Jalen Saunders Situation

New York Jets rookie receiver Jalen Saunders was injured in a car accident on August 15, as reported by Brian Costello:

The events leading up to the crash are still mysterious. All that is known for sure is that Saunders suffered from some type of “medical incident“, as reported by NBC Sports, before crashing his vehicle. The details are still foggy.

The Jets can only hope that Saunders, who was expected to be the team’s punt returner, can make his way back onto to field quickly. Wide receiver was one of New York’s weakest positions last year, and, despite adding players like Eric Decker and Jacoby Ford during free agency, they still need a lot of help. By recently placing rookie Shaq Evans on injured reserve earlier this week the Jets have added to the urgency of this situation. They need Saunders back. And fast.

There is not a wealth of information regarding this topic, as the Jets and head coach Rex Ryan have been very reserved when discussing this issue.

For Jet fans everywhere, let’s hope Saunders return comes sooner, rather than later.

Jets Try To Satisfy Need For Speed

Ask any Oakland Raiders fan about the importance of speed, and they’d probably bemoan the obsession that the late Al Davis had for one dimensional track stars.

Ask any New York Jets fan about the importance of speed, and they’ll bemoan their front office for neglecting it for so many years.

With John Idzik heading up the Jets front office, it looks like the Jets are trying to strike a balance between the two.

Even when the Jets were making deep playoff runs during the first two years of Rex Ryan’s tenure, Jets fans were frustrated by their inability to get a quick score. While it made sense to use up as much clock as possible with a rookie quarterback in Mark Sanchez, and one of the top defenses in the league, every team should have their own “home run” threat that has to be accounted for by the opponents defense.

Sure, the Jets boasted one of NFL’s top rushing attacks when Thomas Jones rumbled for over 2,700 yards and 27 TD’s during the 2008/09 seasons, but many Jet fans feel like there were a lot of yards left on the field. Too many times we saw Thomas Jones burst through a gaping hole with plenty of open field in front of him, only to get caught from behind or knocked out of bounds. Jets fans were forced to wonder how prolific their offense could have been if GM Mike Tannenbaum had acquire a speed back.

At the wide receiver position, Tannenbaums biggest acquisitions were Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards. Holmes, the faster of the two, showed glimpses of what could be done with game-breaking speed, but seeing Holmes play at a high level for the Jets was short lived. Whether it was a suspension, an injury, or poor attitude and lack of effort, Holmes was never able to provide the Jets with that consistent deep threat. While Edwards, still a fan favorite for many of the Jets faithful, played well on the other side never had elite speed. If you were to compile a list of players who even possessed the ability to stretch the field over the past several seasons, it would strongly resemble a midget in the NBA. Very short, and wildly ineffective:

WR Stephen Hill– We all know the story with Stephen Hill. He has great height, great speed, questionable hands and poor durability. This is a make or break season for Hill, who will have to show significant improvement in year three if he ever hopes to make an impact with the Jets.

WR Clyde Gates– Gates is a holdover from the Tannenbaum regime that Idzik seems willing to give another shot. Plenty of glowing reports about his pre-season performance last year didn’t add up to much when he suffered an early season-ending injury. News of his output in camp has been strong again this season, so time will tell if it translates to game day.

WR David Clowney– Rex Ryan was said to have asked several times in training camp “who can cover the clown”? Apparently, the answer to that was “anyone who feels like it”.

RB Joe McKnight– A bust in college, and the NFL. McKnight is barely hanging on as an NFL player, currently injured in camp with the Kansas City Chiefs.

If we want to dig really deep, we can include WR Eron Riley out of Duke (Currently playing in Canda with the aforementioned Clowney) who played all of two games and recorded zero catches for the Jets.

With most players being nothing more than a distant memory, we fast-forward to the Jets roster as it stands today.

Veteran speedster Chris Johnson leads the way despite having added a few years and a lot of miles since his CJ2K days. Johnson was a guy that could afford to lose a half step, and still be faster than most guys on the field. Johnson could end up being a brilliant signing by Idzik.

