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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Jets Receivers May Be Improved

I know that I’m sounding like the typical “glass half full” fan but this is the most optimistic I have been about the Jets in a while. Sure we have questions on the offensive and defensive line. Sure we don’t have a pass rusher and haven’t really had a pure one since John Abraham. And until Teddy Bridgewater or Sam Darnold do it when it matters, the quarterback position is still a question mark. Oh how we fans love the off season. Every team looks improved on paper. With the receivers, call it the “alphabet soup bunch”. At one point there were (I believe) 17 receivers on the roster. Slowly the Jets are cutting that number down and as of now there are 13. Receivers Jalin Marshall is gone as is JoJo Natson who played mostly special teams and always seemed to take his first three steps going backwards on punt returns. The receivers remaining in no particular order are:

Quincy Enunwa, Chad Hansen, Charles Johnson, Jermaine Kearse, Tre McBride, Charone Peake, Robby Anderson
Terrelle Pryor, Andre Roberts, Devin Smith, ArDarius Stewart, Jonah Trinnaman, Lucky Whitehead

From these players here is why I’m feeling pretty pretty good about them. Quincy Enunwa is back! In case you forgot, before he was injured he was getting better and better game by game. If he overcomes his neck injury, he should take off where he left off. Stabilizing the quarterback situation will only help this talent. In 2016 he had 58 receptions for 857 yards and 4TDs for the 5-11 Jets catching passes from the the “Bizarro” Ryan Fitzpatrick who was awful.

Robby Anderson is a lucky man. From the police reports I have read, he sounds like a bad dude who needs to grow up. With that said he got off the felony charge and has looked real good in OTA’s. I unofficially counted at least 9 times that Anderson was either wide open or ahead of the field in 2017 that Josh McCown either couldn’t find or reach him. Darnold or Bridgewater will have more success with Anderson.

I’ve spoken about Terrelle Pryor who in 2016 for the Browns had 77 receptions for 1,007 yards. Interestingly Josh McCown threw some of those passes playing 5 games at QB for the Browns. Last year was a wash out for Pryor who only caught 20 passes for 240 yards with 1 touchdown. This former quarterback is a talent who can stretch the field and has real good size at 6’4”. He had ankle surgery last November and last week Mannish Mehta of the Daily News reported that Pryor suffered another ankle injury in the off-season. Unconfirmed word came out that it is a fractured ankle with no ligament damage and he should be ready to go in training camp. Who knows? Let’s all see and we will take our own “eye test” if and when he gets on the field in 2018. I really had high hopes for this player.

Speaking about injuries, Devin Smith is giving it another try. He was the #37 overall pick of the 2015 draft. He had a pair of ACL injuries and has only appeared in 4 games in two years. I doubt he will be on the roster. ArDarius Stewart was a third round pick and did not distinguish himself in his rookie year. He caught 6 passes for 82 yards. His counterpart Chad Hansen drafted in the 4th round the same year had 9 receptions for 94 yards. This player is a talent! Why he did’t play more or wasn’t targeted more, I don’t know. I expect with Jeremy Bates as OC, he will recognize Hansen’s upside and I expect 50-60 catches from him this year.  

Jermaine Kearse had 65 receptions for 810 and 5 TDs last year. This 28 year old is a good player to keep around. If Pryor comes back healthy. Kearse may be the odd man out. He is an excellent locker room guy also. If Andre Roberts makes the team it will be as a return man. Charles Johnson is another player who will be a casualty because of the numbers. And Charone Peake who I really liked in his rookie year, missed most of last year with an injury but may stick because of his special teams play. Jonah Trinnaman, Lucky Whitehead and Tre McBride, I don’t see and of them on the team.

Going into the season and this can change, if the Jets start Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson with either Jermaine Kearse or Chad Hansen, this will be a competitive group of receivers. If Pryor comes back 100%, they will be very good. Of course it looks great on paper and Jeremy Bates will play the players that give the Jets the best chance to succeed, but as Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.”

Jamal Adams Needs To Tone It Down
Most Jet fans love the competitiveness and spirit of 2nd year safety Jamal Adams. But please tone down the rhetoric. He is guaranteeing he will make All-Pro and making other statements. We all know coach BB up I-95 would never let Adams continue to spout his confidence like he is doing. I’d love to stay under the radar and not to give other teams bulletin board material that they will use to get motivated. On the other hand if his brashness makes him and his teammates play better, then go ahead and talk.

