Archive for August, 2013

Jets cut Greg McElroy

Saturday, August 31st, 2013

In the wake of a huge Matt Simms performance against the Eagles, the Jets will release QB Greg McElroy, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen.

Although the Jets have not made any official announcements regarding cuts, it appears Greg McElroy will be released when the roster is trimmed down to its 53-man limit, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.

McElroy, a seventh round draft pick out of Alabama in 2011, will be replaced by Matt Simms, the son of former Giants quarterback Phil Simms and undrafted free agent out of the University of Tennessee, as the No. 3 quarterback on the depth chart.

Simms won the job outright, having a spectacular preseason, including a 33-44 performance against the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night where he threw for 285 yards.

McElroy, who started in place of Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow at the end of last season, missed three preseason games and was bothered for most of training camp with a knee injury.

Jets beat Eagles in back-up bowl to finish off preseason

Friday, August 30th, 2013

Rookie UFA Ryan Spadola, who fumbled in the red zone on Thursday night, will be anxiously awaiting the Jets' final roster decisions.

With most of the starters getting the night off, including quarterbacks Geno Smith and Mark Sanchez, the Jets won the “Back-up Bowl,” 27-20, on Thursday night against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium.

A rough first series aside, quarterback Matt Simms did a lot to improve his roster stock against the Eagles’ back-ups, going 33-44 with 285 yards, the most by any Jet quarterback in a preseason game since Ray Lucas had in 2000.

Head coach Rex Ryan lauded Simms after the game, hinting that he may have officially closed the gap on Greg McElroy by admitting he would “consider” carrying four quarterbacks on the roster.

On the first snap of the game, Simms was nearly intercepted on a sideline pass to Mohamed Massaquoi and was then sacked for a six yard loss, followed by another sacked for a nine yard loss and a safety.

Simms settled down despite playing behind a porous second string line, which allowed seven total sacks. Former Rams first round pick and recent re-signing, Jason Smith was especially shaky allowing four sacks, including a strip sack by Eagles’ linebacker Chris McCoy.

Other standouts included running back Kahlil Bell who scored two touch downs on 80 yards rushing and wide receiver Michael Campbell who caught five passes for 90 yards, including a 41-yard catch and run to set up a Nick Folk field goal in the third quarter.

Former Eagles, safety Jaiqwain Jarrett and linebacker Ricky Sapp were also impressive, teaming up to pressure, sack and strip Nick Foles in the first quarter. Safety Antonio Allen had an interception which he returned for a touchdown.

Rookie Undrafted Free Agent Ryan Spadola, who starred in training camp and throughout the preseason, showed a glimpse of mortality fumbling inside the red zone in the second quarter and finished with 47 yards receiving on six catches.

The Jets finish the preseason 3-1 and will face Ex-Jet Darrelle Revis and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Week 1 at MetLife on Sunday Sept. 8.

Preseason Preview: Geno’s the starter as Jets take on Giants

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

Geno Smith will get the start against the Giants on Thursday night and the opportunity to snatch the Week 1 starting job away from Mark Sanchez.

Florham Park, NJ – The recent history between these two teams hasn’t been kind to the Jets.

A year ago, Gang Green failed to score a touchdown on their way to a 26-3 preseason loss. Then, of course, there was the nightmare before Christmas Eve in 2011.

Victor Cruz caught a 99-yard touchdown pass and the Jets lost, 29-14, all but dooming their playoff chances and catapulting the Giants to a Super Bowl run.

Thursday, however, isn’t about bragging rights or redemption. It’s about deciding on a starting quarterback.

That means all other story lines take a back seat, including the rival Giants.

WHEN: Saturday, August 24, 2013, 7:00 p.m. EST (TV-WNBC, Radio-ESPN New York 98.7FM)

WHERE: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ

INJURY REPORT:

Jets – Cornerback Dee Milliner (calf) Probable, Wide Receiver Santonio Holmes (foot) Out, Running Back Joe McKnight (head) Probable, Wide Receiver Braylon Edwards (leg) Questionable

Giants – Cornerback Terrell Thomas (knee) Probable, Offensive Tackle David Diehl (thumb) Out, Wide Receiver Victor Cruz (bruised heel) Probable, Defensive End Justin Tuck (hamstring) Probable, Center David Baas (knee) Questionable, Wide Receiver Hakeem Nicks (groin) Probable

WHAT TO WATCH FOR:

