Archive for July, 2013

Second Team Safeties Making a Push

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Cortland, NY – Dawan Landy and Antonio Allen have been taking the first team reps so far in camp, but that doesn’t mean those spots are locked down. Yes, it’s pretty safe to assume Landry will be occupying one spot, but Allen is still in a heated battle with Jaiquawn Jarrett.

Rex Ryan is pleased with the way the safety competition is shaping up

“Well it’s good competition because Jaiquawn Jarrett is behind him [Allen], and that is going to be real fun to watch because both guys are physical players,” said Rex Ryan. “We’ll just let that play out, but I think it is going to be a real good competition with those two.”

Jarrett was a second round pick of the Eagles back in 2011, but was cut near the beginning of last season. With that change of fate so early in his career he is not taking his shot for granted.

“I’m always continuously working to get better,” said Jarrett. “You can always be physical, but I want to make sure I work on the little things like footwork, being able to cover in space, just the little technique things that are going to show up late in the game.”

Jarrett is at a bit of a disadvantage, though. Of the four competing for starting spots he is the only one who has never played for Ryan before. But so far his teammates have been there to help him pick up the scheme.

“Everyday we out there, we pushing each other, we coaching each other, we’re working with each other,” said Jarrett. “It’s us in that DB room that’s going to go out there and get the job done.”

The player helping Jarrett out the most is probably fellow second-teamer Josh Bush. No, that isn’t because Allen is holding out on him, it’s because Bush has a strong grasp on the concepts.

Bush’s teammates rave about his intelligence, and it is something Ryan noticed as well:

“Well I got Josh Bush backing up Landry right now. I think the thing about that is, that is the position that really runs the show back there. And Josh is a very smart player. Wake Forest kid, and he really is a sharp young man. If something were to happen to Landry we are going to plug him right in.”

Both Bush and Jarrett will look to continue to give their first-team counterparts a push this training camp. It’s one of the many competitions that the coaching staff wants to see play out. Don’t be surprised if either one of them wins the starting spot week 1.

JetsInsider.com is sponsored by Greek Peak Resort and Hope Lake Lodge in Cortland NY. Be sure to check out the awesome Stay and Play family training camp packages they offer with the largest Indoor Water Park in central NY!

Position Battles Part 2: The Defense

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

Cortland, NY – On the defensive side of things there are decidedly less questions. That shouldn’t be a big shock for a team whose identity is largely defined by that side of the ball.

The biggest question marks come in the secondary where the Jets lost Darrell Revis and safeties Eric Smith, Yeremiah Bell, and LaRon Landry.

A breakdown of the corner battle can be found here.

Safety

The safety battle looks to be the most intriguing on the defensive side. No matter what, there will be two new starters on the backend of the defense. Dawan Landry, older brother to last year’s starter LaRon, was signed in the offseason and is all but penciled in as one starter.

For the other spot the top choices seem to be Antonio Allen, Jaiquawn Jarrett, and Josh Bush.

Antonio Allen is one of a handful of safeties looking to win a starting spot in training camp.

Bush and Allen were the Jets 6th and 7th round picks, respectively, from a season ago. Both saw time primarily on special teams last year, and it should be a tight competition. But for right now, Allen has stood out the most in training camp.

“[Allen] made a great play in the endzone getting that one interception today,” said Rex Ryan. “And he challenges himself. Very few safeties will line up one-on-one with a wideout, and he challenges himself every day to do that.”

Competing with them is former Eagles second-round pick Jaiquawn Jarrett. While he was a high draft pick, many called it a reach at the time, and the Eagles released him less than two years into his career.

Still, he has managed to catch the attention of Ryan.

“So far, he’s been doing a tremendous job coming in and learning a brand new system,” said Ryan. “The thing that we know he can do is that he was a hitter.”

Rounding out the group are Brett Lockett, Donnie Fletcher, and Rontez Miles.

Lockett hasn’t played in a game since 2009, and will most likely be fighting just to stay on the roster.

