Jets Sign Veteran Tackles Heyer and Willis

It is being reported by Jenny Vrentas of the Star Ledger that the Jets have signed veteran tackles Stephen Heyer and Ray Willis to sure up their offensive line as they head towards mini-camp.

Stephen Heyer – OT (6’6”, 330, age: 28) started 21 games for the Washington Redskins in 2009 and 2010.  He played with the Oakland Raiders last season appearing in 12 games, starting two.

Ray Willis – OT (6’6”, 304, age: 29) started all 16 games for the Seattle Seahawks in 2009 but a knee injury sidelined him for 2010.  He was signed by the Miami Dolphins in August 2011 but released prior to the season.  Later he spent about two weeks with the New Orleans Saints seeing no action.

Embattled starting right tackle Wayne Hunter was given a vote of confidence by new Jets offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo recently but back-ups Vladimir Ducasse, Austin Howard and Caleb Schlauderaff have only three career starts between them.

The Jets have brought in some veteran competition at offensive line as Heyer and Willis have a combined 105 games of NFL experience.

For more on these signings go to our Jets-Nation forum.

Recapping The Latest Jets News

Here is a recap of some top news stories surrounding the Jets from this past week:

Daily News reporter Manish Mehta interviewed quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh who was very outspoken about where Mark Sanchez needs to improve:

“There were turnovers that were not his fault that were credited to him,” Cavanaugh told the Daily News in his first public comments since the Jets missed the playoffs at 8-8 last season. “But there were enough that playing that position he needs to cut some of those down. Most of them came from just poor decision-making.

“So I spent a lot of time with him talking about ‘Let’s get focused on managing the game,'” Cavanaugh added. “Taking the big plays when they’re there (and) understanding that … even though it’s drawn up to be a touchdown, not every play has to be a touchdown. Not every play has to be a completion. Sometimes throwing it away is a good thing. Sometimes taking a sack is better than throwing an interception.”

Cavanaugh also discussed with Mehta his impressions of Tim Tebow’s potential:

“Quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh made it clear that he believes the young signal-caller has plenty of upside. Tebow, who admitted that he has only taken reps at quarterback this offseason, has worked closely with Cavanaugh.

“I think he can be very good,” Cavanaugh told the Daily News. “I was pleasantly surprised when I saw him over an extended period of time . . . not just watching him play on film. I think he’s certainly got the arm strength. He has good mechanics. They’re getting better every day.”

Coach Rex Ryan had repeatedly insisted he will become more involved in the entire team’s activities since the end of last season.  According to ESPN’s Rich Cimini Ryan is keeping his word:

At the end of the season, Rex Ryan said he would take a more active role in day-to-day coaching … It’s still early, but he apparently is doing just that, perhaps to regain the pulse of the team, which he admittedly lost last season.

It appears the Jets coaching staff has confidence in embattled right tackle Wayne Hunter.  Offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo praised Hunter strongly asserting he’ll be the Jets starting right tackle saying, “Until they ship him (Hunter) out of here or shoot me dead,” to Manish Mehta of The Daily News:

DeGuglielmo showered embattled right tackle Wayne Hunter with praise.

“One of the things that excited me most about this job was Wayne Hunter,” he said. “The last thing that I would ever want to see happen is not have Wayne Hunter as the right tackle. He’s big. He’s athletic. He’s aggressive. He’s a smart guy. He practices at top speed. He practices physical. He pays attention to detail. Everything you give him to do on the field. He does it. He does it naturally. Wayne had some good plays last year and some bad plays. You show me a lineman in the league that didn’t.”

“How he reacted to some of those bad plays maybe that’s something that he needs to work on,” DeGuglielmo added. “But I’ll be honest with you: This guy is the starting right tackle. Until they tell me otherwise, until they ship him out of this building or until they shoot me dead in my office, that son of a gun is going to be the starting right tackle and he’s going to play well.”

DeGuglielmo was adamant that Hunter “has skills.”

Hunter has echoed these assertions as reported by Conor Orr of The Star Ledger:

“As far as my role, I’m the starting right tackle, that’s as simple as it is,” Hunter said. “Whatever happens come opening day, during the season, so be it, but I am the starting right tackle now and that’s all that matters to me.”

Hunter will face some competition from third year lineman Vladimir Ducasse, who is facing a “make or break” year according to Jenny Vrentas of The Star Ledger. Apparently Ducasse is preparing to play right tackle “exclusively”:

This could be a make-or-break offseason for Vlad Ducasse, the 2010 second-round pick who has yet to take on a significant role. Ducasse said he is exclusively working at right tackle, which is where he prefers to be.

