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Kroul Rocks On as Candidate for Backup Center

Posted by Randy Lange on June 22, 2012 – 10:17 am

On the surface, the Jets’ backup center spot could be viewed as similar to when Colin Baxter was Nick Mangold’s immediate backup for a short span early last season.

But while the Jets’ current reserves — Caleb Schlauderaff and Matt Kroul — have no pro regular-season snaps on their résumés, which is the same as Baxter had when he arrived via waivers last September, both Jets have had more pro practice reps at this stage of their careers.

For Kroul in particular, this is a crucial offseason and training camp ahead. And the trenchman from the nation’s heartland is eager to proceed with this latest development on his unpredictable pro career path.

“It’s going well,” he said at the end of last week’s full-squad minicamp. “I’ve got Nick. He helps out a lot, and that’s kind of where I’m focused now is center. In drills I’m with Nick, in team periods I’m coming in behind him. He’s a good asset.”

Kroul’s assets never used to included snapping a football between his legs unerringly into a quarterback’s hands. He had been a starting defensive tackle at the University of Iowa and at Mount Vernon (Iowa) High School, where his offensive exposure came as a two-year, 2,000-yard, 36-TD running back. He came to the Jets as an undrafted DT in 2009.

His transition to offense began last July after the lockout ended.

“It was guard in camp, and then I played scout center all last season,” he said. “I’ve pretty much been center these first three phases [of the offseason schedule].”

What are the toughest tasks for him as a center?

“Just seeing the entire field, reading defenses,” he said. “As a defensive player, you’re very focused on one guy for sure, maybe two or three. And now your vision’s broadened to reading maybe eight guys. That’s probably the hardest thing and the biggest difference.”

And so the snapping thing is … a snap?

“Sometimes it’s tough, being a two or three [center] because there are three or four different quarterbacks,” he replied. “Every quarterback’s kind of different and you’ve just got to get enough snaps with those guys.”

Besides Mangold’s guiding hand, there has been a changeup in coaching styles with new OL coach Dave DeGuglielmo.

“He’s good. It’s a different style. I had kind of the same thing in college,” Kroul recalled. “We had a kind of quiet guy in Coach Callahan and now ‘Guge’ is a different coaching style. But offensive line is offensive line. A few different techniques here and there, different ways of coaching stuff, and that’s the way it’s going to be.”

That may also sum up Kroul’s philosophy. He’s a tough, durable player (he set the Hawkeyes record by starting 50 consecutive games). He’s got leadership skills as a former college captain. He’s got the size at 6’3″ and 300 pounds. He’s clearly smart and versatile. And there’s something about him that has prompted head coach Rex Ryan and his evolving staff to bring back the now 26-year-old “kid.”

“I think Matt has that kind of ability where he can be in that mix,” Ryan said last summer in revealing that Kroul was not only an offensive lineman now but a center. “I’m excited about him. I think he can do it.”

Ryan said last week that Schlauderaff, the guard who came to the Jets last September in a trade with the Packers, is the first backup. And fans will remember in that difficult primetime loss to the Ravens that left guard Matt Slauson spelled Baxter at center for a few midgame series.

The depth chart behind Mangold will sort itself out at Cortland beginning in five weeks. But Kroul has the physicality and the mentality to stick on the roster this time around.

“I just went home one weekend, Memorial Day, and that was it. I’ve been here playing ball. That’s about it,” he said of his offseason schedule. “It’s exciting every day you’re competing. Now it’s almost time to go into camp ready to rock.”

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Posted in Randy Lange | 39 Comments »

39 Responses to “Kroul Rocks On as Candidate for Backup Center”

  1. By IRA on Jun 22, 2012 | Reply

    Just the fact that Kroul has hung around since 09 and tried to change the postion he plays to me shows he is one hard working tough guy. So i wouldn’t rule anything out with Kroul. Right now i would have to say Schlauderaff will be the guy if he contiunes to get better at center. Can’t see both making the roster.

