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Jets Still Have Items Left On Their Offseason Checklist


The Jets may have made the AFC Championship Game this past season, but their regular season record was 9-7.

If they want to take the next step they have a number of holes to fill on the team.

They started off the off-season by trading for Antonio Cromartie, filling their need of a number two corner to play opposite Darrelle Revis.

However, there is still plenty of work to be done.

Primary Needs

Defensive End

Shaun Ellis is no spring chicken and will turn 33 before next season starts and Marques Douglas, also 33, is currently an unrestricted free agent, who is drawing some interest around the league.

Mike DeVito is a nice backup, but would be stretched as a starter.  Even if they do end up bringing Douglas back, the Jets need to get younger along the defensive front.  I expect them to give Jared Odrick a long look in the first round.

Outside Linebacker

Calvin Pace is locked into one of the starting jobs, but the Jets are in need of a pass rushed to play opposite of him.  They thought they had one in Vernon Gholston, who they drafted with the 6th pick in 2008, but he has shown nothing in his two years.

The Patriots are expected to release Adalius Thomas soon and many expect the Jets to sign him.  He and Rex Ryan go back to Baltimore, where Thomas posted his best numbers.

Safety

The trade of Kerry Rhodes left a hole at safety for the Jets.  Eric Smith is a good third safety and spot starter, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable with him starting 16 games.

The Jets could look at free agency to fill the hole with targets being O.J. Atogwe and Brodney Pool among others.  They could also address the need via the draft.  If they drafted a safety, I would prefer they use a middle round pick because spending a first or second round pick on a safety after trading away your starter for a fourth round pick seems counterproductive.
Secondary Needs

Wide Receiver

The Jets are set at their starting wide outs with Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery.   They could use a good slot receiver though.

Adding another receiver will only help the development of Mark Sanchez as the Jets start to open up the playbook more.

There are rumors of the Jets bringing back Laveranues Coles and also many mock drafts have had the Jets taking a receiver, most notably Golden Tate or Jordan Shipley, who I think would be a great fit as a slot receiver.

Cornerback

While the Jets did trade for Antonio Cromartie, you can never have too many good cornerbacks.  The Jets learned this first hand in the AFC Championship Game, when the Colts receivers repeatedly burned their backup corners.

Adding a cornerback to play in dime packages to keep Drew Coleman off the field and possibly challenge Dwight Lowery for nickel duties should be a priority for the Jets.

Running Back

While the release of Thomas Jones paves the way for Shonn Greene to take over as the feature back the Jets still could use another runningback.

Leon Washington is coming off a serious leg injury and Shonn Greene got nicked up a few times during his rookie season.

You need two backs in today’s NFL and if either Greene of Leon go down the Jets are in trouble.

Offensive Line

The Jets have one of the best offensive lines in the league, but a few of the starters are getting up there in age.

Alan Faneca and Damien Woody can’t be counted on to keep up their level of play for much longer and the Jets don’t have adequete replacements on their roster.

They drafted Matt Slauson in the sixth round last year and should look to add another lineman through the draft this year.

Quarterback

Kellen Clemens hasn’t shown much of anything in his four seasons in the league and Eric Ainge and Kevin O’Connell are both developmental projects.

Mark Sanchez could benefit from a veteran backup, who can mentor the young quarterback.

New York Jets Trade For Cornerback Antonio Cromartie

New York Jets Sign Cornerback Antonio Cromartie Thumbnail image for Cromartie.jpgA lot was made of how the Jets would struggle to upgrade their roster in 2010, with the Final Four Rules seriously restricting their normally-bustling activity on the free-agent market.

Well, in Rex Ryan fashion, New York raised a certain and yelled, “Screw the rules” an hour before the start of free agency.

Jets have acquired on-the-block Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie for a conditional 2011 draft pick — a second- or third-rounder, depending on playing time. And so now Cromartie is paired with Darrelle Revis to form a potentially fearsome pair of corners to patrol the New Meadowlands.

The downside for the Jets is considerable here. Cromartie had grown a reputation inside the Charger organization, from what I’ve heard, as an underachiever who’d declined as a playmaker (though he didn’t yield many big players) and had a problem with authority late in his time in San Diego. He also didn’t play a physical game, which was pretty obvious in the playoffs. Then, there are his legal issues.

The upshot is a corner as physically gifted as any in the game. He fits Rex Ryan’s desire for man-cover corners. He’ll get thrown at, to be sure, with Revis on the other side, and he’s got an 11-interception season in the books. And his presence, combined with Revis, will allow the defensive coaches all kinds of creative leeway in their rush packages.