From Randy Lange
Jets head coach Todd Bowles held his second news conference of the OTA period and Jets reporters asked him about how a number of players are looking the past few weeks. Here are Bowles' quick takes on 10 of those players:​​

On how rookie QB Sam Darnold has been looking...​
"He's been progressing. Obviously we're installing the offense and putting everything in on defense so he's seeing things for the first time on both sides of the ball. But as the days go by, he's getting more comfortable, so he's just got to keep working at it and getting better."​

On QB Teddy Bridgewater's continuing progress...
"Teddy has shown no signs of weakness with the knee. He's moving around, taking every rep, every snap like everybody else. So he's progressing, getting better. He's a tough guy. He feels good, he looks good, he's moving around good."

On how S Jamal Adams is progressing in year 2 and with a changed diet and a private chef...
"Physically, he's always been in great shape. Right now he's been running around like he was last year. But from a mental standpoint, his eyes are better, he's focusing on the little things. So from that standpoint, I see him getting better. ... As far as not letting his eyes roam, if his eyes stay focused, he'll be fine."

On what he's seen from WR Robby Anderson these practices...
"I think from a mental standpoint as far as presnap reads and understanding the game better, which he is doing, becoming more of a complete receiver and not just a speed guy and taking the next step, and understanding what's happening to him and how guys are attacking to him. And he's been working on that all offseason."

On WR Quincy Enunwa's ongoing efforts to return to action after a year away...
"Right now, we're cautious. He doesn't have a helmet on right now, but he's running around, he's catching the ball, he's running his routes fine. ... When he gets to camp, his health is most important. We're excited to have him back once he gets back and he excited to be back. So we'll see when the pads go on."

What The Jet Scribes Are Saying
Rich Cimini, ESPN
Some non-quarterback thoughts on the Jets' practice: Strong day for Robby Anderson, whom Todd Bowles said is developing into an all-around receiver ... WR Chad Hansen beat CB Juston Burris for a long TD in 7-on-7 ... Josh Martin and David Bass worked as the starting OLBs. Jordan Jenkins has a minor injury ... Rookie DT Foley Fatukasi quicker off the ball than I anticipated ... A couple of drops for TE Neal Sterling. TE Jordan Leggett flashed, but can he do it with the pads on? ... S Jamal Adams extremely vocal and intense. It's May, but he acts like it's September.

Manesh Mehta, NY Daily News
The arrow continues to point up for #Jets QB Teddy Bridgewater.
Todd Bowles today: "He has shown no signs of weakness with the knee. He is moving around & taking every rep & every snap like everybody else. So, he is progressing & getting better."

Brian Costello, NY Post
Henry Anderson was playing video games at home on the afternoon of April 28 when his phone rang. He looked at the caller ID: “Chris Ballard,” as in the general manager of the Colts, the team Anderson had played for the past three years.

“When I looked down and saw the GM’s name on my phone, I thought I should probably pause my video game and pick this up,” Anderson recalled this week.

Ballard was calling to tell Anderson that he had been traded to the Jets. On the third day of the draft, the Jets sent a seventh-round pick to Indianapolis in return for the defensive end.

“We needed another guy at the time,” Jets coach Todd Bowles said. “We wanted a veteran guy on the inside to help out at least on the four-down packages and not just rely on a rookie going in that way. We figured he was better than most of the guys we would have taken at that pick, so we went ahead and made the trade.”

For Anderson, the trade was a bit of a life raft. The Colts were switching to a 4-3 this season under new coach Frank Reich. Anderson had spent his entire college career at Stanford and his time with the Colts in a 3-4. Anderson was excited when he heard about the trade, knowing the Jets play a 3-4 primarily.  Anderson knew he did not fit what the Colts wanted to do in 2018, but the trade still caught him off guard.
“I wasn’t totally expecting it,” Anderson said. “I didn’t really get any concrete signs ahead of time. I knew I wasn’t their ideal fit when they switched defenses. I know I’m not their prototypical D end in that system. Looking back on it, it wasn’t something I should have been too shocked about it, but ahead of time I didn’t really know too much.”
The Jets had a hole on the defensive line after cutting Muhammad Wilkerson in February. Anderson will help fill that hole, as will third-round pick Nathan Shepherd.

