Saturday, August 28, 2010

Jets fall to Redskins 16-11, Pace out a few weeks

Another game, another ugly performance by the Jets' offense as Gang Green fell to Washington 16-11 in their most significant preseason tune-up.

The focus heading into the game was on Mark Sanchez. Is the 2nd year quarterback ready to make a big jump in performance and help make the passing game at least competent this year? While his final statline doesn't look bad (13-21, 139 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT), this was not a confidence-builder for the young quarterback.

With Santonio Holmes finally getting some playing time with the first team offense, one would think the passing game would have its most success last night. But Sanchez again struggled to move the ball, only salvaging his final statline on his last drive heading into the 4th quarter.

Make no mistake about it, Sanchez has to be better. Or at the very least, not turn the ball over. If this were a regular season game, Sanchez's red zone interception would have been a game-changer, as the Jets went from scoring at least 3 points to giving the Redskins pretty good field position and not scoring at all.

Also alarming was the pass protection for Sanchez. While he didn't make great decisions when he had time to throw, there were too many breakdowns in front of him, and they weren't really from Matt Slauson, the new left guard whom you might expect to have growing pains. D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Brandon Moore, and Damien Woody all got beat at times. Washington's defense is good, but the Jets need to keep Sanchez healthy to have any chance.

That's because as mediocre as Sanchez has played, Mark Brunell has been atrocious. Three passes isn't enough to judge a guy on, as the old man went 1-3 for 7 yards today, but the body of work has been awful so far. He's 5-13 for 27 yards this preseason. That simply is not getting it done. There's no reason in the world he should be the number two quarterback. As little confidence as one can have in Kellen Clemens, I'd rather have Vinny Testaverde come out of retirement and play than see Mark Brunell on the field after next week.

The defense was fine again. Even without Darrelle Revis, the first-team defense has done its job, allowing just one touchdown all preseason, and that was after a Sanchez interception set the Giants up on the 1-yardline. And even then, it took the Giants three plays to score. The Redskins offense is pretty awful without Donovan McNabb, but the Jets did the job defensively for the most part.

What they need to cut out are the costly penalties which really hurt the Jets. On the Redskins' first scoring drive, New York committed two defensive penalties to give Washington first downs, and one of them negated an amazing one-handed interception by Antonio Cromartie. In two weeks, such mistakes will have a much greater impact.

The play of Cromartie, albeit against Santana Moss and Joey Galloway, was once again a positive. He blanketed whoever he covered all game long, and he even stuck his nose in to make a few tackles in the running game. If/when Revis returns, this secondary should be the best in the league.

However, the biggest news from this game is an injury to OLB Calvin Pace, who will miss several weeks with a foot injury. He was seen coming out of the locker room in a walking boot, and his status for the regular season opener is in serious doubt. Pace missed the first four games last season due to a steroids suspension, so the Jets are used to starting seasons without him, but he's still the team's best pass rusher. Jason Taylor is a more than capable fill-in, but the Jets were hoping he would be a rotational pass rusher, not an every down player.

All in all, it was a disappointing performance for the Green and White. There were a few positives, like LaDainian Tomlinson (again), Shonn Greene, and the first-team defense, but the big question mark coming into the season has yet to be answered. Can Mark Sanchez take the next step forward and make the passing game a threat to take pressure off the runningbacks and the defense? It remains to be seen.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Preseason Week 3: Redskins at Jets Preview

Washington Redskins at New York Jets
Friday, August 27th, 2010: 7:00 PM, New Meadowlands Stadium.

After a sluggish second week of preseason, the Jets come back for their most significant tune-up for the regular season. The starters will play at least the first half and probably into the third quarter. There is no excuse for coming out flat again.

Washington comes in with new coach Mike Shanahan and new quarterback Donovan McNabb, though McNabb won't play because of a sprained ankle. Offensively, they're a bit of a mess without McNabb, so if the Jets' defense struggles, there's a little cause for concern. Defensively, Washington is much more formidable, even with the daily battles with the tempestuous DT Albert Haynesworth.

Mark Sanchez has been a rollercoaster in the first two games, forcing a throw that was intercepted on his first pass, then completing 13 of his next 16 passes against the Giants. But last week, in one of the ugliest football games you'll ever see, Sanchez went 5-10 for just 12 yards. Washington is a good test for him, as the Redskins can still play some defense, and there are simply too many weapons on this offense to throw for just 12 yards on 10 throws.

Sanchez is the player to watch. It'll be interesting to see who he's developing a rapport with the most, whether it's Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, Dustin Keller, or even Santonio Holmes if he ever gets some run with the first team. Just as long as he throws to the men wearing green and white.

If you watched Hard Knocks on Wednesday, you got a peek inside the Jets' decision-making process when it comes to making the final roster. Players like WRs David Clowney and Larry Taylor and RBs Danny Woodhead, Chauncey Washington, and Jason Davis are all battling for roster spots. All these players may win their jobs on special teams more than anything else, since all of them would be buried on the depth chart. At least Clowney might get an early look with Holmes out.

For those of you old-school football fans who like to watch the game from the inside out, there's plenty of people to watch in the trenches. Matt Slauson is going to start at left guard, but can he pass protect well enough to keep the job? Will Vladimir Ducasse start to make strides? And who will replace Ropati Pitoitua in the defensive line rotation? The most obvious beneficiaries are Matt Kroul and Rodrique Wright, but neither has their roster spot guaranteed.

And finally, how will Vernon Gholston look? Rex Ryan has been talking him up for the second straight year, but he showed a lot of improvement last week against Carolina and may have been the best defensive player in the game in the 2nd half. It is his third year. Maybe the game is slowing down for him in a new position and he can be an effective player in a new role. Or maybe he can play well in spurts against backups but that's it. With Pitoitua gone, Gholston will probably be the first defensive end off the bench behind Shaun Ellis and Mike DeVito, so his improvement could really help this team out.

This game won't offer any definitive answers, just clues towards them. What are you most looking forward to seeing this week?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Mangold and Revis Close to Signing New Deals?

Rumors were flying yesterday about two prominent Jets finally receiving contract extensions. Let's start with Revis since he's been the biggest story all of camp.

Yesterday morning, Tim Cowlishaw, a writer for the Dallas Morning News and a regular panelist on ESPN's Around The Horn tweeted that he had "inside information" that Revis would sign "probably Wednesday. The rest of the day, beat writers and national NFL sources scrambled to find any truth behind the tweet, but to no avail.

