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Blog

Matt Kroul Makes a Leap from D-Line to O-Line

Posted by Randy Lange on August 8, 2011 – 12:38 pm

Updated 1 p.m. EDT

It isn’t done too often, but there have been some success stories regarding defensive linemen who have jumped over the trench to play on the offensive line. The Jets have perhaps Exhibit A in the NFL right now in Brandon Moore.

And maybe they have Exhibit B in Matt Kroul.

“I found out two days ago,” Kroul told me on Sunday of the new position on his football résumé. “The last time I played on the offensive line? Probably my sophomore year in high school. Obviously the footwork, the lean, the body position, it’s all different. But a lot of it is football. It’s feet apart, hands inside.

“They told me to kind of learn offense and defense and then I can be there for either, if there are injuries or whatnot, and also hopefully to make this team, be a guy that can do everything — special teams, offense, defense.”

Kroul even got a number switch, from 98 in green, his number last season when he got his NFL debut with roles in six games, to 66 in white.

For some players, such a move might precede the next move into a cab for the airport. But Kroul has shown staying power as a pro. He set an Iowa record with 50 consecutive starts, then came to the Jets as an undrafted free agent in 2009 and stuck around.

Now head coach Rex Ryan is foreseeing a possible future for Kroul.

“Matt’s a smart guy. He can always pop over to defense,” Ryan said at today’s midday news conference at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. “His weights up to just over 310. … I know Bart [Scott] was calling him ‘the fat Faneca,’ making him feel good. But he looked pretty good over there.

“This guy’s a tough guy. He was an Iowa state champion in wrestling, so he’s got great balance. And he’s smart and tough. Just go look at our starting guard — I think Brandon’s the best guard in football, and he’s sitting over there as a former defensive lineman. Maybe Kroul will be one of those guys who plays 10 years as an offensive lineman.”

A big reason for this move is because of Moore, who remains on the Physically Unable to Perform list from his offseason hip surgery. But he’s also had a hand in this particular line dance.

“There’s some awesome veterans on this offensive line with Nick at center and Brandon,” Kroul said. “He’s a guy that made the switch, too, in his career. I definitely have some resources over there. And Coach [Bill] Callahan is one of the best O-line coaches in the league. I definitely have the right people in front of me.”

Kroul, who’s working at guard now and could eventually learn center as well, is eager to make this work.

“I haven’t established myself as a defensive lineman, but I’ve been there for two years on a good team, so teams know I can play defense,” he said. “If this switch happens for real, I’ll be the best I can be here and go with it.”

Rex on Wideouts

WR Plaxico Burress will again work individual drills today as he did yesterday, “and maybe we’ll get him a few more reps” in team drills, Ryan said. “Clearly I want to take it slow,” said the coach. “We’ll see how he progresses and we’ll definitely keep an eye on him.”

Rex is also eager to see Derrick Mason in his first practice wearing No. 85 in green (marking the start of the 14th straight year Mason will wear his favorite number). “I’d like to see Derrick get out there, run his pivot route and all that stuff. And I think we’ll see that today.”

Here’s a bit of trivial but impressive trivia about Mason: He can become the first player in NFL history to record at least 60-plus catches and 750-plus receiving yards in 12 consecutive seasons if he reaches those figures again this season. He’s currently tied with two other players at 11 straight seasons. Who are they? Answer below

Rex Cetera

Asked about punter and former Australian Rules athlete Chris Bryan, Ryan said: “The thing you notice about him is he takes about 4 yards to get the ball off. Most guys stride longer than that. And maybe it’s because he’s left-footed, but he just booms it. Westy’s doing different things with him. I’ve been impressed with him.”

Westy, of course, is ST coach Mike Westhoff. Ryan opened his news conference with a plug for the Westhoff bobble head promotion. Fans can preorder the bobble head, which won’t be manufactured unless the company making it gets 288 orders (and of course no orders will be processed unless the Westy collectible is made). “Westy’s bought 286 and I bought one,” said Rex, “so there’s still one more” that has to be sold.

