Lee Takes Heat From Former Jet Bart Scott

The time for Jets linebacker Darron Lee to get slapped with the “bust” label may not be all that far off if his early performances this preseason are anything to go by.  Lee seemed to impress those on hand in Florham Park early on in training camp when the pads came on and he looked to be playing at high speed.  Since then, Lee looks to have stalled out, and his poor play didn’t go unnoticed by former Jets linebacker Bart Scott.

Appearing on his WFAN program Carlin, Maggie and Bart, Scott stopped short of calling Lee soft, but did say he’s “plush” and that if he were in the Jets locker room, he’d tell Lee that he needs to…ahem..”drop your marbles or you got to go”.  A clear shot at Lee’s unwillingness to mix it up in the middle of the Jets defense.  This, combined with Lee continually coming up short in pass coverage, and even the most optimistic fans have to be questioning whether or not Lee will ever live up to his first round billing.

Plenty of fans were critical of the Lee selection when he was chosen in the first round of the 2016 draft due to his diminutive stature for an inside linebacker, and his early struggles earned him plenty of criticism.  However, the fact that Lee was still relatively new to the position and a handful of quality performances last season offered a glimmer of hope.

However, the strong play was short-lived and Lee struggled as the season came to a close.  Now, through two preseason games, one could make the case that Lee has been outplayed by Neville Hewitt, Kevin Pierre-Louis and Kevin Minter at his own spot, be it in practice or games.

If the Jets are willing to be honest with themselves, Lee won’t see the field nearly as much as he has in the past, and with four first-round picks under his belt (Leonard Williams, Lee, Jamal Adams, Sam Darnold), Mike Maccagnan would be saddled with an undeniable first round bust in Lee.

 

Bart Scott: Rex Could go Poaching

Rex Ryan is still looking for work, but one of his former players, linebacker Bart Scott, had some interesting thoughts regarding his former team and Head Coach.  While on ESPN’s Mike & Mike, Scott endorsed Ryan as the perfect person to take over the Atlanta Falcons Head Coaching position.

“I think the Falcons are best situation for Rex to go into” said Scott, before naming a few current Jets he thinks Ryan should take aim at should he land the Atlanta job.  “I think a quick fix for that Atlanta defense is [Jets linebacker] David Harris is up for free agency, and Rex has the ability to bring a guy like that over,” Scott said. “He has the ability to bring a guy like [Jets linebacker] Calvin Pace over.  Scott continued,  “Rex also has the ability to bring over a guy like [Jets nose tackle] Kenrick Ellis that can come over and slice Tyson Jackson to that stud end, that Mike DeVito-type end, to the formation”.

Ryan’s interview with the Falcons reportedly lasted five hours earlier this week, with rumors surfacing that a second interview was in the works.  ESPN has named Ryan as the favorite to land the Atlanta job, which would place Ryan in unfamiliar position of leading a team with a quality veteran quarterback.  Ryan’s time in New York was marred by what was consistently sub-standard QB play as Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith combined for nearly 100 turnovers over the past four seasons.

Ryan has also interviewed with the San Francisco 49ers as well as generating interest from the Buffalo Bills.

 

Bart Scott Can’t Wait For TV

Bart Scott will be joining CBS as part of their NFL Today pregame show.  Tony Gonzalez will also join the CBS team along with James Brown, Bill Cowher and Boomer Esiason.  Having two ex-Jets on the pregame show should make it interesting.

“Bart joining The NFL Today is a natural progression from his outstanding work during his first season on TOPS,” CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus said in a statement. “Bart brings a dynamic personality and unique perspective as a recently retired player providing strong opinions on all the hot-button issues on a weekly basis. We are confident he will continue to bring that perspective and those opinions to The NFL Today.”

Jets fans know that Bart Scott isn’t afraid of making big statements.  Many fans on the national level were first introduced to Bart Scott when he gave his, “Can’t Wait” interview on ESPN.

http://youtu.be/QJshw2Axsqc

You can read more about Bart Scott in the JetNation forums.

