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Sunday, May 19, 2019

The Dust Never Settles In Jet Land!

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

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


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





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

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

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

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

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

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



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


                                                     Jalin Moore highlights.



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

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


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

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

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



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    Sunday, May 12, 2019

    Jets Are Adding Speed!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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










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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

                                   Greg Dortch Highlights


                                   Jeff Smith Highlights



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

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

                                    44 Baseball Mistakes & Corrections


                     Little League coaches should make Marty Schupak's newest book part of their library

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

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

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    Monday, May 6, 2019

    Jets Draft Revisited

             By Green Rewind Contributor Ray Clifford


         I've had about a week now to absorb the Jets draft and look at their picks a little more closely.  And I would give them a grade that hovers somewhere between a C+ and a B-.  I will start by saying that I don't include their first pick in my assessment because a) If you're anyone but the Giants that pick was a gimme and b) I felt all along that this draft grade would be determined by their picks in the later rounds, not by their first pick. It would have been nice to have a 2nd rounder but not having one is the reason we DO have Sam Darnold.  Which is where my problem with Maccagnan's drafting begins. The Jets seem to be going about this in reverse of the trends of the successful teams of late.  Look at the Cowboys, the Browns and the Colts.  They rebuilt their teams by concentrating on the O Line.  Yes, Dallas and Indy already had their QB's but they knew to protect him they needed to upgrade the line.  As it turned out Romo got hurt and Dak Prescott stepped right into a great situation and has thrived. Andrew Luck has apparently returned to his Pro Bowl form and Baker Mayfield has clearly benefitted from the line in front of him.  Now compare that with the Jets. Mike Maccagnan has drafted exactly THREE players for the offensive line since he has been the GM.  He knew for two years they were going to draft a "franchise" quarterback and did virtually nothing to prepare for him.  So I thought this year, other than the first pick, would be different.  Let's look at these picks. In round 3 they had two picks and with the second one took an OL Edoga out of USC.  A solid pick because of his flexibility to play multiple positions.  But the first pick was Polite, an LB out of Florida. Definitely a risk/reward pick.  I would rather have seen them take Terry McLaurin out of OSU if he was not going to take an OL, mainly because he has blazing speed, could be a 3rd or 4th receiver and will be a Special Teams standout.  Three lineman he passed over that could have been good additions were Deiter out of Wisconsin, McGovern from Penn St. and Froholdt from Arkansas. 
        In the 4th the Jets picked Trevon Wesco, a TE from W.Va. a stretch pick that every publication I looked at had rated as a late round pick.  Meanwhile they passed on guards Powers and Samia both out of Oklahoma and Jordan from OSU. Maybe Wesco would have still been available in a round or two later?
        In the 5th they took Cashman, a LB out of Minnesota. Undersized but got good reviews.  Is he better than Darron Lee?  I guess we'll find out.  Passed on tackles Edwards from Wisconsin and Skule from Vanderbilt.
       Finally, in the 6th they took Austin a cornerback from Rutgers.  I live in Big 10 territory, so I saw enough of Rutgers to wonder, what about their defense was any good?  He passed on tackles Prince out of OSU, Daley of South Carolina and Gray of Maryland.  I know Maryland wasn't very good either, but their offense was actually decent, they just couldn't stop a runny nose on D. I'm not saying he should have taken these guys instead of who they took.  Drafting is a crap shoot not a science.  If it was that black and white Tom Brady wouldn't have lasted to round 6, Joe Montana to round 4 and James Harrison wouldn't have been undrafted.  But if you want to build a team to be a consistent winner you need to build from the lines out, not the other way around.  But Maccagnan has spent the better part of his drafts on either defense or offensive skill positions.  Leaving the OL to see who gets cut, undrafted free agents or trying to trade for someone to get another year or two out of them.  We had a TON of cap room this past offseason and it was mainly spent on a RB, a LB, a WR and a DB along with re-signing a couple of their own.  He missed on at least three OL who were highly sought after free agents.  Knowing this I can't look at this draft and say that Maccagnan did enough to put Sam Darnold in a position to thrive.

