Douglas Still has Options to Strengthen Roster With Opener Approaching

However the New York Jets 2019 season transpires, much of the credit or blame will likely go to former Jets GM Mike Maccagnan who was responsible for bringing in almost the entire roster, and as of now, essentially all of the 22 starters with the exception of center Ryan Kalil.  He also played a large role in hiring head coach Adam Gase.

So with just a few weeks before the season kicks off, can current GM Joe Douglas make this roster his?  Well, not entirely, but there are still some moves to be made that could have a big impact on Sundays in 2019 that will allow Douglas to show what he’s got.

Douglas took on the Jets job with just two positions that needed serious upgrades in center and cornerback.  With the formerly retired Kalil deciding he wanted to lace ’em up again, Douglas pounced and took care of the center position for the immediate future.

Next up is cornerback where a combination of ineffectiveness and injuries make Trumaine Johnson a question mark at best.  Darryl Roberts has a chance to be a decent CB2, but there are still questions about his consistency.  A look at right tackle shows a promising young rookie in Chuma Edoga and a guy in Brandon Shell who missed 2 games in 2017, 4 games in 2018 and is dealing with a minor knee injury at the .  

The addition of Quinnen Williams is expected to boost the pass rush numbers for the defense but there is still no proven edge rusher on the roster.  Those guys don’t come available often, but there may be a player out there who could help as a situational player.  How can Joe Douglas address these holes between now and September 8th against the Buffalo Bills?  Here are a few options.

Cornerback:

We said a few days ago that Douglas should be on the phone with the Dallas Cowboys to try to pry Jourdan Lewis away from Jerry Jones as he enters his third season and that hasn’t changed.  However, what has changed is that former Rams and Buffalo Bill EJ Gaines has been let go by the Bills in an injury settlement and is now a free agent.  Gaines was a highly thought of player just two years ago and at 27 years old could immediately become one of the top 3 cornerbacks on the roster who has started and played at a high level.

Edge Rusher:

This is about as unlikely as a position to find a free agent floating around who can have a big time impact, but as a situational pass rusher who can generate pressure on 3rd down or in a big spot, why not kick the tires on former Green Bay Packer Nick Perry?  Perry had 18 sacks in just 23 games from 2016-2017 before missing most of 2018 due to injury.

Offensive Line:

The aforementioned Maccagnan traded for Kelechi Osemele, signed Tom Compton and drafted Chuma Edoga.  On the back of that, Douglas signed Ryan Kalil and traded for Alex Lewis.  Those moves put the Jets O-line in a much better position now than it has been in previous years.  Even still, while Brandon Shell has been a serviceable player, he’s had some nagging injuries and there are some possible upgrades sitting on the market as we speak.  At 31 years old, former Atlanta Falcon Ryan Schraeder is longer in the tooth than Shell, but has been a better all-around blocker.  More of a mauler in the run game and a good pass protector, Schraeder could upgrade Shell’s biggest weakness which comes in the run game, without losing anything as a pass blocker.

Another player worth looking at in this spot would be former Jaguar Jeremy Parnell, but at 33, he may have a tougher time getting a call.

Wide Receiver:

According to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, the Jets made a “strong offer” to free agent receiver Dontrelle Inman to continue surrounding Sam Darnold with quality targets.  Aside from Inman, there’s wide receiver Terrance Williams, who averaged 671 yards per season with the Dallas Cowboys from 2013-2017 while finding the end zone 20 times.  If the Jets are willing to make a push for Inman, no reason not to kick the tires on Williams.

Final Roster Cuts:

Of course there are moves to be made when teams make their final cuts and for Douglas, the first priority should be to add the best kicker who shakes loose.  Look for Dan Bailey to be at or near the top of the Jets list.  Douglas will also likely be keeping an eye on any cornerbacks let go by his former team, the Philadelphia Eagles, who are carrying 11 at the moment and have one of the deepest groups on the NFL.

With kickoff just around the corner, expect to see some new faces in MetLife Stadium against the Bills.

 

 

Douglas Hire has Different Feel Than Predecessors, and it Should

So now the Jets have a shiny new General Manager to roll out for the next step toward what they hope will be a championship roster at some point in the not-so-distant future in Joe Douglas.  One thing is for certain as Douglas takes over, and that’s the fact that his arrival has a different feel than each of the past few Jets General Managers who were hired by Gang Green.

