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Sunday, January 21, 2018

Another Jet Headache

Robby Anderson Dilemma
Leave it to the Jets ranked 28th in the NFL in total offense to have their best offensive threat to go nuts in South Florida and get arrested. And this is the second time in eight months. I have written about Robby Anderson since last year that he has the talent to be a star. I counted 11 times during this season that Jet quarterbacks either over threw or under threw him when he had a step or two on his receiver. Or they just missed him when he was wide open. As an un-drafted player from Temple University (Todd Bowles alma mater) he showed almost instantly that he was a talent. He had a reputation of not being the most mature player at Temple which is what probably led to him not being drafted. His stats this year (63 rec., 941 yds., 7 TDs) were impressive considering who was throwing him the football. And once Josh McCown went down with his broken hand, Anderson’s production completely stalled denying him the chance to get 1,000 yards and make the Pro-Bowl which he canvased for on the sidelines during one game. If you read the police report and you have a wife and/or spouse, the hair on your neck will jump up! Your first reaction will be for the Jets to release him just as I felt. But consider the whole picture and I’m not condoning going 105 MPH in a 45 MPH zone putting people’s lives in harm’s way but let’s not be so quick to get rid of a player with his talent. The NFL hasn’t even ruled on his first arrest. There is no doubt he will be suspended in 2018 for some games and maybe even the season. Let the law take it’s course and the Jets don’t have to make a knee jerk decision.  Remember the NFL is not made up of choir boys. 

For those interested in reading the police report click here:
Robby Anderson Police Report

Jets Inch Closer to Jeremy Bates As OC
Jeremy Bates is closer to being named the new Offensive Coordinator for the Jets replacing John Morton. Except for about three games, I didn’t think John Morton did a horrible job as offensive coordinator. I loved his aggressiveness but could not stomach the Denver game throwing up the white flag with 11+ minutes to go in the game. Jeremy Bates is a real interesting guy who many in the know claim he is the brightest coach on the Jets staff.

On The Plus Side
1. Jeremy Bates was mentored by two respected offensive minds, Mike Shanahan and Jon Gruden
2. He called the plays for Denver in 2008 and the Broncos finished second in the NFL in total offense.
3. 2008 was also Jay Cutler’s only Pro-Bowl season when Bates not only called Denver’s plays but was the quarterback coach.
4. If the Jets truly are interested in Kirk Cousins, there is a connection with Shanahan and the West Coast offense.

On The Minus Side
1. After coaching with Pete Carroll at USC, he was fired after one year as offensive coordinator for Seattle.
2. He spent months hiking the 3,000-mile Continental Divide Trail and left football for a few years. I don’t want the Jets to invest in this guy if he decides all of a sudden he wants to walk the great wall of China. We need commitment.

My Take
I love this move and hope it pans out. The Jets may be delaying it waiting to see what Eagles QB coach John DeFilippo does. As of the writing of this article DeFilippo was in the running for the Arizona Cardinal head coaching job. With regard to Jeremy Bates, he is my number one choice as long as he is committed to the job. He is bright and thinks outside the box. Bates has gotten a lot of credit for the very good season that Josh McCown had. If the Jets do in fact hire him, (and I’ve said it before) Bates must be involved in the quarterback selection in the draft. This guy knows quarterbacks!

The Quarterback Stampede Keeps Growing
With or without signing Kirk Cousins, the Jets need to draft two quarterbacks in 2018. A couple of players who may fit the pro style QB that Mike Maccagnan may like is Kurt Benkert from Virginia and Clayton Thorson from Northwestern. Thorson played with a weak offensive line and inferior receivers. One NFL scout maintains if Thorson played for a major college, they would be talking about him in the same breath as Rosen, Darnold and Allen. 

2018 Quarterback NFL underclassman draft entrants
Josh Allen, Wyoming
Kyle Allen, Houston
Sam Darnold, USC
Lamar Jackson, Louisville
Tanner Lee, Nebraska
Chase Litton, Marshall
Josh Rosen, UCLA

Senior QBs
Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State
Riley Ferguson, Memphis
Luke Falk, Washington State
Ryan Finley, NC State
Clayton Thorson, Northwestern
Kurt Benkert, Virginia

Small School QB Prospects
Devante Kincade, Grambling State 
Chris Streveler, South Dakota *
Jeremiah Briscoe, Sam Houston State 
Luis Perez, Texas A&M-Commerce 
Peter Pujals, Holycross

* Please note on this Small School list, we could not find the status of this player for the 2018 draft.

