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Roster Decisions Ahead, Position by Position

Posted by Eric Allen on September 1, 2011 – 9:43 pm

Updated, 11:50 p.m. ET

The waiting has begun for a number of Jets.

Now that the preseason has reach its conclusion after the Jets’ 24-14 loss to the Eagles tonight, the regular-season roster comes into focus. The Jets — and all of the NFL’s other 31 clubs — have until 6 PM ET on Saturday to trim their roster to 53 players.

At a number of positions, the selections will be easy. On offense, there likely won’t be a lot of discussion at QB, RB, FB and TE. But there could be interesting discussions internally about the OL and WR positions.

With any Rex Ryan roster, you have to start with the defensive backs and then work your way toward the line on the other side of the ball. You can bet the farm that the Jets are going to keep a boatload of DBs and there will be intriguing depth decisions there as well. The one thing to keep in mind throughout the weekend is that GM Mike Tannenbaum and company will be scanning the waiver wire and they’ll have the ability to make claims up until Sunday at noon.

“I think we have to see the tape,” said Rex Ryan after the Jets’ 24-14 loss to the Eagles.  “I think we have a pretty good idea of what happened and what it looked like.  We have to see who becomes available.  Mike does a great job and our pro scouting department tells the guys if somebody becomes available.  I am not saying we won’t claim somebody because it seems like each year we have, and we have improved our football team when we have done that.  We will certainly look at it.”

So the Saturday night roster could have a change, or two, or a few by the time Ryan and company hit the practice field on Monday. Let’s take a quick look at each position group as we head into the weekend.

QB — In all likelihood, you are looking at a Mark Sanchez–Mark Brunell–Greg McElroy trifecta.  Brunell didn’t play in the preseason due to a calf injury, but the Green & White are confident he’ll be ready to assume his place behind Sanchez.

“Brunell threw the ball today in warmups, so I think that was good,” Ryan said. “He felt good.  I feel pretty comfortable that Brunell will be back in that role any day.”

Give Drew Willy a lot of credit. He finally saw game action in the preseason finale against the Eagles and came in with ice in his veins, throwing a back-shoulder scoring toss to Scotty McKnight on his first play from scrimmage after McElroy left with a thumb injury.

RB — The Jets expect FB John Conner (left ankle) ready to go for their Sept. 11 opener and they love their foursome of tailbacks in Shonn Greene, LaDainian Tomlinson, Joe McKnight and Bilal Powell. Would the Jets be looking for some insurance behind Conner?

TE — The Jets have one of the best receiving tight ends in football in Dustin Keller, a solid blocker/special teamer in Matt Mulligan and an emerging youngster in Jeff Cumberland. Rookie Josh Baker, a 6’3”, 244-pounder from Northwest Missouri, had three catches entering tonight’s game.

OL — Obviously the starters are set and the Jets are hopefully OL Rob Turner has a return in him at some point. Second-year man Vladimir Ducasse struggled at times playing a variety of positions in the preseason, but he’ll be counted on as a key backup. Has Robbie Felix done enough to earn himself a roster spot as an opening-night reserve at C? The Jets also may elect to scan the waiver wire this weekend.

“I thought he had his moments.  He struggled the first game and then he picked it up after that,” Ryan said of Ducasse.  “In this one maybe he took a step back — I am not sure.  He did have a few penalties so, obviously we have to get better there.”

WR — You have your Big Four with Santonio Holmes, Plaxico Burress, Derrick Mason and Jeremy Kerley. Then that fifth spot has been battle with Logan Payne, who suffered a dislocated wrist against the Giants, and Patrick Turner. Is there any possibility that the Jets keep more than five?

DL — Youth and athleticism. The Jets are stoked about this group and have every right to be. Sione Pouha, Mike DeVito and rookie Muhammad Wilkerson will start, but the coaches love what they’ve seen from Ropati Pitoitua. Marcus Dixon has also been solid and rookie Kenrick Ellis, a developmental project out of Hampton, has flashed at well. Martin Tevaseu has got plenty of action in the summer, starting three contests and holding sturdy at the nose. He should be a capable backup to Pouha.

