Sunday Notes: Jets Bring Home Snoopy Trophy, Trim Roster

A Quick Recap of This Week in JetNation:

 

Jets Starters Look Sharp, Bring Home the Snoopy Trophy

 

After struggling in their two first preseason games, the Jets starters came to play Saturday night against the Giants. Both the offensive and defensive starters looked in sync as the Jets ended the first half with a 21-7 lead. After the half, Bryce Petty and the backups took over. The Jets would go on to win the game 28-18. Ryan Fitzpatrick ended the night going 9 for 14 with 127 yards passing and two touchdowns. The game against the Giants was likely the last time any of the starters will see the field until week one of the regular season. Fitzpatrick finished the preseason with impressive numbers on paper: 24 for 36, 261 yards, two touchdowns with no interceptions, and a 106.4 passer rating.

 

The starting defense made significant strides against the Giants as well, never allowing a play for over 19 yards the entire first half. The defense looked much more cohesive than the previous two games, with vast improvements in tackling and communication. The Jets were still a little loose when it came to penalties, committing eight for 50 yards, but it’s still an improvement over last week’s 17 penalties for 125 yards.

 

This was by far the best game of the preseason for the Jets, and there were plenty of highlight moments. Players who made impact plays, and had a solid game include: Eric Decker (with the exception of a muffed punt), Walter Powell, Antonio Cromartie, Trevor Reilly, Leger Douzable, and Zac Stacy. The play of the game was Antonio Cromartie’s pick-6, Cromartie needed the boost after having a shaky training camp and preseason. Other big plays were Eric Decker’s 18-yard touchdown reception from Fitzpatrick, Walter Powell’s 54-yard punt return for a touchdown, and Zac Stacy’s 24-yard screen pass reception for a touchdown.

 

Jets Trim Roster from 90 to 78

 

The Jets announced their first round of cuts Sunday, releasing 12 players. The deadline for a 75-man roster is September 1st which means the Jets will still need to release three more players before this coming Tuesday. The first round of cuts included: Saalim Hakim (WR), T.J. Graham (WR), Jonathan Rumph (WR), Austin Hill (WR), DeVeir Posey (WR), Javier Arenas (CB), Keith Lewis (CB), Curtis Brown (CB), Matt LaCosse (TE), Dalton Freeman (OL), James Brewer (OL), and Bryan Johnson (LB).

 

One of the surprises from the first round of cuts has to be wide receiver DeVeir Posey, he came on the last two preseason games with a touchdown reception against the Falcons and four receptions for 39 yards against the Giants. Another surprise cut is cornerback Javier Arenas who was never really given a shot to get a roster spot by the Jets. Arenas is a well traveled veteran who could have provided some more depth for the cornerback position.

 

Nearly half of the Jets cuts came at the wide receiver position. That leaves three players at the position who are still battling it out to make the 53-man roster. Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, Devin Smith, Jeremy Kerley, and Quincy Enunwa all seem to be locks to make the roster. Kerley has seen significantly less playing time so far this season, but recently signed a contract extension and Quincy Enunwa looks to be the front-runner for the slot position. Most likely there will be one more spot left for a wide receiver on the 53-man roster and Chris Owusu, Walter Powell, and Shaq Evans will have to fight for that sixth spot.

Other Notes

 

Leonard Williams gave Jets fans a scare Saturday night after suffering a knee injury and heading to the locker room with trainers. Williams walked off without a limp, implying the injury wasn’t too serious. It was confirmed Sunday after an MRI that Williams didn’t suffer any ligament damage, and only sustained a muscle strain. His availability for week one of the regular season is still in question, but hasn’t been ruled out either. If he’s healthy, Williams will start at defensive end for Sheldon Richardson while he serves a four game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

 

After the game Muhammad Wilkerson said “I’m fine, I just need reps, that’s all.” Wilkerson recorded 3 total tackles, and half of a sack in his only preseason game. This is a positive sign for the Jets after Wilkerson missed nearly a month of training camp and the first two preseason games with a nagging hamstring injury. If Leonard Williams is healthy by week one the Jets will have a Wilkerson-Harrison-Williams trio starting on the defensive line, not too bad considering defensive end Sheldon Richardson will be out.

 

Walter Powell is making a case to take the final wide receiver position on the 53-man roster as a kick/punt returner. He’s had an impressive punt and kick return so far in the preseason. Powell had his 54-yard touchdown punt return against the Giants, as well as a 48-yard kick return against the Lions. He did fairly well against the Falcons too, returning four kicks for 81 yards.

