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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Jet Offense

Who’s at QB first?
This is the most glaring question facing the green and white for this year and years to come. Mike Maccagnan can be criticized for a lot of things but putting the Jets in the situation they have at quarterback is not one of them. Sure you can argue that the Jets gave up way too much moving up from 6 to 3 in the draft. And yea it looks like a kind of logjam there with Josh McCown, Sam Darnold and Teddy Bridgewater. And with Teddy Bridgewater playing the way he did during mini camp only confuses the situation more. I’m not sold that Bridgewater is game ready. Viking coach Mike Zimmer is as smart they come so if there was the slightest chance he thought Bridgewater could make it back, I don’t think the Vikings would have let him go. With that said if he did make a full recovery, it is the Jets gain. Offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates does not seem shy about starting Sam Darnold from day one. My heart loves the idea but something in my head keeps telling me to have a little bit of patience. We have to find out how the offensive line will play. Unless Darnold lights em up a la Dan Marino, I would sit him and have October 14th against the Colts at home circled as the date to start Sam Darnold. I’m not sure how the Jets will handle the pecking order as to who dresses for each game, but for the first time in a while the quarterback position, though not completely settled, is not like waiting for a solar eclipse to happen.
                                    


Offensive Line
I was surprised as many Jet fans that an offensive lineman was not drafted in 2018. Of the Jets 6 players picked in the draft, not including tight ends (TE Chris Herndon picked in 4th round) the Jets did not address their offensive line situation. In 2017 the Jets were 28th in offense in the league giving up 47 sacks during the season. And sometimes (old time Jet fans have lived with this) the sacks were at the worst times. Entering camp the Jets offensive line has the usual suspects: Kelvin Beachum, James Carpenter, Brian Winters, Brandon Shell. Spencer Long is a good free agent signing at center. He is healing from some surgery but will be ready to go and he will be a major improvement over Wesley Johnson. Keep in mind that Johnson was ranked as the 36th best center in the NFL and there are only 32 teams. The Jets do have some depth with Brent Qval, Ben Ijalana and Jonotthan Harrison. Keep an eye on Jets undrafted rookie Austin Golson from Auburn. He played all 5 offensive line positions last year for Auburn and his college coach insists this hurt his draft status but said he was so valuable to the team they had to keep moving him to fill holes. Former Patriot Antonio Garcia is coming off major injury. If he makes the team, he will make some noise. Questions loom with this bunch such as which Brian Winters will we see? The solid guard or the penalty machine? Will Brandon Shell continue to improve? Can James Carpenter (still only 29) play like he did his first two years with the Jets? These will be answered only on the playing field. Offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates has been given subtle hints that he really likes this group. Only playing time will tell. And if the OL is playing bad, this will hinder the development and maybe even getting Sam Darnold on the field. Look for improvement but also look for the Jets to upgrade the offensive line for 2019.

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Tight Ends
In 2011 Jets tight end Dustin Keller had 65 receptions for 815 yards 5 TDs with an average of 12.5 yards per catch. It may be me but this seems like it was decades ago when it was only 6 seasons ago. Talk about appreciating what you have at the time. I know that Austin Seferian-Jenkins was a formidable player but if you look closely at his stats for his 50 receptions he averaged only 7.1 yards per catch. Just looking inside the AFC east the Dolphins Julius Thomas averaged 9.5 yards per reception, the Bills Charles Clay 11.4 and fairly or unfairly the Patriots Rob Gronkowski averaged 15.7 yards per reception. Needless to say the Jets tight end position has been incredibly unproductive for too many years. True a lot of it has to do with the Jets unstable quarterback situation but moving forward the Jets need more production from the tight end position. If the Jets quarterback situation is mystery number one then the tight end situation is a close second. Right now the names listed as tight end candidates are: Jordan Leggett, Chris Herndon, Clive Walford, Eric Tomlinson, Neal Sterling and Bucky Hodges. All Jet fans are still waiting for Jordan Leggett to take his first snap in an NFL regular season game. Very good things have been said about 4th round draft pick Chris Herndon but he is one of the Jets that unfortunately is being charged with DUI for going 100 MPH on route 80 in New Jersey at 4:45am. If he can run as fast as he drives and has good hands then the Jets may have something. The other names do not jump off the page or put any type of fear into the opponent’s defensive coordinators. One player I liked was Neal Sterling who seemed to be in the right place at the right time on the field for the little playing time this New Jersey native by way of Monmouth College got. Keep an eye on him. One of these names has got to step up. If Jeremy Bates and the Jets are going to develop Sam Darnold they have to get it right at the offensive line and the skill positions to put in him the best position to succeed.
                                  