  2. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Jun 22, 2012 | Reply

    Nice to even see the phrase “backup center” printed on this site. Ira, it’s going on a year since you told me we’d get a good one no sweat. I’m still sweating.

  3. By scjoe on Jun 22, 2012 | Reply

    You have to be kidding me!!! One time could be considered a mistake. Two times? That is just insane. GO OUT AND SIGN A VETERAN B/U CENTER PERIOD. Matt Kroul, the b/u ex D lineman turned b/u OT turned b/u center is not the answer. There is no answer on this roster today. We witnessed first hand what would happen if Mangold went down for any significant period of time. The problem STILL hasn’t been addressed. No wonder there is so much negativity floating around among Jet fans.

  4. By walt on Jun 22, 2012 | Reply

    I think kroul would be a tremendous improvement over a rookie at center.He has had three years to learn the system and while his quickness is only mediocre for a defensive lineman it is very good for a center.I am looking forward to a great season.I am not very much worried about the offense because I think the Jets defense will carry this team.We had a fifth ranked defence last year and this year I think we could have a top ranked defence if Revis does not hold out.The BT injury really hurt us.He is way underated.I do not understand why some people say he is slow.He ran a sub 4.5 forty as a rookie 270 pound DL.Fortunately I think we should have quality backups this year at every position.

  5. By IRA on Jun 22, 2012 | Reply

    Patience my friend. They should’ve never let Turner go. He was the perfect OL to have for depth and he could step in like he did in Pitt for Mangold for some plays and they didn’t miss a beat. Too bad guess it was a money thing with Turner. You can’t keep everybody in this business.
    There is no need to go out and sign a veteran bu center at this point. They can always get a veteran in August if they feel they need to. Lets see what we have first.

  6. By Karan on Jun 22, 2012 | Reply

    Don’t forget guys, Brandon Moore was originally a D-lineman when he started in the league, and he turned into a pro bowl guard. I say let’s give this guy a chance, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t sign a veteran backup center, we definetly should, however, lts also give this guy a chance.

  7. By Jimmer on Jun 22, 2012 | Reply

    scjoe, with all due respect. Moore took a bit to make the transition as well. He may never beat out Mangold, but you never know what a season may bring. Our OL depth was not very good in 2011. Joe from “family guy” may have had a better season at RT.

  8. By Karan on Jun 22, 2012 | Reply

    Do you guys think Ellis Lankster can do a goob job as the 4th corner or would you prefer to have Drew Coleman back or anyone else for that matter?

  9. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Jun 22, 2012 | Reply

    From Cimini: “Darrelle Revis, who appeared Thursday at a youth football clinic in his hometown of Aliquippa, Pa., reiterated that he hasn’t made up his mind on whether to report to training camp. Basically, he said it’s up to the Jets. “I don’t know,” Revis told the Beaver County Times. “That’s up to (general manager) Mike Tannenbaum. I really don’t know.” — That tears it with me, folks, I say trade this guy for as much as you can get to the very worst team in the league and see how much fun he has holding out every other yr over there. For once I’d like to see the Jets be the guys with three #1 picks in April, and we’re not getting anywhere near the SB for a few yrs anyway.

  10. By scjoe on Jun 22, 2012 | Reply

    GaryC, just want to reply to a comment you made a few posts back.I stated that Parcells, Belichek, Shula and Brown as being those of just a few “elite” coaches who actually make a difference. I also mentioned Lombardi in that group, I should have put him in a league by himself, because that is where he belongs. He was with out doubt the best ever. Anyway, you disputed the fact that I made reference to Parcells being a better coach then Walsh. I stated it incorrectly, what I should have said was Parcells is HANDS DOWN a better coach the Walsh. Walsh did it with one team and a couple of great QBs. Look at Parcells record with multiple teams and then compare them.

  11. By SCfromNY on Jun 23, 2012 | Reply

    I think the Jets have been steering away from “need” pick ups if they are not flashy. Centers are workmanlike. Much better to sign a WR or RB to get the attention they crave. I am hoping that with some hard work Hunter and others will be servicable at RT but a center needs to be special.

    Maybe we could trade Tebow to the Steelers for Pouncy? Tebow beat the Steelers. I’m sorry but I keep wanting to trade Tebow.

  12. By GaryC on Jun 23, 2012 | Reply

    scjoe, lombardi was with one team to except for his last year with the redskins,what does walsh doing it for one team have to do with it.parcells lost a super bowl with patriots,lost a championship game with the jets and never did anything for dallas, forty niners were wobegone before walsh took over and made them a dynasty.

  13. By scjoe on Jun 23, 2012 | Reply

    Jimmer, you are dead on with Moore’s transition to RG. If you had to choose the least critical spot along the O line it would probably be RG. Besides that, he had ample time to learn the position before he went in. Center is a little more critical (as we saw last season) I don’t have a problem at all with switching a guy to another position if they see some potential PROVIDING they have an experienced b/u to step in immediately if needed. They didn’t, and still don’t. Imagine for a moment, Mangold going down for the season in game #1 Then what?

  14. By Jimmer on Jun 23, 2012 | Reply

    SCNY, I gotta disagree, we’re up against the cap this year, we can’t afford wood for the fireplace this yr.
    Karan, I’d take Coleman hands down.
    64TOM, Without Revis, the defense will change big time. Considering we have no offense, the last thing we need to do is lose Revis. I agree he is now coming off as a prissy player, he’s still the best in the nfl. His contract should read as such. Pay him 1 dollar more than whoever the next highest paid CB. He asked to be the highest paid, give hime a floating contract that pays him such, argument ended.

  15. By wayne on Jun 23, 2012 | Reply

    scjoe, Parcells was a master builder of team, master motivator, master manipulator. He knew what button to push, with what player….Walsh incredible offensive innovator. Maybe best ever.

  16. By Mike born a JETS fan from birth in 64' on Jun 23, 2012 | Reply

    I agree with SCfromNY where we differ is I believe that the signing of player’s @ the so-called skilled Pow were a need this year more then in the past few years we have had the skilled guys on both sides of the ball, that’s when we drafted Mangold & then D’Brick and the the FA signings of Fanica and the rest that made our O’Line & then our D’Line with signigs like Big Janis & drafting #91 (but it was Rex that used him and we saw what was sitting on the bench all these year’s). Over the last few years we drafted the core skilled guys but these last 2 drafts have filled our need on the D’Line but finally got a WR that we have needed for year’s. Mark will show everyone is our QB so, trade tebow!! Others will shine year as they were to last ye

  17. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Jun 23, 2012 | Reply

    Ira, just kidddin’ ya, but you ARE aware that you said the same thing last yr about how we can “always” get a vet backup C in August or September, right? (Somehow “always” became “never.”) Karan, I’m not for re-signing Coleman or for any other moves that smack of some weird belief that we need to build the roster like we’re gonna be in the SB this yr. What we need to do is take a good luck at Lankster and everyone else we have at DB, like Ira says about Kroul at C, and start thinking beyond Rex’s next predictions for the post-season that I’m 50-50 on us even making this yr.

  18. By Bennett on Jun 23, 2012 | Reply

    I have said this before… give Sanchez an unwarranted nice fat extension then be surprised when your top player also would like an unwarranted nice fat extension. Not to mention Sanchez was extented after a …shall we say nicely… an “off ” year

  19. By Tom Spicer on Jun 24, 2012 | Reply

    Yes giving Sanchez that extension was a bad move but trading for Tebow was even worse. 1 we could have used that 4th & 6th round picks. 2 As 1 NFL guy said the Jets are the 1st team in the history of the NFL to trade themsevles into a QB contraversy. They had a question on ESPN where a guy wrote in asking will Tebow give the Jets more wins this year & the guy said no he cant play o line, he cant play WR & he cant rush the passer. So unless the o line improves, Hill makes a big impact as a rookie, Coples makes a big impact as a rookie & Landry plays the full season they will not improve. WOW dont you love the positive news!