Douglas follows Mike Maccagnan, who followed John Idzik, who replaced Mike Tannenbaum.  Three men who may very well be some of the nicest guys you’d ever meet, but all landed a gig that they probably weren’t qualified for, and the fact that there was no demand for their services from any other club speaks volumes.

Tannenbaum rode the coat tails of Bill Parcells after impressing the Hall of Fame head coach with his mastery of the salary cap, but he lacked the command a GM should have, often relying too heavily on the wants and desires of his head coaches on draft day.  A GM should have the confidence to work with a coach to gain consensus on which players to take.  He shouldn’t hand full control to the coach and get out of the way.

Idzik was clearly the worst of the three by a wide margin.  In two drafts he chose 19 players with just two of them playing at a high level at any point in Sheldon Richardson and Quincy Enunwa.  Most of the 19 picks were out of the NFL within a couple of years and his first round picks consisted of Richardson, Calvin Pryor and Dee Milliner.  When his team was in dire need of a number one cornerback, Idzik passed on several highly thought of candidates and landed Dimitri Patterson, who walked out on the team before a pre-season game just a few months later and never played a snap as a Jet.

Then there’s Maccagnan, whose draft record was weak and his hesitancy to pull the trigger on potential deals frustrated ownership.  He does leave the Jets in good shape with a franchise QB and multiple pro bowlers and all pros to move forward with along with several highly skilled pass catchers.

What makes the Douglas hire different however, is the fact that his resume dwarfs that of Tannenbaum, Idzik and Maccagnan.  Having spent 16 years working under Ozzie Newsome in Baltimore, he’s had a front row seat to watch one of the best GM’s ever to do it.  By spending a few years in Philadelphia, he gained exposure to one of the league’s more respected cap guru’s in Howie Roseman, playing a role in the construction of two super bowl winning teams in different cities.

Instead of bringing in another Idzik or Maccagnan, who no other team expressed interest in, and who NFL insiders had to dig deep to find out about, Douglas was supposedly on many radars as an up and coming executive who was destined to be a GM.  He has the type of resume that candidates in the past have rebuffed job offers, or even interviews with the Jets.

This is different because for once, this isn’t a case of taking the best guy who was willing to take the job, but a case of landing one of their top two choices (George Paton of the Vikings being the other) by refusing to take no for an answer.  The Jets more than doubled the value of their initial offer to Douglas according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, and gave him a whopping six-year deal.  That contract takes him beyond that of head coach Adam Gase, meaning he has probably been assured a chance to hire his own coach if life with Gase doesn’t work out.

How this plays out from this point on is anybody’s guess, but no matter which direction things go, the Jets can rest easy in knowing that they didn’t have to hire from the best of a bad batch and they landed a highly respected executive who has the years of experience to justify the opportunity he has been given.

 

 

 

 

Potential Irony in GM Search Would Warrant Plenty of “Same old Jets” Talk

The New York Jets have now had three weeks to find a new general manager after firing former GM Mike Maccagnan, and unless they make a full court press to get Eagles executive Joe Douglas, the irony may not be lost on anyone should Douglas land with the Texans.

The Jets had many reasons to cut ties with Maccagnan, even if it turns out he landed them their first franchise quarterback in half a century.  However, after the move was made, it was widely reported that what sealed Maccagnan’s fate was his tendency to drag his feet and his unwillingness to pull the trigger on potential moves to improve the team. 

Now, as the Texans enter the hunt for a GM, we learn that they’re also big fans of the Jets top choice in Douglas. 

Should Houston find a way to land Douglas, the Jets will have failed to get their top choice because, you guessed it: The owner dragged his feet and was unwilling to pull the trigger on a potential deal to improve the team.

If this is how things play out, the “same old Jets” moniker that is loathed by so many fans, will have never been more appropriate.

Report: Joe Douglas to Jets “Done Deal”

NFL insider Tony Pauline provided an update on the Jets search for a new general manager in saying that Philadelphia Eagles Vice President of Player Personnel Joe Douglas a done deal” in a tweet that was sent out yesterday.