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What The Jet Scribes Are Saying
Rich Cimini, ESPN
Deserted island -- A lot has been written and said about Darrelle Revis over the past few days. Now that I'm back from vacation, I'd like to offer my two cents. He was one of the most complicated athletes I've ever covered. He could be charming, witty and insightful, but I also found him to be moody and thin-skinned, especially toward the end of his time with the Jets. His teammates respected him because of his immense talent and willingness to battle management at the bargaining table, but there were times when he operated like a one-man corporation within a giant corporation. Revis Island, indeed. Does he belong in the Pro Football Hall of Fame? Absolutely. Many believe he revolutionized bump-and-run coverage with his ability to recognize pass routes and jam receivers at the line -- and he did it in an era that limits contact between corners and receivers. Longtime cornerback and former ESPN analyst Eric Allen once told me he taught Revis' bump-and-run technique to his own son. Is Revis a first-ballot Hall of Famer? A lot depends on the quality of candidates in a particular year, but based on his credentials, I'd say no, he's not. He was a dominant player for three, maybe four years, not long enough to deserve a first-year Hall pass. Is he the best defensive player in Jets history? Yes, I'd give him a slight edge over Joe Klecko and Mark Gastineau. Football aside, Revis will be remembered as a business shark, a player who capitalized on his leverage to squeeze every dollar out of management. He made $124 million in his career, per Spotrac. Guided by a strong support group, led by his uncle, former NFL player Sean Gilbert, and his former agents, Jon Feinsod and Neil Schwartz, Revis went to the mattresses with two contract disputes and a nasty divorce from the Jets in 2013. They reunited in 2015, but it was never the same. He switched into cruise control, and the end was hard to watch. Revis the player always will be respected because of his talent. Revis Inc., not so much.
                                    

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Manish Mehta, NY Daily News
(Kevin) Long’s second season as Washington’s starting center was bookended by injuries. He underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in the preseason before suffering a quad tendon injury in the regular season that landed him on injured reserve after Week 11. Although Long was a quality pass protector (only five pressures allowed in 223 pass-blocking snaps, according to Pro Football Focus), his play-time percentage dropped for a third consecutive year from 79 percent (2015) to 76 percent (2016) to 39 percent last season. He’s solid and efficient when he’s on the field, but Washington felt comfortable letting the former third-round pick walk in free agency.Todd Bowles & Co. believe that the athletic Long will be a clear upgrade from Wesley Johnson, who was the weak link for an offensive line that had the fifth-highest sack percentage and ranked 19th in run offense last season. Long, 20 pounds heavier than Johnson, has the skillset to thrive in new offensive line coach Rick Dennison’s zone-blocking scheme that requires agile guys that can move fluidly. Long’s job in Jeremy Bates’ West Coast Offense will include an increased and important pre-snap role at the line of scrimmage. He’ll also play a critical role for Sam Darnold whenever the rookie quarterback takes over the starting job too. (Just ask Mark Sanchez how valuable Nick Mangold was during the Jets’ run to the AFC Championship Game in 2009.) Long, who started his career as a guard before transitioning to center, offers valuable positional versatility to an uneven line from last season. The biggest question surrounding Long, who didn’t participate in offseason drills, is durability. Can the Jets rely on a guy who was limited to seven games last season? Will he be fully recovered from his quad tendon surgery to make a difference out of the shoot? It was encouraging to see Long participate in team drills late in the offseason workouts. The Jets liked free-agent center Weston Richburg, but didn’t want to invest nearly as much money in him as the 49ers ($16.5 million fully guaranteed). Gang Green settled for Long, 27, for what is a de facto one-year, $6 million deal. They can cut him after the season with no financial ramifications. Their preference, of course, is that he solves their problem at an important position. "The center runs the show," Bowles said. "He's the one that lines everybody up and makes all the calls. (Long’s) a little bigger and heavier than what we had in the past. Hopefully that solidifies a lot of things and makes everybody else better."