    Jets Lose To Vikings Again
    Being a Jet fan since 1964 I tend to be a glass half empty type of guy. All is going okay and I loved the Jets signing Wake Forest wide receiver Greg Dortch as an un-drafted free agent (see Cimini and Mehta below). So far so good. Then I see get a report from Pro-Football Talk that the Jets lost out on a good wide receiver prospect Jeff Badet. This guy is a real speedster who could have added a nice “stretch the field” element to the Jet offense. But at the 11th hour it was the Vikings who scooped him up from their own practice squad. According to Pro-Football Talk:

    “the Vikings gave Badet a $75,000 signing bonus to keep the 2018 practice-squad player away from the Jets.”

    After three years at Kentucky, Badet transferred to Oklahoma, because he wanted to play with Baker Mayfield. He did not get an invitation to the Combine but Badet ran the 40-yard dash in 4.27 seconds at the Oklahoma Pro Day in 2018. He did not light it up statistcally in college but in his last year at Kentucky he averaged 21.6 yards per reception. These are the type of receivers I love.  Is it me or does it seem like unless Mike Maccagnan over pays (really over pays) for a free agent, he cannot complete a deal. Yes the Jets got C.J. Mosley this year but with a five-year, $85 million contract and Truman Johnson last year for a five-year, $72.5 million contract. I don’t see where Maccagnan is making great moves. I do give him credit for the Sam Darnold trade and he does pretty good right after the draft signing un-drafted free agents. But the lack of offensive linemen and getting stiffed by the Vikings (Anthony Barr also) is not good. Except for the start of free agency, Maccagnan just does not move quickly enough. He moved down in the later rounds but has not done so in the earlier rounds. In 2020 the Patriots will have 13 draft picks. The Jets will never be able to compete as long as this continues. And by the way, Adam Gase does not get a free ride. Sure the Jets just signed former Dolphin QB Nick Falk but I haven’t seen one other former Dolphin want to come to the Jets to play for Gase. I’m more nervous with the possibility of seeing Sam Darnold get injured than anything else. Like I said I’m a half empty type of guy. 


    Green Tidbits
    .....If Avery Williamson can improve on his pass coverage just a little bit, he may have an All-Pro season with the new weapons around him on defense....Trumaine Johnson’s weight is down and he seems to be taking things more serious.....Prediction for Jet fans that if he is serious about his career Jachai Polite will be the steal of the draft…..The Jets need for DBs may be overrated if the Jet pass rush becomes a legitimate threat…..If Darron Lee is not traded I still want Frankie Luvu and Neville Hewitt to get as many or more reps than him.....Le'Veon Bell signing still does not feel right. Please let me be wrong and let Bell rush for 125 yds and catch 5 passes for 75 yds and score 2 TDS vs Bills on opening day…..IMHO Trenton Cannon needs an awesome preseason to stick on the roster….My latest prayer to the Ewbank in the sky is that unknown offensive linemen Jon Toth, Eric Smith and Ben Braden turn out to be gems…….According to NFL Next Gen Stats, in addition to his 7 sacks last year, Henry Anderson was double teamed 60% of the snaps and had 16 QB hits. Anderson may be the best Jet signing this off-season….90% of the phone calls on sports radio around NY have been about Giants picking Daniel Jones in first round at #6. The pick was fine. The rationalization by GM Dave Gettleman might eventually bury him……Jets are collecting tight ends and quarterbacks at warp speed. Oh know! They just let Brandon Silvers go!….Jets new uniforms do nothing for me but admittedly I really like the helmets…..If I were a betting man, I’d say Davis Webb is the next QB to be gone from the Jets….Living in the suburbs can I ever go to a bagel or grocery store on a Sunday morning just once  without local youth teams and cheerleaders asking for donations?......