Any other candidate interviews is a case of the Jets “going through the motions” according to Pauline.  In Douglas, the Jets would be adding arguably the most respected candidate in over a decade. 

Recent GM’s have been number crunchers (Mike Tannenbaum and John Idzik) or in the case of Mike Maccagnan, a scout with less experience than Douglas, who has worked with the Eagles, Bears and on Ozzie Newsome’s staff in Baltimore for sixteen seasons.  

Gase Meets Media, Addresses Maccagnan Firing

For the first time since GM Mike Maccagnan was let go by the Jets just a couple of weeks ago, the man believed to be behind the firing, Adam Gase, took time to meet with the media to field questions on the topic.  Gase was direct in some of his answers, and somewhat evasive in others.

Initially Gase was asked about the team’s ongoing search for a GM, saying that the team is in the “beginning stages” of the hunt in which there’s a “team” putting together a list of what the job will entail before they pass it along to owner Christopher Johnson.

When confronted directly and asked if he “stabbed” Maccagnan in the back, Gase promptly replied “that would be false”.  Gase would then repeatedly reply “no” when peppered with a series of questions prying in to whether or  not there were issues between him and Maccagnan and if he had voiced any concerns in being able to work with the former GM.

A predictable barrage of questions would follow that ranged from whether or not he spoke up in Maccagnan’s behalf when he learned of his eventual fate (he did not), to his thoughts on how he is perceived by the fans in the midst of all of the chaos, with that question spurring the most important answer of the presser; “I think our fans care if we win or lose”. 

In that, Gase is 100% right.  All coaches lie, but not every coach wins.  If he’s good at the latter, nobody will care about the former.

Outside of Ownership, Plenty of Incentives to Lure new GM to Jets

Any time a general manager comes in to take over a team that just picked in the top 3 of the NFL draft, it usually means a major reclamation project is on the horizon.  However, after firing GM Mike Maccagnan earlier this week, the Jets 53-man roster is actually one that’s good enough, with the right coaching, to make a playoff push in 2019 and is set up to succeed beyond that.

An incoming GM might have some concerns working for an owner who is a place holder for his brother who will be returning at some point with neither having proven much in terms of their ability to run an organization.

Minus the concerns with ownership, the incoming GM will have a quarterback who is universally viewed as a franchise signal caller, several playmakers on offense and blue chip defenders at every level of the defense.

It all starts under center with Sam Darnold where Adam Gase’s top priority will be to develop the former number three overall pick who showed tremendous growth down the stretch in 2018, and anyone watching would have seen it.  In fact, Darnold was behind only Andrew Luck of the Colts from weeks 10-17 in QB grading according to ProFootballFocus.com.  If Darnold makes the year one to year two leap that so many other young quarterbacks have made in the past, the Jets should be set up at the league’s most important position for years to come.

Adam Gase
Adam Gase will have no shortage of weapons to work with in 2019.

Then on offense, the Jets have arguably the top running back in the NFL whose legs will never be fresher in Le’Veon Bell who sat out the 2018 season in a contract dispute with the Steelers.  In terms of pass catchers, the Jets have every level of the field covered with impact players.  Bell can serve as an outlet underneath along with free agent wide receiver Jamison Crowder.  Second-year tight end Chris Herndon can work the intermediate routes with Quincy Enunwa, while Enunwa can also team with Robby Anderson to stretch opposing defenses deep down the field.  Players such as Trevon Wesco and Deontay Burnett may be able to contribute in the receiving game as well, but that remains to be seen.

On the defensive side of the ball, things might be even better.  Look for rookie defensive lineman Quinnen Williams to team with veteran Leonard Williams to bring the heat up the middle, while Jachai Polite, a third-round pick with first-round talent has a legitimate chance to be the team’s first true edge rusher since the departure of John Abraham.

The Jets hope to see more of this from Leonard Williams with a beefed up D-Line and new defensive philosophy.

The middle of the defense might be the strongest part of the team with Williams and Williams up front, multiple time pro-bowler CJ Mosley joining Avery Williamson at inside linebacker, and All-Pro safety Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye behind them.

There are some legitimate concerns at cornerback where the team hopes Trumaine Johnson can bounce back from a shaky first season and neither Darryl Roberts nor Derrick Jones being proven assets.  This should mean cornerback will be a top priority next off-season.