Brian Costello, NY Post
In his second season, (Robby) Anderson became the Jets’ best offensive player. He showed he could do more than just run go routes and became a consistent player and a favorite target of quarterback Josh McCown. Anderson led the team with 941 receiving yards and seven receiving touchdowns. He had 63 catches, second on the team. Anderson’s production dipped late in the season, but that could be attributed to McCown being out with a broken left hand. Pro Football Focus ranked Anderson 44th out of the 118 receivers the site graded. He was their fourth-best receiver on deep passes. He had 12 catches of 20 yards or more. Anderson’s speed remains his strength. It was common to see him just run by defenders last year who dared to play press coverage on him. But Anderson showed some improved route running in his second season and began to click with McCown midway through the year. Outlook for 2018: The biggest question with Anderson has been his off-field legal issues, but those look like they are now resolved. His two arrests in the past 18 months ended with most of the charges being dismissed. He pleaded no contest to a reckless driving charge last month and received probation. The NFL has yet to discipline Anderson or say he is cleared. With most of the charges being dismissed, Anderson could get away with no discipline from the league. If he gets anything, it would be a short suspension. It is hard to see it being more than one game for a misdemeanor. On the field, the Jets are counting on Anderson to be their top playmaker. The Jets have some depth at wide receiver but are lacking that known No. 1 guy. If Anderson can keep his head on straight and make progress, he has shown the potential to be that guy. Beyond the off-field arrests, Anderson must show more maturity on the field, too. He threw his helmet against the Dolphins, resulting in a penalty. He hammed it up for the TV cameras, begging for Pro Bowl votes. He pouted at times when he was not getting the ball. Anderson needs to mature to take the next step in his career.
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Around the NFL
…..Bashaud Breeland has meetings scheduled with multiple teams. The 26-year-old cornerback will visit with the Raiders and Chiefs this week, according to a report from ESPN. Breeland agreed to a three-year, $24 million contract with the Panthers in March. But he failed his physical, voiding the contract. Breeland is currently healthy and ready to play, the report says…..The driver who was involved in an accident that caused the death of Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson pleaded guilty Friday to drunken driving, according to Indy Star…..Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. has been suspended for the first game of the regular season without pay for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy, the league announced Friday. The league did not specify the reason for the suspension, but Fowler has recently faced several off-field issues…..Patriots receiver Julian Edelman won't sue the NFL in federal court in an effort to have his four-game suspension to start the 2018 season overturned, NFL Network reported…..The Dallas Cowboys, valued at $4.8 billion, up a whopping 14 percent from $4.2 billion last year, remain the most valuable sports franchise in the world for the third consecutive year, according to Forbes' annual list…..Lawyers representing former NFL players estimated Wednesday that payouts from the concussion settlement with the league will top $1.4 billion, a $400 million jump because of thousands more players filing claims…..After not being selected in the supplemental draft, running back Martayveus Carter will look to find his NFL home via the private workout route. The KC Chiefs will be his first stop…..The Buffalo Bills are in the early stages of a rebuild, and if ESPN fantasy football pundit Mike Clay is to be believed, the team could struggle mightily in the 2018 season. In his “bolder” 2018 season projections, Clay has the Bills finishing in the basement of the entire league with a record of 2-14….
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Sunday, July 8, 2018

5 Questions About The Jets Defense

Going into the 2018 season there are tons of questions about the defense. Here are a few......