2013 Roster Preview: Linebackers

List of current NY Jets Linebackers on the roster:

# Name Pos. Height Weight Age Exp. College
95 Barnes, Antwan LB 6-1 251 28 6 Florida International
54 Bellore, Nick LB 6-1 250 24 3 Central Michigan
98 Coples, Quinton LB/DE 6-6 290 22 2 North Carolina
56 Davis, Demario LB 6-2 239 24 2 Arkansas State
58 Davis, Troy LB 6-2 251 22 R Central Florida
49 Dickson, JoJo LB 6-1 245 23 1 Idaho
52 Harris, David LB 6-2 250 29 7 Michigan
47 Lansanah, Danny LB 6-1 255 27 2 Connecticut
53 Mauga, Josh LB 6-1 245 25 4 Nevada
50 McIntyre, Garrett LB 6-3 255 28 3 Fresno State
97 Pace, Calvin LB 6-4 265 32 11 Wake Forest
59 Progar-Jackson, Sean LB 6-3 250 22 R Northern Illinois
55 Sapp, Ricky LB 6-4 252 26 3 Clemson
51 Smith, Jacquies LB 6-2 260 23 1 Missouri


With the loss of Bryan Thomas and the age factor setting in for Bart Scott, the Jets linebacking core needed an upgrade.  They needed to be faster, more athletic, and most importantly, they needed to get guys who can play sideline to sideline.  They also needed to add linebackers who have a knack for getting to the quarterback.  Calvin Pace was signed 4 years ago to do that and never quite became the pass rusher the Jets would’ve hoped (28 sacks 2008-12).

As a result, the Jets signed veteran LB Antwan Barnes, who played 3 seasons for the San Diego Chargers 2010-12 (started 2010 in Philadelphia).  During the three years in San Diego he accounted for 18.5 sacks in 38 games.  Barnes started his career with Rex Ryan’s defense in Baltimore so he has some experience at outside linebacker in the Jets defensive scheme.  His role will be simple:  Get to the quarterback and disrupt the pass game.

During his rookie season Quinton Coples played defensive end exclusively, leading the team in sacks (5.5), but will see time at outside linebacker during this upcoming year.  Likely to be used as a hybrid, part-time OLB part-time DE, better known as the LEO position Coples could find himself rushing the passer while standing up or even dropping into coverage, something he has not done.  The question is can Coples make the transition from being close to the line with his hand in the dirt to playing in space?

Veteran LB and the Jets defensive leader, David Harris has to have a dominant year.  Last year, Harris put on some weight and it affected his speed and ability to get to the point of attack.  This year, he has slimmed down to 250lbs and has been visibly quicker in OTA’s (granted without pads on).  The 2013 season for Harris could be a make or break season.  Due to count $13 million on this year’s salary cap, Harris can be released after this season for a minimal cap hit of $2 million dollars, saving the Jets about $5 million in cap space.  If he wants to remain with the team after 2013, he’s going to have to perform at a Pro Bowl-like level.

Second year LB Demario Davis will have an increased role in the Jets defense this year.  With Bart Scott no longer with the team, Davis will look to fill the void at inside LB.  Davis is very fast and explosive when he heads downfield.  ILB is the perfect position for Davis because he’s able to make plays in tight spaces.  He struggled a bit in his rookie campaign making plays in space, as most rookies do, but he will look to improve on that this year.  Rex Ryan is very high on Davis not only as a player but as a leader.  He understands the defense well and will be a major upgrade from the slow footed Bart Scott.