The offensive line needs a center, but the team could also a lot worse than having a league-average left tacke, an All Pro left guard and a some average but workable players at right guard and right tackle.

There’s undoubtedly frustration among Jets fans in how they handled the firing of Mike Maccagnan, but in taking a step back to look at the big picture, there’s plenty of reason to shake off the pessimism and realize that with an upgraded replacement, the Jets are well positioned to make some deep playoff runs in the not so distant future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jets Open for Business, so who Could be Shopping for 3rd Pick?

Even before rumors of the Jets being desperate to trade down and add draft capital earlier this week, it was abundantly clear that Mike Maccagnan and company would be very aggressive in trying to move down from the third overall pick.  The problem for the Jets could be finding a buyer who is willing to meet their asking price.  So who could look to move up when the draft rolls around?  Let’s take a look.

New York Giants:

The Giants have two first-round picks (6th & 17th) with a need at quarterback.  It’s believed that they’re interested in Duke quarterback Daniel Jones who should be there at six but do they risk getting leapfrogged by other teams (Broncos, Redskins) in search of a quarterback themselves?

If so, they should be reaching out to Gang Green to make a rare trade between the two clubs as both would look to benefit in a big way as they look to improve their future outlook.

Denver Broncos: 

If you think Mike Maccagnan had a hard time finding a quarterback after using a second and a fourth round pick on Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty respectively, you should take a look at John Elway’s work at the position. 

The Broncos current starting quarterback is Joe Flacco, who should start collecting social security sometime after the season kicks off.  The reason why Flacco is in place is because Elway’s addition of Case Keenum for big money was a flop last year.  Elway had to spend big on Keenum because he burned a first-round pick on Paxton Lynch, who, like Hakcneberg, isn’t an NFL quarterback.  Trevor Siemian was the quarterback prior to Lynch, and Zac Dysert was an option before him.  It was before Dysert that Elway used a second-round pick on Brock Osweiller as the heir apparent to Peyton Manning, who signed with Denver as a free agent.  So aside from signing a Hall of Fame free agent, Elway has missed on a total of five quarterbacks, two of which were taken with a first and second round pick.  Once Flacco fails, that number should climb to six.

Even still, Elway is in place and knows he needs a quarterback, and the Jets could stay in the top 10 by moving down to 7 and adding more picks.  With Kyler Murray expected to go first overall and the Giants also hoping to land a QB at 6, Denver could look to leapfrog the Giants to take another swing at the position.

Washington Redskins:

There are some reasons why the Redskins should be looking to add a quarterback, and some indicators that suggest they’re hoping to grab one much higher than 15th overall which is where they currently sit.

First off, the ‘Skins quarterback is Colt McCoy.  That alone is reason enough to be in the market for a QB.  The Giants figure to add a quarterback at six, giving them a potential long-term answer at the position.  Then of course there’s the fact that the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys have two of the top young QB’s in the game in Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott respectively.

If you’re the Redskins, it’s going to be tough to explain to the fans that you’re in dire need for a QB but sat back and got the third or fourth option in a weak class.

And while it’s not uncommon for teams to host players who are unlikely to be on the board when they’re on the clock, the Redskins would have been a bit overboard in recently hosting Kyler Murray unless they’re looking to move up if he doesn’t go first overall as expected.  They’ve also hosted Daniel Jones and Dwayne Haskins, so if they strongly prefer one over the other, they won’t be able to sit back and 15 to get one.

Of course the draft could be full of surprises.  Maybe the Raiders decide they’d like to move up a spot to grab Josh Allen.  Maybe the Bucs want to jump the Raiders as both teams are rumored to have interest in linebacker Devin White. Or maybe, just maybe, the Jets stay at 3 and snag the best player in the draft in Quinnen Williams, or add the best edge rusher on the board.

Only a few more days before we find out.

Jets Roster Devoid of Talent and no Hope? It’s not 2014, Jets Fans

It’s certainly no big secret that General Manager Mike Maccagnan has had his fair share of missteps as the helm of the New York Jets since he took over for failed GM John Idzik before the start of the 2015 NFL season.  There have been bad draft choices and some poor contracts handed out by Maccagnan, but that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been some good, or even great moves, that have potentially reversed the fortunes of the franchise and upgraded the talent in multiple spots.