LB — Let’s borrow a line from the Jets press release prior to Preseason Game 4. “Second-year LB Josh Mauga, and rookie LB Nick Bellore, both undrafted, have provided quality depth at inside linebacker. The two have combined for 21 tackles, two sacks and one interception during the preseason.” After Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas on the outside, Jamal Westerman will have a golden opportunity to rush the passer in 2011 with Jason Taylor departed. Also Garrett McIntyre thrived as a rusher in camp.

Aaron Maybin, a former first-round pick of the Bills, came in late to camp and attempted to make a late push to impress the coaching staff. Did he do enough with his 1.5 sacks vs. Eagles, giving him 2.5 for the summer? Brashton Satele almost brought an interception back to the house in Week 2 against the Bengals.

DB — Get your counter ready because the Jets are going to keep a bunch. Of course Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson will head up the corners while Jim Leonhard, Eric Smith and Brodney Pool return at safety. But CB Donald Strickland, a key performer in sub packages in 2009, is back in New York and S Dwight Lowery tied for the club lead with three picks last season including two pick-sixes.

Corner Marquice Cole is a speedy vet and has been a valuable contributor on Mike Westhoff’s special teams units. Former Bills CB Ellis Lankster played well throughout camp and didn’t hurt himself tonight with his 67-yard return of a third quarter pick for a TD.   There is also S Emanuel Cook, a player defensive coordinator Mike Pettine told newyorkjets.com basically has taken the spot of James Ihedigbo.

Speaking of burners, Isaiah Trufant is back after a summer try with the Eagles. The 5’8”, 170-pound CB saw some teams action tonight as Westhoff used him outside at gunner. He did commit an offside infraction that kept a Philly drive alive — a possession that resulted in a fourth-down incomplete pass from Vince Young, who pulled up with a right hamstring injury in mid-throw.

Specialists — K Nick Folk survived a tough push from Nick Novak while T.J. Conley outdueled Australian Chris Bryan. Tanner Purdum is the long-snapper while Kerley is listed atop the depth chart for both kickoff and punt returns. The Jets also have a special weapon in their bag with Cromartie always waiting to get the call.

Stay tuned to newyorkjets.com for all your official transactions from the Green & White.

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Posted in Eric Allen | 45 Comments »

45 Responses to “Roster Decisions Ahead, Position by Position”

  1. By scjoe on Sep 1, 2011 | Reply

    There will be some tough decisions, no doubt, but none will be tougher then the LB position. There will be a quality LB left off of the final 53 for someone to take a chance on. I can see 2 of them making the practice squad if they are not claimed by some other team. I think OL depth will come from another teams roster cuts. Aside from that, I hope the K/P position will be upgraded.

  2. By Karan on Sep 1, 2011 | Reply

    I just wanted to make sure, Dwight Lowery and Brodney Pool will definitely be kept right? Their extremely solid at their positions, especially lowery, guy’s a great player.

  3. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Sep 2, 2011 | Reply

    So let’s see, Conley had a great night and…and…and. Okay, so there were some other bright spots but there’s definitely some unanswered questions. scjoe, I’ll be shocked if we don’t pick up at least 1 vet OL from some other team. And I agree that we’re gonna lose at least 1 good LB, a position at which we seem to be oddly stacked. I see Trufant is back but Kerley’s claimed his KR/PR job and I don’t think we need any more small DBs. Interesting to hear Pettine pretty much say Cook has made the team, I was surprised he didn’t make it last yr and was encouraged by the way he played when he came back later in the season. Big question is whether these young DL guys are as good as the coaches seem to think…and of course, can we score TDs?

