bones in rounds 3-5. Yes he got Chris Herndon in the 4th round. But there were too many picks like ArDarius Stewart, Chad Hansen, Dylan Donahue and Bryce Petty that left the Jets void in talent depth. Maccagnan treated the offensive line like an afterthought in the draft which in my book is a cardinal sin. If somehow Adam Gase turns this thing around, it will be a positive move. So if Jet fans overreacted like I did, take a deep breath and lets see what happens. One concern of mine is that if the Jets go 3-13 and at his year end meeting with Chris Johnson, Gase blames it on the personnel saying it wasn’t his picks then the Jets will be mired in no man’s land for a while.





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  • What’s Next In The Front Office
    Joe Douglas, Eagles VP of player personnel is the name that is at the top of everyone’s list. Douglas has a rock solid reputation around the NFL and has been Eagle’s GM Howie Roseman’s right hand man. He has a reputation as being a gym rat when it comes to scouting. So valuable is Joe Douglas is to the Eagles that they denied him from speaking to the Houston Texans who wanted to interview him for their GM vacancy per Albert Breer of The MMQB.  Gase has a great relationship with Douglas from their days working in the Bears organization.

    Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network analyst
    Yes, that Daniel Jeremiah. The guy we all see on the NFL Network. Just as the Oakland Raiders went for Mike Mayock who also worked at the NFL Network, the Jets may be following the same plan. Jeremiah, is a former scout for the Ravens and the Eagles. ESPN's Adam Schefter first mentioned Jeremiah on Wednesday as someone in consideration for a front office position, quite possibly as a package deal with Joe Douglas.

    Champ Kelly, Bears assistant director of player personnel
    Both Kelly and Gase were together with the Bears and the Broncos and have a good relationship. Kelly is in his second season as Assistant Director of Player Personnel after spending two seasons as the Bears Director of Pro Scouting. Kelly previously spent time in the Denver organization before moving to Chicago. 

    Lance Newmark, Detroit Lions,Director of Player Personnel 
    Newmark, 43, helps oversees college and pro scouting operations, while evaluating prospects in both areas, and assisting in the day to day management of the Lions roster. Newmark has spent over two decades in the Lions’ front office. He is thought of very highly in the league.

    Peyton Manning,
    Pro-Football Talk is reporting: “Rumors are flying within league circles that the Jets may make a run at the future Hall of Fame quarterback who has periodically been linked to NFL management possibilities. And Gase, who worked with Manning in Denver, possibly would be one of the few guys who could draw Manning back into football.” Say it ain’t so Chris? Do the Jets really want to revert back to the Brett Favre, Tim Tebow days of being the biggest circus in town?

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    My Take
    The best scenario would be a Joe Douglas-Daniel Jeremiah package deal as Adam Schefter reported. Douglas would run the show (wink wink with Gase really calling the shots) and Jeremiah would run the scouting department. The better scenario would have been if Chris Johnson fired Maccagnan with Bowles and had hired Joe Douglas first. Whatever happens, the only bit of good news I heard was from former Jet Bart Scott on WFAN. He said when it comes down to playing, the players don’t care what is going on in the front office and they just want their playbook and to play.



    Green Tidbits
    …..Is there a coach with any more pressure to produce than Adam Gase? I still will not accept anything less than 9-7……I’m told Jets undrafted free agent Jalin Moore 5’ 10” 212 lbs RB from Appalachian State is a keeper…..According to Pro Football Reference, Maccagnan-led Jets were arguably the worst drafting team in the NFL beyond the first round the years he was the Jets GM……Wide receiver Robby Anderson has signed the one year contract offer the Jets made him as a restricted free agent. I know I’m in the minority but I believe if he wants to, Anderson can be an All-Pro receiver….CB Kyron Brown is another undrafted free agent who has a very good chance of making the 53-man roster…..Morris Claiborne has an undisclosed injury. What is going on?….The over/under for Jachai Polite’s sack total in 2019 is 4. I’m taking the over…..I know it was a voluntary mini-camp but Le'Veon Bell should have showed up…..Earth to Josh McCown. Come in. Let us know your status…..Former Jet Ryan Fitzpatrick blew our last chance to make the playoffs but something about that guy makes me root for him….In response to rumors out that Peyton Manning is up for the Jets GM position, the "GREAT" Charley Casserly said of Manning as a candidate," “he would not be one of them”
    That's good enough for me! Peyton has got my vote!.....I yearn for the days when my life was simple and I didn’t have the pressure of remembering usernames, passwords and pin numbers.