Chris Ivory expects to get the starting nod at RB and Jets fans should be fine with that. After being acquired in a draft day trade from New Orleans last year, Ivory paced the Jets with 833 yds on the ground that included a career-long 69 yard run. With the additions made the to the WR position, Ivory should see more running room even if 2nd year QB Geno Smith shows only modest gains.

Daryl Richardson, a surprise cut by the St. Louis Rams has already become somewhat of a forgotten man in a crowded Jets backfield, but multiple sources list Richardson as having sub 4.4 speed. Richardson flashed some of that speed as a rookie with the Rams two seasons ago when he rushed for 475 yds on just 98 carries, a hefty 4.8 ypc average. The brother of Ravens RB Bernard Scott, Richardson should get a shot in the pre-season to add another burner to the RB rotation.

WR Jacoby Ford was one of the fastest WR’s in college when he was drafted by, who else, but the Oakland Raiders. Ford showed flashes as a rookie when he hauled in 25 passes for 470 yds (18.8 avg) and amassed over 1,200 yards as a kick returner. Since then his production has regressed each year, but again, that was in Oakland. Ford will be given every opportunity to make an impact with his game-breaking speed for the green and white.

Adding veterans wasn’t Idzik’s only plan. He used three of his picks on WR’s and all of them boasted impressive 40-times at the scouting combine. Jalen Saunders (4.41), Quincy Enunwa (4.40), and Shaq Evans (4.47) give the Jets three rookies to work with and hopefully cultivate in to impact NFL players.

Nobody knows how any of these moves will pan out, but Jets fans should be encouraged knowing that they now have a front-office in place that recognizes the importance of having game-breaking speed at the skill positions.

Tell us if you think the Jets have enough speed in our NY Jets forum.

NY Jets OTA Recap 6/11

This was the final OTA session that was open to the media.  Here is a recap of the OTA session from yesterday at Florham Park.

Absent
Jeremy Kerley (Personal)
Mike Goodson (Unknown)
Shaq Evans (Finishing College)
Willie Colon (Knee)

Injured/Rehab
Chris Johnson (rehabbing knee)
Jacoby Ford

Notes
Dexter McDougle finally got to wear a green jersey on day 9 of OTAs. This was his first action since his season ending injury in the third game of Maryland’s season. After the practice when Rex Ryan was asked about the risk of drafting McDougle due to not seeing what he could do recently he said:

The confidence of John (Idzik) and Dennis Thurman in particular. That kind of eased my little doubts, if you will. They were adamant about it….He looked great on tape and our scouts had him as one of the top character players in the draft.

This goes to show you what the New York Jets staff thinks of this kid and all of his capabilities.

Although Vick still insists there is no QB competition he has continued to look good in these OTA sessions.  It is nice to see that the Jets have options at QB this year.

Rex has continued the penalty push up routine again. Everyone in the NYJ organization at the OTAs must perform push ups whenever a penalty is committed.

The Jets held their final OTA session today and mandatory minicamp will take place on June 17-19th. Be sure to read more and comment on the New York Jets OTAs in our forums.

NY Jets Sign CB Patterson And WR/KR Ford

The New York Jets signed two players today: Cornerback Dimitri Patterson and Receiver/Returner Jacoby Ford:

 

Patterson, entering his 11th season in the NFL, only played in six games for the Miami Dolphins last year due to injury, but the cornerback did manage six pass defenses and four interceptions in his limited role. The signing adds some veteran depth to the secondary.

Wide receiver Ford has played the past four seasons with the Oakland Raiders. Current Jets receivers coach Sanjay Lal knows Ford from his days with the Raiders organization. Ford will have to compete for a roster spot, but his kick/punt return skills could be what keeps him on the team into the season. Although Ford did have 53 kick returns for almost 1,300 yards in 2010, he hasn’t done much since, and will be a long shot to make the team.

Check out the JetNation forums for more on the Patterson and Ford signings.