  4. By PIEMAN on Sep 2, 2011 | Reply

    o-line, o-line, o-line, please dont rely on vlad ducasse . we need a solid veteran to help the run game and protect mr. sanchez, both by the way are allready suspect.
    the foundation of success is the offensive line

  5. By IRA on Sep 2, 2011 | Reply

    Baker is one tough kid and has opened my eyes all summer. He has earned a spot on the PS or maybe even as an H-Back just in case they don’t want to re-sign T-Rich. I guess it all shakes out on how Conner’s ankle is this week.
    All along because of Mason’s age and Plax’s time away i felt they possibly could keep 6 WR’s. Except what do you do at RB. I am not sold on their depth that much as of now. Hard for Powell and McKnight to run behind the b/u’s they have.
    Posey or Lankster? Tough choice. One goes on the PS and Strickland is a must to keep. Wilson took a step back last night against b/u’s.
    They have to sign maybe an OL after last nights performance.
    Mauga, Bellore, and McIntrye are locks. Satele deserves a spot over Maybin.

  6. By IRA on Sep 2, 2011 | Reply

    He is a better all around football player even though maybin has freakish speed.
    Trufant not sure what to make of that move.
    Last and not least one move that i thought they could get away with is Cook for Digs. Well right now that looks like they made the wrong move and it was all about saving a few dollars. They should have kept Digs. Cook has not played well in the preseason games.

  7. By Anthony on Sep 2, 2011 | Reply

    JOE MCKNIGHT Needs to be cut. I watch this guy fail time and time again. I don’t know what kind of faith Rex has in him but he has done nothing to improve from what I watched. The guy fumbles, doesnt break tackles and to me has not really shown any promise. I think they should cut him keep Powell and maybe re sign Richardson to back up Conner. It would be a wise move . He did good vs the Bills last year. Maybe I am wrong and I hope to be about the guy but right now I think he is a bad roster spot for the Jets. Powell looks like he could be a good player if he has blocking.

  8. By wayne on Sep 2, 2011 | Reply

    Tom64, I heard a dig at our OC and QB………SO, WHAT YOU DIDN’T SAY THEIR NAMES!!!

  9. By wayne on Sep 2, 2011 | Reply

    Ellis didn’t look PUP to me and Haynesworth………….GET SOME HELP ON THE OL.

  10. By GaryC on Sep 2, 2011 | Reply

    I know this guy will not make the team but I have been impressed the last couple of games with jarron gilbert,he seems to be one of the few down lineman who can get a rush.Looking at his size and number he reminds me of Charles Mann of the redskins,If jets can find away to get him on practice squad he could develope into something.

  11. By GaryC on Sep 2, 2011 | Reply

    Is it necessary that brodney pool makes this team,he was brought in as a starter last year, this year he is a backup.they can probably get better play from one of the younger deepbacks.

  12. By kw65Fan on Sep 2, 2011 | Reply

    I am all fo player safety, but the :No Fun League” is going to a Saturday of flag Football. Last night was the cleanest (shoulder) hardest hit i have seen in a long time by a Jet player. Pool layed that guy out…and they threw a flag because “Receiver was defensless”. give me a break…what a joke. what are you suppose to do…wait till he catches it then make a tackle. This new ruel is such a joke. Like Buttle said and it showed on replays…he led with his shoulder…not his helmet. Maybe looked bad because the receiver didn’t have his chin strap strapped and it came off to make it look bad to the officals.
    But come on…this is football…not some lingerie playing players.

  13. By Richard Singer on Sep 2, 2011 | Reply

    Lowery must be kept on the roster first of all. OL depth is my main concern as they were up and down this preseason. It makes me sick that we will lose one of the LB’s as they are the deepest squad on the team and no doubt Belichek will be eyeballing our cast offs for his Jets North team. I really like Mauga, Satele and Bellore, I would hate to see these guys in anything but the Green & White. J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets!!!!!

