Let’s get it started already. The Jets hit the practice field this morning at SUNY Cortland (the team’s first open workout is Saturday) and training camp is officially under way. With the Green & White coming off an 8-8 season, NFL Network’s Charley Casserly (@CharleyCasserly) provided us a snapshot of where the Jets are at heading into 2012.
“I think the Jets have a lot of questions, but I don’t know if they’re bad questions,” he told me Thursday afternoon.
Not surprisingly, almost all of Casserly’s questions regard the offense. Casserly, a former NFL Executive of the Year, candidly said he wouldn’t have made the trade for Tim Tebow if he were in a similar situation.
“It’s a question if you want to deal with a potential distraction vs. something that could be a weapon to win a game,” he said.
Large crowds are expected here in Cortland over the next few weeks and that includes big media gatherings. You’ll read play-by-play analysis every Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow throw even though the former has been designated the clear starter.
“Not much goes on in training camp and there is a potential distraction here. There is no right or wrong answer for this one,” Casserly said. “They didn’t trade for Tebow to challenge to be the quarterback. They traded for him to have a role, so that’s why there’s no right or wrong answer. Don’t expect Tebow to challenge for No. 1. If they did that, I would disagree with that totally. But they’re not doing that.”
Casserly thinks the Rex Ryan/Mike Pettine-led defense will be strong again and rookie DE Quinton Coples and a healthy LaRon Landry (now off Active PUP) could potentially take them to another level.
“The defense will be good. They game-plan as well as anybody in the National Football League, their blitz packages are superb, and they do a tremendous job getting people free to the quarterback,” he said. “What they haven’t had in the front seven is a guy they’ve had to game-plan for in passing situations. That’s what they’re hoping they get out of Coples.”
But Casserly’s critical questions are on the other side of the ball:
WR Santonio Holmes — “Are they going to feature Holmes and target him 10-plus times a game? Is he going to be a true featured No. 1 receiver?”
WR Stephen Hill — “Here’s a guy who has game-changing speed. DeSean Jackson is the fastest player in the NFL when I watch players, but this guy has that kind of game-changing speed. He’s kind of raw as a receiver. What impact will he have?”
Run Game — “Can Shonn Greene be a No. 1 back and who’s No. 2?”
Offensive Identity — “What’s this offense going to look like? You aren’t going to win in the NFL by simply running the ball. You have to make plays in the passing game. How are they going to build the passing game into the running game?”
Jeff Otah Deal/Right Tackle — “If it (the acquisition of Otah from Carolina) works out, great. It if doesn’t, they haven’t lost much there. I’d say on offense, Wayne Hunter is capable of playing better than last year and bouncing back.”
Tags: Charley Casserly, Mark Sanchez, Quinton Coples, Santonio Holmes, Shonn Greene, Tim Tebow, training camp
Posted in Eric Allen | 25 Comments »
Jets players will report to training camp at SUNY Cortland on Thursday, but the quarterbacks will make Florham Park their destination on Monday. While incumbent Mark Sanchez is the clear starter, Tim Tebow will be watched closely this summer. Jets color analyst Marty Lyons believes the acquisition of Tebow in May was a sound transaction and will help the Green & White this fall.
“The biggest personnel move that stands out is Tim Tebow,” he said. “I think Tim, coming from Denver, he has that it to him. You look at where he came from in Florida and the high school program [Nease HS], what he did for the University of Florida and how he won games out there in Denver. They weren’t pretty — nobody’s saying he can carry the team with his arm. But there is something about Tim Tebow that brings the whole team to a different level.”
Slimmed-down head coach Rex Ryan, who now weighs a couple of pounds less than the muscle-bound Tebow, has said the former Heisman Trophy winner could get anywhere from two to 20 snaps a game on offense. A 47% passer in his two years as a pro, Tebow did have 17 TD passes in regular-season play against only nine INTs. He is a threat on the ground, having averaged 5.4 yards a carry and totaling 12 rush TDs in Denver.
“I think Tim could be a valuable asset to this team in the locker room and the way they’re going to utilize him on the playing field. He might be their best athlete overall,” Lyons said. “He’s big and strong, he’s fast, he’s hungry, he’s got a desire to win and he knows how to win. You can’t take away the past of everything he’s accomplished and just because at times he may struggle to throw the ball — he wins football games. I think that’s the big move.”