Cowlishaw is a well-respected columnist who has been around too long to simply make up stories to gain followers. But it is very curious that a Dallas writer would be the first one to find out about Revis, and not someone closer to the situation. Who is the source behind the information? Some have speculated that it's someone from HBO, seeing as how the Cowboys were on Hard Knocks two years ago, and it appears sources inside the Jets' and Revis's camps are following their recent gag order.

Bob Glauber of Newsday isn't quite so optimistic, saying there has been "little progress in the Revis talks." Rich Cimini agreed that the two sides weren't close. Cowlishaw isn't really saying much else, but he is sticking by his story. This is definitely something to watch for this week, as the season is just a few weeks away now.

This afternoon on ESPN Radio New York, Cowlishaw came on to defend his story. He said it "came out of the blue" from a source who has been "very right about everything," with the only strange thing about it being that a deal would either get done Wednesday or Saturday. As far as how much the contract would be worth, all he would say is that it was for a lot of guaranteed money. When Jody MacDonald asked him to rank his confidence of the story from 1-10, he gave an 8.5 or a 9, so read from that what you will.

While there's a lot of disagreement and confusion over the Revis situation, pretty much everyone is now agreeing that Nick Mangold is close to signing a contract extension that would make him the highest paid center in the NFL. Mangold wanted to get a deal done before the season started as he was set to be a free agent next year. As the best center in the NFL, the Jets would be smart to lock him up long-term.

Expect a deal to get done with Mangold in the next day or two. The center has done everything the right way in his short career with the Jets, never missing a game and never causing any problems in the locker room. Even this year, underpaid in the final year of his rookie contract, with even more reason than Revis to hold out, Mangold went to camp like a good soldier to play and help mentor Matt Slauson and Vladimir Ducasse.

And with Mangold and Ferguson under contract long-term, the Jets now have two cogs of their offensive line locked up. If Revis really is next, then only David Harris remains of the Core Four. It would be a heck of a coup for Mike Tannenbaum to lock up three of the four big free agents heading into next season, though Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards, and Antonio Cromartie will want new contracts after the season.

UPDATE (August 24th): Mangold's deal is done. 7 years, $55 million dollars are the terms, making him the highest paid center in the NFL.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sluggish Jets Beat Panthers 9-6

The New York Jets finally have something to put in the win column, beating the Carolina Panthers 9-6 in an extremely forgettable game that featured more punts than points and a 7-0 turnover-touchdown ratio.

The Jets offense struggled to get anything going all game, including when the starters were out there. Mark Sanchez went 5-10 for a paltry 12 yards as his receivers struggled to get open and he didn't make the best decisions. Two passes were nearly intercepted, although one was tipped first. Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes, and Dustin Keller all were held catchless while Jerricho Cotchery had just one grab for seven yards.

The offensive line didn't create many holes for the running game either. Shonn Greene carried six times for 10 yards. The second team offensive line was just as bad, as neither Joe McKnight nor Chauncey Washington could find any holes.

The first drive for the first-team offense was probably the best drive in the game. Starting at their own 8-yardline, the Jets went 67 yards on 13 plays, capped by a Nick Folk 43-yard field goal. The key play on that drive was a 20-yard draw play by LaDainian Tomlinson on 3rd-and-13 from their own 5-yardline. LT showed his trademark burst there and followed his blockers very nicely. But as far as offense goes, that was basically it.

The defense had some mental errors as players let a couple receivers go open on a few plays. But for the most part, they played ferociously, making big hits and big plays when they needed to. Carolina ran fairly well as they are prone to do, but the Panthers struggled mightily through the air. Matt Moore and Jimmy Clausen combined to go 15-39 for 129 yards and 2 interceptions. Then again, the Jets' quarterbacks went 12-26 for 46 yards, so maybe that wasn't so bad.

Players who were picked on in the Giants game were much better in this game. Dwight Lowery made a few good plays in pass coverage including a big hit on Brandon LaFell in zone coverage to knock the ball out and set up 4th down. Marquice Cole also covered well and Drew Coleman added a late interception to ice the game.

However, the two biggest positives were two players who have been much maligned for different reasons. Nick Folk was 3-3 kicking field goals, including a 49-yarder with plenty of distance. He also added two touchbacks. All in all, he was able to silence critics and give fans some faith in him going into the season.

But Vernon Gholston was the surprise of the game. After struggling in the first game, the praise Rex Ryan had showered upon him finally manifested itself on the field. He didn't make any big plays, but he was all over the field, leading the Jets in tackles, pressuring the quarterback a few times, and showing good strength and run stopping ability from the defensive end position. It was against 2nd and 3rd stringers, but it still is as much promise as we've ever seen from the former 6th overall pick.

The bad news from this game was the Jets did suffer one injury. DE Ropati Pitoitua, whom the Jets were trusting to play a bigger role on the defense this season, tore his achilles and will be out for the season. He's not a big name, but now players like Gholston, Matt Kroul, Mike DeVito, and Rodrique Wright need to step up.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Jets vs Panthers Preseason Preview

Just five nights after battling the cross-town rival Giants, the Jets look to get their first win of the preseason in Carolina Saturday night at 8:00. In the first game, the starters did their jobs, but the backups failed to generate much either offensively or defensively, and the Jets fell 31-16. This week, the second and third units will have more chances to prove themselves, as the starters are only expected to play a quarter this time.

Carolina's offense is all about one thing: running the football. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart both ran for 1000 yards last year, a rarity in the NFL. A lot of that had to do with the complete lack of trust in quarterback Jake Delhomme, who was benched late in the season in favor of Matt Moore. The unheralded Moore was effective down the stretch, but he's still very much and unknown going into next year.

Defensively, this is a game the Jets' first team defense needs to make a statement. The Panthers are a smash-mouth team with their dynamic runningbacks and top-notch offensive line. Normally, their main receiving weapon is Steve Smith, but he's still recovering from an offseason broken arm and isn't expected to play. Neither is Stewart, who always seems to be dealing with nagging injuries. Carolina is going to run the ball and try to find if they can uncover any diamonds in the rough at receiver.

The key for the first unit defense is to slow down the run, and not let Williams break a long one. The Jets were burned by a few big plays against the Giants. Carolina doesn't have the receiving depth that the Giants do, but then again, who knew who Victor Cruz was before Monday? The Panthers do have a lot of people fighting for roster spots and possibly even the starting spot opposite Smith.

The biggest name for Carolina's second team is former Notre Dame star Jimmy Clausen. The rookie wants to show the coaching staff that he is the quarterback of the future, and possibly even later this season.