Three other players who will be competing for a position at linebacker are Garrett McIntyre, Josh Mauga and Ricky Sapp.  McIntyre stepped in for Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas last year and showed his ability to get into the backfield and get to the quarterback.  Mauga was hurt most of 2012, but showed signs that he can play in 2011, palying in all 16 games and recording 25 tackles and 1 interception.  Mauga could be used as a cover LB in the pass game or a viable backup for the inside linebacker positions.  He’s been in Rex’s system 4 years now so he’s familiar with how to play the position.  Sapp has played in a few games for the Jets but never recorded a tackle.  All three guys, along with Calvin Pace (brought back on a 1-year deal) will compete for a position in camp.

Nick Bellore may not have a significant role on the defense this year, unless there’s some major injuries, however he is the leader of the special teams playing on most units and had 10  special teams tackles for the Jets last year.  Even if Bellore struggles in camp as a LB his ability to get down the field on the kickoff and punt teams will help him make the 2013 roster.

Other linebackers that will be fighting to make the team include:  Troy Davis, JoJo Dickson, Danny Lansanah, Sean Progar-Jackson and Jacquies Smith.  These players will have to show they can make an impact in preseason games, as well as, on special teams in order to make the final 53 man roster.

As Jet fans, one thing to look for out of the linebacking group this year is a dramatic change from methodical, and often slow footed linebackers, to more aggressive, faster linebackers.  The group that they have assembled could help the Jets return to being a top 5 defensive team in the league once again.

 

NY Jets Release: B. Scott, C. Pace, J. Smith, E. Smith & Waive J. Baker

The New York Jets have made a few roster moves releasing safety Eric Smith, linebacker Calvin Pace, offensive lineman Jason Smith, linebacker Bart Scott along with waiving h-back Josh Baker who spent last season on injured-reserved.

The moves free up $31.265 million in salary cap space: Calvin Pace $8.56 million, Jason Smith $12 million, Eric Smith $3 million, Bart Scott $7.15 million and Josh Baker $555,000.  These transactions come as no surprise with the Jets a projected $23 million over the 2013 salary cap and needing to be under it by the start of the new league year March 12th at 4pm.

General manager John Idzik could  look to release or waiver other players for salary savings including: quarterback Tim Tebow $1.055 million and defensive tackle Sione Po’uha $3.835 million but it’s been reported the Jets will keep Tebow on roster after the new league year begins in an attempt to trade him.

Five players will replace those who were cut costing an additional $2.025 million minimum, so the Jets are now approximately $6.25 million under the 2013 salary cap.

 

Other Jets Related News From This Week

It’s getting closer to the holidays and most of us have been busy and for the most part all you’ve been hearing is how the Jets want to get rid of two of their quarterbacks, so in an effort to give you more news and keep the posts down to a minimum here’s some Jets news you might not of seen this week:

 

New York Jets Report Card: Week 12

Week 12: Patriots @ Jets

Quarterback: F

Sanchez: 26/36, 1 TD, 1 INT, 1 fumble

Once again, Sanchez makes an error in the red zone. But it’s more than that, it’s the persistent lack of vision, the mental errors, the communication errors, the inaccuracy, the… well, anything and everything. Sanchez is by far the worst starting QB in the league, and it’s not even close. Rookies, sophomores and washed up vets are outperforming him. Guys that started the season as backups are outperforming him. At this point, 3rd stringer Greg McElroy can probably outperform him. Barring some late season magic, Sanchez should not be the Jets starting QB next year. That’s a given.

Running Backs: C

Greene: 14/71/0, 1 fumble, 1 reception for 9 yards
McKnight: 1/6/0
Powell: 12/40/1, 2 receptions for 13 yards

Nice effort out of the running backs tonight, but Greene’s fumble in Patriots territory in the 2nd quarter proved costly. If Greene is not re-signed next year, Powell may be the starter – he’s making a good case for himself.

Offensive Line: C-

There were bright moments out of this line, a line that clearly hasn’t surrendered. However, when you’re a “ground and pound” team, failure to punch the ball in on the 1 yard line is unacceptable.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: C-

Gates: 2/20/0

Kerley: 7/86/0

Hill: 2/16/0

Schilens: 2/28/0

Keller: 5/64/1

They simply do not have the talent to perform well. With Mark Sanchez behind center, we need about 5 acrobats to play this position. Kerley continues to be a bright spot in an otherwise dark cloud. Keller had one of his better games, but it came long after the game had been decided.