What’s most incredible about Maccanan’s current roster is that despite having only 39 spots under contract for 2019, it’s far better than the roster he took over just a few years ago.  For those fans suffering from amnesia, let’s take a look back at the Jets roster then and now.

Quarterback:

Then: 

Geno Smith- Arguably the worst starting quarterback in the NFL, Smith was the quarterback who John Idzik went all-in on as he took the air raid quarterback and insisted on having head coach Rex Ryan bench Mark Sanchez in favor of his prized pupil.  The results were disastrous as Smith’s time under center (and in the locker room) mark some of the most horrendous moments in Jets history.

Now: 

Sam Darnold- Let’s be realistic here.  You could end the roster comparison here and now.  Darnold’s accuracy, maturity, demeanor and ceiling are all infinitely better than Smith’s ever was.  When all is said and done, Jets fans will be in hysterics any time they recall a time pre-Darnold when they thought or hoped Geno Smith might be the answer.

Verdict: It’s the most important position in all of pro sports.  Idzik delivered Geno and Maccagnan delivered Darnold.  You could make a case for ending the conversation right there.  While Maccagnan had a colossal second-round bust at QB himself in Christian Hackenberg, the difference was that Maccagnan never forced his coach to put him under center, and cut ties when it was clear that he couldn’t get it done.

Running Back:

Then- Chris Ivory, Chris Johnson

This was a solid tandem even if Johnson was winding down his career and Ivory got dinged up from time to time.

Now- Isaiah Crowell, Eli McGuire, Trenton Cannon

Crowell may not be around when 2019 kicks off, but the Jets like what they’ve seen out of McGuire in limited reps, and Cannon’s rare speed makes him a player worth keeping around to work with for a season or two.

Verdict: The 2014 group was better, but if not for failing to build a more rounded offensive line, the production out of Crowell and McGuire could have been more respectable than what it was.

Wide Receiver:

Then- Eric Decker

One of the knocks on Decker when he came to the Jets was his lack of durability.  It looked as if it was going to be a thing of the past following a huge season in 2014, but in the end, Decker had one good season for the Jets before being let go as part of Mike Maccagnan’s house-cleaning three years ago to completely tear down what Idzik had put in place and start a rebuild.

Now- Robby Anderson

Anderson has long been knocked by onlookers as a “one-trick pony” but he appears to be poised to shake that label.  The Jets finally asked him to do more at the end of last season and he had the best three-game stretch of his career, posting over 300 yards and 3 TD’s after Sam Darnold returned from injury.  

Then- Percy Harvin

A true one-trick pony, Harvin was added in a lost season to get a better look at Geno Smith with an added deep threat.  Harvin was a bust with Gang Green and retired soon thereafter.

Now- Quincy Enunwa

Both GM’s get credit for this move.  Idzik drafted Enunwa after taking 5′ 6” Jalen Saunders and washout Shaq Evans earlier in the draft.  Maccagnan kept Enunwa on board while he developed and re-signed him to a long-term deal recently

Verdict:

For the first time since the days of Wesley Walker, the Jets have a legitimate deep threat who could be around for many, many years in Robby Anderson and Enunwa is a great compliment to that.

Tight End:

Then- Jeff Cumberland

Cumberland was a nice enough player as a receiver when given an opportunity, but his blocking was abysmal and he was completely ignored in Chan Gailey’s offense under Todd Bowles.  The converted wide receiver has suffered with serious injuries since leaving the Jets.

Now- Chris Herndon

As described the other day by new head coach Adam Gase, Herdon is “a unicorn” who can stay on the field for all three downs.  Excellent hands, very good run blocker, good pass blocker.  The sky is the limit for Herndon as he continues to develop with Sam Darnold.

Verdict- Forget comparing Herndon only to Cumberland, but if he continues on this trajectory, he’ll be the Jets best tight end since Mickey Shuler.