But we probably won't see him until the 2nd half as Carolina should play Moore and the rest of the starters for most of the 1st half. That should give the Jets' staff a good chance to see some of the backups play against quality competition. After a disappointing first game, tonight will be a huge test for players to stand out and show why they should earn a roster spot and/or playing time.

Still, the Panthers are more of a running team, so the backup front seven will be tested early and often. Players who stand out could be able to make their case to make the final team.

Offensively, hope for Mark Sanchez to continue making strides. Outside of the very first pass of the game, he was extremely effective. Carolina's starting secondary is pretty good: most of their defensive yards last year were generated through the running game.

Last year, Sanchez was 13-17 (same as last week) for 154 yards and an interception against Carolina in a 17-6 win. That was the first week of the color-coded system Rex Ryan put in after the Jets had just lost six of seven games.

This week, it's all about just continuing to get better, and hopefully not throwing any interceptions. If he can make a play or two down the field, it would be a bonus. He certainly has the weapons now.

Of course, the biggest key is nobody getting hurt. The Jets were lucky in the first game, while the Giants had scares with QB Eli Manning and LB Chase Blackburn. In fact the Jets are probably the healthiest team in the league at this point. The only key player missing in action is CB Darrelle Revis, and we all know that's not because of an injury.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Position Overview: Linebackers

As good as the Jets are at wide receiver, runningback, offensive line, and the secondary, one could make the argument that the position the Jets are deepest at is linebacker. This unit boasts Bart Scott, David Harris, Calvin Pace, Bryan Thomas, and Jason Taylor, five big names who have earned, or in Harris's case, about to earn, a lot of money in their careers.

To start, no team has a better inside linebacking duo than Bart Scott and David Harris. Scott does most of the dirty work and all the talking while Harris is more of the playmaker and enforcer on the field. Harris led the Jets in tackles by a wide margin, and entering his fourth season, he has to be considered one of the best middle linebackers in the league.

After missing a few games in 2009, Harris reverted back to his rookie year form, making plays all over the field. In addition to his 127 tackles, he had 5.5 sacks and 2 interceptions. But even though he was the leading tackler on the best defense in the NFL, he still couldn't get voted into the Pro Bowl. Compared to his chatty counterpart Bart Scott, Harris is barely known. Just ask Cedric Benson.

Scott probably isn't worth the massive contract the Jets gave him before last season, but he's invaluable to this defense because of the attitude he brings and the knowledge of the defense. He's an extension of Rex Ryan on the field and the vocal leader of this defense. The knock on Scott is that he doesn't make enough big plays. Last year, he didn't force any fumbles or interceptions, and he only had one sack and one pass defensed. However, he was good in pass coverage and had an impressive 11 tackles for a loss. Plus, he takes on blockers to free up Harris to make more plays.

The outside linebacker spot in the 3-4 is supposed to provide the pass rush in the 3-4. The Jets' best pass rusher is Calvin Pace. When the Jets signed him to a long-term contract after just one good season, there were questions on whether he was a one-year wonder. But he's had back-to-back solid seasons for the Jets. After missing the first four games for failing a PED test, he had 8 sacks in the final 12 games. Eli Manning can attest to Pace's pass rushing skills.

Opposite him is the steady Bryan Thomas. He's an effective run stopper who has improved in pass coverage recently, but he's been been an inconsistent pass rusher over his career. To give the pass rush a boost, the Jets signed former hated Dolphin Jason Taylor. Thomas is still expected to start and get the bulk of the playing time, but Taylor will come in on passing downs. At 35 years old (36 opening night), Taylor is not the player he once was. But he did have 7 sacks last year, and the Jets hope that as a rotational pass rusher, he can be fresh and effective. The jury is out on just how effective he'll be.

Still, with Pace, Thomas, and Taylor, the Jets can throw a lot of different looks at teams. On passing downs, don't be surprised to see any of them with their hands on the ground as linemen to confuse opposing quarterbacks.

Jamaal Westerman leads the remaining depth. The undrafted rookie free agent from Rutgers has drawn a lot of praise from the coaching staff over the last year plus, but he didn't get a lot of playing time last year. His roster spot seems secure, as well as Lance Laury's. Laury will be a key special teamer. Kenwin Cummings will probably win a backup inside linebacker spot. Josh Mauga, Cory Reamer, Brashton Satele, and Tim Knicky will all contend for spots as well.

Most of those guys will only see the field in extremely small doses unless injuries hit hard. Either Scott or Harris would be tough to lose for this team, but the defense missed Pace for 4 games last year and Kris Jenkins for the last 10, so this defense has proven to be more than just one player. If this unit can stay healthy and on the field, there's no reason it can't continue to be one of the best linebacking corps in the NFL.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Jets Fall 31-16 in Preseason Opener but Starters Impress

The Jets opened their 2010 campaign with a loss, 31-16 to their cross-town rivals, the New York Giants. However, it's preseason, so the final score matters little. The star of this game was Victor Cruz, an undrafted free agent receiver from UMass who had 3 touchdowns for the Giants. As well as Cruz played, it's still just preseason. Otherwise, David Clowney would be a superstar.

Normally, in a preseason opener, fans are lucky to see the starters past the first 10 minutes. Monday, Rex Ryan kept virtually his entire offense and defense in the game for the entire first half.

After the defense shut down the Giants on the first drive of the game, Mark Sanchez immediately reverted back to his old ways, throwing an interception on his first pass attempt. It wasn't a poor throw, just a bad decision, as Tomlinson was double covered nicely on the play. The ball was tipped in the air and intercepted by Antrell Rolle who took it all the way to the Jets one-yard line.

But that was the only real blemish on Sanchez's night. He rebounded quite nicely, finishing 13-17 for 119 yards, a touchdown to Brad Smith taking advantage of a miscommunication by the Giants defense, and the aforementioned interception. He led the Jets on three scoring drives, although one was set up by an Eric Smith blocked punt.

Once both teams' starters left the game, it was all Giants. Cruz abused the Jets' secondary, particularly Dwight Lowery, Drew Coleman, and Marquice Cole, on the way to 145 yards and 3 touchdowns. Meanwhile, the Jets struggled to mount anything offensively in the 2nd half, managing just 3 points.

Mark Sanchez: He rebounded from the early interception to play extremely efficiently the rest of the game.
Antonio Cromartie: Lived up to the training camp hype. Dropped 2 possible INT's, but was all over the Giants' receivers.
The first-team defense: Bradshaw and Jacobs combined for 1 yard on 7 carries. Harassed and then KO'd Manning.
Eric Smith: Blocked a punt and laid some nice hits.
Shonn Greene: 5 carries, 26 yards. Even caught a pass for 5 yards. He showed some impressive power and moves inside the hole.
The receivers: Braylon Edwards made 3 nice catches and had no drops. Jerricho Cotchery also played well.
LaDainian Tomlinson: Stats aren't great, but had an impressive touchdown called back by a penalty. Showed some burst and pass catching ability.