 

The Jets will have to cut three more players before the 75-man roster deadline on Tuesday. The final 53-man roster deadline is September 5th, giving the Jets a short time to make their decisions on the final cuts. The Eagles will come to MetLife Stadium for the fourth and final preseason game, giving Todd Bowles one more game to evaluate his roster and make some tough decisions. The game against the Eagles is on Thursday, and the Jets will need to make the move to a 53-man roster by Saturday.

 

 

Sunday Notes: Geno’s Jaw, Jets Preseason Debut

A Quick Recap of This Week in JetNation:

 

Geno Returning Soon?

 

 

Tuesday morning former Jets linebacker IK Enemkpali “sucker punched” Geno Smith in the locker room fracturing his jaw in two separate places. According to David Chao, an orthopedic surgeon that focuses on athletes, Geno’s recovery time could be significantly shorter than originally anticipated. After the incident, the prognosis was a 6 to 10 week recovery time, but Chao believes Smith could be ready for action by week one of the regular season. It was thought that Smith would need to have his jaw wired shut, but he ended up having a plate and screws inserted instead making the timeline for recovery shorter. Smith was seen at the Jets’ facility Sunday morning with trainers and medical staff.

Todd Bowles may have already turned the page on the Geno saga, even if he’s healthy by week one. Bowles has made it clear that if Ryan Fitzpatrick is playing well, he won’t hand the starting spot back to Geno. “If the other guy’s playing well, and the boat’s going right and there are no waves and everything and we’re 4-, 5-, 6-, 7-0, you’re not coming back to start.” Bowles’ quote obviously implies that Smith wouldn’t be eligible to return until week four, but would Bowles still feel that way if he was cleared to play by week one?

 

Jets’ Starting Defense Struggles in Preseason Debut

 

Many Jets fans were anticipating the debut of reunited cornerback tandem Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, even though it was only in preseason action. Unfortunately, the Jets’ starting secondary was torched giving up multiple big gainers. The two main culprits were Antonio Cromartie and Calvin Pryor blowing coverage and missing tackles. Marcus Gilchrist also missed a tackle and committed a penalty on Ameer Abdullah’s 41-yard rush. The run defense wasn’t much better getting burned on multiple rushing attempts, and missing key tackles.

Jets fans can take solace in the fact that it is only preseason, and Todd Bowles was using a vanilla defensive scheme running mostly zone defense. Bowles emphasized the missed tackles saying “I thought our tackling was extremely sloppy… We’ve practiced it. We’re going to practice it a lot more.” The game also came on the heels of the Smith-Enemkpali fiasco, possibly adding a little more pressure. The defense will look to rebound week two against the Falcons at home.

While the starting defense struggled, the starting offense had more production. Ryan Fitzpatrick only had one drive, but looked to be in command of the offense. Fitzpatrick went 2-3 for 16 yards on a 10 play drive, the drive would have continued if it wasn’t for a drop by Jeff Cumberland inside the 10 yard line. Nick Folk ended the drive with three points. The running game looked solid as well with nice gains by both Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell. The starting offense only saw one drive, then sat out the rest of the game. Bryce Petty was in for the remainder of the game, failing to put together a scoring drive.

Even though Fitzpatrick was anointed starter less than a week ago, he looked to have a decent rapport with the wide receivers. Throughout training camp Fitzpatrick was working exclusively with the backups, and will have to continue to develop chemistry with the starting offense.

While the game was mostly disappointing for the Jets, there were a few players who made a good impression against the Lions. Players who stood out include: Walter Powell, Bilal Powell, Trevor Reilly, Joe Mays, Keon Lyn, and Durrell Eskridge. The play of the day for the Jets had to be Walter Powell’s 48-yard kick return, setting up the Jets’ lone scoring drive. Marcus Williams’ interception was in the running, but it came after he gave up multiple completions on the same drive.