Leonard Williams
The Jets picked up the fifth-year team option on Leonard Williams before the May 3rd deadline. Only 24 years old, some people think he still has a tremendous upside. Others think he will never amount to the player scouts thought when many had him ranked as the number one player on the draft board. Last year (2017) was a disappointing year for Williams compared to his 2016 season when he had 7 sacks and made the Pro bowl. He only has 12 sacks in 48 career games. This stat may be skewed a bit because of a few factors. Though he only had 2 sacks in 2017 he did have 25 quarterback hits during the season (65 QB hits lifetime). If Jet fans remember Williams sprained his wrist in the Giants pre-season game last August and it wasn’t 100% healed till the end of November. This may sound like a petty excuse considering most NFL players are playing through nagging injuries the whole season. However in Williams case, playing on the defensive line with only one good hand will definitely affect his overall play. With both Mo Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson gone, defenses were able to focus of Williams. The Jets are hoping defensive tackle Nathan Shepard drafted in the third round will step in right away and help take some of the pressure off of Williams.  I would play Williams on the outside more and put him in a good spot to pressure the quarterback. The bottom line is Leonard Williams does have a high ceiling. I expect him to bounce back in a big way in 2018. 




Darron Lee
Anyone who has kids is probably familiar with the children’s puzzle books Where’s Waldo? The book has series of pages with illustrations that the reader is suppose to locate the character Waldo who is hidden in illustrations. What does this have to do with Darron Lee? Well in his first two years in the NFL there were too many times when I said to myself or out loud, “Where’s Darron Lee?” He would become invisible during a game, then all of a sudden you would see a player moving laterally with tremendous quickness and make a great play. The problem is he is more like Waldo then the blur going across your screen a few times. Darron Lee has got to step up his game in 2018. Lee was the Jets first round pick in 2016, 20th overall. Many had him as a top 10 player but he has been far from that. Personally I was screaming at my television wanting the Jets to draft Myles Jack. According to Pro Football Focus (PFF) Darron Lee is ranked as the 86th best linebacker in the NFL with a poor rating. Also according to PFF: 

“Darron Lee had enjoyed an impressive three-game run, culminating in the highest single game grade of his career against the Buffalo Bills on a 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”

Darron Lee has got to put up or shut up in 2018. I am not optimistic about his long term prospects with the Jets. He has got to produce and produce big or the Jets will have to move on from him. 

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Lorenzo Mauldin
If Darron Lee is linebacker question mark #1, then linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin is #1a. Lee may have a two year leash but the time is shorter for Mauldin. Lorenzo Mauldin has overcome tremendous odds to get where he is at right now. He spent most of his youth going from one foster home to another. At the time he was drafted with his background written about, you couldn’t help but want him to make it big. In 26 career games he has 6.5 sacks. Unfortunately last August Mauldin got into a fight with offensive lineman Kelvin Beachum and threw a punch. Mauldin didn't touch the field for the remainder of camp and landed on IR Sept. 4. He had season-ending back surgery. Last year was a total wipe out for this player who went to Louisville. According to Darryl Slater of NJ.com, New York Jets linebacker coach Kevin Greene “has a plan to get more out of (LB Lorenzo) Mauldin,” including becoming more than a “finesse” player. Mauldin has played in a reserve pass-rush role each of his first two seasons on the edge. Of his 615 total snaps 450 of them have been rushing the quarterback. Whatever Greene has in mind, Lorenzo Mauldin has got to stay on the field and has got to make plays. He has been a major disappointment and like Darron Lee, his Jet career may be short. There is no lock for him to even make the 53-man roster in 2018.

