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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Jet Offense

Who’s at QB first?
This is the most glaring question facing the green and white for this year and years to come. Mike Maccagnan can be criticized for a lot of things but putting the Jets in the situation they have at quarterback is not one of them. Sure you can argue that the Jets gave up way too much moving up from 6 to 3 in the draft. And yea it looks like a kind of logjam there with Josh McCown, Sam Darnold and Teddy Bridgewater. And with Teddy Bridgewater playing the way he did during mini camp only confuses the situation more. I’m not sold that Bridgewater is game ready. Viking coach Mike Zimmer is as smart they come so if there was the slightest chance he thought Bridgewater could make it back, I don’t think the Vikings would have let him go. With that said if he did make a full recovery, it is the Jets gain. Offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates does not seem shy about starting Sam Darnold from day one. My heart loves the idea but something in my head keeps telling me to have a little bit of patience. We have to find out how the offensive line will play. Unless Darnold lights em up a la Dan Marino, I would sit him and have October 14th against the Colts at home circled as the date to start Sam Darnold. I’m not sure how the Jets will handle the pecking order as to who dresses for each game, but for the first time in a while the quarterback position, though not completely settled, is not like waiting for a solar eclipse to happen.

Offensive Line
I was surprised as many Jet fans that an offensive lineman was not drafted in 2018. Of the Jets 6 players picked in the draft, not including tight ends (TE Chris Herndon picked in 4th round) the Jets did not address their offensive line situation. In 2017 the Jets were 28th in offense in the league giving up 47 sacks during the season. And sometimes (old time Jet fans have lived with this) the sacks were at the worst times. Entering camp the Jets offensive line has the usual suspects: Kelvin Beachum, James Carpenter, Brian Winters, Brandon Shell. Spencer Long is a good free agent signing at center. He is healing from some surgery but will be ready to go and he will be a major improvement over Wesley Johnson. Keep in mind that Johnson was ranked as the 36th best center in the NFL and there are only 32 teams. The Jets do have some depth with Brent Qval, Ben Ijalana and Jonotthan Harrison. Keep an eye on Jets undrafted rookie Austin Golson from Auburn. He played all 5 offensive line positions last year for Auburn and his college coach insists this hurt his draft status but said he was so valuable to the team they had to keep moving him to fill holes. Former Patriot Antonio Garcia is coming off major injury. If he makes the team, he will make some noise. Questions loom with this bunch such as which Brian Winters will we see? The solid guard or the penalty machine? Will Brandon Shell continue to improve? Can James Carpenter (still only 29) play like he did his first two years with the Jets? These will be answered only on the playing field. Offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates has been given subtle hints that he really likes this group. Only playing time will tell. And if the OL is playing bad, this will hinder the development and maybe even getting Sam Darnold on the field. Look for improvement but also look for the Jets to upgrade the offensive line for 2019.