Fletcher is a player like Kyle Wilson that will be lining up in several different positions. There is a chance he emerges as the best option, but he will probably end up as depth for several positions in the secondary.

Miles is the most intriguing of the group. He is an undrafted rookie out of D-II University of California-Pennsylvania.  He is currently on the PUP, and the jump in competition means he might be destined for the practice squad. Still he is a player who could make an impact for this team in the coming seasons.

Linebacker

For the most part the Jets appear pretty set at linebacker. The big question for the unit is how much time Quinton Coples will see on the outside. The Jets have talked about making the move for last year’s first-round pick, but the majority of his snaps so far in training camp have been on the line.

Outside of Coples the Jets have Calvin Pace and free-agent acquisition Antwan Barnes. It’ll be interesting to follow how the Jets divvy up the snaps for these three over the duration of training camp

JetsInsider.com is sponsored by Greek Peak Resort and Hope Lake Lodge in Cortland NY. Be sure to check out the awesome Stay and Play family training camp packages they offer with the largest Indoor Water Park in central NY!

Plenty of Competition at Jets Camp

Saturday, July 27th, 2013

Cortland, NY Whether fair or not, there is not as much fanfare around the Jets this offseason. Several big names have been shown the door following a 6-10 debacle of a season, and analysts are picking the Jets to finish near the bottom of the league.

But what the turnover and lack of gaudy expectations has done is it’s led to more competition in training camp this year.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been in a situation or a camp where so many of those things, those spots, are really up for grabs,” said Rex Ryan. “I think that is going to make for an interesting camp. That is probably a little unique from situations I’ve been in in the past.”

Safety, cornerback, guard, quarterback, and the list goes on. With camp just getting started here is a preview of the competitions headlining camp:

Running back has already been discussed on the blog, but staying with the offense one of the biggest question marks is at tight end.

Tight End

Dustin Keller is no longer a part of the offense after signing with the Dolphins this offseason. In his place are Jeff Cumberland, Kellen Winslow, Konrad Reuland, Hayden Smith, and rookies Chris Pantale and Mike Shanahan.

Cumberland filled in for Keller when he was injured last season, and is a favorite to win the starting job this season. His strongest competition likely comes from Kellen Winslow. Winslow put up some nice receiving numbers as early as 2011 for Tampa Bay, but they found him expendable and he has yet to catch on with a team.

Both Smith and Reuland are young and could have an impact this season, but it’s much more likely they find themselves in reserve roles if they make the team.

Pantale is coming back from a broken foot that caused him to miss eight games last season for Boston College. He is seen as more of a blocker who has yet to develop as a receiver, and there are questions about his speed in the NFL.

Shanahan is an intriguing prospect. He was a wide receiver at Pitt, but is making the switch to tight end. He’ll have the chance to shine in camp, but he will have to pick up blocking technique quickly if he expects to see the field much this season.

Wide Receiver

At the top are Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards. Holmes most likely won’t make an appearance at camp, and his status for the regular season is still up in the air. Edwards should be one of the starting wide receivers as long as he stays healthy.

Stephen Hill looks to rebound from a disappointing rookie campaign

Behind them are Jeremy Kerley, Clyde Gates, Stephen Hill, Zach Rogers, and Vidal Hazelton.

Kerley was a big part of the Jets passing attack last season. He led the team by far with 56 receptions and 827 yards with Keller, Holmes, and Hill all dealing with injury issues.

Gates, and Hill have yet to distinguish themselves, but Hill is the more high profile of the two. He was the Jets’ second round pick a season ago, but injuries and drops limited his production.

Gates has shown tons of speed during his time with the Jets, but not a ton else. That might change this season. So far he has been one of the standouts in camp, showing much better route running and play recognition. He is someone to keep an eye on as camp progresses.

Rogers and Hazelton are both more under the radar. Rogers is an undrafted rookie who performed well during minicamp earlier this year. Hazelton struggled during minicamp, but has begun to show signs of progression so far in camp. He even showed some fight, getting into a scrum with Antonio Cromartie after some physical play from the corner during drills.