                                     
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Jets Pass Rush
All Jet fans have heard it over and over again, “the Jets have not had a legitimate pass rusher since John Abraham.” In 2017, the Jets ranked 28th in the NFL with 28 total sacks for the season. No player on the team recorded more than 5 sacks on the year. On day three of the draft, the Jets opted to trade a seventh-round pick for former Colts defensive lineman Henry Anderson. However, this move has flown under the radar somewhat with the focus on the players brought in via the draft.  Anderson's pass rush numbers don't exactly jump off the page, as he has just three career sacks in three years and hasn't generated pressure at a particularly outstanding rate. However, he had two in just eight starts last season and showed an ability to be a disruptive pass rusher in his final year at Stanford with a career-high eight sacks and some of the best pressure numbers in the nation. Anderson is probably not the long term answer to the Jets pass rushing woes. Surprisingly one of the Jets top pass rushers is safety Jammal Adams. When he played in the hybrid linebacker/safety role, he showed a pretty good push for getting into the opponents backfield. With the strengthening of the Jets secondary, I would look for more of using Adams blitzing until a pure pass rusher is had. Did the Jets miss the boat on getting a pass rusher in free agency? General manager Mike Maccagnan made no significant moves to bolster his pass rush in free agency. (In fairness, it was a very weak class.) The Jets should draft the best pass rusher available in 2019. Or they can look at the free agent market which will be lot stronger in 2019 than 2018 with the Jets having the assets to grab one. For 2018 the pressure on the opposing quarterbacks will be weak unless a surprise player steps up.

                                       

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Jets Secondary
Sam Darnold may not have been the biggest addition for the Jets in the offseason. Trumaine Johnson may be. With the addition of Johnson, the chatter that is coming from the Jets secondary would make it seem like they are the second coming of the “Legion of Doom.” Jamaal Adams and Marcus Maye both had solid rookie seasons. Mo Claiborne re-upped for one year and depending on which game you saw him play last year he provides some stability. On paper the secondary seems formidable but when you look closer, they may not be as good as they themselves are touting. Adams and Maye should get even better in 2018 but Johnson may be on the downside of his better playing days. Pro Football Focus has him ranked as the 68th best cornerback in the league with an average grade. In 2015 Johnson had 7 interceptions but his play has gone down the last 2 years. Whether he can regain his nose for the ball and play like a “shut down” cornerback like he thinks he is, remains to be seen. He is still only 28 and has all the physical ability but let’s see him pass the “eye test.” Mo Claiborne never played to the level that everyone thought when he was the 6th pick in the draft when he came out. There were times last year that he looked like an All-Pro. But other times the opposing quarterback kept throwing his way. With the Jets lacking a pass rush, look for the defense to blitz a lot and like last year Adams will be rushing the passer more than Jet fans would like. Keep an eye on draft pick Parry Nickerson and second year player Doug Middleton. Both can play a key role with the team and should take plays away from Buster Skrine.
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Around the NFL
…..The four-game suspension of Julian Edelman has been upheld. Edelman will miss the first four games of the season.…..Seattle Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor has called it a career and retired…..Rumor surfacing that Dez Bryant will end up with the Redskins when he finally signs…..The Steelers , the Cowboys, the Lions, and the Rams have until Monday, July 16, to work out long-term deals with running back Le'Veon Bell, defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, defensive end Ziggy Ansah, and safety Lamarcus Joyner, respectively. If a long-term deal isn’t signed and approved by the league office before 4:00 p.m. ET on the 16th, the window for doing a long-term closes until the 2018 regular season ends…..ESPN’s Mike Clay just came out with his backfield rankings. His top five: 1) New Orleans Saints 2)Los Angeles Rams 3) Pittsburgh Steelers 4) Atlanta Falcons 5) Dallas Cowboys…..Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim was cited for DUI in Chandler, Arizona, on the Fourth of July…..Giants stars Landon Collins and Odell Beckham Jr. will get $12MM and $18MM per year on their next contracts, writes cap expert Jason Fitzgerald of Overthecap.com, but they won’t both be with New York, he opines. Fitzgerald thinks at least one will be signing with a team other than the Giants. At this point, Collins seems the likelier of the two to be allowed to walk, considering it was reported recently the team had concerns about his fit with their new scheme…..The Dolphins did a lot of revamping this offseason, and one of the moves they made was trading for defensive end Robert Quinn. With fellow pass-rusher Cameron Wake now 36, the Dolphins are hoping Quinn can “anchor the defensive line for the foreseeable future” according to Mike Rodak of ESPN. The Dolphins gave up a fourth round pick to get him, and it sounds like he’ll be playing a big role in 2018…..Fully guaranteed contracts are in place in the NBA, NHL, and MLB, but aren’t commonplace in the NFL. It was a big deal when Kirk Cousins received his from the Vikings this offseason, and the hope (from a players perspective) is that his would be the first of many……Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones has been suspended two games for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. Jones pleaded no contest to a marijuana-related charge in February. The charge was a result of an Oct. 1 traffic stop…..Nick Foles' autobiography, titled "Believe It," will debut at No. 5 on the New York Times Hardcover, Nonfiction list on Sunday, July 15…..One third of the Atlanta Falcons' new, tantalizing trio of receivers just put his pen to paper. First-round selection Calvin Ridley signed his rookie contract Thursday, the team announced. The agency representing Ridley, SportsTrust Advisors first tweeted Ridley agreed to his deal last Wednesday…..
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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Jet Management Can’t Wait For Camp