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Tight Ends
In 2011 Jets tight end Dustin Keller had 65 receptions for 815 yards 5 TDs with an average of 12.5 yards per catch. It may be me but this seems like it was decades ago when it was only 6 seasons ago. Talk about appreciating what you have at the time. I know that Austin Seferian-Jenkins was a formidable player but if you look closely at his stats for his 50 receptions he averaged only 7.1 yards per catch. Just looking inside the AFC east the Dolphins Julius Thomas averaged 9.5 yards per reception, the Bills Charles Clay 11.4 and fairly or unfairly the Patriots Rob Gronkowski averaged 15.7 yards per reception. Needless to say the Jets tight end position has been incredibly unproductive for too many years. True a lot of it has to do with the Jets unstable quarterback situation but moving forward the Jets need more production from the tight end position. If the Jets quarterback situation is mystery number one then the tight end situation is a close second. Right now the names listed as tight end candidates are: Jordan Leggett, Chris Herndon, Clive Walford, Eric Tomlinson, Neal Sterling and Bucky Hodges. All Jet fans are still waiting for Jordan Leggett to take his first snap in an NFL regular season game. Very good things have been said about 4th round draft pick Chris Herndon but he is one of the Jets that unfortunately is being charged with DUI for going 100 MPH on route 80 in New Jersey at 4:45am. If he can run as fast as he drives and has good hands then the Jets may have something. The other names do not jump off the page or put any type of fear into the opponent’s defensive coordinators. One player I liked was Neal Sterling who seemed to be in the right place at the right time on the field for the little playing time this New Jersey native by way of Monmouth College got. Keep an eye on him. One of these names has got to step up. If Jeremy Bates and the Jets are going to develop Sam Darnold they have to get it right at the offensive line and the skill positions to put in him the best position to succeed.
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What The Jet Scribes Are Saying
Rich Cimini, ESPN
Deserted island -- A lot has been written and said about Darrelle Revis over the past few days. Now that I'm back from vacation, I'd like to offer my two cents. He was one of the most complicated athletes I've ever covered. He could be charming, witty and insightful, but I also found him to be moody and thin-skinned, especially toward the end of his time with the Jets. His teammates respected him because of his immense talent and willingness to battle management at the bargaining table, but there were times when he operated like a one-man corporation within a giant corporation. Revis Island, indeed. Does he belong in the Pro Football Hall of Fame? Absolutely. Many believe he revolutionized bump-and-run coverage with his ability to recognize pass routes and jam receivers at the line -- and he did it in an era that limits contact between corners and receivers. Longtime cornerback and former ESPN analyst Eric Allen once told me he taught Revis' bump-and-run technique to his own son. Is Revis a first-ballot Hall of Famer? A lot depends on the quality of candidates in a particular year, but based on his credentials, I'd say no, he's not. He was a dominant player for three, maybe four years, not long enough to deserve a first-year Hall pass. Is he the best defensive player in Jets history? Yes, I'd give him a slight edge over Joe Klecko and Mark Gastineau. Football aside, Revis will be remembered as a business shark, a player who capitalized on his leverage to squeeze every dollar out of management. He made $124 million in his career, per Spotrac. Guided by a strong support group, led by his uncle, former NFL player Sean Gilbert, and his former agents, Jon Feinsod and Neil Schwartz, Revis went to the mattresses with two contract disputes and a nasty divorce from the Jets in 2013. They reunited in 2015, but it was never the same. He switched into cruise control, and the end was hard to watch. Revis the player always will be respected because of his talent. Revis Inc., not so much.

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Manish Mehta, NY Daily News
(Kevin) Long’s second season as Washington’s starting center was bookended by injuries. He underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in the preseason before suffering a quad tendon injury in the regular season that landed him on injured reserve after Week 11. Although Long was a quality pass protector (only five pressures allowed in 223 pass-blocking snaps, according to Pro Football Focus), his play-time percentage dropped for a third consecutive year from 79 percent (2015) to 76 percent (2016) to 39 percent last season. He’s solid and efficient when he’s on the field, but Washington felt comfortable letting the former third-round pick walk in free agency.Todd Bowles & Co. believe that the athletic Long will be a clear upgrade from Wesley Johnson, who was the weak link for an offensive line that had the fifth-highest sack percentage and ranked 19th in run offense last season. Long, 20 pounds heavier than Johnson, has the skillset to thrive in new offensive line coach Rick Dennison’s zone-blocking scheme that requires agile guys that can move fluidly. Long’s job in Jeremy Bates’ West Coast Offense will include an increased and important pre-snap role at the line of scrimmage. He’ll also play a critical role for Sam Darnold whenever the rookie quarterback takes over the starting job too. (Just ask Mark Sanchez how valuable Nick Mangold was during the Jets’ run to the AFC Championship Game in 2009.) Long, who started his career as a guard before transitioning to center, offers valuable positional versatility to an uneven line from last season. The biggest question surrounding Long, who didn’t participate in offseason drills, is durability. Can the Jets rely on a guy who was limited to seven games last season? Will he be fully recovered from his quad tendon surgery to make a difference out of the shoot? It was encouraging to see Long participate in team drills late in the offseason workouts. The Jets liked free-agent center Weston Richburg, but didn’t want to invest nearly as much money in him as the 49ers ($16.5 million fully guaranteed). Gang Green settled for Long, 27, for what is a de facto one-year, $6 million deal. They can cut him after the season with no financial ramifications. Their preference, of course, is that he solves their problem at an important position. "The center runs the show," Bowles said. "He's the one that lines everybody up and makes all the calls. (Long’s) a little bigger and heavier than what we had in the past. Hopefully that solidifies a lot of things and makes everybody else better."