Geno Smith: This will be, hands down, Geno’s biggest performance as a professional. Rex Ryan announced on Thursday that Smith will get the start, playing at least two quarters with Mark Sanchez also getting a few reps. But don’t be fooled, if Smith is going to separate himself it must be on Saturday. All week, Rex Ryan and his coaching staff have been noncommittal, if not mysterious, in their opinions of the quarterback race. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said the only thing Geno lacks is experience. Quarterbacks coach David Lee said the decision could drag on until Week 4 of the preseason. If Rex Ryan were to give it a grade it would be an “I”– for incomplete. Reading between the lines, however, all of them are waiting to see how Smith performs on Thursday. Lee was the most honest, saying that he flip flops between Smith and Sanchez on a practice by practice basis. So, a solid game could go a long way in making Geno the Week 1 starter.

Vlad Ducasse: Ryan announced on Thursday that the embattled former second round pick will get the start at left guard on Saturday with Stephen Peterman sliding over to take reps at center with the second team. Although Ryan has praised Vlad of late, Ducasse is seen largely as a disappointment since being drafted as an extremely raw lineman out of UMass in 2010. This could be one of his last legit shots at proving himself to the Jets’ brass and redeeming the “bust” label.

Dee Milliner: The highly toted cornerback out of Alabama struggled against the Jacksonville Jaguars and has been nagged by a calf injury for most of the week. If he plays, take notice, because you know how much Victor Cruz loves to salsa against the Jets.

X-Factor:

Wide receiver(s): The Jets signed former Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi. The Jaguars released him earlier this month after signing him to a two-year contract in April that could have been worth up to $4.7 million with incentives. It certainly says a whole lot about the Jets and how they feel about the wide receiver position if they’re willing to take scraps from the Jaguars, who they creamed in Week 2 of the preseason, 37-13. Braylon Edwards has been “dinged up” according to Ryan and hasn’t been able to practice in four days, Santonio Holmes is, well, no one knows, and rookie UFA Ryan Spadola is trying to turn his impressive camp into a roster spot.

Jets sign wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

The Jets have signed former Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi, head coach Rex Ryan confirmed on Thursday.

The wide receiver-needy Jaguars released Massaquoi earlier this month after signing him to a two-year contract in April that could have been worth up to $4.7 million with incentives.

Still, the Jets were singing his praises after working him out earlier this morning.

Ryan said Massaquoi reminded him of former Jet, and fan-favorite, Jerricho Cotchery, while offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said the former Browns’ second round pick has “excellent hands” and is a good route runner.

Massaquoi will now be added to a sea of question marks at wide receiver, which include the injured and mercurial  Santonio Holmes, the recently injured Braylon Edwards, Stephen Hill, Clyde Gates, Jeremy Kerley, Ben Obomanu and impressive rookie UFA Ryan Spadola.

Demario Davis ready for starting role

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Demario Davis is looking to add a dose of speed and leadership to the Jets defense in his second full season.

Cortland, NY – Even though former general manager Mike Tannenbaum technically drafted Demario Davis, he’s still a part of the new guard.

For years, the Jets packed their roster with personnel who loved to boast and brag, starting at the top with head coach Rex Ryan.

But now, even Ryan’s braggadocio is wearing thin. Santonio Holmes is going quietly about his rehab and Antonio Cromartie, who once openly called Tom Brady an “a–hole,” has looked like a model citizen.

Clearly, John Idzik is championing a new culture with the Jets, one where Ryan’s press conferences are Belichick-esque and stars are seen but not heard. Stars like Nick Mangold, Muhammad Wilkerson, and if things break right, Davis.

“Everything slows down a lot,” said Davis, speaking of his second year at training camp. “There have been a lot of changes, too, from the first year to the second year. That happens and it’s happened for the better.”

The man Davis is replacing is known for one of the most infamous sound bites in Jets’ history – behind only Joe Namath’s guarantee.

“Can’t wait.”

It’s what Bart Scott told ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio immediately after the Jets beat the New England Patriots, advancing to their second straight AFC Championship game.

Scott spent four years with the Jets, but due to either injury or age, just couldn’t stay on the field during passing situations a year ago. So, when Idzik took the helm, he was one of the many casualties, opening the door for Davis.

“[Davis] is doing a tremendous job. I think his pass coverage in particular has been impressive,” Ryan said on Wednesday. “Again, the best teaching tool is going to be experience, to put the ball out there and let him go. I think he’s going to learn more from game action than even as much as he’s learned so far.”