  14. By Maurice "Die Hard JET Fan" on Sep 2, 2011 | Reply

    Rex (The Godfather) Ryan, will be keeping me entertain by coaching the only Football Team I ever will LOVE, The New York Football JETS. Losing games now, is less painful than losing them with the same old jets. Now we can say, “no problem we are still in it to win it ALL” New England WHO? In the words of H.E. We play to WIN so lets go out and win the Super Bowl and make Rexy look Sexy.

  15. By BlackDynamite on Sep 2, 2011 | Reply

    Maybin has been impressive, much more so than Westerman. He’s shown me he can contribute and pressure the QB, again, more so than Westerman. I haven’t seen, or heard, much from Westerman

    If he doesn’t get on, he will be picked up quickly. He can rush the passer

  16. By IRA on Sep 2, 2011 | Reply

    Lowery gives them so much flexibility. He basically is the R. Turner for the DB’s.

  17. By Jeffrey on Sep 2, 2011 | Reply

    Keep the following:
    McElroy, Mulligan, Baker, Turner, Dixon, Ellis, Mauga,
    Bellore, Maybin and Lankster.

    Get rid of Ducasse, he has no skills, he has the size but does not know what to do with it.

  18. By scjoe on Sep 2, 2011 | Reply

    64, I liked Cook all along and I think the reason he hasn’t been given more of a chance come game time is the same ol reason that begins with a P and ends with an olitics. I hate it when that word comes in to play in sports but it always has and it always will. I would have to agree with BlackDynamite on Maybin if it were to come down to him or Westerman. Westerman has been here a while but it appears to me Maybin seems much more comfortable in the system then Westerman. Of course Rex has much more insight into that competition then I have, but it will be interesting to see how both evolve no matter where they end up.

  19. By scjoe on Sep 2, 2011 | Reply

    Ira, it seems like you are not sold on Maybin. Consider what he has done in the short time he has been here. I know for the most part it was against bu/s but he has shown he can get to the QB and that is what this team needs as much as anything. I think if this guy is given the chance to get the system down, like most of the others have already (Satele, Mauga, Westerman) he could be the answer. I wonder what would have been if we had a normal off season and we had him from the outset. Just a hunch, but keep an eye on the punters released by either Denver or Detroit.

  20. By Charliejet on Sep 2, 2011 | Reply

    Blackdynamite , Maybin has looked impressive. Jeffrey total agreement on Ducasse big and strong yes- but too slow for this level of play. I actually said that when Ducasse was drafted but someone said I was being a same ole’ jet fan.
    Maurice “Die hard jet fan” just curious – Who H.E.?

  21. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Sep 2, 2011 | Reply

    wayne, I don’t get you, I didn’t refer directly or indirectly to Sanchez and Schotty…unless a reference to our failure to score many TDs last year constitutes a reference to them, which I suppose it does…

  22. By IRA on Sep 2, 2011 | Reply

    scjoe, Hear that Weatherford will be cut. I would like to see them bring him back.
    With Maybin man he is so quick off the line. Guess we will see tomorrow if he sticks or not. Trouble is once the real games start teams will take advantage of him coming off the edge. Basically that’s all he can do right now. I don’t think that warrants a spot on the team.

  23. By rob on Sep 2, 2011 | Reply

    That was a dreadful outing. Frankly, the coaching staff did not have these guys prepared. very little fire and absolutely NO discipline. Depth on the offensive line, defensive line, and secondary is non existent. DuCasse, wilkerson, and wilson were just plain awful.
    Tannenbaum needs to be honest with himself this year and not make another bonehead/woodhead error to try and sweep these bad draft choices under the rug.

  24. By IRA on Sep 2, 2011 | Reply

    Read McElroy had surgery today. My guess 6 weeks so i guess he is looking at the PUP list. Now they must go sign QB. I would think if they can get somebody who knows the playbook it would be a no brainer to sign. Right now Ratliff is a free agent. Lets see what happens with Clemens and O’Connell.

  25. By Gabriel on Sep 2, 2011 | Reply

    How about Brashton Satele? 8 solo tackles wow that is impressive, scotty mcknight as a change

  26. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Sep 2, 2011 | Reply

    Ira, I don’t get this thinking that we have to sign another QB unless Rex isn’t telling the truth about Brunell being ready to play. McElroy wasn’t going to play this yr anyway unless we’d already locked up exactly the playoff spot we wanted. It’s a shame he had to have surgery but Sanchez has already had his own surgeries, this is getting to be a tougher and tougher game in some ways. If Brunell can play, why do we need Clemens or O’Connell? Besides, Willy threw better last night than Clemens ever did.

  27. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Sep 2, 2011 | Reply

    Eric and Randy, to my surprise I’ve realized that the NFL website statistics after each game only show a punter’s net average, not his gross. This is strangely uninformative as well as unfair, as it’s far from always a punter’s fault when a return knocks down his average. When you get a chance, can you print Conley and Bryan’s averages for this summer, both gross and net? It’s confusing to hear on this site that, say, Conley averaged 48 yds per punt last night and then go on the NFL site and see an average of 42.3. Thanks a lot!

  28. By kw65Fan on Sep 2, 2011 | Reply

    Broken right thumb for Mcelroy…having surgery…he will be on IR. The kid from last night can be 3rd string…filled in nicely…just as long as Brunnel is ready opening night. That is going to be a fun bashing game with Cowboys. Both offenses stink this pre-season but the Ryan boys will be bashing heads on defense for sure. See a 13-10 score…late field goal by Folk after Coboys tied it up.

  29. By Randy Lange on Sep 2, 2011 | Reply

    Tom, for the preseason T.J. Conley had a 47.2-yard gross and a 38.1 net on 18 punts, and Chris Bryan had a 40.2 gross and a 37.7 net on nine punts.

  30. By davetharave on Sep 2, 2011 | Reply

    If we end up cutting McKnight after keeping him last year over Wooden Head, the tragedy will be doubled.

  31. By russ on Sep 2, 2011 | Reply

    I Agree Woodhead is a trmendous loss, Mcknight is no star….Ducasse is not worthy of a back up so untill Hunter heals we are in deep doo doo….We will need three tight ends with the line and the DL will have to step it up against the runwe need four more weeks to get this team in top shape…

  32. By wayne on Sep 2, 2011 | Reply

    Tom64, it was a silly quip. Still I don’t think it’s possible you avoidn criticizing MS and the OC.

  33. By IRA on Sep 2, 2011 | Reply

    Tom, Are you kidding me. Willy has never played in an NFL game. I would welcome back Kellen with open arms. No way Mr T goes into the Cowboys game with 3 QB’s. He was there for that 05 Jags game when they lost Chad and Fiedler in a matter of a few plays. He will not take that chance.
    The Pats have become Jets North. Woodhead, Ellis, Digs and now Dearth. That road to I95 N continues to have heavy traffic.

  34. By Jimmer on Sep 2, 2011 | Reply

    kw65Fan, I agree, that was the absolute cleanest hard hit I’ve ever seen. If that’s a penalty, I might as well start watching soccer.
    Rex, the godfather, love it!
    Jeffrey, Vlad will be here at least another year. You don’t just toss 2nd rd picks.
    I personally liked Ratliff over Clemmons.
    McNight will be here, no doubt.
    Our B/U OL smells like a 100y’o can of sardines.
    Our RB’s are way deeper than you think.
    And I might be more happy with our T/E’s than with the secondary.

  35. By Jimmer on Sep 2, 2011 | Reply

    I still worry about overall speed in the front 7, the screen passes are killing us yet again. 1st team 2nd team, it might be a system flaw.
    The kid we got from Buffalo looks way better than Gholston.
    6 WR’s would be sick to keep, I think we may only keep 4. Our TE’s are that good.
    Our ST were only as good as Westoff wanted them to be on the D side of it. If it’d a very important game, we’re gonna see Cro return KO’s.
    What we really need are B/U OL. Don’t know how many we’re gonna have, but if we can only get specialists, so be it. We have nothing behind the starters, and thats scary.