Sanchez, who improved his strength in the offseason, accounted for 32 TDs (26 pass, six rush) in 2011 and led the NFL’s top red zone offense. He has enjoyed working with Tony Sparano so far and he knows he has to get his turnover numbers down to keep his new offensive coordinator happy.
“I think the best thing Mark needs to do in Year 4 is be himself — don’t put too much pressure on yourself. One player is not going to win the game and one player is not going to lose the game,” Lyons said. “Go out and have some fun, have confidence in yourself, have confidence in the system and realize that you touch the ball more than anybody.
“You can make some things happen and you can go out there and lead your team by only completing a few passes. Give your team the best opportunity to win — don’t turn the ball over. But what Mark has to realize is take some of that personal pressure off yourself.”
Lyons, who thinks the Jets’ return to Cortland will benefit the club, likes the approach Ryan has taken since New York’s AFC representative finished out of the postseason for the first time in three years.
“You have a young, energetic quarterback in Mark Sanchez. Develop the chemistry that you need, don’t be selfish and just go out there and play good solid football,” he said. “To make it to the Super Bowl, you have to start fast and finish strong. And if you’re that good, let somebody else tell you how good you are. You don’t need to tell them.”
Jets TV will air our full exclusive 1-on-1 with Marty Lyons this week here on newyorkjets.com. We visited with Marty in Long Island to also discuss the Jets’ 1982 team and that television feature, focusing on a memorable run, will be seen during the season on “Jets Flight Plan,” which will air again on WCBS-TV.
Tags: Mark Sanchez, Marty Lyons, Tim Tebow
Posted in Eric Allen | 27 Comments »
It’s awfully quiet here at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center.
The Jets’ 2012 training camp officially kicks off with player check-in day next Thursday, but that will take place 200 miles to the northwest at SUNY Cortland. Anticipation is building and you wonder which players are going to make some noise this summer.
“I think you need to watch out for Joe McKnight. People ask me and he’s my sleeper for the team,” said TE Dustin Keller. “Obviously nobody is low on Joe, but I think he has so much more upside than people even realize. He’s a great running back, he can catch the ball out of the backfield and he can do so many different things for you. He’s a good special teams guy, returning punts and kickoffs, whatever. He’s definitely a major X-factor for us.”
Keller, who has led the Green & White in receptions each of the past two seasons, says the Jets are going to become more reliant on their ground game than they were in 2011. Last year they rushed the ball 43% of the time (443 rushes in 1,030 plays). In Mark Sanchez’s second season, the team had an almost even balance at 49% (534-1,087). And in Rex Ryan’s first season as head coach and Sanchez’s rookie campaign, the Jets kept on the ground on 59% of their plays (607-1,030).
“I think the identity of Coach Sparano’s offense is obviously ‘Ground and Pound.’ That’s something he wants to instill in the team, that we are a run-first team, but we definitely can still throw the ball,” Keller said. “We have a lot of weapons out there. We went and made some things happen in the draft with Stephen Hill, obviously Santonio is there, Patrick Turner and Jeremy Kerley — so many guys that can make big plays out there. Just to think, with those types of guys at the receiver position and it’s still our secondary option, it kind of has to make you excited for what’s coming up in the season.”
The element of explosion was often absent from the Jets offense last year and a lot of teams dared them to beat them down the field. So in response, the Green & White picked up Chaz Schilens in free agency and then happily moved up to get Georgia Tech’s Stephen Hill in the second round. And with LaDainian Tomlinson moving on into retirement, McKnight is going to get more opportunities carrying the rock and running pass patterns down the field. Kerley, coming off a solid first pro season, has dynamic feet and should be a handful in the slot.
More speed and more quickness on the field should equate to more space to roam.
“I think with the addition of Stephen Hill and you already have Jeremy Kerley, guys that can stretch the field and put that pressure on a defense way down the field, that’s going to make things a lot easier for guys such as myself working the middle of the field or guys like Santonio on the outside,” Keller said. “It’s going to draw a little bit of attention away and hopefully we can get those 1-on-1 matchups and take advantage of them.”