It seems that running back Joe McKnight’s weight gain has come courtesy of “Ronald” and the “Hamburglar,” ESPN’s Rich Cimini reported on McKnight’s new diet:

To improve his ability as a power runner, backup RB Joe McKnight added some weight in the offseason. In fact, he put on 15 pounds, bringing him to 216. How’d he do it?

“A lot of McDonald’s,” he said Wednesday.

He wasn’t kidding.

McKnight wasn’t on a McDonald’s-only diet, but he admitted he ate a lot of fast-food burgers on his way to his current weight. The way he figures it, he ate, worked out and “it changed to muscle.”

Mehta Tweeted about McKnight’s offseason workouts at “Mickey D’s”:

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Nose tackle Kenrick Ellis has faced potential deportation, since he is not a United States citizen, for some legal problems since before being drafted in 2011.  ESPN’s Rich Cimini says Ellis’ trial is pending:

Ellis, facing a felony charge for malicious wounding … The criminal trial, already postponed twice, is set to begin May 22.

The Jets were aware of the pending charges when they selected Ellis in the third round of the 2011 draft. A potential complication is that Ellis is not a U.S. citizen. Ellis, a native of Jamaica who moved to Florida at the age of 11, has “permanent resident” status. A permanent resident convicted of an aggravated felony is deportable, according to immigration law.

For up-to-date information on all things Jets visit our Jets-Nation forum.

 

 

 

Jets Officially Name Dave DeGuglielmo As New OLine Coach

As we reported yesterday, the New York Jets have named their new offensive line coach.  It is ex-Dolphin coach Dave Deguglielmo.

JETS NAME DAVE DeGUGLIELMO OFFENSIVE LINE COACH

The New York Jets have named Dave DeGuglielmo as the team’s offensive line coach. The announcement was made by Head Coach Rex Ryan.

DeGuglielmo joins the Jets after spending the last three seasons with the Miami Dolphins as their offensive line coach (2009-11). Under DeGuglielmo in 2011, the Dolphins offensive line blocked for a running game that gained 1,987 yards and produced Reggie Bush’s first career 1,000-yard season.  Dolphins tackle Jake Long has been selected to the Pro Bowl during each of DeGuglielmo’s three seasons in Miami.

Prior to the Dolphins, DeGuglielmo spent five seasons with the New York Giants.  He was the assistant offensive line coach (2005-08) after being the assistant offensive line and quality control coach in 2004.  Under his tutelage in 2008, the Giants set a franchise record and led the league with 2,518 yards rushing and 5.0 yards per carry.  He also helped guard Chris Snee and center Shaun O’Hara earn Pro Bowl recognition in 2009.

Before entering the NFL coaching ranks, DeGuglielmo spent five seasons (1999-2003) under Hall of Fame Coach Lou Holtz at the University of South Carolina working with the offensive line and tight ends.  He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Boston College, before moving onto stops at his alma mater, Boston University, and the University of Connecticut.

DeGuglielmo was an All-New England First-Team guard and center at Boston University (1987-90), where his offensive line coach for his final three years was current Jets Offensive Coordinator Tony Sparano.

Here is the discussion thread from our NY Jets forum.  One poster brought up an excellent point on this move that we felt was worth highlighting.

Good addition to the staff IMO

Sparano is originally an OL coach so it’s good to have HIS OL coach to run our OL.. Who knows, maybe things will be less confusing than the Shottenheimer/Callahan Turnstiles OL we saw in 2011.

Jets Close To Adding OLine Coach From Miami

The Miami Herald is reporting that the New York Jets are close to adding ex-Dolphins offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo.

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Googs, as he is affectionately called in the building, is headed to the New York Jets with longtime friend Tony Sparano, according to a league source.

Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll had feelers from other teams after the regular season. The Dolphins denied him permission to interview elsewhere, according to a source. While his fate in Miami has not been sealed, it is a long shot he will return to the staff, according to a source.

Daboll may wind up in either Kansas City or with the New York Jets.

At first glance that is a lot of former Dolphins coaches that could potentially be running the show in New York.  There were many times during the 2011 season, that left Jets fans feeling like it couldn’t get any worse on offense.  The Jets will show us if that is true in 2012.  Although, the Jets are looking to return to their roots as a physical team on offense and this coaching shakeup was long overdue.

We will keep you posted and let you know if these moves become official.