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Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Jets And AFC Rivals Gearing Up!

Another off season and Jet fans have to live with the team up I-95 as Super Bowl champs again. All I’ve been hearing since Sunday from Patriot haters around the country is blaming the 3 teams in the AFC East for making that race a cake walk for the Patriots to win the division. A lot of what they are saying is true. But (I know you’ve heard it before) there is hope. Next year there will be more competition in the AFC East. Consider that last year’s college quarterback crop put two of the top four in the AFC East. We cannot judge their play on one season but both Sam Darnold and Josh Allen have shown promise. Jet fans have got to be giddy about Darnold’s last four games. His season stats 17 TDs, 15 INTs, 57.7%, and 2,865 yards is reason to start to count the days till training camp. Jet fans know the cap situation and with the 3rd pick of the draft, Mike Maccagnan has a great chance to turn the team around in one year. The Bill’s Josh Allen did not have the stats that Darnold had but in 11 games started he threw for 10 TDs, 12 INTs, 52.8% and 2074 yards. I predict both quarterbacks will be stars in this league. The Bill’s coach Sean McDermott, who is an Andy Reid disciple, is a good coach and will make the Bills competitive. I expect Adam Gase to do the same with the Jets and as I stated before, I won’t accept anything less than 9-7 in 2019. The Miami Dolphins are another story. Their new coach, Brooklyn born Brian Flores was just formally introduced as their head coach this past Monday. Flores has coached with the Patriots since 2004. There have been all sorts of rumors about what the Dolphins plans are. We’ve heard that they are going to blow up the team and tank it for next year’s QB crop. Another rumor is that they will shop Ryan Tannehill. Anyway you look at it, 2019 will be a long season for the Miami Dolphins. With that said, I still say the Patriots will not have as easy a time as they have been having the last two decades.  
  Bill Belichick has used the last two games of every season for the last three years to springboard the Patriots into the playoffs pounding his AFC East rivals. In those six games he has out scored his AFC opponents a stunning 119-39. Here are the scores of the last two games played by the Patriots in each of the last three seasons. 

W Buffalo Bills 24-12
W New York Jets 38-3

W Buffalo Bills 37-16
W New York Jets 26-6

W New York Jets  21-3
W Miami Dolphins 35-14

Remember that in the last three seasons the Patriots have been in the Super Bowl for all of them. It is incredibly embarrassing that these six games look like exhibition games for the Patriots. Enough is enough! 

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Long And Short Of It!
The Jets made their first big move of the offseason. They released Spencer Long after declining to pick up his $3.47 million roster bonus that was due on Wednesday. Long had signed a four-year $27.4 million deal last year. By cutting Long, the Jets have added an additional $6.5 million in cap space. Long had a rough time at center battling an injured finger making it hard for him to snap the ball. After left guard James Carpenter went down with an injury, Long did a good job replacing him. With the additional $6.5 million added to their wealth of salary cap space, the Jets now have nearly $118 million to spend. The Jets are interested in bringing back Long at a reduced rate, according to sources. Pro Football Focus had Long ranked as “below average” for the season. When the Jets signed Spencer Long, I thought it was a good move. Why Todd Bowles kept playing him at center this year with that hurt finger is beyond me like many of the things Bowles did. The Jets should resign him. The Jets need depth with the offensive line.

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Futures Contracts
During the off-season, teams are technically required to stick to the 53-man roster until the new league year begins in early March. The “Futures Contract” is a way for teams to sign players that will not officially be on their roster until the roster expands from 53 to 90 players in March. The Jets have been fairly active. Future Contract players are a combination of rookies and others other players that have been around. Here is a list of players the Jets have signed to Futures Contracts:

Tevaughn Campbell DB, Regina (Canada) 25 years old
Stacy Coley WR, Miami, 24 years old
Dieugot Joseph T, Florida International, 24 years old
Harvey Langi LB, Brigham Young, 26 years old
Arthur Maulet CB, Memphis, 25 years old
Charles Tapper DL, Oklahoma,  25 years old
Jon Toth C, Kentucky, 24 years old
Tim White WR, Arizona State, 24 years old
DeAngelo Yancey WR, Purdue, 24 years old