Jets TV will air our full exclusive 1-on-1 with Dustin Keller next week here on newyorkjets.com. We visited with Dustin on location down in South Carolina where he owns a number of McAlister’s Delis and that television feature, focusing on his restaurant business, will be seen during the season on “Jets Flight Plan,” which will air again on WCBS-TV.
Tags: Chaz Schilens, Dustin Keller, Jeff Cumberland, joe McKnight, Rex Ryan, Santonio Holmes, Stephen Hill, SUNY Cortland, Tony Sparano
Posted in Eric Allen | 38 Comments »
Summer class is about to commence for the Jets offense at SUNY Cortland. New O-coordinator Tony Sparano liked the retention of his students in the spring, but the pop quizzes should only get more difficult going forward.
“It’s been really interactive in the classroom. We try to keep them on their toes,” Sparano told me in the spring. “I’ll ask a lot of questions and demand answers and get quick answers from them. They don’t want to be wrong. They’re competitive and I like that about them.”
Mark Sanchez was a prized pupil and performed well in early sessions, but the Jets starter will ultimately be graded in the fall and the winter. His 26 pass TDs in 2011 almost equaled the combined total of his first two pro seasons (12 in 2009, 17 in 2010), but the 26 turnovers (18 interceptions, eight fumbles) were a career-high.
“What Mark’s been doing a really good job of right now is making good clean decisions out there with the football in his hand,” Sparano said in June.
While the ball will be released from Sanchez’s right hand, the transformation in his legs has been overlooked outside the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center.
“I see a tremendous increase in his lower-body strength right now. He’s gotten stronger all over the place, but his lower-body strength — which is really what good quarterbacks need to throw the ball well — I think has improved a lot and that’s really carried over on to the field,” Sparano said. “You see him throw the deep ball or you see him throw the 18-, 20-yard out routes right now with good zip on the football.”
Sparano celebrated with a fist pump after Sanchez delivered a red zone rocket to TE Dustin Keller in the back of the end zone on the first day of minicamp.
“Sometimes the ball can end up over the top, but sometimes it has to go on the back shoulder in a tight spot,” Sparano said. “Mark threw it there and Dustin adjusted well to it. That’s a heck of a play.”
The Jets were hamstrung last season by the costly turnovers and a lack of chunk plays in the passing game. Teams didn’t respect the offense’s vertical prowess and that meant less room to operate. But the Green & White went out and signed Chaz Schilens in free agency and then drafted Stephen Hill in the hopes they could draw some attention away from game-changing wideout Santonio Holmes and Keller.
“I think athletically Stephen has a lot of outstanding qualities. He’s big, he’s tall, he’s strong, he can run. He does all the those things, but the thing I’ve been most impressed with is his awareness out there,” Sparano said. “His awareness to attack coverages, his awareness to attack press defenders — he’s physical with them. He’s really done a nice job that way. He competes for the ball when it’s in the air.”
Keller is Sanchez’s security blanket — his 65 receptions and 815 receiving yards led the Jets in 2011. Sparano likes to employ multiple-TE sets and he wants to get Keller on the move.
“The more you can use Dustin in different places, I think the better off that we’ll be offensively because he is a weapon and I know that first-hand,” said the former Dolphins head coach.
Joe McKnight proved last season that he was a weapon on kick returns, leading the NFL with a 31.6-yard average. While Shonn Greene figures to be the bellcow, can the muscled-up McKnight become a major contributor on offense in his third season?
“This guy can really run. He is an explosive player. He has good hands but he has good run skills,” Sparano said of the former USC Trojan. “Joe has done a nice job this offseason getting bigger and stronger, and putting weight on and holding weight. That’s been a real positive because he hasn’t lost a step athletically out there from a speed standpoint and he’s gotten bigger and stronger. So that allows you to use him a little bit more in different ways.”
The Jets are big and strong up front along the line, featuring three Pro Bowl players in C Nick Mangold, LT D’Brickashaw Ferguson and RG Brandon Moore. With LG Matt Slauson rehabbing from offseason shoulder surgery, Vlad Ducasse stepped in and repeatedly earned praise form head coach Rex Ryan and Sparano.
“Vlad has been working in there with that first group right now and he’s been getting better. The more reps he gets, I think, the more comfortable he starts to feel,” said Sparano. “He’s a big, powerful man, a good athlete. He’s done a nice job for us.”
