Jets' Revis era ends with an error
Team didn't have to trade superstar, but it did -- without receiving equal value
Darrelle Revis signs an extension with the Buccaneers after the Jets trade him for the 13th overall pick in this year's NFL draft and a conditional selection for 2014.So it turns out the New York Jets are capable of butt fumbles in April, too. They are capable of taking one of their two greatest players ever, a talent right there with Joe Namath, and running him out of town before he made it to his 28th birthday.
Darrelle Revis wanted badly to be a Jet for life. He was planning on buying a place in Manhattan, on spending the rest of his career as a citizen of the city, on being in the secondary when the Jets reached the Super Bowl for the first time since man landed on the moon.Now man might land on Mars before the Jets return to the big game. They traded Revis to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for two picks -- including one first-rounder (No. 13 overall) in this week's draft -- a deal that doesn't look any better than the clip of Mark Sanchez running facemask-first into Brandon Moore's rump on Thanksgiving night.
The Jets said goodbye to Darrelle Revis, widely regarded to be the NFL's top corner when healthy.If that play was at least good for a laugh, there's nothing remotely funny about this. Revis scored $96 million from the Bucs over six years, but not a penny of it is guaranteed. Woody Johnson could've had virtually the same deal and cut his man as soon as it was warranted without owing him anything. In other words, it's the kind of deal the Yankees wish they had with Alex Rodriguez.
New Yorkers should react to the Revis move the way they reacted to the sight of Sanchez inside Madison Square Garden on Saturday, when the quarterback was all but thrown out of the building.
With Revis due to hit free agency next winter, the Jets didn't seriously negotiate with Revis and his agents. According to an NFL source, those agents, Neil Schwartz and Jonathan Feinsod, floated the same kind of non-guaranteed deal over the last two seasons, and Johnson and his football guy, former GM Mike Tannenbaum, refused to meet with them.
Would the Jets have been forced to guarantee the second season in the contract Revis ultimately signed with Tampa? Maybe, maybe not. But whatever Woody and Rex Ryan and Tannenbaum's replacement, John Idzik, were selling on a conference call with reporters Sunday night about wanting to keep Revis, it wasn't worth buying.
Woody never wanted to pay Revis, and Idzik took the hit for him. Instead of working hard to arrive at the most cap-friendly contract possible, Jets officials poured their time and energy into negotiations with Tampa Bay while Revis' value was compromised. They looked to move Revis when his knee injury surely scared off a few suitors who would've competed with the Bucs, increased the Jets' leverage, and left Idzik with a package more acceptable than the one he got.
Idzik was a Tampa Bay executive when the Bucs acquired Keyshawn Johnson in 2000 for two first-round picks (Nos. 13 and 27), not one, and gave the wide receiver $56 million. On the Jets' side of the table this time, Idzik should've known better. He should've known that Revis is a better football player than Johnson ever was and that the Jets should be acquiring more here than a first-rounder this year and essentially a third-rounder next, even off the Revis surgery.But Idzik and his boss, Woody Johnson, didn't help their own cause by making it clear -- from Idzik's first day on the job -- that they were open to shipping Revis to the highest bidder, a stance that left them with one serious bidder, Tampa Bay. The Jets should've played hard to get. They should've publicly declared their love for Revis and the notion of him as a one-uniform lifer, if only to encourage more teams to put aside the surgery and the contract demands and focus on the cornerback's game-changing skill.
Better yet, the Jets should've tried to sign Revis, a player on the front nine of his prime. For those who believe it's good business for a rebuilding team to move its best player for draft picks, remember this:
The Jets drafted Vernon Gholston in the first round and Vlad Ducasse in the second. If they have the same kind of luck with Tampa's picks, they're still going to be hearing about it long after Revis is retired.Sure, sometimes even the Jets find a positive difference-maker in the draft. But even if they do land a winner at No. 13 on Thursday night, what are the odds that the kid will ever be as good as Darrelle Revis?
About as long as the odds of Rex Ryan coaching this team for another five seasons.