Ryan was asked about the Jets’ young, still-under-the-radar but promising defensive line. We’ll have stories and video on the D-line but Ryan had an interesting take on how this line is influencing practices. “You look at that group out there now and there’s seven, eight guys you feel really good about,” he said. “Our second defensive line right now is so much better than our second offensive line. [Mark] Brunell’s back there and can’t even get a pass off. That group’s been really dominant. I think thats’ what’s tilting practices.”

Today’s afternoon training camp practice is closed to the public, but Tuesday’s practice is open. Wednesday is an off day, then open practices are scheduled from Thursday through Saturday. The first goal-line drills of camp are scheduled for Thursday. Rex: “It’ll actually be fun to go to practice that day.” … Trivia answer: Derrick Mason, Hall of Fame WR Jerry Rice and HOF-to-be TE Tony Gonzalez all have streaks of 11 seasons with at least 60 catches and 750 yards.


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Posted in Randy Lange | 20 Comments »


20 Responses to “Matt Kroul Makes a Leap from D-Line to O-Line”

  1. By ddh on Aug 8, 2011 | Reply

    definitely a great attitude, now only time will tell, I like the multiple position player scheme, it has incredible possibilities.

  2. By scjoe on Aug 8, 2011 | Reply

    This story puts some doubts in your mind about the O-Line. First they want to take a journeyman D Lineman and convert him to the O-Line, then we hear about how the back up D-lineman dominate the back up O-Lineman. Not good! I hope things work out well for this offense which struggled last year and have so many new parts this year, you would think that consistency would have been a top priority, but that definitely has not been the case. I believe in you Rex, just hope you know what you are doing re: this years moves.

  3. By bill615 on Aug 8, 2011 | Reply

    Actually, Exhibit A for the Jets was Dan Alexander. Drafted in the 8th round of the 1977 draft as a DT, he was converted to Guard and played 12 years with the Jets, including making 2 Pro Bowls, either as a player or an alternate.

  4. By Randy Lange on Aug 8, 2011 | Reply

    Good call, bill615. I covered Dan Alexander for a short while but forgot his pedigree.

  5. By IRA on Aug 8, 2011 | Reply

    From what i have seen from Kroul the past two summers is he has a non stop motor and is a tough dude. Maybe he will make the switch.

  6. By Tom Spicer on Aug 8, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Brandon Moore was a d lineman & he turn out to be one of the best guards in the NFL so it could work.

  7. By Tim on Aug 8, 2011 | Reply

    **********(I read that (SHAUN ELLIS) go a 4 or 5 MILLION dollar contract from NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS.

    I cannot blame SHAUN ELLIS for taking a (4 to 5 MILLION) dollar contract, EVEN if it is with the PATRIOTS!

    Hopefully (SHAUN ELLIS) will still RETIRE as a JET.)*************************

  8. By Gabriel on Aug 8, 2011 | Reply

    I would have perfered for Matt Kroul to still try to be a defensive linemen, it woul dbe nice to have some good depth there, his a hard worker. The D-line may be young but it works in our favor, in their prime and lean and mean. Go jets!

  9. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Aug 8, 2011 | Reply

    Typical Same Old Jet Fans defeatism, scjoe. You read this story and conclude that Kroul has been switched because our O line is imperiled. You ignore the far more obvious conclusion that with a D line so stacked with young guys that Ellis was allowed to leave, Kroul was told that if he didn’t switch to O he’d probably be cut. I guess you don’t believe what Scott just said about Wilkerson, and what Rex and everybody else has been saying about him from Day One.

  10. By Clarke W. Griswald on Aug 8, 2011 | Reply

    The Pats let Seymour go because they didn’t want to show him the money. That didn’t work out, so they decide to pay a 34 year old Shaun Ellis 5 mill for one season. That sounds like desperation, Ellis is good, but not that good! I love how these Kool- aid drinkin’ analysts put the Pats in the Super Bowl because of Albert Haynesworthless and Ocho Stinko. Did I fall asleep last season at some point cause Haynesworth was no Pro bowler last season and last I checked and Revis owns Chad Johnson.