We will have a lot to monitor on offense once we move our base to SUNY Cortland for the third time in four years and we haven’t even discussed the Tim Tebow dynamic. Sparano, a self-proclaimed no-nonsense coach, gave his unit passing marks in the spring.
“Hard-work ethic. I’ve been very impressed with the way they’ve attacked the offseason program,” he said. “Our offseason attendance has been off-the-charts good, our players have been really in tune and asking good questions, spending a lot of time at it, studying well. And when we get out on the field, they understand it’s about business out there and they’re working pretty hard. I think tempo of the practices has been really good. They’ve been crisp.”
Expectations will be high. Sparano won’t accept careless errors and if the ball is turned over, everybody had better be running like hell.
“I don’t like to look back a whole lot, but you have to sometimes to make progress. I think there was some hidden yardage there on turnovers, turnovers for touchdowns and those types of things,” he said. “It’s a part of our league and the bottom line is if you turn the football over, maybe all of a sudden the guy picks the ball up and gains 30 yards. Well that’s three first downs in a game and it takes an awful lot to gain three first downs in a game.
“What we’re trying to teach here is if the ball is turned over — on the rare occasion that it may happen — we’re going to get as many people to the football as we can and tackle the football. So when that happens in practice, I send every person, every coach, everybody running after the football at that point.”
Tags: Chaz Schilens, Cortland, Dustin Keller, joe McKnight, Mark Sanchez, Santonio Holmes, Tony Sparano
Posted in Eric Allen | 88 Comments »
You can call “The Hitman” soft at your own risk, but Jets middle linebacker David Harris is feeling warm and fuzzy. And he has great reason to have plenty of joy in his heart considering he and his wife, Jiali, are celebrating the early days of their precious 5½-month-old daughter, Alya.
“She’s just a bundle of joy,” Harris told me on our recent Jets Minicamp Live show. “Every time I come home, she has a big smile on her face. She’s not crawling yet, but she’s trying to. She’s rolling and she’s always in a playful mood. It’s always a good thing to come home to her after a long day of work.”
Like Alya, Harris keeps rolling along. The 6’2”, 250-pounder is preparing for his sixth NFL season and one fan asked how it makes him feel that head coach Rex Ryan has stated that he’d do anything he could to help Harris earn a Pro Bowl invitation.
“I don’t know if there’s much that Rex can do, but all I have to do is control what I do on the field and that’s getting better each day, perfecting my craft, being the same person every day and trying to be a leader on this defense,” he said. “Everything else that happens would be great, but I’m more interested in helping the team out any way I can.”
It is the essence of David Harris — substance over style throughout his career. Last season, he quietly again led the team with 117 tackles (78 solo), tied for the team lead with four INTs, and was second on the club with five sacks. The perfection of the craft continues.
“One thing I’m focusing on this offseason is trying to become a step quicker, becoming leaner and just trying to be lighter on my feet,” Harris said. “I think a lot of guys on the defensive side of the ball have that same mentality. We know that we take a lot of pride in our defense and the way to that is to be in great physical shape, so that we can play longer and try to make that run, which we try to do every year.”
Ryan has said the Green & White continue to work on man coverage with their linebackers. Harris told me he’s decreasing his body fat, Bart Scott is down 10 pounds and Demario Davis, the third-round draft selection from Arkansas State, possesses 4.5 speed in the 40-yard dash.
“Everybody knows what type of talent we have on the outside with Cromartie and Revis, and with Kyle in the slot. We know that we’re going to get attacked in the middle of the field and the tight end has become a big role in a lot of teams’ offenses,” Harris said. “So we have to be prepared to cover the middle of the field and that’s the backs included. We know that we have our hands full and we have to be prepared for anything the offense may throw at us.”
Offenses are again going to have to prepare for the tandem of Harris and Scott. “The Madbacker” has been one of the top stories of the spring, setting the tone on the practice field.
“You can hear Bart a mile away and he gives it to the offensive players every time they make a mistake. It’s just funny to hear because you know he’s back comfortable and being himself,” Harris said. “When you’re comfortable being yourself, you’re able to go out there and play the way you know how to play.”