 

Other Notes

 

The Jets are still getting bitten by the so called “injury bug,” Jace Amaro and Erin Henderson both went down against the Lions. Erin Henderson has a sprained MCL and is day-to-day, Amaro has a shoulder injury and is week-to-week. As of Sunday’s practice: Muhammad Wilkerson, Chris Owusu, Devin Smith, Dee Milliner, Erin Henderson, Stevan Ridley, Jace Amaro, Steve Maneri, and of course Geno Smith weren’t participating. Calvin Pryor didn’t participate due to a death in the family, and Bowles mentioned Pryor would be out for “quite a few days.” Marcus Gilchrist, Antonio Cromartie, and Brandon Marshall all left the field at some point during Sunday’s practice, only Gilchrist and Cromartie returned. According to Bowles, Marshall’s injury wasn’t serious.

The Jets brought in quarterback Matt Flynn for a physical, but no deal is imminent. With the only viable back up being Bryce Petty, the Jets will likely bring in a veteran arm for the remainder of the preseason at some point. Other notable names in the free agent market include: Mike Vick, Rex Grossman, Tyler Thigpen, Jordan Palmer, Brady Quinn, and Jason Campbell. The Jets have already spoken to Vick, and both sides agreed a reunion wasn’t in their best interests.

After the incident with IK Enemkpali and Geno Smith the Jets promptly released Enemkpali and signed free agent cornerback Javier Arenas. Arenas is a journeyman cornerback who could add some depth to a secondary that has taken some hits. The Jets have also been trying Arenas out at kick/punt returner in practice. Arenas could make an appearance at kick returner during the Jets next preseason game against the Falcons.

Former Jets head coach Rex Ryan pulled another brash move by picking up IK Enemkpali after he was released. Rex Ryan said Enemkpali was a “great teammate” while he was the head coach of the Jets, and stressed that Enemkpali will be on a tight leash. Picking up Enemkpali after he broke Geno’s jaw was a classic Rex Ryan move. Ryan will likely try to get as much information as he can out of Enemkpali, while also taking joy in “sticking it” to his former team. Enemkpali struggled during his debut as a Bill, getting “pancaked” by a Panthers lineman.

During Sunday’s practice the Jets had two skirmishes on the field, the first one was between Breno Giacomini and Quinton Coples while the second was between Dalton Freeman and Jason Babin. The second was the worse of the two, although no punches were thrown. Bowles wasn’t very pleased, and made the entire team run “gassers” or sprints. Bowles also mentioned both Freeman and Babin could be fined. The Jets will need to retain that intensity to have a good showing in their upcoming game against the Falcons.

 

 

 

 

 

Despite Poor Record, Jets May Have a Few Gems of Their Own

By Glenn Naughton

When the NEP and their HC secured their fourth Super Bowl victory just a few days ago, the games final play served as a reminder to football fans everywhere of the importance of having bargain players on a 53-man roster.  Undrafted rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler’s spectacular interception of Russell Wilson’s pass sealed the victory and turned him from a relative unknown, to a household name.

With this in mind, JetNation.com decided to take a look at notable undrafted players on the Jets current roster who have made significant contributions to date, while taking a look at some who may have a bright future in green and white.

NT Damon Harrison- Any discussion about the Jets undrafted free agents would have to start with nose tackle Damon “Snacks” Harrison.  The 350 defensive lineman has been front and center in the Jets 3-4 defense for each of the past two seasons.  A product of William Penn, Harrison came to camp with the Jets in 2012 but saw the field for only 22 snaps that season.  In 2013, he was unleashed as a full-time player and graded out as the fourth rated NT in the NFL according to PFF.com.  This past season, Harrison anchored the Jets front once again and is widely considered to be among the top NT’s in the league.

TE Jeff Cumberland- Another undrafted starter for the Jets, Cumberland has become somewhat of an anomaly.  At 6′ 4” /260 pounds, the former college wide receiver has all of the physical tools one would want.  He’s has been clocked in the 4.4 40 range and one would think that his years as a wide receiver would lead to big numbers for the fifth year player.  While Cumberland has often been referred to as being on the verge of breaking out, things just haven’t materialized thus far.

CB Marcus Williams- Let’s face it, there wasn’t a whole lot to get excited about this season as the Jets struggled to a 4-12 finish and consistently failed to find a way to slow down opposing quarterbacks.  The cornerback position was somewhat of a revolving door for a large portion of the season, but the arrival of Marcus Williams brought some stability to the position.  After getting his first start in week 9 against the Kansas City Chiefs, Williams never looked back.  He started every game from that point on and earned the praise of teammates and coaches.  As they say, in today’s NFL you can never have too many good cornerbacks. If the Jets load up at the position in free agency and through the draft as expected, Williams could go a long way in helping round out what will hopefully be a fairly deep group.