The time leading up training camp can be a nightmare for NFL coaching staffs. Having players out of town with the possibility of getting in trouble is on every team’s mind. Let’s face it. We all know the potential situations with millionaires under 30 looking for fun and excitement. General Managers and coaches are on edge hoping players will do the right thing such as calling the NFL limo service to drive them home if they were drinking. And god forbid the unthinkable should happen such as this week with the cross town Giants and Janoris Jenkins. His older brother has been charged with felony aggressive manslaughter in the death of a man found at the New York Giants cornerback's residence in New Jersey on Tuesday. An issue like this will linger and management has to measure what degree it will affect the player and the team. The Jets have their share of headaches and are hoping they don’t escalate. Already on the docket is the hearing for Dylan Donahue on August 9th in Montana for a DUI charge while the Jets play their first pre-season game on August 10.
According to a site called NFL Arrest, 4.71% of NFL players ( of around 1,700 active players) have been arrested. This arrest rate is actually lower than the USA arrest rate. The crimes range from drugs (the most common) to domestic violence to assault. For whatever reason linebackers are arrested more than any other position. For the last five years the Jets have the second most arrested players behind the 49ers. I’d like to see the numbers if the Robby Anderson arrests are taken out of the equation. I always go by the credo that pro athletes should adhere to: “Nothing good ever happens after 2:30 AM.” Let’s hope that league and Jet players will be more mature off the field in the future than they have in the past.
                                     

No Contract For Sam! 
Jet fans should not be too concerned that Sam Darnold has yet to sign his rookie contract. Of the five first round quarterbacks drafted, only Lamar Jackson drafted #32 by the Ravens and Josh Rosen drafted #10 by the Cardinals have signed their contracts. Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen are also still unsigned. Usually, once the first QB drafted signs, the dominos begin to fall. As far as the amount, it is projected that Sam Darnold’s contract will have a total value of around $32,993,327. with a signing bonus of around $20,285,749. Jet fans need not worry. Sam Darnold will be signed before training camp starts.

Jets Open Practices
The Jets have scheduled 3 open practices this year, Sunday, July 29, Saturday, August 18, Sunday, August 19. Unfortunately according to the Jets web site all 3 sessions are sold out. If you know someone who has an extra ticket, and you’ve never been to one of their practices, get going! I can be the biggest Jets critic but they do a great job for their fans at these open sessions. And if you ever get a chance to bring your kids, the interactive games they have are great. It is too bad there are only 3 open practices this year. The Jets and the NFL need to do a better job with more dates and allow more fans to attend. Why not have these 3 open practice at Met Life Stadium?