Defensive Line: C-

They were generating a little pressure early, and Wilkerson is becoming fun to watch! They seem to have lost heart as the game progressed. Who could blame them?

Linebackers: D

The Patriots ran the ball far too well, especially in garbage time when the linebackers should have seen it coming.

Secondary: D

LaRon Landry is impressive, he simply must be re-signed. Cromartie continues to step it up as well. That said, there were too many mental mistakes tonight – and that cost the team big.

Special Teams: F

Yet another special teams fumble tonight.  These mistakes are not minor, they are game changers. Apart from kicker Nick Folk and punter Robert Malone, this unit is a mess.

Coaching: F

The number of mental mistakes the Jets had in the 2nd quarter alone is… astounding. As a coach, it’s your job to have your team mentally prepared and this was about as ill-prepared as a team can be.

New York Jets Report Card: Week 4

New York Jets Report Card: Week 4

San Francisco 49ers @ New York Jets

Quarterbacks: G

Sanchez: 13/29, 103 yards, 1 INT, 1 fumble

Tebow: 1/1, 9 yards

That’s not a typo. True, I don’t have official clearance from the powers-that-be at Jet Nation to issue such non-existent grades. But I’ve always been a renegade. Mark Sanchez already had an “F” halfway through the 3rd quarter and it only went downhill from there. He consistently throws to his 1st read, even when that receiver is in double coverage. When he doesn’t, he eats the ball up and takes a sack. For the most part, he does not trust his arm. Even with his offensive line performing adequately, he looks shell shocked out there. This was his 3rd straight game with a sub 50% completion percentage. Sanchez is out of excuses, and he may soon be out the door as the Jets starting QB. Tebow completed his 1st pass of the season, but it was too high – leading to a turnover when TE Epps fumbled the ball.

Running Backs: F

Greene: 11/34/0

Powell:  4/11/0

They were able to find holes at times, even against a good defense. But this game proved once again that the Jets are no longer a “ground and pound” team. They’re now a passing team – that cannot pass.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: F

Schilens: 3/45/0

Holmes: 4/29/0

Cumberland: 4/17/0

Kerley: 2/12/0

Epps: 1/9/0

Dropped passes. Poor effort. Enough is enough. To add injury to insult, Santonio Holmes may be done for the season.

Offensive Line: B

The San Francisco 49ers have a good pass rush, and they did manage to pile up some sacks. However, the pass protection was there and many of those sacks were simply coverage sacks. Once again, the line cannot pave the way on the ground – at least not for guys like Greene and Powell.

Defensive Line: B-

The pressure on the QB was not there, and the tackling wasn’t great, either. However, the defensive line held tough on several occasions, and they did so despite being winded by the 49ers dominance in time of possession. 1st round pick Quinton Coples finally got involved , making a couple nice tackles behind the line of scrimmage.

Linebackers: C-

Here again, poor tackling. They did an awful job sniffing out the 49ers option offense. Calvin Pace did have a good game, making a nice play in coverage and tallying a sack. Bryan Thomas also notched a sack.

Secondary: B+

Before they were completely tired out by being on the field for the vast majority of the game, the secondary did a great job in the absence of Darelle Revis. Kyle Wilson got beat a few times, but by and large, the coverage was there from most of the secondary. I know that many will expect lower grades for the defense, but their performance wasn’t nearly as bad as the score. Due to turnovers, 3 and outs, etc., the defense was constantly on the field – and often with poor field possession. That’s not to mention that the offense surrendered 7 points of its own on an interception returned for a touchdown.

Special Teams: D

The special teams were adequate for the most part, but a blocked punt added to the carnage.