Around The NFL
…..Two weeks after a Supreme Court decision opened the door for legalized sports betting nationwide, Delaware announced Thursday gaming will begin June 5 at all three casinos in the state. Delaware becomes the first state since that 6-3 court decision to offer sports gaming. The state-sanctioned gaming will be offered at Delaware Park, Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, and Harrington Raceway & Casino. Wagers will be offered in NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, NASCAR, PGA and soccer events…..Former New England defensive end Cassius Marsh said there was nothing fun about playing for the Patriots while Eagles offensive lineman Lane Johnson said (per Bleeding Green Nation) earlier this week, "All these guys talking about 'I'll take the rings.' OK. You can have your rings. You can also have f— 15 miserable years."
It shouldn't come as much surprise the goal for coach Bill Belichick is not about making sure his players are having fun. It's about winning. "We feel what's important to us is to win," Belichick said, via Pro Football Talk. "So that's really what we're trying to do.”…..Andrew Luck missed an entire season of his NFL career due to injury. Peyton Manning knows something about that experience. The former Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos quarterback missed the 2011 season due to a neck injury. The issue ended his tenure in Indy and began Luck's reign. Manning, careful not to compare the two situations, said from Wednesday's Pro-Am at the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio, that he believes Luck getting as many reps as possible is key to a positive return. "Everything is an individual thing, so you have to be careful speaking on it since injuries are different," Manning told ESPN. "But it's also universal. For me, I was a [repetition] guy. I liked to get all the reps on practice. The theory of 10,000 reps, I believe in that. I felt like I was kind of behind because I hadn't gotten the reps even though you have a lot in the bank. It took me a few games before I felt like I was coming back. Getting as many reps as possible is key.”…..Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is not attending the Packers’ organized team activities, per multiple reports. The Pro Bowl safety has offered no explanation for his absence, but it’s probably a good guess he wants a long-term extension. Clinton-Dix currently is scheduled to play 2018 under the fifth-year option of $5.96 million…..Colin Kaepernick, Dez Bryant, Richie Incognito, Johnathan Hankins, Mychal Kendricks, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Bashaud Breeland, Eric Reid are all free agents looking for work…..When the Bills took quarterback Josh Allen with the seventh overall pick in the NFL Draft last month, it wasn’t hard to find critics. Now, according to analysts and teammates, the Wyoming product is turning critics into believers during OTAs. "I had a member of the media up there first tell me and then I talked to somebody involved in their organization. Josh Allen is blowing people away. I mean blowing people away,” analyst Chris Simms said on his podcast. “It sounds like a Carson Wentz thing. I think everybody is blown away by the mental approach, but practice is eye opening like we said it would be.”….The news coming out of Philadelphia about Carson Wentz, who is recovering from a torn ACL, continue to be glowingly positive. Recently, video emerged of Wentz moving extremely well while doing passing drills (watch here). Then on Tuesday he was a full participant in every individual drill, along with 2-on-2 drills, according to Jeff McLane of The Philadelphia Inquirer, who was very impressed with what he saw. “If it weren’t for the brace Wentz was wearing, it would be difficult to discern that he was five months removed from reconstructive knee surgery. He ran through the same motions as his counterparts. He jogged without a hitch. He had velocity on his throws, and dare I say, the balls appeared to be moving at a faster pace than last year. And he was accurate, even when throwing against defenders.”….. 

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Monday, May 28, 2018

Jets Secondary May Be Best Since 2010

Ok Jet fans, it’s trivia time.
Joe Namath is turning 75 this week. Who is the oldest living former Jet player who played in at least one game as a NY Jet (or NY Titan)? Answer at the end of article.