Mark Brunell and Kevin O'Connell: Hard to throw Brunell in here after 3 passes, but neither he nor O'Connell looked like they could play at all.
The backup secondary: Cruz torched the Jets' secondary. Wilson and Cromartie were as advertised, but lack of depth does show how much Revis could help.
Vernon Gholston: Played a lot in the 2nd half though you probably couldn't tell. Invisible game.
Penalties: 7 penalties for 50 yards is not terrible for the first preseason game, but it's still too many.

Jury's still out
Nick Folk: Made 3 kicks but missed only one from distance, a 46-yarder. Had the leg, missed wide right.

Photo courtesy of ESPN.

Monday, August 16, 2010

What to Watch For: Jets vs Giants Preseason Game #1

Football is finally here! If you're a fan of any of the 30 teams that don't play in New Jersey, it started already, but the first Monday Night Football game of the season is the battle of New York (New Jersey): the Jets vs the Giants. Both sides have talked entirely too much trash for a preseason football game as the final score really doesn't matter as much as how well teams play and how everybody works out the kinks of the first live game of the year.

Both teams want to win, but the starters will only play about a quarter. Rex Ryan has said the Jets' first unit could play a series into the 2nd quarter, a rarity for a first preseason game, but it's been a long time until the Jets have been able to hit people and play, and with another game just five days from now against Carolina, Ryan wants to see what his team can do.

Expectations are high for the Jets this season. However, there are still a ton of question marks this team needs to answer. Will the running game stay at the same high level without Thomas Jones and Alan Faneca? How much will Mark Sanchez and the passing game improve? Without Darrelle Revis, are the additions of Antonio Cromartie, Brodney Pool, and Kyle Wilson enough to shore up the secondary? These questions can't be completely answered in one preseason game in the middle of August, but you can start to draw some conclusions.

How does Mark Sanchez look?
Until he stepped up his game to another level in the playoffs, Mark Sanchez's rookie year was not very impressive. But with another year in the system and an entire offseason to work with Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes, bigger things are expected from last year's 5th overall pick. He can start by throwing the ball to the right team. Sanchez needs to protect the ball, starting from the first series in preseason. Also, after having to wear two knee braces last season, how is his mobility? And how will he react to his first big hit of the new season?

Life after Revis
Every Jets fan knows Darrelle Revis isn't in camp. Every Jets fan hopes that Antonio Cromartie can revert to his 2007 form and Kyle Wilson can be the next Revis. Both players have drawn raves in camp, but now they face live opposition. The Giants' passing game was underrated last season, and Hakeem Nicks, Steve Smith, and Mario Manningham provide a challenge to this secondary. Shutting them down will be a nice confidence boost that this defense doesn't need Revis. But if the secondary is shredded, fans will start to clamor for Revis again.

Special Teams Questions
There are a lot of little things to watch for on special teams. The most important question surrounds Nick Folk: can he regain the form that made him a Pro Bowler in 2008? He was awful last season, and a miss inside 40 yards would be a real punch to the gut in terms of having confidence in him. The new long snapper is Tanner Purdum, who apparently had some issues snapping the ball a few days ago in camp. Any problems in a game scenario for Purdum, and the Jets will scour the waiver wires for a challenger. Steve Weatherford was an average punter last year after the Jets signed him late in training camp. T.J. Conley is back to try to take Weatherford's job, and their play in preseason will have a lot to do with it. In the return game, Brad Smith is expected to return kicks with Kyle Wilson on punt return duties, but the Jets have a few other players they would like to try out at both spots.

The Ghost at End
Vernon Gholston is at his last chance when it comes to impressing the Jets' coaching staff. In a last ditch effort to salvage his career here, Rex Ryan moved him to defensive end, his more natural position. His poor football instincts won't have as much of an effect at end where he'll be required more to fill gaps and beat his man one-on-one. He still is a physical specimen, so while he's a little undersized for the defensive end spot in the 3-4, he has enough strength where he should be okay. He's drawn some positive reviews in camp, but remember, he still hasn't recorded a regular season sack. How he performs in a game situation will mean a lot more. Also keep an eye on Matt Kroul, Ropati Pitoitua, and Rod Wright, as all three have the potential to either help out this team a lot or not even make the final roster.

The Runningback Race
Shonn Greene is expected to be the early-down back with LaDainian Tomlinson serving primarily as the third-down back. Can L.T. play well enough to possibly earn a bigger share of the workload? And will Greene assert himself as the no. 1 guy? However, the most interesting guy to watch in the backfield is Joe McKnight. The rookie from USC can make some electrifying moves in the open field and bouncing outside, but the Jets want to see how he can do between the tackles. He'll get a lot of chances this game, and if he wants to crack the rotation, he'll need to impress. The fullback race is also wide open. The veteran Tony Richardson should start, but rookie John Conner has been crushing defensive players all camp, and Conner could play a role. Jason Davis is also a nice all-around fullback who was featured on Hard Knocks a little. He has an uphill climb to make the roster, but he does have talent.

Slauson vs Ducasse
In the battle for the vacated left guard starting position, Matt Slauson has taken the bull by the horns. Barring a setback or rapid improvement from rookie Vladimir Ducasse, Slauson is expected to be the guy between D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold. Slauson is only in his 2nd year in the NFL, but he's in his 5th year with offensive line coach Bill Callahan, so he knows what is expected of him. This is his first extended opportunity as a starter, however, so he should be watched closely. So should Ducasse. The Jets drafted him in the 2nd round to be a future left guard or right tackle. Right now, he just needs experience and coaching. He has the raw tools to be a very good player, but he's not there yet. This game will help show just how far along he is.

The Battle Behind the Marks
Mark Sanchez and Mark Brunell are guaranteed roster spots on this team, leaving one open spot for Kellen Clemens, Kevin O'Connell, or Erik Ainge. Many expected Ainge to be the guy until he entered drug rehab, so he's all but dropped out of this race. Clemens has shown very little when given opportunities, but he knows the system well. O'Connell is a wild card. He has the size and arm strength, so he might be the type of developmental quarterback the Jets want to keep around. As usual, Clemens is in a tough race here and has to really outplay O'Connell to keep his roster spot or to improve his trade value for a way out of town.