Baker Mayfield Will Probably Be Available At Six
There is no guarantee but with the 6th pick, the consensus I’m seeing right now (which I know will change) is that Baker Mayfield will be available. No one knows for sure if any draft pick pans out. For every Tom Brady picked in the 6th round, there is a Ryan Leaf picked with the second pick. With that said here are some reviews from some reputable draft web sites on the Heisman Tropy winner.

"Heisman Trophy winner, quarterback Baker Mayfield sits atop virtually every advanced statistical category of PFF. This includes his 82.6 adjusted completion percentage (which accounts for drops, throw-aways, spikes, passes batted at the line of scrimmage hits absorbed during the release of the ball), passer rating on deep throws (134.8), under pressure (105.3) and off play-action (156.0), as well as his 85.4 adjusted completion percentage from a clean pocket. Yes, his size, mechanics and some of his antics are concerns for the next level, but there’s no denying how incredibly productive he’s been on the field this season."

"The majority of what Mayfield needs to show to scouts -- and maybe most importantly the Broncos coaching staff roaming the sidelines in Mobile [at the Senior Bowl] -- is how he handles his teammates, the week of practices, and the game on Saturday from maturity and leadership aspects. We heard nothing but positive reviews from Oklahoma teammates and coaches about Mayfield's sometimes controversial overtly passionate behavior during the season. This is different though. New players. New coaches. New environment. If his charisma wins over his teammates and the Denver coaches, it'll help to quell concerns about him not possessing the proper attitude to become a franchise quarterback."

"With his strong play in 2017, Mayfield has put himself on the radar for NFL scouts. There is a lot to like about his play for the next level. He is a gritty gunslinger quarterback who has an "it" factor to his game. Mayfield doesn't have a strong arm, but it is good enough to make the throws required in the NFL. One of Mayfield's most impressive strengths as a passer is being able to locate the ball well and throw receivers open. He is very good with his timing and trajectory on passes to hit receivers on the run and set them up for lots of yards after the catch. Mayfield is very skilled to loft in touch passes downfield and throws a very catchable ball. He can be an accurate passer with superb ball placement."

"Mayfield is a very difficult player to defend. His best trait is his ability to escape and extend plays. If his first and second reads are unavailable, he runs around behind the line of scrimmage, avoiding defenders and allowing his pass-catchers plenty of time to uncover. He has some nifty carries on occasion, but he usually scrambles to throw, not run. He has excellent touch on underneath throws such as swings, bubble screens, shallow crossers, and his deep-ball touch is above average. Mayfield is undersized for the NFL with just average arm strength, however. He can have issues reading defenses as well. Sometimes forces throws into tight coverage and trusts his accuracy a lot which leads to interceptions a lot in the NFL. Has a high tendency of holding on to the ball to long trying to keep the play alive which leads him to taking frequent hits and losing the ball."

"No player has moved up my draft board this year like Baker Mayfield. The small, energetic quarterback has improved his arm strength, accuracy and has learned to play more from the pocket while continuing to show the same athleticism and big-play ability that made him a star in 2016. Mayfield will have to answer doubts about his size, the level of competition in the Big 12 and the offensive scheme he plays in, but I see a player like Russell Wilson with the poise and clutch gene you don't bet against."