Davis, who should be a valuable contributor immediately in sub packages and on special teams, is wise beyond his years.
“Demario is a step beyond any rookie that I’ve seen,” Harris said. “To be as young as he is, he is very mature. He’s very dedicated and focused on his craft. He’s always one of the first guys out at practice and one of the last guys to leave the field, and that’s always encouraging to see from a rookie.”
The Jets have increased their speed all around the defense and S LaRon Landry, another burner, hasn’t participated in team activities as of yet.
“I notice that across the board,” said Harris. “If you have been following the Jets since Rex got here, I’ll say we’re faster than the ’09 team and that says a lot.”
That ’09 unit finished No. 1 in total defense (252.3 yards allowed per game) and No. 1 in points (14.8 allowed) as the Jets advanced to the AFC Championship Game in Year 1 of the Rex regime. Ryan has indicated that he’s going back to his roots and that means more involvement in the defensive meeting rooms with the players.
“Scheme-wise it’s not going to be that different. It’s just that little things involved in each defense are going to be stressed more,” said the Hitman. “Little things like technique that you may not cover as much because you assume guys have understood what to do, but each day you emphasize little things. You always try to get better at something small, which may not have happened in years past.”
Minicamp will conclude today here in Florham Park, N.J., and Harris has a family vacation planned during his down time. But the new dad promises he’ll be ready for training camp and 2012. This Hitman has a heart, but business is still business.
“Me, my wife and my daughter are going away to Barbados for five days. First family trip, my daughter’s first time in a plane, so hopefully she won’t be acting up too much on the plane,” he said. “It is good to get away after these tough couple of months we had working out here and it’s always good to get away before the season starts. Once the season starts, it’s on.”
Tags: Bart Scott, David Harris, Demario Davis, Hitman, LaRon Landry, minicamp, Rex Ryan
Posted in Eric Allen | 9 Comments »
In just two months, Curtis Martin will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. And before he makes that trip to Canton, we’ll talk to the legendary running back at the Jets Partner Summit on Thursday, June 7, and Jets Nation can tune in live to our exclusive show at 8:30 a.m.
“Curtis Martin: Countdown to Canton” will also be archived and available for view throughout the weekend and beyond if you can’t join us live.
Martin, who is the fourth-leading rusher in NFL history with 14,101 yards, rushed for at least 1,000 yards in each of his first 10 seasons. That feat equaled an NFL record set by Barry Sanders for most 1,000-yard seasons to start a career.
On Aug. 4, Martin will become the 29th modern-era RB to join the Hall. Always a fan favorite, the humble Martin set a number of franchise records, including most rushing yards (10,302), most yards from scrimmage (12,741), most 1,000-yard rush seasons (7), most rush TDs (58) and most receptions by a RB (367).
If you have a question or comment for Curtis, please write us now on Facebook.com/Jets, on twitter @nyjets or right here with a comment to the Radar on newyorkjets.com. We will get to a couple of the questions during our visit. So remember to tune in to “Curtis Martin: Countdown to Canton” on Thursday at 8:30 a.m. or catch the archived show here on the site.
Tags: Barry Sanders, Curtis Martin, Pro Football Hall of Fame
Posted in Eric Allen | 29 Comments »
The Jets may have taken a hit last winter, but defensive coordinator Mike Pettine says the buzz has returned in a big way during OTAs.
“I think everybody at the end of last year was so beat up emotionally and physically that maybe it took us to take a step back in order to take three of four forward,” he said during “Deconstructing the Defense,” a video broadcast that can be seen on newyorkjets.com. “I can just tell you right now the atmosphere in Florham Park is light years away from where it was before.”
Pettine said new Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano has provided a jolt that has had an effect on both sides of the ball.
“Just from an excitement standpoint of how we are in our own room defensively and then what we see going on on the other side of the ball — just the attitude, the tempo in practice, them getting in and out of the huddle and the spirit over there,” he said. “You look at Tony and the rest of the offensive staff, at how hard they’re working their guys. It’s a no-nonsense group and they get after them pretty good and that’s exciting for our guys to see.
“They realize that we’re going to have to hold up our end of the bargain in practice or else we’re going to get embarrassed. It’s one thing that we have always prided ourselves on in practice that we were going to get after our offense, and our guys know that it’s going to be a little bit of a taller task this year.”