Coaching: F

This team was ill-prepared. No need to explain further

Jets Camp Report: Family Night

JetNation had the opportunity to watch the Family Night Practice at MetLife stadium from the VIP MetLife 50 Club.  This was provided to us by our friends at @MetLife_Central.  It was my first trip inside this club and yes, it was very nice.  Flat screen TVs everywhere, private bar, and a few food stations inside.  You also have the ability to stand right behind the visiting teams bench.  Definitely wouldn’t be a bad way to watch a game and we do appreciate that MetLife gave us this access for the practice.

On to the actual training camp practice, the first thing to point out is there was no contact.  The players were in shorts and as they prepare for their 3rd preseason game there are very few secrets at this point in camp.  Wayne Hunter was excused from practice for personal reasons and Calvin Pace was absent because he had some dental work done.  Santonio Holmes was back on the field and that was encouraging.  Here are some other injury updates from Rex Ryan.

Here are some thoughts:

Beat Reporters

They provide the “official stats” for practice but I am wondering who provided their head shots. Some of them are pretty dated, anyhow back on topic:

https://twitter.com/SethWalderNYDN/status/238051814363250690

I am here to tell you that passing stats in training camp practices are meaningless.  The numbers don’t show it but Mark Sanchez had a very good practice.  He was intercepted by Darrelle Revis on a diving play that only Darrelle Revis could make.  Stephen Hill had a very bad practice and there were at least 3 incompletions to Hill that seemed to be the result of miscommunications.  That is what practice is for, and that is why these passing stats are meaningless.

Positional Drills

These drills don’t really show you that much, it is hard for the players to look bad without any opposition.  One player stood out and that was Bart Scott.  He hustles like a rookie and genuinely seems annoyed that he wasn’t allowed to tackle people.  Last year was a down year for Bart and he seems extremely focused on correcting that.

Who Stood Out?

Jordan White.  Not only does Jordan White have a spot on this roster, he is going to contribute this year.  The Jets had him returning punts and he caught everything thrown his way in practice.  We had an exchange with Jordan after practice and commended him on catching everything.  He pointed out that he dropped one pass on a corner route.  What he left out was the ball was thrown a few feet in front of him and he had to leave his feet to try and haul it in.  He came very close to making an acrobatic catch, what I like is that he expected to make the catch.  He never said it was a bad throw.  He runs good routes, has great hands and seems poised to help this team from day one.

Austin Howard.  He stood out because he took the 1st team snaps at right tackle.  This was a non-contact practice so he can not be graded. I do feel comfortable saying that he stood out simply because he is 6’7″ and 330lbs.  If you are going to key on one players performance against the Panthers, make it Howard.  He deserves a look because the Jets don’t have the answer at RT yet.

Demario Davis. All I want to point out here is he is exciting to watch.  Seeing him on an inside blitz really gives hope that the Jets are going to disrupt the opposing QB regularly this season.

Here are some additional notes from Jets training camp on Tuesday.

Jets Fall To Giants

New York Giants 26 – New York Jets 3

The “MetLife Bowl” was ugly for the Jets. Forget that they lost to the Giants (and the Giants get to keep the really cute Snoopy statue for the next year). It’s preseason, who cares who they lose to?

The bigger issue is that the Jets have a first rate defense – the first team defense only allowed six points in the first half and there was only one offensive touchdown scored by the Giants all game – and what looks to be a third rate offense.

Sure, this is preseason. Sure, the top of the receiving corps is out (Holmes, Kerley, and Schilens all sat this game). Sure, you don’t want to completely throw your hands up and exclaim, “We’re doomed!” in the preseason, but after watching games like this one, it’s hard not to feel that way.

Visit our New York Jets photo gallery.