                                                     Jalin Moore highlights.



    What The Jet Scribes Are Saying
    Rich Cimini, ESPN
    Gase needed about eight hours as the interim GM to make a fairly significant trade, dealing linebacker Darron Lee to the Kansas City Chiefs for a 2020 sixth-round pick. It seemed to be a case of Gase flaunting his newfound power, but the reality is that offer was sitting on the table for some time, a source said. Maccagnan's critics say he was indecisive at times when making personnel decisions. Maybe this was an example of that; or maybe he was just waiting for the Chiefs to sweeten the offer. The advantage of having Gase in the coach/interim GM role is that it streamlines the process. He knows what he wants and he acts quickly. The downside? There is no checks-and-balances system. There's nothing wrong with a one-man show if the one man is Bill Belichick or, back in the day, Bill Parcells -- both experienced team-builders. Gase is not that right now, and he needs a savvy GM who has final say on personnel….. I don't think the Jets are going to rush into a GM decision, nor should they, but the word around the league is that Joe Douglas is the odds-on favorite. Checking in with different factions in the industry -- scouts and agents -- I've heard nothing but good things about Douglas, the Philadelphia Eagles' vice president of player personnel. He spent 16 years in the Baltimore Ravens' personnel department, working alongside the well-respected Ozzie Newsome, who just retired as GM. Douglas' résumé is impressive, but he has never run an organization. Until a person is in the big chair, you never really know for sure how they will handle the pressure. Don't buy the Peyton Manning rumors; it's intriguing, but not on the current radar.

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    Manish Mehta, NY Daily News
    Gase wanted to wash his hands of the draft before it even began, according to sources. Eyewitnesses told the Daily News that he was oddly detached for all three days. This was a Maccagnan Production through and through. Gase stayed out of the way, rarely giving input on trade possibilities or prospects when the Jets were on the clock. There was no point that Gase ever fought for or objected to any of Maccagnan’s picks. The sentiment among people in the room: This was awkward.Johnson, meanwhile, had viewed his two years in charge through an idyllic prism. He had good intentions and a glass-half-full mindset. Truth be told, he wanted Maccagnan to succeed even if he had serious concerns about his general manager’s communication deficiencies at the end of the season.Some of the brain trust, including owner Woody Johnson, would have signed off on firing Maccagnan in January if that’s what Christopher wanted.But Christopher Johnson was concerned about his ability to lead both a general manager and coaching search alone. The support staff in the building, frankly, wasn’t qualified. Johnson liked Maccagnan on a personal level and felt comfortable that the GM and his top lieutenant would be the best people in-house to lead a coaching search. Johnson kept Maccagnan and Heimerdinger, and kept his fingers crossed that it would all work in the end with a new head coach.People in the organization truly believe that Johnson wants the Jets to succeed, but there’s a strong sentiment among those that I’ve spoken to in the past 48 hours that he simply doesn’t have the experience, football savvy and support structure right now to make sound choices. Sources agree with moving on from Maccagnan, but some vehemently objected with the timing of the decision. “It didn’t make sense,” one team source said. People on One Jets Drive believe that Johnson means well, but they have little confidence that they can actually trust his decision-making to reverse the perception of the Jets as a laughingstock. Jets employees aren’t alone. Seventy-two percent of the more than 10,000 people who participated in an online Daily News Poll this week do not trust that Johnson knows what he’s doing.


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    Brian Costello, NY Post
    Now that the partnership between Adam Gase and Mike Maccagnan has ended, the focus of the Jets world shifts to another relationship: Gase and star running back Le’Veon Bell.One area of fallout from Wednesday’s news that the Jets may have not anticipated was the reporting that emerged about coach Gase not being fully on board with the signing of Bell to a four-year, $52.5 million deal in March. A source said Gase and Bell have been in constant contact since the offseason program began last month despite Bell not being in Florham Park for most of the workouts. The two communicated after the Maccagnan firing both on Wednesday and Thursday, and the conversations have been positive, according to the source.
    Bell took to Twitter on Wednesday to say he was not worried about the reports.