The Undrafted Free Agents
Every year, a few undrafted free agents make their mark. Last year, Jamaal Westerman and Marquice Cole made the final roster. This year names that have impressed include CB/S Donovan Warren, TE Jeff Cumberland, CB/S Brian Jackson, LB Cory Reamer, and LB Brashton Satele. Satele is one of just two players including LB Josh Mauga that will be held out this evening, but the others will all be on the field, looking to make their mark. Warren is expected to make the team, while Cumberland needs to show that his athleticism in practice translates on the field. If he can make some plays in the passing game, he might just make this Jets roster.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

New York Jets Fantasy Football Preview

Fantasy football is one of nerdy America's new favorite fall pastimes. While 99.9% of us will never have the money to buy our own football team, anybody can manage a fantasy team and try to win a league. I've been a big fantasy football player now for almost ten years. The first rule of drafting is not to overrate your favorite players. I'm sure most of you reading this blog are Jets fans. But if you take Jets in every round, there's no way you're winning your league. Here's a little preview predicting Jets' players' performances from a fantasy perspective.

QB Mark Sanchez
Last year, if Mark Sanchez was your quarterback, you were probably getting negative points far too often. This year, Sanchez should improve leaps and bounds from last year, both because the supporting cast is better and because he should be a lot better with 19 games of experience under his belt. That doesn't make him a top 10-12 quarterback: he's still clearly a backup fantasy quarterback. But unlike last year where you just left him on the waiver wire, this year, he's worth keeping an eye on. Unless you're in a deep league, or a 2 QB league, he's probably not draftable, but he has the supporting cast to be successful this year. The Jets probably won't pass enough to make Sanchez a starter, but there are enough weapons here where starting him in certain matchups could work. With an ADP (average draft position) of 166 according to Rotoworld, he's being left undrafted in most leagues. He's got some upside at that point.

RB Shonn Greene
Greene is the Jets' hottest fantasy commodity, typically going in round 2 in drafts. He's one of those guys that depending on your league format, he could be worth a lot more or less than people think. In a PPR (point-per-reception) league, Greene should slip into the third round, possibly even into the early fourth round because he simply won't catch the football. He never had to in college, and he didn't last year at all. LaDainian Tomlinson will be the pass-catching back, and that could hurt Greene's numbers a little, especially if the Jets want to keep Greene fresh for the playoffs. But last year, the Jets ran more than Carolina, who produced two 1000-yard rushers. Even if the Jets throw a little more, they'll still be a run-first offense, and as long as Greene is healthy, he's the main guy. He's one of the most powerful backs in the league who never loses yardage. His only other knock is durability, as he has had some injury issues in his short career. But in a non-PPR league, he's a talented back behind a rock-solid offensive line on a run-first offense. After the top runningbacks are gone, Greene has as much upside as anyone, and in a non-PPR league, don't be afraid to take him early in round 2. 

RB LaDainian Tomlinson
Many assume Tomlinson is done, and last season did little to dispute that. He did score 12 touchdowns, but he received the 2nd most carries in the NFL last year inside the 5-yard line, and only converted 9 of 28 chances. He's clearly not the L.T. of old. But in the 9th round, especially in a PPR league, you could do worse than Tomlinson. At that point, you're looking at rotational runningbacks who either aren't starting or have a very loose hold on the starting job. As mentioned earlier, Tomlinson will be the third-down back (Rex Ryan called him the best third-down back in the league), and while his per-carry numbers have tanked, there are a few reasons to think he could have a mild bounceback if given the opportunity. First, the Jets offensive line is a lot better than the Chargers'. Second, Tomlinson was injured week one each of the last two years and was never really 100%. In less carries, he should be able to stay healthier. And if Greene were to get hurt, Tomlinson will be the lead back on one of the most run-heavy offenses in the league. Joe McKnight lurks to potentially sap a few carries and catches, but the rookie is still a distant third on the depth chart. L.T. could be a flex option to start the season with RB1 upside if Greene goes down. In the 9th round, with the potential upside he offers in case of a Greene injury, he becomes an appealing option. In a PPR league, he could get enough of the workload to play at a flex spot.

WR Braylon Edwards
I'm not likely drafting any Jet wide receivers. It's just not a good situation, on a run-first offense with a young quarterback with a lot of weapons to spread it around to. But Edwards would be the first one off the board. He's the Jets #1 receiver to start the season, and he's been very impressive in training camp. Sanchez forced him the ball a lot last year, and if Santonio Holmes weren't added to the team, this could be a prime breakout season for Edwards in a contract year. As it is, he's happy in New York, but he probably won't get enough opportunities to be worth a high pick. Expect the Jets' wide receiver corps to be very frustrating this season once Edwards returns. This is a run-first offense with four legitimate weapons in Edwards, Holmes, Jerricho Cotchery, and Dustin Keller. The Beard will have some good games, but he'll be inconsistent and tough to predict on a week-to-week basis. At his current ADP (81), he's too risky to take that high in this offense.

WR Santonio Holmes
While Holmes may be the Jets most talented receiver, there's a lot to worry about here. First of all, he's going from the pass-heavy Steelers to the run-heavy Jets. Second of all, he's suspended the first four games of the season. That's a quarter of the season he can't help you. Now, it's true he's been impressive in Jets' training camp, but both of those factors severely limit his upside. When Holmes plays, he'll still have to share the ball with a dominant running game, Edwards, Keller, and Cotchery. He'll have breakout games, but it will be hard to predict when they come, making him an unreliable fantasy option even when he returns from his suspension. He's not a top 100 pick with all those issues he has to deal with.

WR Jerricho Cotchery
Cotchery is the possession receiver of the Jets' group. He has the best hands of the trio, but he has the same issues as the others in terms of lack of opportunity. For a fantasy receiver, you want someone you can trust. After week four, his opportunities will decrease as the Jets try to incorporate Holmes into the offense. For a few weeks, he'll be a good PPR option, but there will simply be too many hands to feed in the end. In the later rounds, he's not a bad choice, but you can find players with more upside.

TE Dustin Keller
Keller loses a lot of his appeal with Holmes and Edwards on board, but he may have some touchdown potential. He scored in all three playoff times, and the other options should take attention away from him. He's not a top 12 tight end, so he wouldn't be your starter. But if you play matchups with him or need him during your starter's bye week, he can get the job done. He certainly has the receiving talent. Don't pick him until very late though.