    What The Jet Scribes Are Saying
    Rich Cimini, ESPN
    As an economics major at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, Mike Maccagnan studied risk versus reward -- a concept he applies to his current job as general manager of the Jets. Based on risk and reward, Quinnen Williams was perhaps the safest big decision he has ever made. No player is a 100 percent sure thing, but recent trends show the former Alabama star is as close to "can't miss" as there is in today's NFL…..Williams and coach Adam Gase have something in common. Actually, that something is a someone -- Saban.Like Williams, Gase worked under the legendary coach in college. At Michigan State, he was an undergraduate assistant on Saban's coaching staff, basically a behind-the-scenes grunt eager to cut his teeth in the coaching profession. Gase must have done a good job because he was invited to join Saban's first staff at LSU, where he served as a graduate assistant….Of the 17 rookie free agents who signed with the Jets, the most fascinating is Wake Forest wide receiver/kick returner Greg Dortch, a 5-foot-7, 173-pound spitfire who averaged one touchdown per game in college. He led the ACC last season with an average of 145.8 all-purpose yards per game. He recorded 89 receptions for 1,078 yards and eight touchdowns, and he also scored twice on punt returns. In three seasons, Dortch scored 19 touchdowns in 20 games. Clearly, Dortch's size was the main reason he wasn't drafted, but there's a big heart in that small body. In 2017, he punctured his small intestine while landing on a pylon as he scored his second touchdown against Louisville, but he stayed in the game and scored two more touchdowns. He was rushed to the hospital later that night and underwent emergency surgery, ending his season. Dortch couldn't have landed in a better place because -- maybe you've heard? -- the Jets need a punt and kickoff returner after losing All-Pro Andre Roberts in free agency…..The addition of quarterback Luke Falk, who was claimed on waivers on Friday, is a clear indication Gase isn't sold on Davis Webb as the No. 3. Why would he be? After all, Webb has yet to take a regular-season snap. Neither has Falk, but he has a connection to Gase because he spent last season with the Miami Dolphins. Gase likes Falk's potential, so he pulled him off waivers for the second year in a row. (Last September, he was released by the Titans, the team that drafted him in the sixth round in 2018.) The Jets will take four quarterbacks to training camp, which means one has to go. Falk, Webb and Brandon Silvers are fighting for two spots. Sam Darnold and Trevor Siemian are set as the No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.

    Brian Costello, NY Post
    The NFL draft is over. The active part of free agency is long over. Rosters are not set, but the heavy lifting is done. Now, it is tinker season. Teams will add and remove pieces for the next few months until they have to settle on their 53-man rosters to start the season. With their roster pretty much set, the Jets have undergone some major changes. They spent more than $120 million in free agency — highlighted by the additions of Le’Veon Bell and C.J. Mosley. They made a big trade for guard Kelechi Osemele. Then, last week they drafted Quinnen Williams in the first round and added others who they hope can contribute this season. “I think we’ve done some good things in terms of improving the talent at certain positions,” general manager Mike Maccagnan said. “I think you’re never truly done. I don’t think people realize it’s not as if you finish the draft and that’s the last time you spend looking at the roster.”…..The Jets currently have Jonotthan Harrison penciled in as their starting center. The 27-year-old is no stranger to that role. He started 19 games at center for the Colts in 2014-15, plus another four at guard in 2016. With the Jets, he ended up starting eight games last year after Spencer Long was injured and ineffective. The Jets were happy with how Harrison played down the stretch. Still, he projects more as a competent backup than a Week 1 starter. The Jets showed some interest in centers in free agency, but seemed scared off by their hefty price tags and decided to spend that money elsewhere. Then, they went into the draft thinking about drafting one, but things did not fall that way.It is still possible that Maccagnan could sign a veteran or make a trade for a center, but the market is thin.……you’d like the Jets to have an All-Pro wide receiver. But overall, they have upgraded the offense around Darnold enough to help him in Year 2. Bell is a huge addition that will help the passing game as well as the running game. Jamison Crowder is a weapon for Adam Gase in the slot. Chris Herndon showed a lot of promise as a rookie and now can be paired with rookie Trevon Wesco to form a nice duo at tight end. The key here will be Gase. Can he get the most out of Robby Anderson and Quincy Enunwa?