    “There’s been a BUNCH of false reports and speculation about me in the past about things I’ve said and done, so I’m used to this,” Bell tweeted. “I don’t jump to conclusions when I hear or see a story that may affect me. “Even if reports are true, that won’t stop me from doing what I came here to do…everyone has a job to do, and I’m gonna do mine whether people “like” me or not. I’m here to win football games.”

    …..If Bell thrives with the Jets under Gase and the team wins, none of this talk in May will matter, including Bell’s absence from voluntary workouts. Gase certainly would love to have all of his players participating in the offseason program, but he also understands that players prepare in different ways. Bell has been up front with Gase about his plan and has kept him posted with updates on his workouts in Florida. All anyone has to do is check out Bell’s Instagram page to see his workout videos there. The Jets have their mandatory minicamp on June 4-6, and Bell is expected to be there.



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    Sunday, May 12, 2019

    Jets Are Adding Speed!


    Besides the six players the Jets drafted, they also signed 16 undrafted free agents. As you read this all 22 players are just finishing up their rookie “orientation.” Adam Gase thinks taking the field for three days is a waste of time and it will only invite injuries to players who have not been practicing with teammates for 5 or 6 months. Gase did the same thing while coaching the Dolphins. Tough to judge if it is a positive or not. Here is the official list of the Jets un-drafted free agents:

    LB Jeff Allison, Fresno State (5’11”, 228)
    Allison started all 28 games the past two years for the Bulldogs, collecting 258 tackles, 11.5 for loss, 2.5 sacks, and was named first team All-Mountain West both years. He also earned MWC Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2018 and finished 10th in school history with 279 career tackles.

    S John Battle, LSU (6’0”, 201)
    A three-year starter in the Bayou, Battle recorded 139 tackles, 2.5 stops for loss, two forced fumbles, 14 pass defenses and four picks in 2016-18. The redshirt senior led the Tigers with three interceptions last season despite battling an ankle injury. Battle played in 47 games throughout his collegiate career (28 starts) and sometimes lined up in the slot.

    CB Kyron Brown, Akron (6’1”, 195)
    The redshirt senior tied a school record with 51 games played in his career, starting 26 games over the last two seasons. In that timespan, he accumulated 90 tackles, four for loss, 19 pass defenses and two interceptions. Brown earned second-team All-MAC honors and was voted a team captain in 2018. The Boynton Beach, FL native also won the Iron ZIP Award for his work in the weight room.

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    WR Greg Dortch, Wake Forest (5’7”, 173)
    Dortch was extremely productive for the Demon Deacons despite playing just two seasons. The redshirt sophomore started all 12 games in 2018 and caught 89 passes for 1,078 yards and eight touchdowns. For his career, he registered 142 receptions, 1,800 yards and 17 touchdowns in 20 games (18 starts). The Richmond, VA native averaged a school-record 152 all-purpose yards per game for his career as he also returned punts and kicks. Dortch averaged 21.5 yards per kick return on 36 attempts and scored two touchdowns as a punt returner.

    DL Fred Jones, Florida State (6’2”, 304)
    A four-year player for the Seminoles, Jones is the nephew of former Jets linebacker Marvin Jones, who also attended Florida State along with Fred’s father, Fred Sr. Jones, a redshirt senior, played in 35 games and amassed 67 tackles, eight stops for loss, 2.5 sacks and three pass defenses. The Miami native was also a member of the Florida State track team, participating in the shot put and discus.

    G Tyler Jones, NC State (6’3”, 306)
    A four-year starter for the Wolfpack, Jones played six games his freshman year — four at right tackle and two at left guard — before starting 39 consecutive games at left tackle from 2016-18. In that timespan, he played 98% of the team’s offensive snaps and earned first-team All-ACC honors.










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  • OL Toa Lobendahn, USC (6’3”, 295)
    The only line position Lobendahn did not line up at during his USC career was right tackle. In 34 starts, the redshirt senior started 18 games at left tackle, eight at left guard, five at right guard and three at center. In 2017, he earned All-Pac 12 second-team honors and USC’s Chris Carlisle Courage and Co-Lifter of the Year Awards. Lobendahn started 13 games as a true freshman and earned Freshman All-American first-team honors before hurting his knee in 2015 and 2016 (redshirt year).