New York Jets Defense
The best defense in the NFL also has to be the best fantasy defense. If Darrelle Revis comes back, the defense has the potential to be one of the best ever. The big plays were not there last year, but predicting fantasy defenses isn't easy. The talent and scheme are there for this defense to be elite and to be the #1 fantasy defense this season. But in most fantasy football leagues, the difference between defenses is negligible. Taking this or any defense in the first 100 picks is not a smart move.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hard Knocks Review

Even though the Jets are training in the middle of nowhere (Cortland, New York), thanks to HBO, fans can still see an inside look at training camp as the debut of Hard Knocks was last night.

Obviously, the biggest story around Jets camp is the Darrelle Revis holdout. This was certainly a topic of conversation throughout the show, but the few glimpses we saw of Mike Tannenbaum discussing the Revis situation were pretty revealing.

Early on in the show, Tannenbaum said, "What we said here consistently between Woody, Rex is that, look, the object of the exercise is to get Darrelle signed. So, anything we put in the newspaper that is not going to help that goal, we’re not going to say.”

Does that apply to Hard Knocks? Because he painted a pretty bleak picture. After getting off the phone with Revis's agent Neil Schwartz, he deadpanned, "That was the most non-negative conversation I think I've ever had with him." Remember, Schwartz and Jonathan Feinsod were the same agents Chris Baker and Pete Kendall had during their contract disputes with the Jets. So there is already a preexisting negative relationship between GM and agents.

Cameras weren't allowed at the infamous Roscoe Diner sit-down between Tannenbaum, Schwartz, and Feinsod, but Tannenbaum was filmed driving there and back. After the meeting was over, the Jets GM was visibly frustrated and distraught at the lack of progress getting a deal done.

“They haven’t said one thing that I agree with,” Tannenbaum said to Jets director of football administration Ari Nissim in the car. “We’re so freakin’ far apart that I feel like a failure right now. Six months later, we haven’t moved the needle. I just don’t get it. I tried everything."

“I just wish I had another card to play here,” Tannenbaum went on to say. “A one-year deal. A four-year deal. A 10-year deal. In good conscience, we can move on. Maybe we’ll go trade for a corner. In good conscience, why don’t we move on and we’ll try again next year.”

Revis was mentioned by Rex Ryan in the first team meeting of the year, as he told his team the goal is to lead the league in wins. Along with about 10 million profanities, give or take a few. But he did say something relevant to the team's stance on the Revis situation when he said during a lunch meeting that “We will not be bullied by anybody. Nobody. Nope. Not in our DNA.”

The show did feature a lot of other interesting thing in Jets camp, with a lot of training camp highlights, including nice catches by Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards, and LaDainian Tomlinson. There were also mini-features on a couple undrafted rookie free agents, including offensive tackle Aaron Kia whom Rex called "awful" and Kevin Basped, a promising pass rusher with major knee issues. The Jets released Kia and Basped at the end of the show.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Woody Johnson Doesn't Think Revis Will Play This Season

The Darrelle Revis talks have made no progress, even after the two sides met at a diner in Roscoe, New York and the Revis camp submitted a contract to the Jets. The optimism just a few days ago that Revis might come into camp early seems to have waned.

And now Woody Johnson has lost a lot of faith that a deal will get done. When ESPN's Jeremy Schaap asked the team owner what his gut feeling was about Revis suiting up this season, he said no.

Johnson was brutally honest, but he should have just shut his mouth. You don't tell your fanbase that you don't think your best player is going to be playing this year, even if you think that's the case. Revis may be asking for an obscene amount of money, but keep up the faith. Especially when the coach is calling the team "soon to be champs."

It's not impossible for the Jets to win the Super Bowl without Revis. After all, the Chicago Bears vaunted 1985 defense was actually missing two starters holding out for new contracts. And with the additions of Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson, the Jets have cornerback depth to survive a lack of Revis. But make no mistake about it, they look a lot better guarding team's #2 and #3 receivers than #1's.

So where do we go from here? It's hard to tell. The deadline for Revis to show up and have this season count as an accrued season is tomorrow. It looks like he's not going to be there, so his incentive to play for $1 million dollars this season goes down greatly.

Then it would come down to who would break first. If neither side budges, Revis sits out the entire season. If the season starts, and Revis has the urge to play and try to win a Super Bowl, he might agree to a short-term raise that could get revisited at the end of the season. If the Jets struggle at the beginning of the year, especially the defense, Revis gains more leverage and the Jets may just make a desperate move to try to save their season.

Rex Ryan has said that Revis could show up the day before the season begins and still start opening day, so Revis can end this holdout at any time and have his starting job reserved for him. How long he's willing to wait is anyone's guess.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Give Slauson the Edge at Left Guard

When the Jets signed Alan Faneca to a record-breaking contract in 2008, some felt it was a ridiculous contract for someone on the downside of his career. That proved to be true, and the Jets cut bait with the veteran with two years left on his contract to try to get younger at the position. Faneca was a very good run blocker, but he graded out as one of the worst pass blocking guards in the NFL.

That leaves a battle between 2nd year man Matt Slauson and rookie Vladimir Ducasse for the job, with Slauson having the edge for now. Slauson is young in terms of NFL experience, but he's been in Bill Callahan's system for a long time, spending three years in college with the Jets' current offensive line coach at Nebraska. He also started four years in a Big 12 school, so he has experience playing against better competition than Ducasse.

“With Vladimir’s (inexperienced) background we never expected him to be ahead of anyone right now,’’ Ryan said. “What we’re looking for fro, Vlad is I want to see him finishing with a certain mentality and attitude. Just finish guys. Slauson has that and that’s why I’d put Slauson ahead of Vlad. He’s a tough and nasty guy. I’d like to see that (from Ducasse) sooner than later.’’

The Jets would love for the 2nd round pick Ducasse to take the job, but he's a bit on the raw side having only learned football a few years ago and playing at a smaller school in Massachussets. He has the size, strength, and athleticism to be a great guard or tackle in the NFL, but he needs experience and coaching to refine his rough edges. Give Callahan a year or two with him, and he could be one of the better linemen in the league.

Slauson lacks that upside, but Kris Jenkins gave him a stamp of approval, saying that Slauson is "actually making me better." And if Callahan didn't think he could play, he wouldn't have had the Jets draft him in the 6th round last year. He'll probably never be a star, but he can be a rugged player who knows his assignments. And maybe he can surprise enough to show he can be the long-term answer at left guard. In that case, Ducasse could shift to right tackle to eventually replace Damien Woody.

However, it's still early in camp. Remember, Kellen Clemens was right there with Mark Sanchez at this point. How both guards play in game action will eventually determine who plays and who doesn't. Monday, August 16, against the Giants, will be the Jets' first preseason game, and by the third preseason game, chances are the Jets will know who their man is.

Monday, August 2, 2010

53 Man Roster Predictions

With training camp finally here, it's time to look at the 2010 New York Jets. 80 players are vying for 53 spots. Most of the players we already know, but as always, there are spots up for grabs for players who impress during training camp.

On the Team: Mark Sanchez, Mark Brunell
On the Bubble: Erik Ainge, Kellen Clemens, Kevin O'Connell
Prediction: Last year, the Jets kept four quarterbacks all season. However, none seemed to assert themselves as the backup quarterback of the future. Mark Brunell was brought in to backup Mark Sanchez as a veteran mentor, so last year's three backups will be fighting for one spot. My money is on Ainge. Even though he's ill to start camp, at 24 years old, he's the youngest of the three, and he played fairly well last preseason. O'Connell has the size and the arm but New England gave up on him alarmingly fast. Clemens's best chance at the team is if he shows he's far and away the 2nd best quarterback on the team that should play if Sanchez goes down.

On the Team: Shonn Greene, LaDainian Tomlinson, Joe McKnight, John Conner, Tony Richardson
On the Bubble: Danny Woodhead, Chauncey Washington
Uphill Climb: Jason Davis
Prediction: Five is usually the magic number for runningbacks on a team, with three halfbacks and two fullbacks. When it comes to depth, special teams and versatility is a must. Greene and Tomlinson obviously have spots locked in, and the Jets won't cut McKnight or Conner in training camp even if they are busts. There's an outside chance Richardson, 38, retires, but expect him to be on the team at least one more year until Conner takes over. Washington's role on special teams could be usurped by Brad Smith if someone else becomes the primary kick returner. Woodhead has a better chance at the roster because of his great hands. If he makes the team, it's probably because the Jets trust him more than McKnight as a change of pace back who can catch passes. Davis was on the practice squad last year, but the drafting of Conner all but kills his chances of making the team.

Wide Receiver
On the Team: Jerricho Cotchery, Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes*, Brad Smith, Laveranues Coles
On the Bubble: Aundrae Allison, David Clowney
Uphill Climb: Marcus Henry, Larry Taylor
Prediction: Cotchery and Edwards are locked in as the starting wideouts to begin the season. Holmes's four-game suspension opens the door for one more receiver to make the roster. Coles is probably that guy. After four games, there's a good chance LC is gone unless he plays too well to let go of. Smith has a spot locked down due to his versatility and special teams prowess. Allison and Clowney will probably be fighting for the last spot. I give a slight edge to Allison because the Jets have passed over Clowney again and again, and Allison has the ability to return kicks if he's healthy. Henry has the size but has never shown much in camp. Taylor has an outside chance of stealing the kick return job, which is his only path to the team.

Tight End
On the Team: Dustin Keller, Ben Hartsock
On the Bubble: Matthew Mulligan, Jeff Cumberland
Prediction: Keller is the pass-catching tight end, and Hartsock is the blocking tight end. That much is certain. Mulligan and Cumberland will be fighting for the third spot all training camp. Cumberland is an athletic rookie from Illinois known more for his receiving skills, while Mulligan spent most of last season with the Jets after New York picked him up off waivers from Tennessee. Mulligan is more of a blocking tight end who finally stuck on a team last season after rotating off and on Tennessee and Miami's practice squads. If Cumberland flashes enough receiving ability, he could steal the job. However, right now, expect him to be a practice squadder.

Offensive Line
On the Team: D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Vladimir Ducasse, Nick Mangold, Brandon Moore, Damien Woody
On the Bubble: Matt Slauson, Robert Turner, Wayne Hunter
Uphill Climb: Marlon Davis, Robby Felix, Dan Gay, Aaron Kia, Charlie Tanner
Prediction: The Jets will probably go with eight linemen, leaving three spots for the backups. Hunter, Turner, and Slauson were the guys last year, so it's easy to think they'll be back there this year. Hunter's spot is probably the most vulnerable given his age (29) but it's hard to figure out which of the five has the best chance at taking his job. The starters are all safe. Ducasse still has to beat out Slauson for the left guard spot, but everybody expects him to.

Defensive Line
On the Team: Kris Jenkins, Shaun Ellis, Sione Pouha, Mike DeVito
On the Bubble: Ropati Pitoitua, Matt Kroul, Vernon Gholston, Rodrique Wright
Uphill Climb: Jason Lamb, Ty Steinkuhler, Martin Tevaseu
Prediction: Jenkins will be ready for the start of the season after tearing his ACL last year. He and Ellis are locks to make the team and start, while Pouha and DeVito will see a lot of time. Pitoitua is a hulking lineman who was a long-term project a few years ago, and last year he started to see some game action. Kroul has been given a ton of praise this offseason, so it's hard to see him not making the team. Gholston will be given one last chance to prove he can play in the NFL, this time at a new position. Wright is talented but caught up in a numbers game on a team that doesn't play many defensive linemen. Also, Jason Taylor, Bryan Thomas, and Calvin Pace can all lineup with their hands on the ground on third downs, so there's no need for any more linemen.

On the Team: Calvin Pace, Bryan Thomas, Jason Taylor, David Harris, Bart Scott
On the Bubble: Jamaal Westerman, Lance Laury, Kevin Basped, Kenwin Cummings, Cory Reamer
Uphill Climb: Josh Mauga, Brashton Satele
Prediction: Harris and Scott are as good an inside linebacking duo in the NFL, while Thomas, Pace, and Taylor offers a talented and diverse group of players on the outside. The battle for backup spots will be fierce. Laury was signed for his special teams prowess, so he should have a spot locked up. Westerman was last year's camp sensation, so it's hard to see him falling short this year. Basped and Reamer both have chances to be this year's guy. Basped has higher long-term upside as a pass rusher, so expect him to make the grade. Cummings and Reamer will battle for the last spot with Cummings having a slight edge. Reamer should make the practice squad if that's the case.

On the Team: Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Kyle Wilson, Brodney Pool, Eric Smith, Jim Leonhard
On the Bubble: Dwight Lowery, Donovan Warren, James Ihedigbo, Marquice Cole, Drew Coleman
Uphill Climb: Brian Jackson, Emanuel Cook, Bo Smith
Prediction: The three cornerbacks and three safeties will all see a lot of action on the field, so the last few guys all need to stand out in some way to make the final roster. Lowery has better ball skills than anyone else out there, and the Jets are trying him out at safety to try to take advantage of that. Warren is an undrafted rookie from Michigan the Jets are very high on making the same transition. Both are good bets to make the roster. Ihedigbo is a big hitter and good special teamer, but his roster spot is in jeopardy with all the depth at safety. Cole and Coleman both made the team last year, but now they should be competing for the last cornerback spot. Give Cole the slight edge because Coleman is a known quantity: he can't cover anyone. Jackson, Cook, and Smith need to really impress to have any chance at cracking the team.