Hard to argue the Jets didn’t just get better — if Ryan pushes the right buttons, they could be a lot better for this. But there’s significant risk here, too. Should be interesting.

Darelle Revis with Nnamdi Asomugha? Punishment For Other Teams

Back at the Pro Bowl, Darrelle Revis and Nnamdi Asomugha were joking around about ending up on the same team. It was amusing, but everyone just laughed it off because the thought of either team getting rid of their shutdown corner seemed insane.

But sometimes, insane is the Raiders’ specialty. Adam Schefter delivered word Tuesday that the Raiders actually are trying to trade Asomugha. Naturally, everyone’s minds immediately turned to the Jets.

Schefter also pointed out, though, that it would be really, really difficult for the Raiders to trade Asomugha because he’s got a contract that’s pretty insane. I’ll skip the details, but if a new team wanted to keep him past 2011, they’d probably have to pay him the average of the top five quarterback salaries, which will be a huge, huge number. No team wants to absorb that contract, even for a player of Asomugha’s quality.  With mark Sanchez looking at $50 million over the next five years,another salary like that is out.

There’s always the possibility, though, that Asomugha could agree to a new, cheaper deal in exchange for getting out of Oakland. I don’t know if he’s unhappy being a Raider, but it’s hard to come up with too many reasons why he wouldn’t be.

Two NFL writers out there think it could happen. Rich Cimini of the New York Daily News lays out the reasons why he thinks it’s possible, and ESPN’s Tim Graham does the same.

I, for one, am terrified of the idea. It would be chaos. One entire division in the NFL would basically have to abandon the passing game, because wide receivers would be useless. The Patriots, Dolphins and Bills would all run jumbo packages, all game. We would revert to 1920s football. Leather helmets would return. The NFL would look like “Leatherheads.” Prohibition would be restored. Movies would go back to being silent. Chaos, I tell you.

Not Your Father’s Jets

The past few days I have been thinking about the Jets season, as improbable as it may have been to some.  I have been thinking about Mark Sanchez as a rookie QB leading the team.  Darelle Revis coming into his own as CB, being the shadow of many great Wide Receivers and shutting them down.  Three great running backs in Thomas Jones, Shonn Greene, and Leon Washington when healthy.  All three of these guys are capable of 100 yard games when they step out onto the field.  Nick Mangold and the offensive line have given Sanchez time to throw and opened holes for the running game.  The Defense, ranked Number One in the NFL, has been a stand out all year thanks to Rex Ryan.  Braylon Edwards is due for a breakout year.  The Jets have the right pieces and the puzzle finally came together at the end of the season.  I am only 35 and I saw a different Jets team than I ever have.  This is no longer my father’s Jets.  They are no longer the team that plays second fiddle to the Giants in the New York market.  The Jets have finally got their due and respect.

I have sat in the stand and even at home listened to my father say “same old Jets” everytime a game or play would not go their way.  When the Jets would fall behind or not even make the playoffs every Jets fan was used to that.  For so long we put up with losing seasons, injured players, bad coaching, etc.  Yes, bad coaching.  From Bruce Coslet, Joe Walton, Rich Kotite, Lou Holtz, former USC and now Seahawks’ Pete Carroll, Mangini, Charley Winner, and hell, even Lou Holtz!  Bill Parcells, Al Groh, and Rex Ryan are the only coaches in New York Jets and Titans history with winning records.  Even the great Weeb Ewbank had a 71-77-6 records while coaching the Jets.  Rex Ryan has given new life to a team that had to escape its own stigma of losing.

Woody Johnson has spent enough money on this team, including the $12 million on Brett Favre, to create a team worth watching.  It took years to find a QB that was right at the helm.  It took time to get a balanced receiving core & land a potential star in Edwards.  Even Dustin Keller hs shown the Jets can have an outstanding Tight End.  The pieces are coming together and the Jets just need to complete the puzzle.  The draft has been key the pst few years as the young guys are the ones making the team better than it has been.  For the first time I look at the Jets and see a team that doe not resemble the teams I saw when I was growing up.  The teams in 1998 and 1982 that made the AFC Championship though gave the Jets fans hope that their team would not just been seen differently, but play differently from now on.  They didn’t after those seasons.  I think this might be the first year the team we saw play the Colts will be the same team that starts the 2010 season.