NT/DE TJ Barnes- Two seasons ago the Jets carried Barnes on their practice squad for the duration of the season.  Another massive defensive lineman who was originally listed at 6′ 7” and 364 pounds out of college managed to slim down and make the final 53 man roster this season.  The Georgia Tech product didn’t see the field all that much in 2014, but the fact that the Jets moved him from the practice squad to the 53 despite their defensive line being the strongest unit on the roster could speak volumes.  As new head coach Todd Bowles determines what defensive alignment he’ll use as his base, it should be interesting to see if Barnes finds a way to impress the new regime.

MLB Nick Bellore- Bellore is an often under appreciated special teams ace.  The four-year veteran out of Central Michigan joined the Jets with a reputation as a fundamentally sound player who played well against the run.  He’s been a mainstay on kick coverage tems and was second on the Jets in special teams tackles last season with 10 after tying for the team lead with 13 in 2013.

C Dalton Freeman- Of all the undrafted players on the roster, Freeman is the most likely player whose resume would lead fans to wonder why he wasn’t selected to begin with.  Freeman played at a big program (Clemson), and received some very impressive accolades during his time there.  He started a school record 49 games and was twice nominated for the Rimington award, given each year to the nation’s top center.  Freeman is obviously stuck behind perennial pro-bowler Nick Mangold, but did perform well in weeks sixteen and seventeen last year when Mangold was out with an ankle injury.  Given the Jets question marks at the guard position, it wouldn’t be all that surprising to see Freeman get an audition somewhere else on the offensive line next season.

CB Darrin Walls- Thrust into a starting role due to multiple injuries at the cornerback position, Walls played a career high 774 snaps in 2014 teaming with the aforementioned Marcus Williams to form the Jets’ starting tandem for much of the season.  A Notre Dame alum, Walls could be another player who adds much-needed depth the position moving forward.

 

Cooking for Super Bowl 49 with the Jets and ICE

JetNation had the opportunity to learn new recipes and gear up for Super Bowl 49, with the New York Jets and the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE).  The VIP event took place Friday, January 31st at MetLife Stadium.  Fans were assigned to cooking stations that were scattered throughout the exclusive Coaches Club.  Expert chefs had a delicious menu with a variety of food.  Fans learned how to make Grilled Chicken and Eggplant Parm Sandwiches, Sausage & Peppers Chile Rellenos, Fish Tacos, Buffalo Potato Skins, and Apple Crumb Pie Doughnuts (just to name a few items).  Aside from what ingredients to use, knife skills and different techniques were taught – a must for the die-hard tailgater.

After the food was prepared, the Jets players arrived for photographs, autographs, and of course, to try out the delicious food.  Geno Smith, Dalton Freeman, Tommy Bohanon,  and Willie Colon mixed and mingled among the fans, adding to the VIP experience.  Once everyone finished eating, the MetLife tour commenced.  The tour provided a behind-the-scenes look at the Press Box, Suites, the extravagant Green Room, and ended with the Jets locker room.

JetNation would like to thank the New York Jets and the Institute of Culinary Education for inviting us to participate in these excellent cooking classes this past 2014-15 football season.  For more information on this event and taking classes at ICE, visit www.ice.edu.

We look forward to doing it again!  Go JETS!

NY Jets Sign Eight To Future Contracts

Ryan Idzik 160Jets have signed eight players to reserve/future contracts:

  • Tight end – Colin Anderson (6’4″, 240) Furman

Signed as an undrafted free agent on April 30 by the Minnesota Vikings Anderson was released during final cuts on August 31. The Jets worked out the tight end in October but didn’t sign him till now.

Anderson had 90 receptions for 1,541 yards and 11 touchdowns in four years at Furman. 

  • Defensive Tackle – T.J. Barnes (6’7″, 364) Georgia Tech

Agreed to a contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars April 29 but was waived on August 30.  Signed to the Jets practice squad on October 9 where he remained through the end of the season.

Barnes had 28 tackles, five for loss, along with 1.5 sacks during his senior year (2012) at Georgia Tech.

  • Wide Receiver – Michael Campbell (6’2″, 205) Temple

Campbell has spent time on and off the Jets practice squad since 2011 along with being placed on the active roster during a four game stretch in 2013. 