  20. By GaryC on Jun 24, 2012 | Reply

    forget lankster, the guy I keep hoping for is ryan steed,I believe he can push wilson for the third corner.

  21. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Jun 24, 2012 | Reply

    Wow, Jimmer, arguing that we have to put up with Revis’ nonsense because we have no O is about as Same Old Jets loser mentality as it gets! I mean, do you just accept that we’ll NEVER have an explosive O? This is even worse than all this “Sanchez doesn’t have to be great…” crap. If you don’t wanna be great, stay off the field. Good for you on the Tebow front, Spicer, if we decide to groom and start him over MS eventually I’ll give him a chance, but the whole thing was completely unnecessary. Also, there’s good piece on Yahoo about how stupid it was to put the team in black on the hottest, most humid week of the year so far.

  22. By scjoe on Jun 24, 2012 | Reply

    GaryC, you are a Jet fan, what was the Jets record the two previous years BEFORE Parcells took over the team? What was the Dolphins record BEFORE, he took over the team, and make no mistake about who was calling the shots there, I have many friends in the S Florida area, many informed on what the Dolphins are doing, Parcells was on that practice field every day that first year. Coincidence? Factor in what he did in NE, sure they didn’t win the SB, but they got there. More? Parcells never had a Joe Montana or a Jerry Rice on any of his teams. Lombardi 1, Parcells 2. Belichek 2A. The defense rests!

  23. By scjoe on Jun 24, 2012 | Reply

    Spicer, “trading into a QB controversy” isn’t always a bad thing. The Tebow trade brought at least some kind of competition to that position, the past three years there was none at all. That in itself is worse then a QB controversy. I wasn’t on board with the trade in the beginning, but if all the reports are true about his improvement as a pure passer, along with his other intangibles, and his leadership abilities, what is wrong with that? Worse case scenario, he is the b/u QB, he is used as an H back, runs the wildcat a few times, and pushes Sanchez. Where is the down side?

  24. By scjoe on Jun 24, 2012 | Reply

    GaryC, didn’t Siefert win it all a couple of times with that same 49er team? Want to to put him up there with Parcells too? That would be like putting Barry Switzer on par with Jimmy Johnson after he won it all with Johnson’s team. What Parcells did was different, he built the teams, more then once, and excelled in doing so. How many other HCs have done that?

  25. By boni on Jun 24, 2012 | Reply

    this is such a pessimist blog! why don’t you all support your team? negative thoughts brings negative results!

  26. By IRA on Jun 25, 2012 | Reply

    Agree i am way too conservative to have made a move like trading for Tebow. I would’ve kept Stanton and used the 4th rd pick. But even with all that said i still believe Tebow can help this team in several roles. Lets just hope Sanchez has a good year and the fans don’t start an outcry for Tebow.
    Wayne, Yes parcells was a great coach but he surely was not good at drafting players in most cases. From his 9 picks in the 08 draft for the Fish only J. Long is still on the team.

  27. By THUNDER LIPS on Jun 25, 2012 | Reply

    I have to agree that If Revis pulls this crap again its time to ship him off and get the compensation we deserve. How greedy can these people be. Hey pal your contract was front loaded. that’s life. you could trade revis for 2 starters and a first round pick.

  28. By scjoe on Jun 25, 2012 | Reply

    Ira, Parcells did OK with Pennington, Ellis, Abraham, Becht and Coles all in one draft, don’t you think? There is NO HC , GM or FO that I know of who is batting 1000

  29. By ron alexander on Jun 25, 2012 | Reply

    Ira, great point about letting Turner get away! When he got hurt last year our lack of O.L depth was clearly exposed. This ties in with Tom64 wanting to let Revis go if he holds out so we can get draft picks. I’ve been saying this since I joined you guys on Randy’s blog, The problem is Tannenbaum! He is why we had no O.L depth, he is the one grand standing so he can get on t.v. trading away draft pick for guys who havn’t produced! Do you really think handing Mr.T 3 first round picks will be a good idea? I’m telling you this guy is cluless!
    Karan, I doubt Ellis Langster is out #4 corner. I will be surprised if he makes the team.Have you looked at the roster lately? I think he is #6 at best.Danny and Joe- where the heck are you guys?