Offensive Line:

Then- D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Oday Aboushi, Nick Mangold, Willie Colon, Breno Giacomini

Idzik inherited a still capable Ferguson and Mangold, retained Willie Colon, signed Breno Giacomini in free agency and drafted Aboushi.  Aboushi was gone in short order, Colon was creeping up on retirement and Giacomini was a disaster who struggled with injuries, penalties and playing football.

Now- Kelvin Beachum, help wanted, help wanted, Brian Winters, Brandon Shell

Ferguson and Mangold were shells of their former selves when Maccagnan arrived and simply put, he hasn’t done enough to fix this unit.  He reportedly tried to trade up to draft Laremy Tunsil a few seasons ago but that fell through.  Beachum is a league average tackle who you can live with for another season but they need a left guard and center ASAP.  Winters was a rare Idzik hit in the draft who will likely stay but could be upgraded sooner rather than later. Shell has turned in to a quality mid-round pick.

Verdict- Both GM’s failed in this area but of course Maccagnan had much more work to do with Mangold and Ferguson breaking down.  The patchwork moves have to stop now that he has a QB in place, plenty of money to spend and the draft fast approaching.

Brian Winters is a likely holdover in 2019, but don’t rule out an upgrade.

Defensive Line: 

Then- Muhammad Wilkerson, Damon Harrison, Sheldon Richardson

Lots of talent on this D-line that just never performed to its full potential.  If it had, the Jets would have had one of the best defenses in the NFL.  

Now- Leonard Williams, Nathan Shepherd, Folorunso Fatukasi

The group is barren right now as contracts have expired so the comparison ins’t even close.  If Henry Anderson returns, that move alone makes this line much better, but still not as good as the 2014 group.

Verdict: 

From a pure talent standpoint, the line Maccagnan inherited is clearly better than the one he has now.  If Henry Anderson returns and a player or two are added in free agency, the on-field performance may not be far off from what Idzik’s group offered.

Linebackers:

Then- Calvin Pace, DeMario Davis, David Harris, Quinton Coples

This group was a combination of elderly and under-achieving linebackers that were going to need to be replaced soon for those reasons.  All four were liabilities in coverage at this point in their careers and a big reason why those Jets defenses were unable to slow down opposing tight ends.

Now- Jordan Jenkins, Avery Williamson, Darron Lee, Brandon Copeland

Jenkins had a career year with 7 sacks in 2018 after a few seasons of quality run defense but he is a liability in coverage.  Williamson at this point is a better player than Harris was in 2014 and Darron Lee took tremendous strides on the field last season whereas Davis was let go after struggling in the role currently occupied by Lee.  

Verdict: The 2014 group lacked athleticism and was exposed consistently.  Lee was leading all NFL linebackers with 3 interceptions before being suspended for violating the league’s substance abuse policy so there are questions moving forward.  Even still, the current group is superior to the 2014 bunch.

Safety:

Calvin Pryor never came close to fulfilling his potential with the Jets and is already out of the NFL.

Then- Calvin Pryor

The Jets could have used a quarterback in this spot but Idizk opted to pay tribute to the stars of the 60’s by drafting a traditional box safety in Calvin Pryor.  Pryor is already out of the NFL and probably should have been after his second or third season.  

Now- Marcus Maye

Maye has to stay healthy, but in terms of pure talent, this isn’t even close.  Maye has shown that he can make plays against the run and the pass on a consistent basis.  The only time we saw Pryor’s head on a swivel was when he looking for somebody to explain who he was supposed to be covering.

Safety: 

Then- Dawan Landry

A veteran jorneyman who was gone after two seasons with the Jets, his last stop in the NFL.

Now- Jamal Adams

Second-year pro bowl MVP and second-team All Pro, Adams is a generational talent who was the league’s most dominant safety against the run while simultaneously shutting down the passing game last season with Gang Green.  Adams saw significant reps at free safety, strong safety, linebacker, slot corner and a handful of plays at boundary corner.  Adams played well in each of those spots and figures to be a force in Gregg Williams’ defense.

Verdict: Is this even a conversation worth having?  Adams has a pro bowl and an All Pro nod under his belt while Landry and Pryor are out of the NFL.

Cornerbacks: 

Then- Darrin Walls, Antonio Allen, Kyle Wilson, Philip Adams, Marcus Williams

Antonio Allen and Darren Walls formed the Jets 1-2 punch at cornerback under John Idzik.