    OL Wyatt Miller, Central Florida (6’5”, 306)
    Miller started in all 39 games the past three seasons for the Knights. He was initially at right tackle before moving to left tackle for his senior season and earning second-team All-AAC honors. The Douglas, GA native grew up on his family’s blueberry farm and committed to UCF after not receiving any Power Five offers. Miller redshirted his freshman year in 2014 before playing in 49 games, 47 of which he started.

    RB Jalin Moore, Appalachian State (5’10”, 212)
    Moore, a Shelby, NC native who was the Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year in 2016, missed most of his senior campaign with an ankle injury. He led the Sun Belt in rushing in both 2016 and ’17, earning first-team All-Sun Belt both seasons as well with a total of 2,439 yards and 22 touchdowns on 420 carries.

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    LB Jamey Mosley, Alabama (6’5”, 239)
    Younger brother of Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley, Jamey was a walk-on at Alabama before earning a scholarship as a redshirt sophomore. The Mobile, AL native played in 31 games for the Crimson Tide and recorded 21 tackles (4.5 for loss), two sacks and two pass defenses.

    DL Kyle Phillips, Tennessee (6’4”, 277)
    The Volunteers’ team captain in 2018, Phillips won the Bill Majors Award, given to the player who best exemplifies dedication toward football, as well as Defensive Player of the Year honors. Phillips played in 40 games (21 starts) at UT but didn’t become a starter until his senior year. The 22-year-old finished with 114 tackles, 16 for loss, eight sacks and nine pass defenses in four seasons.

    S Santos Ramirez, Arkansas (6’2”, 204)
    A two-year team captain, Ramirez played in 45 games in four seasons with the Razorbacks and recorded 214 tackles, three interceptions and four forced fumbles. The redshirt senior was one of only three FBS players in 2017 to record at least 60 tackles, one interception, eight pass defenses and three forced fumbles.                       


    DL Trevon Sanders, Troy (6’2”, 327)
    Sanders played in 40 games over four years for the Trojans and recorded 108 tackles, 16.5 for loss and six sacks. The Charleston, SC native was named to the All-Sun Belt first team in 2018 after earning second-team All-Sun Belt honors in 2017. Sanders’ cousin, Jarriel King, played for the Seahawks for two seasons before joining the CFL.

    WR Jeff Smith, Boston College (6’1”, 195)
    A former quarterback, Smith transitioned to wideout after his freshman year and recorded 72 catches for 1,078 yards and nine touchdowns over the next three seasons. He also had 902 rushing yards and nine ground scores for the Golden Eagles.

    DL MyQuon Stout, Appalachian State (6’1”, 280)
    Stout started three seasons at nose tackle for the Mountaineers and finished his career with 88 tackles, 8.5 for loss and 3.5 sacks. A two-time team captain, the Salisbury, NC native earned first-team All-Sun Belt honors in 2018 after he started 13 games on a defense that ranked No. 4 nationally in scoring and allowed a Sun Belt-record-low 20 touchdowns.
                                 
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    My Take
    It’s nice to see 3 offensive linemen on the list. But the two players I am really excited about are Greg Dortch from Wake Forest and Jeff “I’m not Brad” Smith from Boston College. Jeff Smith is an interesting player. This 6’1” St. Petersburg, Fla. native was a first-team Class 3A All-State pick as a high school quarterback. Smith struggled as a passer in his freshman season at BC (27-82-32.9, 253 yards, two TDs, three INT) but excelled as a runner (71-450-6.3, six TDs) in nine games (three starts). He moved to receiver the following season and Smith started 6 games and led BC with 14.6 yards per reception with 3 TDs. Jumping to his senior year Smith became a full time starter and again led the team in yards per reception (20-387-19.4) with 6 TDs. Interestingly he had 142 yards rushing on 19 attempts (7.5 yds./att) with 1 TD. The issue with Smith is he has the “dropsies” with 14 over the past 2 seasons. He has blazing speed running the 40 in 4.34. Whether he can continue to work on his new wide receiver position is questionable considering his bad hands. But the risk reward and potential upside merits the Jets to take a long look at this superior athlete. Can a player develop better hands? On the surface I would say no but if you ever saw Jerry Rice’s rookie year (not to compare him to Rice) he had the dropsies also. I would say he has a 50/50 chance to make the roster and if he does, he will be an excellent special teams players for coach Brent Boyer. If Gase trusts him, you may also see him line up at quarterback a la Brad Smith with short pass options but mostly to run the ball.