In 2010 the Jets went 11-5 beating the Colts and the Patriots in the playoffs before losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers 24-19. That season was the last time the Jets made the playoffs and  according to 
Pro-Football reference the Jets were 6th in the league in team defense. The secondary had some excellent athletes who did a stellar job throughout the season. Future HOF Darrelle Revis led the way supported by cornerback Dwight Lowery and safeties Jim Leonhard and Kerry Rhodes. They had some depth on the bench with Eric Smith and James Ihedigbo among others. The 2018 Jets secondary may be the best since that year. Though there is no Darrelle Revis who was playing at or near the peak of his ability, the secondary will be vastly improved from 2017 with the combination of additional personnel and a pair of safeties who both have their rookie year under their belt. In today’s NFL a team’s secondary is dependent on the team’s pass rush. Without a pure edge pass rusher the Jets may lack what it takes up front. However, looking at the present secondary the starting talent is above average with a chance to be very good though not elite. Safety Jamal Adams is the best of the group. Coming off a good (not great) rookie year, Adams is overflowing with talent and attitude and will be better this year. He has said he wants to be more vocal and like another coach on the field. He showed some incredible ability last year but needs to be more consistent. Safety Marcus Maye had 57 tackles, two interceptions and a forced fumble while playing 95 percent of the defensive snaps as a rookie. He is coming off ankle surgery and should be ready to go.  Cornerback Truman Johnson was the big free agent signing for the Jets. Johnson is a good player with a nose for the football who had seven interceptions in 2015. He has only had three in the last two years. While some think the Jets overpaid for Johnson who is ranked by Pro Football Focus as only the 68th best cornerback in the NFL, he is still only twenty eight years old. Hopefully the change of scenery helps his production. The other cornerback, Morris Claiborne is something of an enigma. He was asked to cover the number one receiver last year and was very inconsistent. He had some solid games but covering the number two receiver this year should help. Knowing Todd Bowles the Jets will be doing a lot of scheming with blitzes especially without any premier pass rusher. Like Rex Ryan before him, Bowles loves carrying extra secondary personnel. The Jets right now have a slew of them including Buster Skrine who literally killed the Jets defense last year extending drives for the opposition either by bad coverage or penalties. He did put three solid games together in a row in December but I would say the clock is ticking on his Jet career. Two players who I like for depth are safety Doug Middleton who showed a lot in the 2016 preseason. He had an injury last year and his status with the Jets is uncertain but he looks like he can play-to be honest he is listed on the Jets roster but I don’t even know if that is official. We have written about rookie CB Parry Nickerson in depth. Pro Football Focus had Nickerson ranked as the 55th best player in the draft which means he should have gone in the second round. The Jets got him in the sixth round. I’d be very surprised if he is not the starting nickel back or even is competition with Claiborne for the second cornerback position by the end of the season. There is some dead weight with players like Rashard Robinson, Darryl Roberts and maybe even third year player Juston Burris who has been a major disappointment. Safety Rontez Miles is serviceable and is good on special teams. All in all the secondary should be improved in 2018.  

Jets OTA’s Start
The first set of OTA’s started and went from May 22-24. They will continue and run from May 29-31 ending with the required team mini camp going from June 4-7. Teddy Bridgewater was the standout in the first round. He looked sharp with his passes and was extremely fluid on his roll outs. He has shown a great attitude knowing the Jets long term quarterback plan and is trying to take advantage of every opportunity given. What is worrisome to me is that Minnesota Viking coach Mike Zimmer is one of the smartest in the NFL. I cannot believe if there was any possibility that Teddy Bridgewater could ever get back to near the level he was playing, Zimmer would let him go. Nevertheless an abundant of quarterbacks is one problem the Jets have never had and this should even be welcomed. The allotment of repetitions moving forward is something Jets have to monitor closely. Sam Darnold has got to get the most reps…..Competition for special teams returning the ball is high. This will continue through training camp. The Jets on Day 1 of OTAs had Trenton Cannon, Eli McGuire, and Andre Roberts working on punt returns. Those guys will all be in the mix this summer. Ditto for Lucky Whitehead, who didn't practice on Day 1 of OTAs because of an injury…..Who’s at center?
On Day 1 of OTAs, Jonotthan Harrison (the returning backup center) was ahead of Travis Swanson in the pecking order, as Spencer Long (quadriceps surgery) sat out practice. Don't expect to see Long in spring practices, at least not in team periods…..Terrelle Pryor, Quincy Enunwa, Jordan Leggett, Chris Herndon and Marcus Maye were either limited or did not practice…..Inevitable that Christian Hackenberg is a former Jet. The organization had to cut ties with him. Unfortunately he joins that long list of draft busts that include Blair Thomas, Vernon Gholston, Calvin Pryor, Jace Amaro, Dee Milliner, Quinton Coples, Stephen Hill and Kyle Wilson among others….