No, we didn’t accidentally pull the names from the Jets practice squad in 2014.  This was the actual group of cornerbacks John Idzik assembled for the 2014 season along with oft-injured first-round draft pick Dee Milliner.  This, with a head coach who liked to blitz more than any other coach in the NFL. 

Now- Trumaine Johnson, Morris Claiborne, Buster Skrine, Parry Nickerson, Derrick Jones

Johnson was the consensus top cornerback on the market last season but like many other players, regressed under Todd Bowles.  Claiborne is a solid, yet unspectacular number two corner while Nickerson and Jones have yet to show what they can do.

Verdict: Looking at that list of CB’s from 2014 is never not shocking.  You may have never seen a worse group in your life as a fan.

While this in no way exonerates Mike Maccagnan for the errors he has made as the Jets general manager, it should serve as a reminder as to just how bad this team’s roster was just a few short years ago and the fact that far better players have been added to replace those who filled the roster before them.

In addition, from 1995-1996, the Jets went 4-28 under Rich Kotite.  With many of the same players, under Bill Parcells, the Jets were in the AFC Championship game by 1998.  This is not a prediction that the same will happen here, but a reminder that while acquiring talent is important, coaching matters, too.

 

 

 

 

 

Maccagnan, Gase Meet with Media in Indy

As is customary at the NFL combine, head coaches and general managers from around the league met with reporters in Indianapolis, including Adam Gase and Mike Maccagnan of the New York Jets.  What were some of the main takeaways from the pair?  Noting surprising from Maccagnan and how the Jets feel about having the third pick while Gase had some effusive praise for a few of his young players.  Here are a few notes on the comments from the two.

Maccagnan looked to be in very high spirits with this being his first trip to Indy that didn’t have him searching frantically for a quarterback.  A first during his tenure and he was asked about it right off the bat to which he replied, “It’s actually a good feeling to come here and not have to answer a bunch of questions about the quarterbacks.  We feel good about Sam Darnold and feel we have a very good player to work with at that position to move forward”.

In regards to having the third pick and whether or not they’ll be looking to trade down in the draft, Maccagnan said he was open to the possibility of trading back to add more picks.  “We feel good at number three but I would definitely say if there’s an opportunity to trade down, we would absolutely look at it” and continued, “I definitely wouldn’t rule anything out at this point”.  

When asked about which position groups stand out in this year’s draft class, Maccagnan mentioned tight end, pass rushers and the offensive line where there look to be several options moving forward.  Even with Chris Herndon on board, taking a tight end to pair with him as an additional weapon for Sam Darnold may not be a bad idea.  If Maccagnan’s answer is any indication, the Jets may look to do just that.

One scribe pressed Maccagnan on the future of Leonard Williams to which Maccagnan was non-committal in terms of anything in the immediate future but did say the Jets are happy with Williams as a player.

When Gase met with reporters, there was plenty of talk about the young players he’s inheriting who he feels confident in and there were a few players he’s clearly high on.  

Wide receiver Robby Anderson earned plenty of praise from Gase who said he’s looking to get the speedy receiver involved in the offense in more than “one or two” different ways, likely referencing the Jets past tendency to rely heavily on Anderson solely as a deep threat before the final few weeks of the 2018 season. 

Gase said he was most impressed with Anderson’s speed and his ability to “track the ball going down the field”, saying “I don’t think I’ve ever been around a player who is so smooth and when he sticks his hand out at the speed he’s running, you see him just pluck the ball and keep on going”.

There was also some praise for tight end Chris Herndon as a “unique” tight end who the team can keep on the field for “all three downs” who is a “very good receiver, very good in the run game and good” in pass protection, leading him to sum up Herndon as a “unicorn type player” who can do a variety of things.

Running back Elijah McGuire also got the attention of the head coach as Gase commented on his play, saying “I was very impressed and I think his first game was against us (Miami) and after watching that, I know there are some things he likes to do over other run schemes and we’re going to emphasize what he likes to do”

Gase also confirmed an earlier report from Brian Costello of the New York Post, saying that the team will be sticking with a 3-4 base defense despite expectations of new defensive coordinator bringing a 4-3 scheme with him.  