Special Teams
On the Team: K Nick Folk
On the Bubble: LS Tanner Purdum, P T.J. Conley, P Steve Weatherford
Prediction: Folk is the only kicker on the roster, so despite his struggles last year with Dallas, he should make the squad. Like Folk, Purdum is the only long snapper on the team, so it's hard to predict anyone else. You can bet James Dearth is on speed dial though. Conley and Weatherford will battle for the punting job. Conley impressed in mini-camps last year, but that didn't carry over to training camp. Weatherford is replaceable, so if Conley shows some consistency, he can take the job.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Position Overview: Secondary

It's official: Darrelle Revis is holding out. So what better time to look at the Jets' defensive backfield on the day its best player threatened not to play?

Revis Island

Revis could have easily been Defensive Player of the Year last year, and his coaching staff consistently called him the best cornerback in the NFL. Now he wants to get paid like it. With three years and $21 million left on his contract, it's unlikely the two sides come to a long-term fix anytime soon. If he holds out past August 10th, he loses an accrued year towards free agency and the $20 million in the next two years of his contract are no longer guaranteed.

Most expect him to come to camp by August 10th, and he's too good a player and competitor to fall off in play too much. Remember, he held out until August 15th his rookie season, so this wouldn't be the first time he's done this. If Revis comes back, the Jets have the most talented cornerback trio in the NFL. Last year, the Jets had the league's best pass defense. Yet, outside of Revis and safety Jim Leonhard, the defense has gone over a tremendous overhaul.

The New Guys

The Jets were one half short of making the Super Bowl last year. One of the big reasons they fell short was the secondary could not contain Peyton Manning when it needed to. Now, Lito Sheppard, Kerry Rhodes, and Donald Strickland are gone, and in their places are Antonio Cromartie, Brodney Pool, and rookie Kyle Wilson.

Cromartie and Wilson replace the injury-prone Sheppard and Strickland as the two cornerbacks with Revis. Both are athletic specimens who should excel in man-to-man defense. Once considered one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL, Cromartie still has the size and speed that helped make him elite. His play sagged in the past few seasons, but he blames a shift from man-to-man to zone that hindered his play. Back in man-to-man and playing opposite Revis, Cromartie should overwhelm most teams' no. 2 receivers. If not, he has nobody to blame but himself.

The rookie Wilson was considered in the top 10 but unexpectedly fell late in the first round. He has the quickness to cover slot receivers, which is very important against teams like Indianapolis, New Orleans, and New England. His presence should give Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine a lot more options in blitz packages because if all goes according to plan, the Jets have three players they can trust on an island. That leaves eight guys Ryan could toy with and possibly send after the quarterback.

Pool replaces Rhodes, whose play did not back up his talk and off-field persona. Pool is much quieter, but he's a more willing tackler whose interception totals have risen each of the last three years. He's had concussion and migraine issues in the past, so staying healthy will be a key for him. If he can't, or if he disappoints at all, Eric Smith is talented enough to take the job. He lacks elite athletic ability, but he makes up for it with his size, tackling, and blitzing abilities. Going into last season, not much was expected of him, but Smith quickly became a Ryan favorite. Still, they'd rather him come off the bench.

The Rest

The rest of the depth are mostly guys who can contribute on special teams. Dwight Lowery will be the dime back. He's got good ball skills and cover ability, but he simply isn't quick or fast enough to cover some receivers. James Ihedigbo is a big hitter the Jets like to blitz with, but he commits too many penalties. Marquice Cole impressed in training camp last year, and he'll probably compete with the speedy but oft-burned Drew Coleman for probably the last defensive back roster spot..

Bottom Line

The best pass defense in the NFL just got better. The best cornerback in the NFL just got some help. There are questions about Cromartie's head, Wilson's inexperience, and Pool's injuries, but talent and coaching should outweigh those problems. Cromartie is the key. He has all the ability to be a superstar like Revis, and remember, he's playing for a new contract, so he has all the motivation to play hard and focus this season. The sky is the limit for this group.

News and Notes on the Eve of Training Camp

First, let's get the good news out of the way. Rookie cornerback Kyle Wilson signed his rookie contract Saturday, meaning that all their draft picks are now signed and good to go for the season. He's expected to be the nickel back behind Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie and down the line, big things are expected from him.

Just as they were with Revis, the Jets' last first round cornerback. Revis went above and beyond all expectations, and now he wants to be paid more than any other cornerback in the NFL. This isn't exactly breaking news, but on the eve of training camp, he remains a no-show. So far, he's only skipped the conditioning test, but if he doesn't show up by 5:30, it's officially a holdout.

What would that mean? First, Revis would stand to lose $16,000 per day he misses camp. And if he doesn't show up by August 10th, he loses the guaranteed money in the last two years of his rookie contract ($10 million per year). It's no real surprise he's not in camp right now, and a long-term deal seems like a longshot. The two sides are apparently talking again, however, so a short-term solution could be in the cards.

While Revis didn't show up for his first conditioning test, rookie runningback Joe McKnight failed his on Friday. Today, the USC product passed the test, so he will be good to go for training camp. After being criticized for a lack of conditioning in mini-camp, not passing his first test in training camp was a disturbing sign, but hopefully this story can fade away now.

Laveranues Coles officially signed a one-year deal with the Jets yesterday to be the third receiver while Santonio Holmes is suspended. While Coles has been a little bit selfish in the past, he admitted that he's an "insurance policy" who has a "slim chance" of being there after four games. Coles's self-awareness and the Jets' honesty towards him are very positive signs if this marriage is going to work for a third time. With Holmes, Braylon Edwards, and Jerricho Cotchery in the fold, Coles is a luxury the Jets don't necessarily need, but if he's on board with coming in and playing a limited role, it's a great little signing.

Finally, the Jets placed Kris Jenkins (hamstring) and Kellen Clemens (calf) on the PUP list to start training camp. Neither injury is considered serious. For Jenkins, the injury stems from a hamstring graft used to repair his torn ACL last season. He's said he's progressing quickly, but it's not a surprise that the big guy isn't completely ready for camp just yet.