When the Jets take the field for the season opener against Darrelle Revis and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Davis will be among the defensive starters.  A defense, which lost six veteran starters in the off-season and has a linebacking corps with an average age of 23 (not counting Calvin Pace, 32). A defense, which, along with a few others, he will now lead.

“That’s just who I am. I know my teammates, I know my coaches look to me to lead,” said Davis. “But the best way I can lead right now is going out, getting lined up and doing my job as best I can.”

Toward the end of mini-camp, Ryan commended Davis for his leadership abilities, using a word, as unusual as it may seem, normally reserved for players like Scott – “charismatic.”

“When we drafted the young man, I recognized that I thought it was unusual for a rookie to come in with such charisma, and whatever you want to call it – leadership,” said Ryan. “I thought when we drafted him, that you either have it or you don’t, and he certainly is a young man that has it.”

When Davis was drafted in the third round out of Arkansas State, it was thought that he could inject a dose of speed into an aging defense. Now, in his second season, he’s bringing more than just speed to the table  – and people are taking notice.

“It’s a pretty smooth transition, you learn a lot in year one and you try to come out and execute it in your second year,” said Davis. “I feel like I’ve grown in leaps and bounds and I just want to be able to show that on game day.”

Can’t wait.

Preseason Preview: Jets @ Detroit Lions

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith take center stage in their first preseason game against the Detroit Lions on Friday night.

Cortland, NY – The last time the Jets were in Detroit they escaped with a 23-20 overtime victory.

At the time, Mark Sanchez hit Santonio Holmes with a 52 yard pass, setting up a game winning 30-yard field goal by Nick Folk. It was 2010, they were 6-2 and halfway to their second straight AFC championship game appearance.

Oh, how times have changed.

The Jets will roll into the Motor City on Friday night for their first preseason game of 2013 with a whole lot of questions and few clear-cut answers.

Injuries, along with Mike Goodson’s ongoing legal troubles, have ravaged their already murky running back situation. They lack top flight wide receivers and tight ends. The second starting safety position is up for grabs.

Then there are the quarterbacks.

All those questions won’t be answered in one game but things should begin to take shape as we see the team, and the quarterbacks, take some real hits.

WHEN: Friday, August 9, 2013, 7:30 p.m. EST (TV-CBS, Radio-ESPN New York 98.7FM)

WHERE: Ford Field, Detroit, MI

INJURY REPORT:

Jets – Head coach Rex Ryan has turned quasi-Belichickian in his handling of player injuries lately, not giving much in the way of actual information. Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow might see some playing time but Ryan wouldn’t commit. This could be how new general manager John Idzik wants to run things from now on so we’ll update the list as new information becomes available.

Chris Ivory (hamstring): Ivory told reporters that he has been cleared to begin practicing next week but he almost certainly won’t play in Friday’s preseason opener. Ryan wouldn’t comment on anything beyond that, except the passing mention that Ivory has only 3 percent body fat. So, there’s that.

Joe McKnight (head): In a bizarre moment at Wednesday’s press conference, Ryan pled the fifth when repeatedly questioned about McKnight’s injury, only saying that it was to his “head.” Bottom line: McKnight most likely has a concussion, is going through the league’s protocol, and will not play on Friday.

Santonio Holmes (foot): The star wideout is still recovering from last year’s season-ending Lisfranc injury and will be out of Friday’s game. Holmes has reportedly been telling friends he won’t be ready to play until Week 4, while the Jets seem to think he still has a shot at being ready for the season opener. Holmes was at practice on Wednesday, gingerly strolling up and down the sideline.

Vidal Hazelton (knee): The young wide receiver was having a great camp until he injured his knee in practice on Tuesday. Hazelton walked off the field with trainers but Ryan confirmed on Wednesday that the injury appears to be serious. Ryan wouldn’t elaborate but it could possibly be a season-ending ACL tear.

Lions – Safety Louis Delmas (Probable), Wide Receiver Ryan Broyles (Questionable)

WHAT TO WATCH FOR:

The Quarterbacks: Obviously, this is the main attraction. On Tuesday, Ryan told reporters Sanchez would  get the first preseason start, saying “he’s earned it” for having a solid camp and for being the incumbent. The race for starter is far from over, however, as Geno has been impressive as well. If there’s one thing that’s clear about the rookie so far it’s that he’s a confident young man. “I never have butterflies. I’ve never been that type of person. I don’t think I get nervous at all,” he told reporters on Wednesday. He says all the right things, but you can tell he wants the job and he’s coming to get it.