  30. By GaryC on Jun 25, 2012 | Reply

    scjoe, walsh maybe had montana and rice,but parcells maybe had the best defensive player ever in taylor,and parcells had to have done better than Mr,Kotite, that is like comparing Marilyn Monroe to Phyliss Diller.Seifert only had to steer the ship and ease it in to port after walsh got the niners through the rough seas of building a team.Just remember, bill walsh came from the Paul Brown tree of coaches, parcells came from the Ray Perkins tree.

  31. By GaryC on Jun 25, 2012 | Reply

    scjoe, lombardi, paul brown, walsh and shula,that is the top of the heap, first of all if belichek played the giants in every super bowl he might never had one.

  32. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Jun 25, 2012 | Reply

    No, boni, unthinking fans bring NO results! I support this team by encouraging it to get better and thinking of ways for it to do so, which is more than I can say for some of the HC’s we’ve had over the years.

  33. By larry on Jun 25, 2012 | Reply

    Me for one am tired of players not holding up there end on a cotract. Did not Revis just sign one ??????
    NIck needs a great back-up give the job to the man who can show he can do it.
    Revis you are the greatest at your position but you can be replaced.

  34. By oasus on Jun 25, 2012 | Reply

    Mortenson reports that Mo Wilkerson was in a MVA over the weekend. He was not injured and police did not suspect he was under the influence. We dodged a bullet this weekend Jets Nation.

  35. By scjoe on Jun 25, 2012 | Reply

    GaryC, loved the Marilyn analogy! But I think you inadvertently proved my point when you said Siefert only had to steer the ship when taking over for Walsh. What does that say for Parcells taking over for (1-15) Kotite? He was one dumb half back option play away from going to the playoffs from that 1-15 season. And that was with NO QB to speak of. That to me is coaching. When you do it multiple times it is “elite” coaching. Say what you will, but no other coach has accomplished that feat, that often, and that quickly.

  36. By ron alexander on Jun 25, 2012 | Reply

    Boni, Sorry dude, cant agree with you thuis time.Nothing anyone says here should impact this team.Like you I try to be positve(have you read any of “Joe’s comments?) but like most long term Jet fans I’m frustrated and this is my place to talk with people who share the passion for this team. TOM64, right on dude, no more sitting back and waiting to be great.Either step it up or go play in Seattle or St.Louis. Sanchez has this season to prove he is the real deal.If not it will be time to find a franchise Q.B. Can anybody say Matt Barkley?

  37. By GaryC on Jun 25, 2012 | Reply

    scjoe, I can turn it around just as quickly to say that is how bad a coach Kotite was vis a vis Parcells to say that parcells got that much more out of the jets.and in the case of seifert,it is like asking a quarterback not to make the big turnover when you have a great defense,all seifert had to do is put the players out who came into the league under walsh and not to do too much micro managing to accomplish what he did.

  38. By scjoe on Jun 25, 2012 | Reply

    GaryC, Kotite was bad (as a Jet) no doubt, although he was pretty average at Philly. But you still can’t underestimate what Parcells did with basically the same 1-15 team. He did it again with the 1-15 Dolphins. He took two different teams to the SB,(NYG NE) took another to the conference championship game (NYJ), and 2 others to the playoffs (Dal, Mia). If that isn’t enough to put him in to your top 4 or 5 there has to be another reason.

  39. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Jun 25, 2012 | Reply

    Thanks, ron a, the gridiron wasn’t built for guys who want to play just good enough but for guys who wanna play better than anyone ever has. And yeah, though I know there will be a lot of superstition around another USC QB, Barkley throws a lot better already than Sanchez does now. But I guess we’d have to give Tebow his three yrs for Rex to call him “elite” first…and then MAYBE give McElroy a look…

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