Welcoming a more hands-on approach from head coach Rex Ryan in the defensive meeting room, Pettine said it’s good for the players to hear a new voice echo familiar messages.
“The coaching points that he makes have already been made by the assistant coaches. It’s confirmation, here’s Rex coming in and confirming the points that have been made to those guys,” Pettine said. “It’s welcome and you can tell that he kind of has a new lease on life.”
In the hopes of making more contributions in 2012, both DT Kenrick Ellis and LB Bart Scott have transformed their bodies.
“There are two players who jump out to me already defensively. Kenrick Ellis is one. He’s dropped a bunch of weight and he’s just done a tremendous job in the offseason,” Pettine said. “He looks like a different guy running around out there. And then the other guy that’s hard to recognize is Bart. He’s dropped close to 20 pounds. He’s running around like a young Bart.”
The draft brought an infusion of speed and Pettine likes what he sees on the practice field.
“Quinton Coples is an explosive athlete. He has a tremendous get-off — he’s a guy that jumps off the tape when we’re watching the practice film,” he said. “The other guy, Demario Davis. is an explosive athlete. He’s the type of guy we needed to add, that type of linebacker who can cover a tight end but still can have linebacker-type responsibilities against the run. Aaron Maybin looks a step quicker.
And Ricky Sapp, said Pettine, is “a guy a lot of Jets fans don’t know about who came from Clemson and he had a knee injury late in his career. He spent most of last year rehabbing from it and he’s a guy who definitely has increased our team speed up front.”
The Jets have also altered their back end, acquiring safeties LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell in free agency to go along with incumbent Eric Smith. While Landry works on getting back to full speed, Bell has already impressed.
“He’s no-nonsense and he’s a leader,” Pettine said of the former Dolphin. “If a guy’s straying off the path that he should be on, you can tell that he’s not going to be afraid to point it out.
“We’re excited to have three not only just skilled athletically but three physically skilled from a hitting standpoint — I think our group of safeties will have the ability to intimidate a little bit. Eric Smith has had his share of highlight-reel hits over the years and Landry has certainly done the same as well as Yeremiah.
“Given our corners outside and having the ability to maybe get the ball funneled to the middle of the field, I think we’ll cause some issues around the league with receivers not necessarily wanting to catch the ball over the middle.”
Greene, Buttle Get Hall Nods
Two Jets with roots in the southern portion of the Garden State are among the seven players announced this morning as the new inductees into the South Jersey Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
RB Shonn Greene, who played his high school ball at Winslow Township, will be honored in the group’s Pro Active category, while Buttle, the former Jets LB and current Green & White commentator who graduated from Mainland HS, gets in as the Pro Inactive candidate.
The association’s Class of ’12 will be honored during an induction banquet on Wednesday, June 27, in Glassboro. For tickets and more information, call (856) 582-0212.
Tags: Bart Scott, Defense, Eric Smith, Kenrick Ellis, LaRon Landry, Mike Pettine, Yeremiah Bell
Posted in Eric Allen | 11 Comments »
The Jets’ rookie minicamp begins Friday with a morning practice and then we invite you to join us for a special live video broadcast at 1 p.m. ET. You will be able to view exclusive footage of the first session and also hear and interact with some of the new Jets as we’ll take questions on facebook.com/Jets, Twitter @nyjets and right here on newyorkjets.com.
You can also watch head coach Rex Ryan’s Friday and Saturday news conferences scheduled to be streamed live on newyorkjets.com at 3 p.m. both days.
In addition to their eight draft selections, the Jets’ have agreed in principle with 10 undrafted free agents and have scheduled 23 players for tryouts. Friday will mark the first professional workout for dozens of talented players.
“We got some really good players who we think can contribute to us winning some football games,” said VP of scouting Joey Clinkscales.
Four months remain before the season commences for New York’s AFC representative with a visit from the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium on Sept. 9. But players will put their cleats on, button up their chinstraps and hit the field this weekend. While the youngsters will arrive shortly, the veterans have already begun training under strength coach Bill Hughan at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center, and a soft May rain didn’t force them inside this morning.