One concern among some Jets fans was the hiring of Joe Vitt and Gregg Williams, due to their history together in the New Orleans Saints bountygate scandal, but Gase put that to bed, saying that Williams was recommended to him by Vitt on several occasions and that the two are looking forward to working together again.

 

 

 

 

 

How Jets can go From Rags to Riches on Draft Day

For the first time in decades, the New York Jets have a quarterback under center who gives the franchise a legitimate reason to believe that they finally have an answer at the position in Sam Darnold.  With this being the case, the team can finally start to build around a quarterback who is worth investing in for the long haul.

One potential problem in doing so as the NFL draft approaches is that the Jets have just 40 players under contract when the new league year starts according to overthecap.com.  How can the Jets look to go from six picks to eight, nine or ten?  Let’s take a look.

With the third overall pick, the Jets could find themselves in the driver’s seat on draft day.  Having Darnold under contract and several teams picking in the top half of the first round needing a QB, the Jets could be the beneficiary of a bidding war to move up in to the top three or four.

Expect Jets GM Mike Maccagnan to be working the phones come draft time.

With the New York Giants (6th), Jacksonville Jaguars (7th), Denver Broncos (10th), Cincinnati Bengals (11th), Miami Dolphins (13th), Washington Redskins (15th), Tennessee Titans (19th), and Oakland Raiders (4th, 24th, 27th) possibly in the QB market for a variety of reasons, the Jets could be in position to trade down on more than one occasion.

The Jets could use that third pick to move down to sixth or seventh with the Jaguars or Giants respectively, and then explore another move down to a team such as the Bengals or Redskins who would certainly have to give up multiple picks to move up and take a quarterback.  Assuming multiple trade downs is a bit much, so for the sake of keeping this realistic, we’ll say the Jags beat the Giants to the punch and give the Jets their 1st round pick (7th), their 2nd round pick (38th) and their 4th (102) in 2019, along with their 2020 4th round pick.  This would be the minimum asking price that would two additional picks for the Jets, giving them a total of eight.  Any additional moves down shouldn’t be ruled out, but again, we won’t take it that far.

Another way the Jets could realistically add a pick would be through their approach with wide receiver Robby Anderson, a restricted free agent who is one of the NFL’s premier deep threats and could earn a first or second round tender from Gang Green.  The Raiders are the wild card here as a team with three fist round picks in what is viewed as  a weak receiver class.  Anderson would give the Raiders an immediate impact player while giving up just a single pick. Anderson has shown what he can do as a deep threat through his first three seasons in the league, and in the season’s closing weeks, the Jets finally asked him to run a complete route tree, resulting in the best four-game stretch of his career.  Surely teams will have taken notice of the fact that Anderson has been limited more by his quarterback play and what  he has been asked to do than he has been by his raw talent.

Leonard Williams has been a good player for the Jets, but has fallen short of expectations.

A couple of other trade possibilities could arise during the offseason if new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams doesn’t like what he sees on film from Leonard Williams.  If the new coordinator isn’t wowed by Leo, the team should look to unload his bloated 2019 salary to a team that believes they can get more out of him than the Jets can.  Given his lack of production and entering the final year of his contract, Williams wouldn’t be likely to command very much in  a trade.  Perhaps a mid-round pick?

Finally, with the Jets expected to move from a 3-4 base defense to a 4-3, it could make outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins the odd man out unless Williams thinks he can get him to be productive as a rotational defensive end.  If not, a young 3-4 linebacker coming off of a seven sack season despite shaky secondary play would certainly be able to net the Jets another middle or late round pick or two.

Add it all together, and the Jets could add a couple of picks by moving down, another pick for Anderson, a pick or two for Williams and the same goes for Jordan Jenkins.  Should things play out that way or anything close to it, Jets fans will hope Mike Maccagnan finds more picks along the lines of Darnold, Jamal Adams, Chris Herndon and Brandon Shell than ArDarius Stewart, Chad Hansen and Christian Hackenberg, but only time will tell.

There will be no shortage of speculation from now until draft day as the event approaches, but for once, the Jets are in a position to move down and allow another team to take a quarterback instead of frantically trying to move up to get one themselves.  Draft day will definitely have a different feel for Jets fans this season, and the change should be a welcome one.