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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Bagels, Donuts, Swiss Cheese & The Jets

The Jets off-season is in full swing. They have already signed numerous players to “future reserve” contracts. The scouting department is doing their homework having scouted the bowl games and now getting ready for next month’s combine. Jet fans are hoping a Brady, Wilson or Prescott can be had in the later rounds of the draft. The biggest problem facing the Jets besides the quarterback position, is there are more holes to fill than one would find in a Swiss cheese factory. And this presents a problem. Will the present Jets hierarchy build a foundation for the future or will they put in patchwork to save their jobs? This is a huge dilemma Jet fans must pay attention to. If they proceed the way they should, cutting veterans, trading players or moving down from their number six position for draft choices, then you know they are trying to do it the correct way. If they trade up for players, sign free agent QBs (a la Mike Glennon), or draft a QB in the first two rounds, then we know the merry go round will continue. The Jets and Mike Maccagnan must do this thing the right way. A few years ago Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was intent on drafting one Johnny Manziel in the first round to make a splash with a big name. The story goes that Jerry’s son Stephen Jones convinced his dad not to pick Manziel but to continue to build up the offensive line. He must have made a compelling argument because the Cowboys passed on Manziel with the 16th pick and took guard Zack Martin from Notre Dame. This move changed the direction of the Cowboys as they continued a game plan Stephen Jones already had in place and was convinced would work. The year before the Martin pick, the Cowboys picked center Travis Frederick from Wisconsin in the first round. And the year before the Frederick pick, the Cowboys picked Tyron Smith an offensive tackle from USC. All three picks proved to be a home run. The Dallas Cowboys now have the best offensive line in the NFL and this turned the franchise around. This helped them catch lightening in a bottle this year winning their division only to be eliminated by the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs. Make no mistake, Ezekiel Elliot was a great number one pick and Dak Prescott was another quality pick at four. But how would Elliot and Prescott have done behind the Jets offensive line this year? The Cowboys blue print is the way for the Jets to go. The issue though is will Mike Maccagnan and Jet fans show patience and discipline? Tough to do when your job is on the line in this win now league. This has to be the direction of the team. The problem is, overall this year’s college offensive line crop is not one of the stronger ones. Some of the quality offensive linemen that will be available are:

Cam Robinson (Alabama tackle), Ryan Ramczyk (Wisconsin Tackle),
Garett Bolles (Utah tackle), Dan Feeney (Indiana guard), Ethan Pocic (LSU center)

  If the Jets and Mike Maccagnan do the rebuilding the way they should strengthening the offensive line, Jet fans will eventually see success. If not, Maccagnan will go the way of Colts fired GM Ryan Grigson who could not put together a winning roster for the often injured but very talented Andrew Luck.

Send Resumes To: 
One Jet Drive, Florham Park, NJ 07932
It is no secret that the Jets are having a rough time securing an offensive coordinator. Looking at the position, what is there to attract a quality coach to take the job? The starting quarterback is probably not on the roster. The coaching staff may be in a lame duck year. The ownership all of a sudden does not look too stable with Woody Johnson on his way to be ambassador in the United Kingdom. Maybe the Jets will have to look within the organization. If they do a name they should consider is 
Karl Dorrell the wide receivers coach. He has a resume that includes being head coach at UCLA from 2003-07 where his record was 35-27. He has had a few NFL coaching jobs as quarterbacks coach with the Houston Texans and he was quarterbacks coach for the Miami Dolphins. The young Jet wide receivers were a group that played well this year. Karl Dorrell did a fine job with them and he may be the best and only choice available for the offensive coordinator job.

Winters Reups:
Give Mike Maccagnan credit. He and the Jets resigned guard Brian Winters. Winters could have tested the free agent market but opted to remain with the only team he has played for coming off a
5-11 season. Winters was a third round draft pick from Kent State. He took over the right guard position for Willie Colon and has overcome some injuries to develop into a fine player. Let’s hope he can stay on the field. Having Winters and James Carpenter at the other guard makes for one of the better offensive guard tandems in the league. Now the Jets have to solidify the other positions on the line and add depth.

Defensive Line Thoughts:
Deon Simon was a 7th round draft pick who did not play in 2015. This huge nose tackle at 6’4”, 321 pounds looked good in limited action during 2016. He ended up with 12 tackles and 1.5 sacks. Hopefully Simon will develop into a Damon “Snacks” Harrison 2.0 and clog up the middle of the line for a long time. If he does, don’t let this one get away.

Speaking of the defensive line, I keep waffling about Sheldon Richardson and now I want this talent to stay. I wanted the Jets to trade him but if they did, it would be on a down year. I still say Richardson has more upside than Mo Wilkerson. Keep him another year. It gives the Jets added flexibility with the option of franchising him in a year if he turns his game and life around. The Jets did not do him any favors having him drop back as a linebacker all year. I keep remembering what the former New York Giant GM Ernie Accorsi once said, that you can never have enough defensive linemen. And having extras to rotate is what helped the Giants beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl.


This weeks newsletter is sponsored by Amazon Prime Instant video and Marty Schupak's sports instructional videos. Always free on Amazon Prime!

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