  • Defensive Tackle – Tevita Finau (6’5″, 288) Utah

Originally signed in 2012 to a reserve/future contract by the Jets Finau saw action in the 2013 preseason recording one sack.  He also spent time on the team’s practice squad during the season.

  • Center – Dalton Freeman (6’5″, 291) Clemson

Signed as an undrafted free agent on May 9 Freeman was impressing during training camp but an ankle sprain slowed his progress.  He was signed to the team’s practice squad on September 1 remaining there for the entire season.  He will have a good chance of being the primary backup to Nick Mangold. 

  • Linebacker – Tim Fugger (6’4″, 250) Vanderbilt 

Originally a round seven pick of the Indianapolis Colts in 2012 but was released before the start of the season.  The Jets signed him to their practice squad on December 3. 

Fugger had 13.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks in his senior year (2011) at Vanderbilt.

  • Wide Receiver – Dwight Jones (6’3″, 230) North Carolina

Jones had 85 reception for 1,196 yards and 12 touchdowns his senior year (2011) at North Carolina but went undrafted due to character concerns. 

Signed by the Jets to the practice squad on December 18 Jones has dealt with a personal issue regarding the loss of his son.  An extremely talented prospect if Jones can regain the passion for football he could have an impact with the club.

  • Safety – Rontez Miles (6’0″, 200) California (PA)

The Jets signed Miles as an undrafted rookie and elevated him to the active roster for one game during the 2013 season.  Miles had five interceptions and over 70 tackles during his senior year at California (PA) in 2012.  He also spent time on the Jets practice squad this year.

These players will become members of the Jets 90-man active roster on March 11 the start of the NFL season. Until then they will remain on the reserve list but are under contract with the Jets.

Only players who are not on a team’s 53-man roster can be signed to a reserve/future contract.  Since practice squad members are not protected they often get signed to ensure they are on the roster heading into a new season.

Players Placed On The Practice Squad, Two Surprise Cuts

The New York Jets have been pretty busy today putting Several players on the practice squad. The Jets have a total limit of 8 positions that they can fill with practice squad players.

The Jets have also decided to part ways with Running Back Kahlil Bell and LineBacker Danny Lansanah. Both were given opportunities to impress the coaches in the preseason. Additionally the Jets placed Line Backer Josh Mauga on IR.

The Jets have also claimed former Indianapolis Colts Offensive Tackle Ben Ijalana.

The 6’4″ 317 lbs tackle was the 49th pick overall in the 2011 draft. Ijalana has been known to show some skill at both run blocking and pass protection. He was brought in to add depth to the Jets Offensive line. In addition, the Jets decided to bring back Center Dalton Freeman.

Jets fans should remember Freeman from the preseason who was impressing the coaches before he was sidelined with a high ankle sprain during practice. Freeman will add even more depth at the Center position. We will keep you updated with more news as it becomes available.

Center Dalton Freeman Released, QB Graham Harrell Officially Signed

Today the New York Jets made it official and signed Graham Harrell after he passed his physical. Harrell spent the last three regular seasons with the Green Bay Packers and served as a back up to Aaron Rogers in 2012 according to Eric Allen from NewYorkJets.com. With that signing the Jets have released Center Dalton Freeman.

Freeman sustained a high ankle sprain early in Jets camp and was competing for a back up role on the team. The Clemson University graduate was signed after the completion of the 2013 draft and was reportedly impressing Head Coach Rex Ryan. The Jets will continue to evaluate the roster to meet the leagues requirement of a 53 man roster which has to be met by August 31st.

Jets Camp Report – 8/5

The Jets continued their training camp practices from Cortland today:

The quarterback competition between Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith was front and center after their performances in the “Green and White” scrimmage on Saturday.

Today appeared to belong to the veteran Sanchez as Smith had two turnovers:

With an injury to the promising undrafted rookie center Dalton Freeman the team worked veteran Stephen Peterman in at center today.  Peterman had been sidelined by a shoulder issue but returned to practice today.  The Jets also signed center Eric Cook who saw time with the Washington Redskins in 2011:

Fresh off his very impressive showing during Saturday’s scrimmage running back Bilal Powell stood out once again:

The emergence of Powell is good news as the team remains thin at the RB position with Chris Ivory and Joe McKnight out with injuries while Mike Goodson’s availability is still unknown as he has not reported to camp.  The Jets also signed free agent RB Mossis Madu who played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the 2011 season adding some much needed depth: