Monday, March 30, 2009

Preseason Schedule Released

Below is the Jets' preseason schedule for the upcoming season. Dates have yet to be finalized, but these are the opponents in order along with the television network you can watch it on if you don't feel like seeing third stringers play live.

Week Possible Dates Opponent TV Network
Week 1 8/13-15 vs. St. Louis Rams WCBS
Week 2 8/24, 8 p.m. at Baltimore Ravens ESPN
Week 3 8/29-30 at NY Giants TBA
Week 4 9/3, 7 p.m. Philadelphia Eagles WCBS

Interesting that Rex Ryan's return to Baltimore is nationally televised, so all you Jets fans out there will be able to watch the quarterback competition. The second game will likely be the primary factor in determining the starting quarterback because I'm sure Ryan will want to name a starter as soon as possible. Normally the third game is most important, but as Jerricho Cotchery said, the team needs a leader to rally around, whether it's Kellen Clemens, Brett Ratliff, Mark Sanchez, or Josh Freeman.

JetsDaily Podcast

Okay, so it's not really a podcast, but I will have a half-hour radio show which I will try to upload onto here after I'm done. It will be a once a week show leading up to the NFL draft and then one show afterward focusing on the Jets' draft. Please e-mail or comment your questions to me, and I will try to answer them on air. The show will focus on all things Jets, with a focus on the draft which is now less than one month away.

More details will be posted as they come. The first show will probably be this week, but I'm headed out to Detroit to watch Villanova in the Final Four. The first Final Four since 1985 in Villanova history comes in my junior year. Crazy. I've gone to every tournament game so far, so I'm definitely not stopping now. I will be in the 12th row in the student's section for Saturday's game against North Carolina. Words can't describe how excited I am.

But I'll try to focus the show on the NFL draft, whether it is who the Jets should take, profiles on potential draftees such as Percy Harvin, Tyson Jackson, and Mark Sanchez, or draft strategy in general.

You can e-mail me at this address.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

No updates until next Monday

Just giving readers a heads up that I'm shipping up to Boston this weekend (well, tomorrow at 9:00 AM, about 6 and a half hours from now) to watch Villanova kick Duke's ass, and then take on either Pittsburgh or Xavier in the elite 8. I'll have limited computer access, so if any big Jets news comes up, I may not be able to get online to post it.

Though, if the Jets were to somehow trade Vernon Gholston, Kellen Clemens, and the 17th pick for Jay Cutler, I'll find a way to get on here. Okay, I'm just dreaming with that one.

Go Nova! Feel free to use the comments to root for Syracuse, UConn, or whatever team you like. Or even trash college basketball if you want, I don't care.

Monday, March 23, 2009

At long last, I'm back

Sorry for the lack of updates over the last 10 days or so. In that time the Jets have signed DE Marques Douglas, worked out a number of different players at the draft, including quarterbacks Josh Freeman and Mark Sanchez, but I've been busy with a ton of work to do.

But the main reason for my lack of updates is because it's the NCAA Tournament, and hate it or love it, it might be my favorite three weeks of the year. My Villanova Wildcats are in the sweet 16, taking on the Duke Blue Devils, the team I've hated ever since I was a little kid. I'm as giddy as a schoolgirl thinking of what a win would feel like.

Still, there is budding news, as ESPN reports the Jets are interested in Jay Cutler. Cutler rumors have floated for a couple weeks now, with the Jets casually mentioned as a darkhorse who may get involved, but it appears like the Jets are actively moving on it.

Last year, when Brett Favre was made available, I was all for getting him, and I felt it made perfect sense. It ended up coming to fruition, even if the results weren't as positive as people had hoped.

This year, I'm not as sure. At first I balked at the idea of Cutler to New York, figuring that the team did not need a gunslinging type quarterback. Cutler has typically been in high-powered offenses, but his teams haven't won. A large part of it has to do with the lack of talent around him, particularly on defense, but the lack of winning does not reflect well on him.

It will all depend on the compensation. Rich Cimini lists some of the draft ammunition that each suitor for Cutler could give here.

With the 17th, 52nd, and 76th picks in this year's draft, there isn't a ton there to give. Remember, the Jets are also giving up a 2nd-4th round pick in next year's draft for Lito Sheppard, so next year's draft has already been slightly compromised.

Still, if the Jets think Cutler is a franchise quarterback and Kellen Clemens and Brett Ratliff are not, they should absolutely try to get him. A ball-control offense is nice, but points win football games, and Cutler can certainly put some points on the board. He would not have many weapons to throw to, which could be a problem, and he's also threw 18 interceptions last year.

But 25 touchdowns would make him worth it. And remember, he's just entering his fourth year, a year that quarterbacks typically start to find their stride. Cutler's production in his first three years have been quite impressive, especially when compared to other young quarterbacks.

At the end of the day, I wouldn't expect Cutler to be a Jet. I doubt Denver would want to move him to the AFC, and I doubt that Kellen Clemens or Brett Ratliff piques their interest as a replacement. A third team, probably Eric Mangini's Cleveland Browns, would probably be needed to get a deal done.

But Mike Tannenbaum has shown that he's unafraid of making a big splash, and Cutler would definitely qualify for that. And Cutler would solve any quarterback problems, presumably for the next decade. Don't get your hopes up, but the Jets are definitely getting involved.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Jets should sign Torry Holt

Today, Torry Holt was officially released by the Rams. Conflicting rumors differ on how interested the Jets are, but it makes a lot of sense.

Consider. Henry Ellard, the new receivers' coach, was with St. Louis from 2001-2008, eight of his ten seasons in the NFL. There is a comfort level there, and Holt would provide a veteran presence across from Jerricho Cotchery. He came out of college running a 4.34 forty-yard dash many years ago, and he still has much of that speed.

And unlike the other two big name receivers who were available this offseason (Terrell Owens and Marvin Harrison), Holt is clean both on and off the field. The drama that Owens brings is well-documented, while Harrison has been investigated in a Philadelphia shooting. On the field, Holt has sure hands, something Owens lacks, and he's four years younger than Harrison, who has looked like a shell of his former self the past two seasons.

Skeptics point to this past season, where Holt's numbers fell across the board. 64 catches for 796 yards and three touchdowns were nowhere near his old numbers. But the Rams clearly decided to go in a new direction. Donnie Avery was the first receiver picked in the draft, and St. Louis wanted to showcase him. The youth movement was cemented with the release of both tackle Orlando Pace and Holt in the past two days.

However, don't get too excited. The latest report from John Clayton of ESPN didn't sound too optimistic that the Jets would make a big play for him. Indeed, signing Holt could be a slightly different direction than what Rex Ryan had in mind, but they should certainly consider signing the NFL's all-time yards-per-game leader.

*The Jets have signed LB Larry Izzo, formerly of the New England Patriots. Izzo has been one of the top special teamers in the game for a long-time, but he was recently in the news for the wrong reasons, as he will testify against Barry Bonds in the BALCO case.

Izzo has a history with Mike Westhoff, but the Patriots didn't want him back for some reason, and he will provide at least some distraction. It's not good publicity to hear, "Jets linebacker Larry Izzo was in court today," especially when steroids are the subject.

Still, with no salary number released, I won't complain too much since it's probably a very small deal.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Jets sign DT Howard Green

The Jets are back in the news, signing 6'2", 320 defensive tackle Howard Green, formerly of the Seattle Seahawks. He will add depth behind Kris Jenkins at the nose and will give Sione Pouha some competition.

Green tallied 21 tackles (17 solo) and one sack and a forced fumble last year for Seattle. In total he has played 36 games in the NFL with New Orleans and Seattle after being drafted in the 6th round in 2002 from LSU. Rex Ryan is familiar with him, having briefly coached him before the 2002 season.

And how about my Villanova Wildcats?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Friday afternoon roundup

*Just say no to Terrell Owens. Whether or not you think he would be worth it, get it out of your head now. Don't ask questions, just stop thinking about it. It's not happening. There is no way in the world the Jets would saddle a rookie head coach and a first-year starting quarterback with the hassle of dealing with TO. To be honest, I wouldn't be surprised if no one signed him. Gun to my head, I say Oakland picks him up, but I don't think TO would be particularly happy with that.

*The Jets are in negotiations with backup San Francisco tight end Billy Bajema. The 6'4" 258 pound Bajema is a very good blocking tight end but offers little in terms of receiving. Then again, with Dustin Keller ready to emerge as one of the best pass-catching tight ends in the sport, a blocker is really all they need.

*According to Rotoworld, the Jets are believed to be the strongest suitor for backup DE Marques Douglas (Baltimore).

*TheJetsBlog.com reports that the Jets may be interested in signing former Raven and Falcon linebacker Edgerton Hartwell. He was a very good inside linebacker next to Ray Lewis early in the decade, but after signing a big free agent deal with Atlanta in 2004, his career became an injury-marred mess. He's spent the last two seasons out of football after being cut in training camp both years.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Jets re-sign K Jay Feely

The Jets and kicker Jay Feely have agreed to a one year contract. Feely was 24-28 last season, for an 85.7% clip. Feely has kicked 83% or above each of the last four years, three of those in Giants Stadium. He does not have a big leg, and isn't great at kickoffs, but he did a good job last year, even if I haven't yet forgiven him for missing the field goal on the opening drive week two against New England. I still think that set a negative tone for that entire game, which could have ended differently...

Still, you can't argue with 85%. He was 6-7 from 40 yards out, too, and he made both field goals of more than 50 yards.

The terms of the one year deal were undisclosed, but it can't be for much more than the league minimum.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

New S Leonhard should free Leon Washington more offensively

Jim Leonhard and Lito Sheppard each had their conference calls lately. Sheppard talked about how change would be good for him, and Leonhard had a few quotes about what to expect from Rex Ryan's defense (very similar material to Scott in that sense, just without the mentions of violence). He also said he left money on the table from Denver, but “regardless of the money situation, the Jets were the place to be."

However, Leonhard's presence provides an interesting ripple in that he will likely be the new punt returner. Ryan has been quoted as saying that Leonhard can catch the ball "in a hurricane," and the sure-handed safety averaged 11.6 yards per return with a long of 46 yards on 20 chances.

As dynamic as Leon Washington was offensively and on kick returns, he is not a natural punt returner. He averaged 10.4 yards per return last year, his career high, on 29 punt returns.

29 less touches on special teams should free him up to contribute even more on offense. It's no secret that the Jets didn't use Washington, their most dynamic offensive player, enough offensively last year. People wondering who will replace Laveranues Coles on offense have part of their answer right there: Washington.

It's going to take a collaborative effort to replace Coles. The free agent market isn't strong. The best receiver available in free agency is, well, Coles himself. #87 hasn't received the offers he wanted in free agency and may regret leaving $6 million on the table. I haven't heard the Jets make a play at him, but the longer he lingers in free agency, the better the chance the Jets may swoop in.

There are a couple of smaller names out there, but Drew Bennett, Hank Baskett, Ronald Curry, and Joey Galloway don't scare people. Marvin Harrison? Devery Henderson? Justin McCareins? Just kidding about that last one.

Chances are the Jets will go into camp with Jerricho Cotchery, Chansi Stuckey, David Clowney, Brad Smith, and Marcus Henry at receiver. They may sign a lower-tier free agent like Kelley Washington. They'll probably grab a receiver somewhere in the draft. If they choose one in round one, it would either be Maryland's Darius Heyward-Bey, North Carolina's Hakeem Nicks, or maybe Missouri's Jeremy Maclin. The 2nd round has some intriguing prospects, too.

But none will have the impact Coles had. Clearly, Ryan wants a run-first offense, especially with Brett Ratliff and Kellen Clemens likely battling for the starting quarterback job. Neither one has any productive experience in the NFL. At the same time, Thomas Jones just led the AFC in rushing, and Washington is as good a home run hitter as their is in the league.

Washington should have gotten more touches last year, but now that his punt return duties are probably gone, he will certainly get many more chances to run and catch the ball. If he doesn't get 130 carries or more this year, I would be very surprised.

UPDATE (4:30 PM): The Bengals have signed Laveranues Coles. 4 years, $28 million dollars are the raw numbers, but no word on how much is guaranteed as of now. At least he's a Bengal. I couldn't deal with rooting against Pennington and Coles twice each a year.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Leonhard to Jets

It's all but official, Jim Leonhard is a Jet for a three year contract. He will play opposite Kerry Rhodes at safety for the next few years.

Jets, Broncos vying for Jim Leonhard

Some Internet reports stated that safety Jim Leonhard agreed verbally to sign with the New York Jets. But the former Raven is far from signed, sealed, and delivered just yet.

The Denver Broncos are attempting to sign the former Baltimore safety. even after signing Brian Dawkins to a five-year contract.

This late bid as Leonhard reconsidering the Jets' deal. The terms of both deals are undisclosed for now. Stay tuned to JetsDaily.com for any breaking news.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Full transcript of Bart Scott conference call

It can be found right here.

Here are some of my favorite lines.

"We played last year to get Rex a head coaching job. That is what one of the goals was over on the defensive side. Let’s play so good that they have no choice, but to recognize our defense, but then recognize the man that’s pulling the trigger."

"The quickest way to earn your teammates’ respect is for them to know that you will sacrifice yourself for them when the time comes and in turn expect them to do the same. When it is time for me to go in there and take on three guys and end up on the ground and get up dizzy and David (Harris) makes the tackle or someone else, Calvin (Pace), makes the tackle I am going to get up and celebrate with them. When it is his turn to (take on blockers) I want to do it as well. That is how you build a team. That is how you build a bond. You have to have trust. You can’t just put stars together and expect to get immediate results unless you get guys that are willing to sacrifice themselves for the betterment of the team. The byproduct of that is the Pro Bowl, is the defensive MVP."

"We won’t back down from anybody. We won’t take a step back from anybody. You guys can expect to see a very physical, violent (defense). I do not know if this division has ever seen a violent defense. It is one thing to be physical and make a tackle. It is another thing to be violent."

"I have no problem with talking. To tell you the truth, you have to shut me up. That is why I did not call the plays out there because I was too busy fighting."

"I didn’t want to go to a Cover-2 team. A team that was going to tell me ‘bend, don’t break.’ I’ve always been an aggressive player and I wanted to play an aggressive style of defense for a great fan base."

"I have only really been starting for three years. Ray Lewis got hurt in ’05 and I started from Game 7 on out (that year). My first year under the new contract was three years ago and I went to the Pro Bowl. I was used mainly as a hammer. I was blitzing a lot, a lot of man-to-man coverage, I was used really aggressively. The second year we lost Adalius Thomas and I was more of a cover guy. I have always been a good run-stopper, but I was a cover guy. This year, I was less aggressive and we kind of put it all together. I was blitzing a little bit, but I was more of a cover guy, taking the team’s best pass receiver other than the wide receivers. The good tight ends, the (Brian) Westbrooks of the world. I feel like I am putting it all together. I am rounding it out. I look forward to this year being able to put it all together and take the next step."

If you didn't love Rex Ryan before...

...then read Peter King in Sports Illustrated, detailing the recruiting process that went on among Ryan, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, and secondary coach Dennis Thurman.

Here's a short clip.

"Talk about taking it back old-school!" Scott said. "I was getting recruited! They were recruiting me big-time! Can you see the precedent they're setting? Remember Jerry McGuire? You're going to have players asking their coaches now, 'Why don't we have that kind of relationship?'"


Other notes of interest.
*The Jets have shown interest in former Ravens defensive end Marques Douglas. He's 6-2, 292, and has experience in the 3-4, though he's more of a backup.

*Rich Cimini reports that the Jets are interested in resigning LB David Bowens to a smaller contract, although some in the organization are concerned he might be too slow at this stage.

*No word on Laveranues Coles returning to the Jets, so don't expect it. Coles isn't finding as much interest as he probably expected on the open market. Miami flat out told him they didn't think he was a #1 receiver and passed on him. I'm hearing Buffalo and Cincinnati as the two most likely destinations for him.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Leonhard leaves NY/NJ without signing contract

If you had penned in Jim Leonhard across from Kerry Rhodes, you might need to start looking for a good eraser.

Leonhard seemed a shoe-in to be a Jet, with Rex Ryan's presence as head coach, but apparently the Jets weren't willing to overpay for the undersized but productive safety. No word where the Jets might turn next, and they still may sign Leonhard later on, but he's headed somewhere else to visit. Philadelphia is said to have interest.

Matt Bowen of NationalFootballPost.com has the story.