What the Jet Scribes are Saying

Rich Cimini, ESPN
According to ESPN’s Rich Cimini, the Jets have prioritized which of their free agents they want to bring back. The top three? Cornerback Morris Claiborne, linebacker Demario Davis and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, in that order. With or without Claiborne, the Jets are weak at cornerback. It’s an area they will almost definitely target in free agency, regardless of what happens with Claiborne. The defensive back had a relatively solid season, although he was bothered by injuries late in the year. A three-year deal would be a smart investment for the Jets before they go and pursue some like Trumaine Johnson. In his first year back with the Jets after spending one season in Cleveland, Davis was arguably the best and most consistent player on the team in 2017. It was a career year for the linebacker, who also turned into a leader on and off the field for a young Jets team. Davis is in line for a much-deserved payday, so he will not come cheap for the Jets. Austin Seferian-Jenkins also put up the best numbers of his career while turning his life around in 2017. After losing serious weight and committing himself to sobriety, Seferian-Jenkins found success in New York. The Jets already offer him a two-year, $8 million deal that was declined, according to Newsday, so it remains to be seen just how much they think he’s worth. If the Jets feel strongly about Jordan Leggett, the team’s fifth-round pick in last year’s draft, they could pass on ASJ. In the end, though, it would be a surprise if the two sides did not come to an agreement.

Brian Costello, NY Post
The Jets mowed through another offensive coordinator Wednesday, firing John Morton after just one year on the job. The decision came after Morton clashed with players, coach Todd Bowles and other assistant coaches, according to a source. His inability to establish the running game, a lack of in-game adjustments and a perception from players that everyone other than wide receiver Robby Anderson was an afterthought in the game plan doomed Morton…….
The Jets finished 28th in total offense and 24th in scoring offense under Morton in 2017. On the surface, Morton did a good job. There were incredibly low expectations for the Jets this year and Morton helped the offense have some success, led by veteran quarterback Josh McCown. Beneath the surface, though, issues were brewing. There were some in the organization who felt that Bates, the quarterbacks coach, was the brains behind the offense during the week……
The offensive line and Bowles both had issues with Morton going away from the run. Things got particularly tense after a 25-20 loss Oct. 29 to the Falcons. The game was played in a torrential rainstorm and the game plan was to run the ball, but Morton veered away from that and passed 33 times while running just 22. After the game, running back Matt Forte criticized Morton publicly. He was not the only one upset.A week prior, the Jets blew a 14-point, fourth-quarter lead against the Dolphins. There was a feeling Morton failed to make in-game adjustments and that contributed greatly to the team’s fourth-quarter collapses. The offense managed minus-4 yards in the fourth quarter of the brutal 31-28 loss in Miami. Morton also resisted suggestions from Bowles and others on the staff about how to get the running game going, sources said.

Manish Mehta, NY Daily News
The great football philosopher Buddy Ryan once doled out this pearl of wisdom: If you listen to the fans, you'll be sitting up there with them. Although there’s an inherent danger to taking advice from fickle, frustrated folks who’ve probably never seen an All-22 tape, we’ve broken the rules and channeled our inner Richard Dawson (Google him, millennials) by surveying 120 Jets fans on social media with one question: Who is the free agent that you most want to sign? The veteran signal (Kirk Cousins) caller received 68 votes. The next closest player was Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell, who picked up 11 votes (9%). Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah (seven votes), Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence (seven votes) and Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry (six votes) were the only others to receive more than three votes. Cousins’ landslide “victory” is a reflection of just how badly Jets fans want a competent quarterback. Cousins, who has had three consecutive 4,000-yard passing seasons, is 24-24-1 as a full-time starter. He’s had a better than 2-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio in each of those three seasons. He played well this season despite a rash of injuries to core offensive players (offensive line, running backs, tight end). Cousins would solve the Jets’ biggest need, while allowing Mike Maccagnan & Co. to address other deficient areas in free agency (don’t worry, they have ample cap space) and the draft. The team needs include (but are not limited to) edge pass rusher, cornerbacks (plural), offensive play maker(s), offensive line, defensive line. It’s unclear how high the bidding for Cousins will climb, but the Jets absolutely need to be serious players for his services … or they should just pack it in and fold up shop. If they’re not going to make a real run at this guy, who absolutely is good enough to turn the Jets into a sustainable winner, then it might be time for the organization to go north of the border and be annexed by the CFL.The early indication is that the Jets will indeed be in on the Cousins sweepstakes, but talk is cheap in mid-January. Let’s see if they actually spring into action in a couple months.