What The Jet Scribes Are Saying
Rich Cimini, ESPN
It's still early -- very early -- but one player in particular has generated a legitimate buzz at One Jets Drive -- quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.The organization couldn't be happier with Bridgewater, one of the bright spots in Week 1 of OTA practices. Not only did he perform well in the first practice, open to the media, but he maintained it throughout the week. While it's too soon to wage a "Teddy-should-be-starting" campaign -- his surgically repaired knee won't be truly tested until he gets hit in a preseason game -- it creates some interesting options for the Jets……Behind the scenes, the former Minnesota Vikings starter has impressed his new teammates with his football acumen and mental toughness -- specifically, the manner in which he's fighting back from a horrific knee injury that jeopardized his career in 2016. 

"For him to keep his optimism and continue to battle, I respect the s--- out of that," wide receiver Jermaine Kearse said. "Can't have nothing but respect for that."

For the first time in a long time, the Jets believe they have short- and long-term answers at quarterback. I'm really curious to see how Bowles divides the preseason game reps, because we all know it's really hard to conduct a three-way competition while preparing the offense for the regular season. It will be quite a juggling act.

Manish Mehta, New York Daily News
Jamal Adams is a ball of energy, excitement and confidence. His passion is contagious. He isn't shy about letting us know that greatness awaits sooner than you think. Six months after the Jets safety tweeted that he will never miss another Pro Bowl, the second-year starter looks at you as if you had two heads when asked why he'd make such a bold public proclamation that could wind up on @OldTakesExposed…..Adams has the skill set to make it happen. Todd Bowles and defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers moved him around everywhere in their scheme. He finished with 83 tackles, six pass deflections and two sacks. Most impressively, he missed only 15 out of the 1,116 snaps. In other words, the coaches trusted him. Adams was tied with Miami's Reshad Jones for most run stops among safeties (26), according to Pro Football Focus. He led all safeties with run tackles for gains of five or fewer yards (28). Adams takes pride studying Earl Thomas' adeptness in the middle of the field, Tyrann Mathieu and former greats Troy Polamalu, Ed Reed, Brian Dawkins and Sean Taylor.

"I try to steal bits and pieces of their games to add to mine," Adams said. "But at the end of the day, I got to go out there and execute."

He'll have to improve his eye discipline in pass coverage to take the next step in his development. Looking at the wrong spots and/or wandering eyes got him in trouble last season. He's still looking for his first career interception.

Brian Costello, New York Post
Avery Williamson has not gotten his cable hooked up yet, so he was a little behind on the news when a Jets employee approached him last week. The Jets staffer told the Jets linebacker about the horrific bus crash in Mount Olive, N.J., that resulted in two deaths and 43 injured. He asked Williamson if he would visit some of those who were recovering at Morristown Medical Center, which is near the Jets’ training center in Florham Park. Williamson immediately said yes and spent part of his Saturday visiting with the students of Paramus East Brook Middle School who were on the bus and their parents.

“It was emotional talking to those parents,” Williamson said. “It was one of those things you say yes to but you don’t know how deeply it’s going to affect you and how touching it will be. It was special. I want to go back to check up on those kids.”

Williamson joined the Jets in March, when he signed as a free agent. He is still in the process of moving to New Jersey and getting accustomed to his new team and home. Still, he probably made some fans already with his visit to the hospital. Williamson does not have children of his own, but he empathized with what the families were going through.

“I couldn’t imagine that. That’s tough,” he said. “I was thinking about my little cousins. That would be tough to see them like that. My heart goes out to them. I told them I am keeping them in my prayers and I hope everything goes smoothly.”

As Williamson is already having an impact off the field, he is still feeling his way with the Jets on the field. The team signed him to a three-year, $22.5 million contract in March to be its new inside linebacker. He spent the first four years of his career with the Titans. Williamson was on the field this week for the start of the Jets’ OTA practices, continuing his adjustment.

“It’s been solid,” Williamson said. “It’s tough moving and getting your living situation set, new teammates, new playbook, everything’s new. But so far it’s been good. Everybody has been supportive and helped out as much as possible. The organization has made it a smoother process than I thought.”

Williamson showed he was a sure tackler and smart player with the Titans. The Jets targeted him to replace Demario Davis, whom they let walk in free agency. They hope Williamson can fill the role David Harris occupied for so many years in the middle of the Jets defense.