  11. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Aug 8, 2011 | Reply

    MAJORLY GREAT POST, Clarke! Yeah, what is this fear of Haynesworth and Ocho, two guys I definitely wouldn’t have wanted as Jets? And how in the world is Ellis worth $5 mil to that team? No way we would’ve offered him half that, and I’m real glad we didn’t. Bring on the new, young, fast D linemen!

  12. By Bryan on Aug 8, 2011 | Reply

    So is this saying that Vlad Ducasse is that bad?

  13. By scjoe on Aug 8, 2011 | Reply

    64, I am not talking about Wilkerson. Where did you get that from?? I comment on what I read tom. I read that the back up O Line cant keep any one out, and in case you don’t know it, those backups are one injury away from starting. My concern is the depth on the O line, not with how much young talent there is on the D-Line.If you go by tour logic, then cut the guy and go out and sign an O lineman with experience.And don’t give me the defeatist ** either. You know, like the one you took with BE, and B Smith.

  14. By Jimmer on Aug 9, 2011 | Reply

    I think he’s being called out myself. You’re not good enough as a DL to play for us. You better be able to bring something else to the table to keep you.

  15. By Damone on Aug 9, 2011 | Reply

    I am also a lil worried about the O-line.What is going on with B.Moore and when will he be in playing shape.If this O-line is n’t good or great,Ellis,Wilfork and Haynesworth will end up hurting Sanchez.No good o-line=no playoffs

  16. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Aug 9, 2011 | Reply

    Sure we can always use depth on the O line, scjoe, but Jimmer’s much closer to the truth. There just isn’t any room for Kroul with all these new guys we’re actually giving a shot to (partly to my amazement) on the D line. Surely you’re not consistently defeatist, but I’ll defend myself from that charge for sure. And one of the biggest defeatist attitudes I’ve EVER seen among Jet fans was the bizarre belief that after trading up for Sanchez, we needed Smith to start half-running the team at QB. Lusting to keep Smith, an awful WR, was the real defeatism. As for BE, I said many times we had to sign both him and SH but I couldn’t anticipate the crazy strike yr nor BE’s absurd approach to contract talks with us. His off-the-field antics, maybe.

  17. By Chicago Bob on Aug 9, 2011 | Reply

    Best guess is the Jets will wait until the final cuts and see who is available for some OL depth. It is nice to see Mike T. is not just going out and spending money while they have some left. Let’s wait a little longer and see what develops. Most likely there will be a decent amount of talent available after teams make their final cuts. Like everyone else, the Jets brass has their flaws however in the short time span that Rex and Mike T. have been together, they have shown the ability to put a competitive team on the field – a far cry from the Charley Winner, Lou Holtz, Joe Walton, Bruce Coslet and Rich Kotite days.

  18. By Jimmer on Aug 9, 2011 | Reply

    Randy, Chicago Bob is speaking profanities, and you approved of it. Just look at the last name he mentions.

  19. By Jimmer on Aug 9, 2011 | Reply

    Tom, I thought BE played more consistant over SH myself. But, he blew it with the stabbing incident after the dwi incident. Too much booze for him.
    BS on the other hand, did so many things besides being listed as a WR. I understand we can fill those roles, but he was a single roster spot.

  20. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Aug 9, 2011 | Reply

    Jimmer, Arte just called me and said McKnight, LT, and Kerley are this yr’s candidates for the Wildcat. As you all know, I think the Wildcat is mostly a waste of time, a trick play that badly kills momentum when it fails and retards Sanchez’s development. But we ran it in a particularly inept way, never seriously allowing Smith to throw. If you’re gonna run it, at least do it with a guy LT, who’s thrown quite a few TD passes in his career. And who’s also a position player, unlike Smith. I don’t know about BE playing more consistent than SH, who came up big in almost every game (the MIA TD drop was just about his only mistake), but it woulda been great to keep BE.

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