    Manish Mehta, NY Daily News
    Keep an eye on Wake Forest wide receiver Greg Dortch. One NFC scout I spoke to this week was fawning over Dortch like he was the next coming of Wes Welker. I had to tell the scout to exhale and relax, because there’s little chance of Dortch turning into Welker. But this kid could have a shot to stick as a returner and slot option. Dortch is only 5-7, 173 pounds, but his quickness and start-stop ability inside the numbers make him an intriguing flier. Dortch racked up 142 catches for 1,800 yards and 17 touchdowns as a two-year starter. He was a high-volume pass catcher last year, accounting for a ridiculous 39.6 percent of his team’s receptions. He also averaged 22.1 and 20.9 yards per kickoff return, respectively, in two years.…..The Jets would trade Lee in a New York minute in a reasonable deal. It hasn’t happened yet, so he’s a member of the team. For now. Don’t rule out a trade later this spring. In the meantime, his $1.8 million base salary in the final year of his rookie deal is relative peanuts. The Jets won’t pick up his fifth-year option, which is about $10 million. They’ll gladly take the 2021 compensatory pick when he walks in free agency after this season. Truth be told, Lee did a decent job in coverage last season. He could find a meaningful role in Greg Williams’ defense…..

    Around The NFL
    …..Baltimore Ravens sixth-round pick Trace McSorley, an athletic quarterback out of Penn State, signed his four-year rookie contract the team announced on Saturday…..Mecole Hardman,the Chiefs' top 2019 draft pick, who was one of four Kansas City selections who signed rookie contracts, the team announced on Saturday…..Albeit, it was the first day of rookie minicamp without any pads, but receivers D.K. Metcalf (Seattle) and Parris Campbell(Colts) grabbed headlines and highlights with their showcase performances.Metcalf, a star at the NFL Scouting Combine, turned heads with a leaping catch along the sidelines of his initial Seahawks practice and drew praise from new coach Pete Carroll. "He may be even more unique than we thought," Carroll said via the Seattle Times' Bob Condotta.Campbell, who went up against fellow second-rounder Rock Ya-Sin on a few occasions at the Colts' minicamp, hauled in contested catches, broke some big gains and lined up in the slot and outside, which was the biggest question mark for him coming into the draft…..It just might take a while for Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott to get said extension as Dallas has a logjam of players deserving of paydays. That line began with pass rusher DeMarcus Lawrence, who signed a mega deal, and quarterback Dak Prescott and receiver Amari Cooper are next up.After picking up Elliott's fifth-year rookie option, Dallas executive vice president Stephen Jones stressed that a deal will get done, but there's no rush as it pertains to the NFL's reigning rushing leader…..Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden put an end to any lingering speculation surrounding his offensive tackles.Gruden announced Friday that second-year pro Kolton Miller would remain on the left side to start off the season, while Trent Brown will man the right side. Brandon Parker carries the responsibility of swing tackle…..There was no escaping the narrative of cornerback Greedy Williams being a bad tackler during the 2019 NFL Draft."What's missing is if you studied the game film, I was mostly a man corner," Williams told NFL Network's Aditi Kinkhabwala. "At LSU I did my job. Tackling wasn't a big thing they wanted me to do. They wanted me to cover."I wasn't able to showcase my tackling ability. Now that I'm here, I can work zone, man, anything. So I'm able to prove that I'm a great tackler.”…..The Houston Texans couldn't afford to maintain the status quo during the offseason when it came to protecting their franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson. The Texans used the draft to bolster the ranks with the selections of offensive tackles Tytus Howard in the first round and Max Scharping in the second round.The Texans began the rebuilding process on the offensive line during free agency by signing left tackle Matt Kalil and bringing back right tackle Seantrel Henderson…..New England traded Garoppolo to San Francisco during the 2017 season for the 49ers’ 2018 second-round draft pick. That pick turned out to be the 43rd overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft. But the Patriots didn’t use it. Instead, they traded it for two picks — and then traded those two picks for more picks, and kept making more trades until the point when they’ve drafted six players with picks that came completely or in part from the 49ers’ second-rounder. And they’re still not done……