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What The Jet Scribes Are Saying
Manish Mehta, NY Daily News
The Big Cat isn’t going anywhere. The Daily News has learned that the Jets have no plans to trade defensive lineman Leonard Williams amid their ongoing rebuilding process. My understanding is that Gang Green wants Williams to be a part of its future and is amenable to signing him to a contract extension this year.
“It would be stupid” to trade the 24-year-old Williams this offseason, according to one Jets source. Moreover, new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is excited to maximize the former No. 6 overall pick’s skills in his aggressive 4-3 scheme, according to sources.Speculation that the Jets could move Williams this spring, frankly, made little sense given his talent and age.The Jets have ample cap space (about $111 million) to easily absorb Williams’ $14.2 million fifth-year option in 2019. Gang Green, however, is open to a team-friendly extension. There have not been any substantive contract extension discussions at this point, I’m told. The Jets also have the flexibility to apply the franchise tag on Williams in 2020 (for about $17 million) in the absence of a long-term agreement. Williams told the Daily News in November that a head coaching change could impact his choice to sign a long-term deal.
“I feel like it will impact my decision when that comes,” Williams told the News at the time. “But the fact that I don’t know if there’s going to be a coaching change or I don’t know if there’s going to be a (new) contract… I don’t know what’s in the store for the future, so I can’t (predict).” Well, Gregg Williams has a solid plan for this talented young player. The new Jets defensive coordinator is expected to move Leonard Williams to the three-technique (lining up on the outside shoulder of the guard) along his defensive line. The position shift should put Williams in a prime spot to dominate one-on-one matchups with his quickness. In theory, Williams should be better positioned to make plays against the run and get home more often on pass rushes. (The next step for the Jets is to find a quality edge rusher to occupy the weakside tackle).
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Rich Cimini, ESPN
The almost annual torment of Super Bowl Sunday produced a cruel twist for the New York Jets and their beleaguered fan base. Not only did they have to endure an unprecedented sixth championship for their No. 1 rival, but they saw their most beloved player, Joe Namath, present the Lombardi Trophy to the New England Patriots. It wasn't his fault -- it was a hat-tip to the 50th anniversary of the Jets' historic Super Bowl victory -- but it still had to be soul-crushing. The Jets' No. 2 rival also was celebrating. The Miami Dolphins on Monday hired the latest star pupil from the Bill Belichick Finishing School: defensive whiz Brian Flores, who completed his degree by befuddling the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII. It sets up a fascinating case study between the Dolphins and Jets, both of whom -- along with the Buffalo Bills -- have been eating the Patriots' dust for two decades.In their attempt to overtake Belichick and Tom Brady, the Jets bought into the leaguewide trend by hiring the offensive-minded Adam Gase -- a Miami cast-off. The Dolphins bought into the Patriot Way, bringing one of Belichick's top lieutenants to South Beach. Offense vs. defense. Recycled head coach vs. fresh face. Mediocre record (23-25) vs. winning pedigree. Flores has more box-office appeal than Gase because he has the unmistakable glow of a Super Bowl championship, which makes it easier for the folks in the marketing department, but the reality is Flores is a bigger question mark than Gase.For all his promise, Flores is the product of a system and a culture that does everything well except produce head coaches. Have you studied the branches of the Belichick coaching tree? It has yielded the likes of Eric Mangini (a groan from Jets fans), Charlie Weis, Josh McDaniels, Romeo Crennel and Bill O'Brien, the only one who has achieved success on his own. A year ago, the Detroit Lions thought they were getting a chip off the 'ol Bill in Matt Patricia, but The Pencil was a mess and finished 6-10. One of his veterans complained about his draconian ways to a Jets player after their blowout loss to New York ... and that was only Week 1, for crying out loud.This doesn't mean Flores will turn into another Patricia. But it doesn't mean he won't. Flores is walking into a tough situation, one that was created in part by Gase, who went 13-19 over his last two seasons. The Dolphins will reportedly dump quarterback Ryan Tannehill and begin to rebuild, which means they could look a lot like the 2017 Jets.

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Around The NFL
…..The Cardinals claimed linebacker Tanner Vallejo (played with Bills & Browns) off waivers on Tuesday, getting a player that several other teams wanted — and showing the value of having the first pick in the waiver order…..Rams guard Rodger Saffold has spent his entire nine-year career with the Rams organization and is a free agent. He said he wants to remain a Ram but there will be some tough decisions following their SB loss. He is one of 12 unrestricted free agents for the Rams, which includes Ndamukong Suh, Lamarcus Joyner and Dante Fowler Jr…..The Raiders currently have a deal to play in 2019 at Oracle Park in San Francisco, but they could still have a deal to play in Oakland, if they want it. According to Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the board that oversees the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum continues to have a one-year, $7.5 million rent agreement on the table to host the Raiders for at least one more season…..Atlanta Falcons kicker Matt Bryant will turn 44 years old in May. But just like 46-year old Adam Vinatieri, Bryant doesn’t feel like he’s ready to hang up his cleats just yet. Bryant said on his Twitter account on Tuesday night that he’s not retiring and plans to come back for his 18th NFL season and 11th season with the Falcons…..Not long after a report came out that the Eagles have informed Nick Foles they are exercising the $20 million option on his contract comes word that the quarterback is informing the Eagles he is voiding the option, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. Both moves were expected, with Foles paying the team $2 million to buy back his freedom. The Eagles now can place the franchise tag on the backup quarterback in hopes of trading him. The franchise tag for quarterbacks is expected to be around $25 million for next season, with the window for use of the tag opening Feb. 19. Foles must sign the tag for the Eagles to trade him….Zac Taylor is expected to add Jim Turner to his first coaching staff, Paul Dehner of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Turner, in his second stint as Texas A&M’s offensive line coach, has a close relationship with Taylor, who is Mike Sherman’s son-in-law. Turner was the Aggies’ offensive line coach in 2008 when Taylor began his coaching career in College Station under Sherman. Taylor and Turner also were together with the Dolphins and briefly at the University of Cincinnati….Panthers tight end Greg Olsen has played only 16 of 32 games over the past two seasons because of a foot injury, which has required two surgeries. But Olsen is committed to returning to his Pro Bowl level of play in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Olsen, who has two years remaining on his contract, plans to return in 2019…..The Atlanta Falcons on Tuesday released starting cornerback Robert Alford after six seasons…..New Jersey sportsbooks lost a net $4.5 million on the New England Patriots' 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII, according to numbers released Monday by the Division of Gaming Enforcement…..
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