  36. By BillsJets on Sep 2, 2011 | Reply

    My take on the cuts that need to be made are. Let Rex take these guys to the side and interview each and everyone of them, and find the guys that bleed Gang Green. There are so many guys who come to this training camp year after year who long for being a Jet, and then there’s others who only show up because of how much they are going to get paid to play for the Jets. Rex, keep the guys who are so wanting to be a Jet, not the ones that say hey well it’s here or I’ll just move type of guys. Mauga, Satele, McIntyre, Bellore, are guys who want so bad to be Jets, I think a Maybin doesn’t care, and also don’t forget to get rid of the injury ridden guys, we need back ups for our Starters. Go JETS!!!

  37. By TONY GARCIA on Sep 2, 2011 | Reply

    need to shore up o-line most likely thru waivers,offense looks out of sink.
    jets need to win fast,AFC east will be competitive.

  38. By Bob on Sep 2, 2011 | Reply

    If Brunell is healthy enough to be #2 then why not give Drew Willy a chance at #3,he showed poise and accuracy with an offensive line that couldn’t stop a high school team and receivers who couldn’t catch. I don’t think Joe Willie would have done much better under those circumstances. The kid didn’t get rattled and looked better than Clemens or Mcelroy ever looked. He deserves a chance.

  39. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Sep 2, 2011 | Reply

    McElroy hasn’t played in an NFL game either, Ira, and he’s not going to this yr even after his finger heals, unless we’re ahead 55-3 in a game which isn’t likely. Anyway, I see most of the posts on this predated the announcement that the Jets aren’t putting Mc on IR, which doesn’t surprise me a bit. Who needs Clemens back on the sideline with the clipboard? What makes anyone think a #3 QB would play if both Sanchez and Brunell went down? If that happens the season’s over anyway. wayne, I’m 50-50 on Sanchez, he has strengths, weaknesses, and about 2 yrs to get it right. Schotty I’d fire right now and tell him never to come back, unless it can be proven to me that the real problem is Rex’s Stone Age ideas on O being forced on Schotty.

  40. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Sep 2, 2011 | Reply

    Thanks for the info on the punters, Randy and Eric. To heck with the hang time for now, let Conley work on that — when was the last time the Jets had a punter who could average anywhere near 47 yds? Maybe back in Curly Johnson’s prime, that’s when…

  41. By Eli on Sep 2, 2011 | Reply


  42. By capatainscott on Sep 3, 2011 | Reply

    anybody going to mention the play of Mattias Berning? the guy was all over the place against philly, i would be surprised if he was cut too

  43. By Q on Sep 3, 2011 | Reply

    i agree with the 1 guy that said joe mcknight looks like a fail over & over.time to move on from that experiment

  44. By Row on Sep 3, 2011 | Reply

    Brunnel needs to go. Kerley needs cut. Both rookies on the DL MUST start. Find a kick returner. Find a pulling tackle. Find a backup QB immediately. The running game is going to struggle. Keep Maybin no doubt. Trade Greene for a Safety or a pick. Folk missed a few kicks and kicked the ball out of bounds, he needs to be on the hot seat. Cut Mcknight, sign C. Taylor. Lot of work for #6.

  45. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Sep 3, 2011 | Reply

    Q, you don’t usually trade any pick from the first few rounds without actually giving him a chance to play his position. That’s why talk of cutting Ducasse, much less J McKnight, is so ridiculous. If McKnight shows nothing at RB this yr when actually carrying the ball, let’s talk again. Frankly, I’m not a RB coach but I think the Jets are at least a bit off about him turning it outside too much, we haven’t had a guy who can even do that since Leon. Row, sounds like you’re saying weird stuff just for fun. Either that or your failure to speak in complete sentences is getting the better of you — you’re saying cut Kerley? Cut McKnight, trade Greene and get Taylor, who set a post-merger low last yr for avg/p/carry? Shine on, you crazy Jet fan!

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