Saturday, August 30, 2008

Cut-down predictions


Eric Mangini moved back his press conference from 1:00 to 6:00 to announce cuts. I'd imagine that's because they're either working a trade or they just aren't sure what to do.

A look at the Jets roster shows that it's very imbalanced. For the most part, depth is a problem. The Jesse Chatman saga still could end in a cut, trade, or nothing at all. A trade would make a lot of sense if the Jets believe they can get a backup offensive lineman, safety, or maybe a defensive lineman. Chatman isn't going to get many touches behind Jones and Washington, and if his 198 yard performance against Philadelphia can provide some value, it would be worth it.

But let's go position by position, and see what the Jets might do.

Quarterback:
Locks: Brett Favre, Kellen Clemens, Brett Ratliff
Bubble: Erik Ainge

Runningback:
Locks: Thomas Jones, Leon Washington, Tony Richardson
Bubble: Jesse Chatman, Jehuu Caulcrick

Wide Receiver:
Locks: Laveranues Coles, Jerricho Cotchery, Chansi Stuckey, Brad Smith
Bubble: David Clowney, Marcus Henry, Wallace Wright
Pack your bags: Paul Raymond, David Ball, Larry Brackins

Tight end:
Locks: Chris Baker, Dustin Keller
Bubble: Bubba Franks, Jason Pociask
Pack your bags: AJ Schable

Offensive line:
Locks: D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Alan Faneca, Nick Mangold, Brandon Moore, Damien Woody
Bubble: Jacob Bender, Will Montgomery, Kyle DeVan, Matt McChesney, Wayne Hunter, Robert Turner, Nate Garner, Stanley Daniels

Defensive line:
Locks: Kris Jenkins, Shaun Ellis, Kenyon Coleman, Sione Pouha
Bubble: Mike DeVito, CJ Mosley, Thomas Johnson, Ropati Pitoitua, Bryan Mattison, Kareem Brown

Linebacker:
Locks: Vernon Gholston, Calvin Pace, Bryan Thomas, David Harris, Eric Barton, David Bowens
Bubble: Marques Murrell, Cody Spencer, Kenwin Cummings
Pack your bags: Matt Chatham, Brandon Renkart

Secondary:
Locks: Darrelle Revis, Dwight Lowery, Eric Smith, Kerry Rhodes
Bubble: David Barrett, Ahmad Carroll, Justin Miller, Drew Coleman, Abram Elam, Cameron Worrell, Hank Poteat, James Ihebdigo
Pack your bags: Rudy Burgess

Kicker: Mike Nugent
Punter: Ben Graham
Long snapper: James Dearth

That's 34 players that should make the team, leaving 19 spots left for the bubble boys.

At least one more runningback will make the team. I'll tentatively say Chatman will play that role because he's really the only option. Caulcrick could make it, but Hutchinson's report scares me a little.

At wide receiver, I'll say that David Clowney and Wallace Wright make the team. Wright is valuable on special teams, while Clowney was too impressive before his collarbone injury to not make the team. Marcus Henry has a chance as well, but the 6th round pick could be caught in a numbers game. Chansi Stuckey's recent play at cornerback in the last game makes it more feasible that they keep six receivers, but seven?

Tight end is another interesting position. Baker and Keller are locks. I don't count James Dearth here because he rarely plays the position. Jason Pociask and Bubba Franks both have good reasons to make it: Pociask is a good blocker who has made a few nice plays receiving, while Franks is a veteran who already has a rapport with Brett Favre. If Favre were still in Green Bay, Franks might not make it. As the roster stands now, the Jets might just keep all four and use Pociask as a backup fullback and an H-Back.

The offensive line's starters are set, but the backups are a mess. Wayne Hunter, Robert Turner, and Will Montgomery are my picks to make the team, with Nate Garner making the practice squad. Those three have proven the most to the Jets throughout the preseason, but a veteran should be added.

The defensive line has a few decent options at backup defensive end. Obviously the three starters and Pouha, whom the Jets gave an extension to this offseason should make the team. CJ Mosley, Kareem Brown, and Mike DeVito are the three likely candidates to be backups as they've made the most noise in practice and in the games.

Linebacker is a tough position to project. The four starters and Gholston are clearly locks. David Bowens should also make the team based on his play the last few seasons. Marques Murrell, Cody Spencer, and Kenwin Cummings have all been impressive at different points in time this offseason. As good as Spencer has looked at times, Murrell's edge-rushing ability and Cummings's versatility (he can also play some D-Line) should be the differences for them.

The secondary is also difficult. Smith, Rhodes, Revis, and Lowery will likely start week one and are locks, and David Barrett's pay-cut and recent play at safety should earn him a roster spot. Abram Elam, Cameron Worrell, and James Ihebdigo will battle for the other backup safety role. Elam has the inside track due to his play last year, so he probably gets the job. Drew Coleman, Justin Miller, and Ahmad Carroll might be fighting for two spots. In a perfect world, the Jets would trade Carroll or Miller to a team needing a cornerback and a kick returner, but assuming no trades, I bet Coleman is the odd one out.

So after all that work, we're at 52 players. The final roster spot comes down to the following list of players.

QB Erik Ainge
WR Marcus Henry
OL Nate Garner
DL Bryan Mattison
LB Cody Spencer
CB Drew Coleman

I'll give the final spot to Ainge. Keeping four quarterbacks isn't very useful, but it gives them time to either work out a trade or at least stash Ainge until they need the roster spot for someone.

Practice squad:
S James Ihebdigo
WR Marcus Henry
FB Jehuu Caulcrickhttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gif
OL Nate Garner
OL Matt McChensney
DL Bryan Mattison
WR Paul Raymond
Someone cut from another team.

One final note, TheJetsBlog reports that a trade is in the works with Minnesota. Jesse Chatman could be involved, but his agent swears he won't be. Justin Miller and Chris Baker are legitimate possibilities, though trading your starting tight end a week before the season starts probably won't happen.

So who could it be? Kellen Clemens? Believe it or not, it could happen, as one rumor does say Clemens could go to Minnesota. Take it with a grain of salt until further confirmation, but remember the Jets have traded another quarterback, Brooks Bollinger, to Minnesota in the past.

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