Brian Costello, NY Post
In his second season, (Robby) Anderson became the Jets’ best offensive player. He showed he could do more than just run go routes and became a consistent player and a favorite target of quarterback Josh McCown. Anderson led the team with 941 receiving yards and seven receiving touchdowns. He had 63 catches, second on the team. Anderson’s production dipped late in the season, but that could be attributed to McCown being out with a broken left hand. Pro Football Focus ranked Anderson 44th out of the 118 receivers the site graded. He was their fourth-best receiver on deep passes. He had 12 catches of 20 yards or more. Anderson’s speed remains his strength. It was common to see him just run by defenders last year who dared to play press coverage on him. But Anderson showed some improved route running in his second season and began to click with McCown midway through the year. Outlook for 2018: The biggest question with Anderson has been his off-field legal issues, but those look like they are now resolved. His two arrests in the past 18 months ended with most of the charges being dismissed. He pleaded no contest to a reckless driving charge last month and received probation. The NFL has yet to discipline Anderson or say he is cleared. With most of the charges being dismissed, Anderson could get away with no discipline from the league. If he gets anything, it would be a short suspension. It is hard to see it being more than one game for a misdemeanor. On the field, the Jets are counting on Anderson to be their top playmaker. The Jets have some depth at wide receiver but are lacking that known No. 1 guy. If Anderson can keep his head on straight and make progress, he has shown the potential to be that guy. Beyond the off-field arrests, Anderson must show more maturity on the field, too. He threw his helmet against the Dolphins, resulting in a penalty. He hammed it up for the TV cameras, begging for Pro Bowl votes. He pouted at times when he was not getting the ball. Anderson needs to mature to take the next step in his career.
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Around the NFL
…..Bashaud Breeland has meetings scheduled with multiple teams. The 26-year-old cornerback will visit with the Raiders and Chiefs this week, according to a report from ESPN. Breeland agreed to a three-year, $24 million contract with the Panthers in March. But he failed his physical, voiding the contract. Breeland is currently healthy and ready to play, the report says…..The driver who was involved in an accident that caused the death of Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson pleaded guilty Friday to drunken driving, according to Indy Star…..Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. has been suspended for the first game of the regular season without pay for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy, the league announced Friday. The league did not specify the reason for the suspension, but Fowler has recently faced several off-field issues…..Patriots receiver Julian Edelman won't sue the NFL in federal court in an effort to have his four-game suspension to start the 2018 season overturned, NFL Network reported…..The Dallas Cowboys, valued at $4.8 billion, up a whopping 14 percent from $4.2 billion last year, remain the most valuable sports franchise in the world for the third consecutive year, according to Forbes' annual list…..Lawyers representing former NFL players estimated Wednesday that payouts from the concussion settlement with the league will top $1.4 billion, a $400 million jump because of thousands more players filing claims…..After not being selected in the supplemental draft, running back Martayveus Carter will look to find his NFL home via the private workout route. The KC Chiefs will be his first stop…..The Buffalo Bills are in the early stages of a rebuild, and if ESPN fantasy football pundit Mike Clay is to be believed, the team could struggle mightily in the 2018 season. In his “bolder” 2018 season projections, Clay has the Bills finishing in the basement of the entire league with a record of 2-14….
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