As bad as the offense was, there were some really good things happening on defense. LaRon Landry intercepted a poor throw by Eli Manning, and landed a huge hit on Victor Cruz. Landry doesn’t think he’ll be fined for the hit, telling the media after the game that it was all shoulder pads. Rookie Quinton Coples had some crushing tackles. Bart Scott got to Eli Manning, and looked fairly quick this game. Defensive linemen Bryan Thomas and Mike DeVito played well. Kenrick Ellis, in for Sione Pouha, also played pretty well. Rookie safety Antonio Allen made some good plays, both on defense and special teams. Darelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie held Cruz and other Giants receivers in check.

They still gave up too much yardage on third down, and there wasn’t much of a pass rush. The second team defense gave up some big plays, but for the most part, there weren’t too many defensive mistakes that would make everyone groan.

Otherwise, the game was bad for the Jets.  The special teams committed penalties that really hurt, including a roughing the kicker that cost the Jets possession and led to a Giants score. Josh Brown nearly missed the team’s only field goal. TJ Conley kicked three terrible punts in a row.

And then, there was the offense. It was a disaster. Our quarterback lines for the day:

Mark Sanchez – 9 for 11 for 59 yards with one interception. He was sacked three times.
Tim Tebow – 5 for 14 for 69 yards. He was sacked four times.

Sanchez’s interception was returned for a touchdown by Giants rookie cornerback Jayron Hosley, but overall Sanchez didn’t look too bad, stepping up in the pocket and throwing some strong passes. Tebow, after his drive that led to a field goal, looked incompetent. He over and under threw receivers, including a wide open Stephen Hill in the end zone.

It’s hard to gauge exactly where the passing game is without the top receivers in the lineup, but it’s even harder when the offensive line is terrible. There’s no way around this. The line couldn’t get John Corner past the first down marker on 3rd and 3 or 3rd and 1. They were worse than last week, and (in case there was any lingering doubt) right tackle is a huge issue. Wayne Hunter allowed four sacks in two quarters, one only being negated by a penalty on the Giants. Sanchez was under pressure on almost every play, and Tebow wasn’t much better off with the second team later in the game.

You can say Hunter is rusty (he didn’t play last week due to injury) but he was owned by Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, and he wasn’t exactly good last year. One year with a right tackle who had been a viable backup but wasn’t starter material is one thing, but now we’re heading into year two. There’s no excuse for this.

Bright spots, if you can call them that, included Stephen Hill, who looked pretty good in the second half playing on the second string offense. Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell looked better carrying the ball this week, even in spite of the lack of o-line help, but it’s alarming to realize that Greene is your number one running back when he rarely gains more than four or five yards per carry. When was the last time we saw him have any kind of big run?

We’ve heard all through camp how much the offense has improved, but we haven’t seen any evidence of it. The Jets have not scored a touchdown in two preseason games, and aren’t exactly getting into field goal range either, having scored only nine points overall. They’ve yet to get into any kind of real rhythm, and it’s been eight quarters. Sure, they’re still learning Tony Sparano’s system, but they don’t even look better than they did last week.

Fans should be furious with the front office and general manager Mike Tannenbaum.  He didn’t upgrade at right tackle when everyone knew right tackle was an issue, and he hasn’t really improved the offense in two years now. Hunter goes back out there every game, and it’s admirable, but it speaks volumes about the lack of offensive depth that he hasn’t been replaced by Vlad Ducasse at this point. There is no blocking tight end, which is needed on a ground and pound team. Rookies are question marks, as much as we want Hill to succeed. The Jets are relying on Schilens at receiver, and he’s been nothing but injured.

It’s too early to completely panic, but these two games have been discouraging. Last week it looked like shaking off the rust, but this week? The first team offense looked worse than last week, and (if possible) even worse than it did at the end of last season. The defense is going to keep the Jets in games, but it’s not going to matter if the offense doesn’t score any points…which it hasn’t yet, by the way.

Next Sunday night, the Jets will host the Carolina Panthers at MetLife stadium. It’d be nice if the Jets scored a touchdown.

You can talk NY Jets football with other fans in our NY Jets message board.