Guard

The offensive line used to be a strength for the Jets, but has faltered the past two seasons. But a new group of guards might turn that around.

Headlining the group is former Steeler Wille Colon. Colon was one of the better offensive linemen in the league, inking a 5-year $29 million contract with the Steelers back in 2011. A triceps injury that sidelined Colon for all of 2012 was enough for the Steelers to part ways. However, if he can prove he is healthy he will be a big addition for the Jets.

Brian Winters is the other big name of the group. Winters was a third round pick this year, and the team loves his potential. They’d love him to win one of the starting spots for week one.

The biggest competition for the two comes from Stephen Peterman who spent last season with the Lions. Peterman was a solid lineman last season, but was brought in more as insurance for Colon and Winters, than to be an impact starter.

Then there is former second-round pick Vladimir Ducasse. Ducasse has potential but has yet to show it. This is going to be his fourth year, and the general manager that drafted him, Mike Tannenbaum, is no longer with the team.

Dennis Landolt, and this year’s sixth-round pick, William Campbell, rounds out the group. Both should be considered more of a project than a potential starter. Landolt went undrafted in 2010 and has bounced around the league a little, while Campbell is switching from the defensive line.

Later on we’ll preview the battles on the defensive side of the ball.

JetsInsider.com is sponsored by Greek Peak Resort and Hope Lake Lodge in Cortland NY. Be sure to check out the awesome Stay and Play family training camp packages they offer with the largest Indoor Water Park in central NY!

Edwards Excited to be Back and Looking to Lead

Friday, July 26th, 2013

At age 30 the newly re-signed Braylon Edwards is by far the most seasoned wide receiver for the Jets this training camp. With Santonio Holmes expected to be sidelined for all of camp, Edward is going to have to act like it.

So far he is saying the right things.

“Yes I’m older, but at the same time I don’t have to be that, ‘Alright I’m 30, and you guys are 21. Listen to what I have to say. This is how it goes,’ said Edwards. “It doesn’t work like that, and they won’t listen. You just have to go out there and do it. The more you go out there and do it, the more you’ll notice people following you.”

Braylon Edwards looks to lead receiver corp (photo Jetsinsider.com)

Edwards wasn’t eye-popping on the field, but he carried himself like a professional. It’s only day one, but it looks like he is trying to back his words up. His quarterback certainly took notice.

“Braylon knows how to be a pro whether it’s with the media, on the field, or after a game,” added Mark Sanchez. “He’s a stud, and he’s learned so much in his career so far, and he still has a bunch left in the tank. So I’m excited to have him back.”

Edwards’ last good season came in 2010, his last full season with the Jets, when he averaged a career-high 17.1 yards per reception. Since then he has flopped with Seattle and San Francisco failing to record even 200 yards for either team.

The difference for Edwards is going from two teams with crowded receiving corps, to a team desperately searching for a reliable option outside Holmes. Not to mention the familiarity he already has with Sanchez and Rex Ryan.

Simply put, it would be a shock if Edwards isn’t more productive this season than he’s been the past two. In the final three games of last season Edwards had 10 receptions for 125 yards after being reacquired by the Jets. That’s just under half the totals he put up for both the 49ers and Seahawks in a combined 19 games.

But Edwards isn’t alone in trying to lead this young receiving corp. Fellow 30-year-old and former Browns teammate, Kellen Winslow, is a potential replacement for Dustin Keller at tight end. Edwards and Winslow are excited to be reunited.

“That’s my brother from a different mother,” said Winslow. “Love that guy. [Edwards] is one of the best I’ve seen.”

Like Edwards, Winslow is coming off a down year and is the elder statesman of his position.

It’s probably not realistic for the two to put up the numbers they did for Cleveland in 2007, but if they can stay healthy and act as reliable receiving options, they’ll go a long way to solidifying arguably the Jets’ biggest hole.

JetsInsider.com is sponsored by Greek Peak Resort and Hope Lake Lodge in Cortland NY. Be sure to check out the awesome Stay and Play family training camp packages they offer with the largest Indoor Water Park in central NY!