Be sure to see how both quarterbacks respond to the Lions’ intimidating defensive front, which boasts Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley and 2013 first round pick Ezekiel Ansah. Things can change once the red jersies come off.

Stephen Hill: The second-year receiver out of Georgia Tech had what some might call a disappointing first year in the NFL, but in reality he was just still really green. Hill has been impressive in camp and for the Jets to have any success on offense he’s going to have to step up his game. Hill has all the measurables – 6 foot 4, 215 pounds with 4.3 speed – but it’s a matter of that translating into production. With Holmes out, Braylon Edwards aging and mostly unproven talent beyond Jeremy Kerley, Hill has all the opportunity in the world.

“Megatron vs. the Megacorner”: That’s how Ryan described the match-up between Lions’ All-Pro wide receiver Calvin Johnson and Antonio Cromartie. They might not square-off for long but it should be exciting nonetheless. Johnson is virtually uncoverable but if there’s a corner with the height and talent to get the best of him, it’s Cromartie.

X-FACTOR:

The running back position has been a mess for most of training camp, but the lone bright spot is the emergence of third-year back Bilal Powell. He was the star of the Green and White scrimmage, and with Ivory, McKnight and Goodson all out for various reasons, Powell could create some serious separation in the eye’s of Jets coaches.

Also, keep an eye out for rookie wide receiver Ryan Spadola who has had a very good camp.

Cromartie looking comfortable in leadership role

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

In the absence of Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie is embracing his new role as leader of the Jets secondary.

Cortland, NY – If God created a cornerback, or if scientists dreamt one up in a petri dish, or gamers coded one onto a screen, they’d end up with Antonio Cromartie.

Not ex-Jet Darrelle Revis.

His speed. His physicality. His 6 foot 2 inch frame.

Those are the characteristics that tempted the San Diego Chargers to draft Cromartie in the first round. It was his attitude, however, that ultimately got him shipped to the Jets.

As recently as last season, Cromartie was a training camp problem child, declaring himself the Jets second-best receiver, picking fights in practice and ducking the media.

Lest we also forget his quite publicized feelings toward a certain Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady.

That all seems to be changing, however. A year removed from a Pro-Bowl preformance, the jettison of Revis and the drafting of young cornerback Dee Milliner, you might as well rename training camp “Camp Cro.”

“I’m just going a long with it, honestly,” said Cromartie, calmly fielding questions from reporters about his new role on the defense. “I love what I’m doing, trying to be the leader that I am, and just going out and having fun.”

There’s rarely a moment now when Cromartie isn’t in the ear of one of his Jets teammates, whether it be Milliner, former first round pick Kyle Wilson, or anyone else, coaching them, leading them.

“Man, I’ve seen some great stuff from Kyle [Wilson]. His mind is focused and everything else is right where it needs to be and that’s all you can ask for,” said Cromartie, who worked with Wilson a lot during the off-season. “He’s going out and trying to be dominant at whatever the position he’s going to be playing.”

Cromartie is no longer just a controversial sound bite or the butt of a joke (Butt Fumble, anyone?), fielding questions about the state of the defense, Milliner’s development, and even the ongoing quarterback controversy. The change is evident. He acts like a leader, he talks like a leader.

“Every day is a workday. When we touch the field we have to treat every situation like it’s a game situation. That’s what I try to preach to all the guys,” he said, rattling off quote upon quote as evidence that maybe, just maybe, he’s finally putting it all together.

On Friday night, the Jets will suit up in their first preseason game against the Detroit Lions with Cromartie drawing the unenviable assignment of covering All-Pro wide receiver Calvin Johnson.

“Megatron vs. the Megacorner,” as head coach Rex Ryan put it.

“It’s the preseason, but at the same time that’s the mentality you don’t want to have, you want to come in and treat it like a regular season game. That’s how we’re approaching it,” said Cromartie, again oozing responsibility.

“You lose games the fastest at quarterback and cornerback,” said Ryan after practice on Tuesday, stealing a phrase he learned from an old scout. At least the Jets have one of those two covered.

And who knows, if Cromartie can keep this up over the long haul, then maybe the Jets didn’t trade the best cornerback in the league after all.