Green Tidbits
…..Whether you agree with Christopher Johnson or not about the National Anthem controversy, this guy seems much more with it and engaging than his brother Woody…..Feel old? you will now. Joe Namath turns 75 years old this week. Happy birthday Joe!…..Jordan Palmer is a quarterback consultant who trained Sam Darnold for three months this spring in Southern California. “So he’s in really good hands to be able to learn that and honestly learn behind Josh McCown because I think Josh does a great job of buying time and buying space and he does that through experience and athleticism. Sam is in such a good spot to learn all those things and kind of foster that part of his game.”…..The Jets have signed rookie free agent wide receiver Jonah Trinnaman. Trinnaman (6'0", 190), the former Brigham Young University wideout, was first signed as an undrafted free agent by Arizona right after the 2018 NFL Draft, then was waived two weeks later. Chicago was among NFL teams that showed initial interest in him before the draft…..Something about back-up center Jonotthan Harrison I have always liked. He is constantly aggressive when he is on the field. With 3 centers now signed, I’d hate to let him go. Can we be creative and maybe try him on the other side of the line?…..

Around The AFC East
Buffalo Bills
…..In an interview with the Buffalo News this week, Bills co-owner Kim Pegula sounded a doubtful note about the chances of building a new stadium in Buffalo. Pegula noted the high cost of building a stadium, the lack of desire from fans to buy personal seat licenses, the lack of desire from public officials to fund a stadium and the money spent to buy the team as reasons for that pessimistic take. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz responded to Pegula’s comments on Thursday…..Bills wide receiver Zay Jones underwent knee surgery, head coach Sean McDermott told reporters. Jones will miss the remainder of the offseason program, but the good news is that the team believes he’ll be good to go in time for the start of the regular season.The Bills are certainly hoping that Jones will be healthy come September given their lack of depth at wide   

Miami Dolphins
……The Dolphins have added some depth to their offensive line. The Dolphins announced that they’ve signed center Mike Matthews. The 6-foot-2, 290-pound lineman will participate in the team’s offseason program, and he could end up sticking around for training camp later this summer. The 24-year-old will be looking to finally earn an opening-day roster spot, as he’s bounced around the NFL since going undrafted out of Texas A&M in 2016. He had a brief stint with the Browns, and he spent the entire 2017 campaign with the Steelers. However, Matthews never saw the field for Pittsburgh, as a torn patellar tendon ended his season early…..The Dolphins made a number of moves this offseason, and Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes that the team was focused on improving the locker-room culture. The front office deliberately pursued team-first players who would “buy in, be diligent about studying and preparation, and do things the way the staff wanted…..Former Dolphin free agent quarterback Matt Moore is willing to wait for the right deal. The former Dolphins signal caller had conversations with the Chiefs and Texans earlier this offseason, but is now considering waiting until after the season begins to sign anywhere, Jeremy Fowler of (on Twitter) hears. 

New England Patriots
…..The Patriots and tight end Rob Gronkowski‘s contract discussions have progressed to the point where it’s now “likely” Gronkowski will play the 2018 campaign with a new deal in place, according to Jeff Howe of The Athletic…..Despite these circumstances centering around one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, Bill Belichick still opted for a time-honored cliche. Asked if he’s spoken to Tom Brady, the 19th-year Patriots coach said via Adam Schefter of (on Twitter), “I’m not going to talk about the people that aren’t here. The guys who are here are improving, they’re working hard. Those are the guys we’re going to focus on.” Brady remains absent from OTAs, and the 19th-year quarterback is rumored to want a revised contract. With Josh McDaniels spurning the Colts and remaining in place as OC, New England’s system likely will not change much, lessening the impact of Brady missing these voluntary workouts…..Adrian Clayborn, the Patriots‘ top free agent acquisition this offseason, tweaked his quad during recent workouts, per Reiss. Clayborn could be limited for Phase 3 of OTAs, but he is expected to be ready for the start of training camp.

Trivia Answer:
Former NY Jet head coach Walt Michaels played one game at linebacker for the Jets in 1963. Walt was born October 16, 1929 making him 88 years old.

Unofficially, former NY Titan and Jet Bill Mathis may be the second oldest at 79 years old. One of my favorites, this former Clemson Tiger played from 1960-69 all for NY and was an AFL All Star in 1961 and 1963.

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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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