    Greg Dortch from Wake Forest is the most interesting rookie free agent signing. He is one of those players that you would usually see on the opposition and say  “Why can’t the Jets ever get a player like this.” Well now they have one! Comically he started out measuring 5’9” when he first arrived at Wake Forest. By the time he was done, he was 5’7”. And now I’m told he is more like 5’ 6 1/2”. Whatever his height measures, he is not big. But what this Richmond Virginia native is, is a very exciting dynamic player. As a high school senior he was the Virginia 5-A player of the year. After he was redshirted his freshman year at Wake Forest, Dortch played only 2 years before declaring for the draft. The Jets may have really lucked out. In his first year he had 1,290 all purpose yard and this past season those yards increased to 1,750. He is a tremendous punt and kick off returner. And he plays wide receiver and can play in the slot. He is also one of the most exciting players you’ll see after he makes a catch with his elusive moves. He is tough but as with many college receivers who come out early, the knock on him is his route running. I always loved carrying one smallish receiver/running back (see Bruce Harper). The bigger the blockers become in the NFL,  a small quick player in space can create a lot of havoc with the ball. It is hard for the opposition to locate him behind the big bodies on the field. Greg Dortch should make the 53-man roster. Please Jets, don’t put him on the practice squad. Other teams will swipe him right up!

                                   Greg Dortch Highlights


                                   Jeff Smith Highlights



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    What The Jet Scribes Are Saying
    Rich Cimini, ESPN
    Addressing reports of internal discord, New York Jets coach Adam Gase didn't deny he's had disagreements with general manager Mike Maccagnan, but did say he's upset by the perception their relationship is strained.
    "Unless I say it, it's really irrelevant to me. I don't know who decides to put that stuff out there," Gase said Friday at the start of rookie orientation. "It kind of pisses me off a little bit, because we have discussions on everything. That's our job. We have to work through so much stuff. That's what we have to do. That's all we've done since we've been here.
    "Since we started, we're constantly in communication," he continued. "Whether he's coming down to my office or I'm going to his office, that's all we're trying to do, just trying to make sure we're on the same page all the time. We're trying to put this thing together as well as we can in a short period of time." Reports surfaced during the draft that Gase and Maccagnan, working together for the first time, had developed a rift. One report suggested Maccagnan was in danger of being fired after the draft, but that wasn't the case, sources said…..Gase and Maccagnan reportedly clashed over personnel decisions in free agency. Asked if he was frustrated by anything in free agency, Gase said they simply executed their plan, trying to sign players on their wish list. He described free agency as a "nightmare procedure.”…..The Jets, coming off three straight losing seasons, retained Maccagnan and hired Gase to replace Todd Bowles. Maccagnan and Gase had no previous working relationship, although Maccagnan had input into the hiring process. Contractually, Maccagnan has control of the 53-man roster. Gase had that power in his previous job with the Miami Dolphins.

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    Brian Costello, NY Post
    Bless Austin joins the Jets with a lofty goal in mind.The Queens native and former Rutgers cornerback has played just five games in the past two seasons thanks to knee injuries that ended both years with surgeries. The Jets took him in the sixth round of last month’s draft. Some would call it a flier on a player who has been unable to stay on the field.But Austin is not just looking to get back on the field.
    “I want to be the best to every play this game at my position,” Austin said. “Regardless of if I was healthy or not, I was always going to come to this level and have that chip [on my shoulder].” Some might scoff at Austin aiming that high without even playing a down, but spend a few minutes with him and you can feel his intensity. He has needed that as he recovered from the ACL injuries that cut short his collegiate career. Before the injuries, he was viewed as a potential second- or third-round pick. But the obvious durability concerns pushed him down the draft board, and the Jets grabbed him on Day 3. He was asked if he believes he was a second-round talent before the injuries. “I feel like I’m better than that, to be honest with you,” Austin said. “That’s just me and the expectations I set for myself.” Austin is still in the rehabilitation process for his knee, and it is unclear when he will actually be able to practice and play for the Jets. General manager Mike Maccagnan said it is possible Austin will begin the season on the physically unable to perform list…..Austin said he never doubted he would make it to the NFL, even after the injuries. Now, he has to have the patience to wait for his chance to get on the field. “It’s been tough, but nothing I can’t handle,” Austin said of not being able to play. “I persevered through this. For me to get this far and then start to stress over what if I don’t get on the field and things like that, it wouldn’t make sense. I’m just taking it day by day.”
                                 