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Green Tidbits
…..Lorenzo Mauldin recently spoke with urgency about his standing with the team, "I'm definitely trying to fight for my roster spot. I'm overwhelmed, actually, because now it's like: It's now or nothing.”…..Jets free agent RB Isaiah Crowell is only one of two backs (the other Frank Gore) to play in all 64 games the last 4 seasons…..Un-drafted free agent OLB Frankie Luvu from Washington State should make the 53-man roster. In his Senior year he recorded 6.5 sacks and 48 tackles, 12 of which were for a loss. He seems to be making his way into the Jets’ good graces, as he saw time with the first-team during minicamp….. TE Eric Tomlinson signed off Texans practice squad on Nov. 5, 2016 may be a sleeper. Pro Football Focus rated him third in pass blocking efficiency among tight ends…..The Jets Green and White scrimmage will be on Aug. 4 at HighPoint.com Stadium at Rutgers……

What The Jet Scribes Are Saying
Rich Cimini, ESPN
The New York Jets ended the 2016 season with an old, overpaid team that suffered from a serious talent deficiency. The powers-that-be expected the playoff-contending window to stay open that year, but it came crashing down with such force that it shattered the glass. They decided to start over, but instead of another half-baked rebuild -- the story of the Jets' history -- they really meant it. What we've seen over the last two offseasons has been nothing short of dramatic. If this were a book, it would be entitled, "How to Overhaul a Football Team in Only 16 Months." The Jets will report to training camp in a month with a team that barely resembles the not-so-sweet '16 group -- only seven holdovers among the starting 22. General manager Mike Maccagnan flipped the roster, and the best way to appreciate that is to heed the famous line from "All the President's Men." Follow the money. In 2016, seven of the 10 highest-paid players on the team (based on cap charge) were in the 30-and-over category. It's always dangerous when you invest in players on the downside of their careers, as the Jets painfully discovered…..
…..Chances are, the top of the roster will have a different look in 2019 because 10 of the Jets' 17 highest-paid players will be unrestricted free agents, including seven on offense. With a projected $90 million in cap room, the plan in Year 3 is to pour money into the offense, which should have the most important piece in place -- quarterback Sam Darnold. Realistically, the Jets need one more productive draft and another free-agent cycle before the roster is ripe for contention. That would constitute a three-year plan, which should be enough time to get it right.
           
    
Menus Mehta, NY Daily News
(Brandon) Shell has shown enough promise in his 15 career starts to give Gang Green hope that he can continue to improve at such a pivotal position. His size and athleticism have always been his strengths. It’ll be up to new offensive line coach Rick Dennison to cultivate Shell’s talent. The third-year tackle has plenty of room for improvement. Expect new offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates and Dennison to employ plenty of stretch runs, so it’ll be incumbent upon Shell to polish that area of his game. The Jets had a lot of success on outside-zone runs last season, ranking third in the league with 2.07 yards before contact on outside zone runs, according to Pro Football Focus. There will be a renewed focus on the running game in 2017 after former play-caller John Morton’s tendency to fall in love with airing it out. What’s Shell’s ceiling? The Jets believe he will continue to grow into a dependable piece to their puzzle.
                                

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Brian Costello, NY Post
(Kelvin) Beachum joined the Jets last year after a disappointing season with the Jaguars. There were questions about his surgically repaired knee, but he was fully healthy and missed just one snap the entire season. Beachum’s play was up and down. He was a strong pass blocker, allowing just four sacks all season, according to Pro Football Focus. He was not as strong in the run game. The Jets’ offensive line as a whole was a disappointment in 2017, and Beachum was part of that. The Jets fired offensive line coach Steve Marshall after the season because the group took a step back. PFF had Beachum ranked as its 35th best tackle. He was 71st in run blocking and 18th in pass blocking. He allowed 21 quarterback hurries. Beachum was called for four holding penalties.
Beachum did emerge as one of the locker room’s leaders, particularly on the national anthem issue. Beachum is involved with the Players Coalition and was one of the point men for the Jets in the talks with the league and NFL owners. Beachum is the second left tackle the Jets have acquired in hopes of replacing longtime standout D’Brickashaw Ferguson. Beachum played much better than Ryan Clady did in 2016, but still was not convincing that he is a long-term solution for the position. Beachum will be the starter again this year, and there is really no one on the roster who could even challenge for the job. Ben Ijalana is the only other player who has experience at left tackle.This is a big year for Beachum. The Jets could cut him after this season and save $8 million in cap space. If he is unimpressive, that would be an easy decision.


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