Spring is here, but fall is around the corner. It’s time for a little football so stay tuned to newyorkjets.com throughout the weekend for complete coverage of rookie camp.
Tags: Joey Clinkscales, live video broadcast, Rex Ryan, rookie minicamp
Posted in Eric Allen | 36 Comments »
It is impossible to fairly or accurately grade an NFL team’s draft just days after its completion. When the Jets scouting contingent was down in Mobile, Ala., back in January, I asked Terry Bradway how long it should be before you get the pen out and put a letter in your book.
“The rule of thumb is really three years,” said Bradway, the team’s senior personnel executive. “You really want them playing by the second year — at least some significant time — and then possibly be a starter. Not everyone is going to be a starter that you draft and we know that. Some guys have a lot of value as sub players, nickel players, whether it be on offense or defense. It normally takes three.”
But many pundits are asked to deliver draft grades within three hours of the draft’s end. And as fans of football, it’s something we demand and peek at even though it means absolutely nothing. The Jets college scouts will take a little break themselves before getting to work on the 2013 draft.
“Once the draft’s over, we’ll accumulate the names for the following year,” Bradway said. “We’ll do some initial work on last year’s tape. In August our scouts will hit the road and probably go until the first week of December.”
By December, the members of the Jets 2012 Draft Class (who made the team) will almost have a full season under their belts. Jets Nation can hope the class will be dubbed the “Elite Eight,” but we’ll only know in due time. The Green & White were happy with their weekend effort and they think it will lead to more W’s in the future.
Let’s take a look at what some analysts thought of the Jets draft and how some graded it.
DE Quinton Coples is a colossal roll of the dice at 16 overall, and the Jets decided to address their issues at offensive tackle by completely ignoring that position. WR Stephen Hill (43) will help that underwhelming unit, as might sleeper Jordan White (244). But there was more bad than good here. Grade: D+
John Czarnecki, Senior NFL Writer, Fox Sports
This franchise rolled the dice on all their first three picks, which has been their approach lately. It doesn’t mean the draftees aren’t talented, it’s just whether or not they are the right fit. There were questions about North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples, the first-round pick. Some scouts thought he had a bad habit of taking plays off. … They traded up for Georgia Tech receiver Stephen Hill because he’s a great blocker for their power running game. Now, that makes some sense because Hill only caught 49 passes in his college career. And he should be able to block because Tech used a triple-option running game. But Hill is 6-foot-4 and runs a 4.3 40-yard dash. … Demario Davis of Arkansas State is another edge rushing linebacker. … Baylor’s Terrance Ganaway, a 240-pound running back, could be a great find and should help on short-yardage. … Staying at Baylor, the Jets took right guard Brandon [sic] T. Griffin, a 335-pounder with no relation to his former quarterback teammate. Grade: C
Vinnie Iyer, NFL Writer, Sporting News
Key picks: DE Quinton Coples, WR Stephen Hill, OLB Demario Davis.
Rex Ryan got some 3-4 pieces, but we just don’t know if they’re the right ones. Hill has explosive potential with the right QB. Grade: C
Mel Kiper Jr., Draft Expert & College Football Analyst, ESPN
The Jets surprised me when they went with Quinton Coples over Melvin Ingram in Round 1. To be blunt, I just think Ingram is the superior player — and I have outside linebacker as New York’s top need. Coples is a more natural fit as a 4-3 defensive end, and the obvious conclusion is Rex Ryan intends to move him inside. Still, I don’t see him as a significant help in a need area — the pass rush. Stephen Hill is a major physical talent, but he’s a project in terms of route running. He can certainly keep safeties honest, however. You have to account for his deep speed, but I’m not sure he’ll be able to help a lot in 2012. I like the value of Demario Davis. He was my fifth-ranked OLB in this draft. Size is a question, but Rex may set him loose situationally. Grade: C
Pete Prisco, Senior NFL Columnist, CBSSportsline.com
Best pick: Second-round receiver Stephen Hill has the tools to be an explosive player, but he is raw. Can this regime get the best out of him? If they can, he will be a steal. Boom or bust pick.
Questionable move: Taking Quinton Coples in the first round is a strange move for this team. He doesn’t seem to fit what they do. Oh, and he also took last season off at North Carolina.