Mel Kiper’s ESPN Mock Draft
1.  Cleveland Browns, Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming 
2.  New York Giants, Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA 
3.  Indianapolis Colts, Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State 
4.  Cleveland Browns, Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State 
5.  Denver Broncos, Sam Darnold, QB, USC 
6.  New York Jets, Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Alabama 
7.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame 
8.  Chicago Bears, Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama 
9.  San Francisco 49ers, Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State 
10. Oakland Raiders, Roquan Smith, ILB, Georgia
11. Miami Dolphins, Mike McGlinchey,Notre Dame OT
12. Cincinnati Bengals,Tremaine Edmunds, LB Virginia Tech
13. Washington Redskins, Baker Mayfield,  QB Oklahoma
14. Green Bay Packers, Marcus Davenport DE USTA
15. Arizona Cardinals, Josh Jackson CB Iowa
16. Baltimore Ravens, Brian O’Neill OT Pittsburgh
17. Los Angeles Chargers, Da’Ron Payne, DT Alabama
18. Seattle Seahawks, Derwin James, S Florida State
19. Dallas Cowboys, Vita Vea, DT Washington
20. Detroit Lions, Sam Hubbard, DE Ohio State
21. Buffalo Bills, Mike Hughes, CB UCF
22. Buffalo Bills, Maurice Hurst, DT Michigan
23. Los Angeles Rams, Carlton Davis, CB Auburn
24. Carolina Panthers, Billy Price, C/G Ohio State
25. Tennessee Titans, Harold Landry, OLB Boston College
26. Atlanta Falcons, Christian Kirk WR Texas A&M
27. New Orleans Saints,Courtland Sutton, WR  SMU
28. Pittsburgh Steelers, Rashaan Evans, ILB Alabama
29. Jacksonville Jaguars, Mark Andrews TE Oklahoma 
30. Philadelphia Eagles, Kolton Miller, OT UCLA
31. Minnesota Vikings, Connor Williams, OT Texas
32. New England Patriots, Rasheem Green, DE USC

My Take
I cannot see the Browns taking Josh Allen over Darnold or Rosen. If the Jets take Minkah Fitzpatrick with the 6th pick, I'll become a Detroit Lions fan. Gotta go offense. I disagree with Mel on Iowa’s CB Josh Jackson who I see as a top 10 pick. Mel does have guard Quenton Nelson, center/guard Billy Price and tackle Connor Williams ranked correctly. And not having Lamar Jackson going in the first round is another plus for Mel. I still say the Patriots will scoop up Oklahoma State’s QB Mason Rudolph with the last pick in the first round. We are thinking of having a Green Rewind mock draft in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

Green Tidbits
…..Let’s set up a pay per view race between Robby Anderson and Sheldon Richardson. Shut down the Jersey Turnpike one morning for 10 miles and let them go at it. We’ll call it the “Green Cup” …..With both DB Rashard Robinson and WR Robby Anderson getting arrested within 2 weeks of each other shows all fans once again the Jets always win the off-season publicity Super Bowl…..If the Browns take Darnold and I’m Mike Maccagnan,  I call the Browns asap and offer a 4th rounder for DeShone Kizer. His games against Detroit, Green Bay and Pittsburgh showed me he can be an NFL QB in the right situation….If Saquon Barkley falls to 6 do the Jets take him? If not I like USC’s running back Ronald Jones II in the second round…..It is not a lock that if Josh McCown comes back in 2018 it is with the Jets. He may want to mentor another young QB with a chance to make the playoffs……Tyrod Taylor may be a good stop gap fit for the Jets for 1-2 years…..The Denver Broncos coaching staff gets to coach Baker Mayfield in the Senior Bowl. This could be bad for the Jets if in fact they want him at 6. The Broncos pick 5…..Doug Marrone did his best Todd Bowles impersonation taking two knees with 55 seconds and two timeouts in his pocket at the end of the second quarter. That’s it guys, when going against the Patriots play “not to lose” and see how far you get.……Horrid situation at Washington State this week when back-up quarterback Tyler Hilinski took his own life. Here is a young man with his whole life ahead of him. If you ever hear of anyone troubled, don’t stay in the background. Come forward and help. You may save a life!...... 

An old video ('08 or '09) of Jeremy Bates answering questions as USC quarterbacks coach.

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