I guess what I am trying to say is I am finally looking forward to a Jets season where we all know they can win and have a true shot at making the Super Bowl.  This past year though has been tough because of the documentary.  As a Jets fan I was hoping they would beat the Colts.  My heart was pojnding during the game hoping they would maintain the lead and win the game.  Asa filmmaker, I was looking for the Jets to sputter and show Jets fans they were the same old JEts.  Even though they lost the game they are not the same old Jets and proved me wrong.  I can not wai to see what the Jets do in the off season and hope Kerry Rhodes is ready for the 2010 season.  I think everyone is finally proud to be a Jets fan.  I know my father is happy, smiling, and watching everything from the best seat in the house.  Maybe screaming at the TV in heaven when Sanchez throws an interception.  That is my dad.

That Was One Hell Of A Ride!

As I sit here I keep thinking about the Jets 30-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts today.  The Jets proved to many they are one of the NFL’s top teams.  Mark Sanchez completed 17 out of 30 passes for 257 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception.  They did more in the air than on the ground, and that includes scoring.  Darelle Revis kept Reggie Wayne in check for most of the game and the Jets defense was doing what they needed to do.   But early pressure on Manning didn’t hold up and he showed why he won an unprecedented fourth MVP award this season, working with Pierre Garcon, a sixth-round pick from last year who caught four passes in his first season, and rookie Austin Collie, a fourth-round pick. They looked like perennial all-stars as Manning completed 26 of 39 passes for 377 yards and three touchdowns with Garcon (11 catches, 151 yards) and Collie (7, 123) combining for 274 yards against the league’s No. 1-ranked defense.

When the Jets lost nickel cornerback Donald Strickland to a groin injury early in the game, the Colts immediately went to three-receiver packages, confident their youngsters could win against the bottom of the Jets’ depth chart. The Colts also adjusted with three-step dropswhich gave Manning mroe time to throw the ball and open it up in the air.  Also, with Shonn Greene hurting his midsection Thomas Jones had to be the lone back for a bit.  The second half proved to the be the Jets unraveling.   The Colts seized control in the third quarter. A 4-yard touchdown pass to Garcon put Indianapolis ahead 20-17. A 15-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dallas Clark early in the fourth quarter put the Colts up 27-17, and they tacked on a Matt Stover field goal to make what had been a competitive game look lopsided and send first-year head coach Jim Caldwell to the Super Bowl as just the fifth coach in league history to make it to the big game in his rookie season.  Even with Jay Feely’s two missed field goal’s, the Jets still needed more on offense.

The Jets hung in there and showed they can hang with the more experienced teams in the league.  For the first time in a long time, they were taken seriously.  Even after finishing the season 9-7 and people saying they backed into the playoffs, they showed they deserved to be there.  Teams with Number one ranked defense’s,  great rushing, creative offsive should be in the final four and the AFC Championship game.  It does not matter how you finish the season, it is the impact you make in the postseason that matters.  Rex Ryna talked the talk and had a team to back up his words.  Today’s only problem was, they were facing Peyton Manning.  Rex needed to change up the defense in the 2nd half.  For Rex’s first year he did a better job than many previous Jets’ Head Coaches.   He has a team willing to back him up in any situation, something the Jets have been missing from their players in the past.

Next year will be a new year and a building year.  They have a lot of success to build on and they can go a long way next year.  New year, new stadium.  Jets fans have a reason to be proud about this season.  They silenced the doubters.  I sat here nerbous and wanted them to hold onto the lead.  My heart was pounding and believe me, I was hoping they would pull it off.  Once Manning got on a roll, I knew we had a great ride and the Jets did their fans proud.  We have nothing to be ashamed of.  We know in 8 months there is a new season and new possibilities.  The Jets will have a great year next year and once again make us all proud to be Jets fans.

One quick story.  My father was on his way to the AFL Championship game in 1968.  He was speeding and ended up getting pulled over.  He waaround number 12 in a line of cars pulled over for tickets.  My father knew he was wrong and was going to be late for kick off.  He called a cop over and said he knew he was speeding and deserved the ticket.  He then told the officer he had tickets to the Jets game and showed him the tickets.  The officer said he would be back.  About 5 minutes later my father received his ticket before the other cars pulled over.  He zoomed out of there and made it to Shea before kick off.  Now to finish watching overtime of the Vikings/Saints game.   Looks like the Saints will face the Colts.  That did not take long.  Brett Favre, serves him right.