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Sunday, June 17, 2018

Jets Gear Up For New Era With The Same Coach!

The Jets mini-camp just finished and a kind of new era is beginning. Though the Jets still have Todd Bowles as head coach, if you are a Jet fan like me there is a different feeling going into the 2018 season. I don’t know if it is the Jets lucking out and getting Sam Darnold or maybe it is new offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates. Or is it that they finally cut ties with Christian Hackenberg. Whatever it is I’m seeing the glass half full for the first time in a while. The 2018 Jets will be younger and more interesting. Sure they need an edge pass rusher in the worst way and question marks loom big with the receiving corps and the offensive line. The injury and arrest situation is nothing to brag about but looking at the draft and what the Jets did in free agency are steps to building a good foundation for this franchise. Up I-95 there have been whispers of problems within the Patriots organization with cracks in the 
BB-Brady-Kraft relationship(s). Their problems extend beyond personalities with offensive line issues as well as receiver Julian Edelman serving a 4 game suspension. Morale there has not good since the benching of Malcolm Butler in the Super Bowl and it is still haunting all the players who thought that game was surely theirs with Butler. Whatever the reason, in about six weeks the Jets will look different and it is refreshing for the first time in a while. As a big critic of Todd Bowles, I have to give him credit for looking more the part as head coach now than anytime in his first three years. He must work on his clock management and in-game decisions especially in the final two minutes but players will always tell you how continuity is a big part of the formula for a successful franchise so this is the last mulligan Todd Bowles gets. 

Jets Turmoil
What has 180 legs and keeps getting arrested and injured? 
Must be the NY Jets franchise! I can’t keep up with the Jet arrests and now the injuries. What in the name of John Schmidt is going on here? I don’t think my Camry can reach 90 MPH and now every Jet arrested seems to be going 100+ MPH with one foot on the brake. And the injuries. First Terrell Pryor and now Rontez Miles. Are the Jets using the same training staff and doctors as the NY Mets? I hope not. I don’t want to sound like I’m making light of the situation but for god's sake, some common sense here. Linebacker Dylan Donahue was arrested for DWI driving the wrong way in the Lincoln Tunnel and crashing into a bus. He also faces a drunken-driving charge in his home state of Montana. The Robby Anderson situation is ridiculous. This guy is so lucky he had the felony charges dropped. If it was up to me, I'd put him in a two week bootcamp situation. He has got to get his life in order. Rookie tight end Chris Herndon was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated after crashing his car into a vehicle operated by a 76-year-old man. According to the accident report obtained by ESPN, an eyewitness told NJ State Police that an SUV believed to be driven by Herndon was traveling at least 100 mph on Route 80. The report said Herndon's SUV flipped after colliding with another vehicle, which caught fire. The SUV slid approximately 700 feet after initial contact. In addition CB Rashard Robinson was arrested in Hanover Township for possessing marijuana-laced candy, according to police.  And Lorenzo Mauldin had an assault charge dropped. This is not good. By the way the Jets trading for Rashard Robinson was an awful trade. He has had a history of issues and for a cornerback he cannot cover a bed. This was a bad one for Mike Maccagnan. Not quite on the Hackenberg level but bad.

Special Teams
The Jets finished 29th in the league in return yardage. Specifically for punt returns they averaged 4.5 yards per return the worst in the NFL. It was a combination of horrible return men and it seemed the opposition always got their best punts off against the Jets. In the draft they picked up speedster Trenton Cannon, the RB from Virginia State who returned kickoffs in college but did not return punts. The word is he has not looked good in OTA’s as a punt returner. This can be a horrible situation that it is often overlooked with the potential yardage that can be gained on special teams. Field position is so important and when you see a team like the Jets return punts 5 yards or less each time and the Detroit Lions return every punt 14 yards, it makes a huge impact over the course of a game and a season. The Jets have got to get this right if they ever want to get to the playoffs. 

Green Tidbits
…..Former Jets tight end Kellen Winslow Jr.'s situation is unfortunate. According to NBC San Diego, the San Diego County Sheriff's department said Thursday Winslow has been charged with kidnapping and rape in addition to first-degree burglary….. Safety J.J. Wilcox came close to signing with the San Francisco 49ers. At the last second he changed his mind and said he wanted to play for Todd Bowles…..Jon Gruden blaming the unions’ CBA agreement and lack of reps for cutting Christian Hackenberg is hogwash. The guy just cannot play and no one wants to say it…..Sam Darnold improved as OTA’s progressed and was a sponge in the film room…..A shout out to NY Post Jet beat writer Brian Costello who recently lost his dad. Our deepest condolences. Brian is one of the good guys…..WR Chad Hansen has been the most improved Jet during OTA's…..The comparison drew quizzical looks and are-you-sure follow-up questions, but Stump Mitchell (RB coach) wasn’t backing down. The Jets’ running backs coach really sees some LaDainian Tomlinson in second-year pro Elijah McGuire…..Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers has his son Kacy Rodgers the second trying to make the squad…..After having auditioned for the Jets earlier this week, Courtney Upshaw has signed with the organization. The 2012 second-round pick initially entered the NFL as a linebacker, but he’s since been converted to a defensive lineman…..

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                                          Marty Schupak's new book on youth baseball is now available!

                                                                   Click Here:

"The most complete book I've ever seen on youth baseball."
-Bobby Woods, former pro player and coach

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

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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.”….. 

What can be a better Father's Day gift this year?

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                                          Marty Schupak's new book on youth baseball is now available!

                                                                   Click Here:

"The most complete book I've ever seen on youth baseball."
-Bobby Woods, former pro player and coach

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

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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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