Third-day gem: Running back Terrance Ganaway put up big numbers in Baylor’s offense. He is a big back at 239 pounds.
Analysis: The Jets took two players in the first two rounds who are risks. Is that really something this front office and staff can afford to do? Add in the stupid Tim Tebow trade, and the Jets haven’t had a great start to 2012. It’s a feast-or-famine draft. Grade: C–
Mike Lombardi, NFL.com, NFL Network
Obviously Rex Ryan knows defensive players. He took Quinton Coples. He’s going to look at the junior tape and think, “Hey I can get that out of him.” … Stephen Hill has a chance to be a starting receiver for them — big and fast. And then the [Demario] Davis kid they took in the third round, I think he’s going to be a really good player in their scheme. I think he’ll be perfect for what they do.
Tony Pauline, Draft Analyst, CNNSI, Publisher, DraftInsider.Net
Stephen Hill/WR/NY Jets/Pick No. 43 — Hill was the vertical pass-catching threat in the Yellow Jackets’ option running attack. He turned in an immense combine workout and has been receiving first-round consideration since February. Hill is rough around the edges, yet the type of receiver the Jets offense desperately needs.
Tags: Demario Davis, John Czarnecki, Mel Kiper, NFL Draft, Quinton Coples, Stephen Hill, Terrance Ganaway, Tony Pauline
Posted in Eric Allen | 116 Comments »
Aaron Maybin proved last year that he could thrive as a situational pass rusher. Now after signing his restricted free agent tender, the 6’4”, 240-pounder wants to take his game to another level.
“By the end of this offseason and going into this next year, I want to be considered a complete player,” Maybin told newyorkjets.com. “With everything that’s gone on my whole career, I feel like I’m finally in a place where I’m going to have a position to flourish as a complete player and really have that opportunity. Coming into this offseason, I really want to focus on every single part of my game to make sure I am that complete player when preseason rolls around.”
It was just last summer when many wondered if Maybin’s NFL career was over. After being selected No. 11 overall in the 2009 draft, the Penn State product went sackless in 27 games with the Buffalo Bills and was released in August. The Jets signed him and he made the 53-man roster on cutdown day before being let go before the opener. But he re-signed with the Jets in Week 4, appeared in 13 games and experienced his professional breakthrough.
“This is the most excited I’ve been my whole career for the start of a season. Just because coming into last year, a lot of things were uncertain for me,” he said. “Coming into the situation this year, knowing that I’m in a brand new situation, I’m a lot more comfortable with the team now having almost a full year under my belt. I’m just excited to really get a whole year behind me and really get a chance to get out there and help us win football games.”
The best pass rushers have good vision and Maybin isn’t wasting any time looking behind him. While he led his new club with six sacks, four forced fumbles and 24 QB hurries, the Jets stumbled down the stretch and narrowly missed a trip to the postseason.
“Really, as soon as the season ended, all I could do was start putting down goals for next year. It ended with a little bit of a sour taste in our mouth,” he said. “With me personally, I’m excited as I’ve ever been, but I definitely didn’t spend too much time reflecting. It was really on to next year as soon as possible.”
A new face last year, Maybin said he is welcoming his new teammates with open arms and the team is moving ahead with a “singular mindset.” He was particularly happy that NT Sione Pouha received an extension and he also believes unrestricted free agent signee LaRon Landry can be a valuable addition in the defensive backfield.
“Me being from the DC area, I had a chance to watch him for a few years out there in Washington,” Maybin said of the former Redskin. “I’m excited to have a chance to play with a guy like that because you think about guys who can really patrol that secondary and it’s an imposing task for a quarterback to have to make some of those throws sometimes. Anything to make the quarterback hold onto the ball a little bit longer, I’m in favor of.”
On Tuesday night, some of Maybin’s artwork was showcased at the fifth annual Fashion and Football Gala and Runway Show in New York City.
“It’s been a big year for us. As far as the art goes, it’s really taken off for us this year,” he said. “Being in the New York market now and being as big as art is in the city, there’s been a lot of opportunities for me to get some of my stuff out and people have been very receptive to it, so it’s exciting.”
Tags: Aaron Maybin, Buffalo Bills, LaRon Landry, Penn State, Sione Pouha
Posted in Eric Allen | 88 Comments »