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    Manish Mehta, NY Daily News
    The tears didn’t fall until weeks later when he was alone in his room. He had stayed strong until that point, his mother’s words replaying on a loop in his mind: Make sure you finish school. (Jet Linebacker) Neville Hewitt was 14, a high school sophomore figuring out his own path when his mother, Debbie Jones, was derailed by a 25-year drug-trafficking prison sentence. His younger brother, Horace, had already cried. Now, Neville was overcome by a deep sadness, unaware of the sacrifice and strength required to make it through a surreal decade-long journey without the woman he cared about most…..Hewitt would lean on friends and strangers to carve an improbable path to the NFL, never losing sight of reuniting with his mother one day. Jailhouse visits, court hearings and a near-release dotted their lives before increasingly tough immigration policies led to Jones’ deportation to her native Jamaica two years ago. A recent victory in the circuit court of appeals has given the family hope that she’ll be able to permanently return to the United States again…..Hewitt, 26, spent three years with the Dolphins before finding his niche with the Jets last season. He was a core special teamer, who did a solid job as a starting linebacker during Darron Lee’s four-game suspension in December. His football I.Q. coupled with great instincts prompted the Jets to re-sign him to a one-year, $1.5 million deal this offseason. “He’s the kind of guy you want on your team,” says Adam Gase, who coached Hewitt for two seasons in Miami. “We thought he was awesome on special teams. He was full speed all the time. He always made plays. He was relentless.” Personal trainer Brian Martin at BMartin Sports Academy in Fairfield, New Jersey, has provided comprehensive on-field work, body management and film study every offseason to help cultivate Hewitt’s talent. “Neville is a student of the game,” Martin says. “He works at his craft every day. His attention to detail in training and recovery is truly unique.”…..Mother and son have a shared understanding now. They have learned to live with what is… not what might have been. The life they could have had together is gone, but the life that awaits can be just as special. They aren’t anchored by the past. So, they believe in the promise of tomorrow. They believe in that sweet day when Debbie will come home for good and bring the family together again. They believe everything happens for a reason. They’ve both come too far to believe anything else.

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    AFC East News 
    …..Derek Anderson announced his retirement this week after spending less than a full year with the Buffalo Bills……Former New England Patriots player Greg Spires will be brought to a New Hampshire courtroom Monday morning where he will face a stalking charge…..The Dolphins are giving Mark Walton a tryout. Walton had 14 carries for 34 yards and five receptions for another 41 yards as a rookie for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2018. Cincinnati cut the former Miami Hurricanes running back after three arrests in three months. Walton left the Miami Hurricanes football team after he missed over half of his junior season in 2017…..The Patriots will receive 4 compensatory draft picks in 2020 as the rich get richer…..Bless Austin joins the Jets with a lofty goal in mind. The Queens native and former Rutgers cornerback has played just five games in the past two seasons thanks to knee injuries that ended both years with surgeries. But the 6th round pick’s goal is to be the best ever at his position….Julian Edelman received his degree from Kent State on Saturday…..Dolphin coach Brian Flores said let the best man win. The Dolphins begin organized team activities Monday, giving Flores his first look at his quarterbacks: Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is entering his 14th season and playing for his eighth team, and second-year player Josh Rosen, recently acquired in a trade with the Arizona Cardinals. “As far as the quarterback position, like every other position, there’ll be competition there,” Flores told reporters…..New York Jets head coach Adam Gase is only interested in what third-round pick Jachai Polite does from here on out, not what happened during the pre-draft process…..While the Jets were welcoming their draft class during the start of Rookie Orientation on Friday, they also made a couple roster moves cutting CB Rashard Robinson, WR Stacy Coley and DL Charles Tapper….Miami un-drafted free agents is loaded with ex-hurricanes. First-year defensive tackle Kendrick Norton spent some time on the Dolphins active roster last season, and first year head coach Brian Flores likes his potential. Norton is one of four former University of Miami players at the rookie minicamp along with QB Malik Rosier, RB Mark Walton and TE Darrell Langham….

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