Tannenbaum made his share of draft-day mistakes, but Revis sure wasn't one of them. Idzik traded him anyway, and this first big move doesn't exactly match up with the Dallas Cowboys' dealing of Herschel Walker to Minnesota.If Idzik wanted to play for the future and save some money in the secondary, he should've moved Antonio Cromartie, whose value was up coming off a big season. Revis is a much better cornerback and locker room presence than Cromartie, whom Ryan was in favor of trading, according to a league source who said the coach had tired of Cro's high-maintenance act.But as they tear down the team Ryan helped Tannenbaum assemble, Idzik and Johnson no longer care about the preferences of a coach who would've signed Revis to a 10-year deal if he could have, no matter what Ryan was saying Sunday night. That's why Rex should've been fired with Tannenbaum. The Jets are sticking Ryan with a 5-11 team, a sendoff certain to make it that much more difficult for him to get another job.
Keeping Rex made as much sense as not keeping Revis, who signed a four-year, $46 million deal in the summer of 2010 that the corner thought was meant to be torn up after Year 2, and his employer thought was meant to be torn up after Year 3. When Revis signed that deal and ended his holdout, Tannenbaum made the following Woody-approved statement :
"This is an intermediate step to what we hope will be an entire career of Darrelle as a Jet, for him to retire as a Jet and for him to hopefully go to the Hall of Fame as a Jet."
Now Revis could go to the Hall of Fame as a Buc, and no, it didn't have to be that way. They gave the money to the wrong Jets, Sanchez and Santonio Holmes among them, and so Woody Johnson never considered paying the right Jet in the same market where even the Wilpons paid David Wright, and where George Steinbrenner's son is all-in on Robinson Cano.Idzik covered for Woody and ended up talking about a "substantial difference" between Revis' idea of fair value and theirs. What a shame. Six years ago, Tannenbaum's Jets made a trade with Carolina to move up 11 spots from No. 25 in the first round, and Revis became an all-time steal with the 14th overall pick.
Revis grew up in Aliquippa, Pa., only a dozen or so miles away from Namath's hometown of Beaver Falls. The cornerback wanted to remain a Jet for as long as the quarterback did.
Now, it's not going to happen. Revis is getting his money in Tampa, and season-ticket holders are getting the shaft in New York
Rex Ryan being set up for failure by New York Jets
In the ultimate win-now league, the New York Jets appear to be punting on an entire season.
Jets general manager John Idzik knew he wasn't going to pay Darrelle Revis after 2013, so he traded the cornerback to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. The Jets believed they couldn't change quarterbacks this season because of Mark Sanchez's big contract, so they are giving Sanchez one last, hopeless last chance. Jets coach Rex Ryan is too well-paid and well-liked by ownership to be fired. So far.So the Jets split the difference and put off truly rebuilding until 2014. Make no mistake: 2013 is a kamikaze mission for Ryan. In a win-or-else season for the coach, Ryan's bosses are thinking mostly about the future. Ryan's bosses are asking him for the impossible: Win with a badly depleted roster led by Sanchez and David Garrard at quarterback.
Idzik is right to look ahead. The Jets have more roster holes than the 2013 NFL Draft can fix, and they need to load up on young talent at guard, wide receiver, tight end and throughout the front seven on defense. I'm just not sure why they failed to completely press reset and let Ryan go now.The Jets have two first-round draft picks after trading Revis to the Bucs. Will Idzik use them to draft defensive players who fit Ryan's scheme when Ryan probably won't be around after another season? Or will they wait to draft their "quarterback of the future" until their coach of the present is gone ? By trading Revis and not upgrading at quarterback, the Jets have set up Ryan to fail. Idzik is thinking long term. Ryan is thinking about how he can save his job by somehow having the Jets remain playoff contenders.
The two philosophies don't mesh. It's yet another sign of a dysfunctional franchise, with the Revis trade another sign that Rex's coaching career might resemble his father Buddy's
Darrelle Revis should boost the Bucs’ pass defense, which ranked last in 2012.Darrelle Revis’ uncertain situation reached its seemingly inevitable conclusion on Sunday, as the New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers agreed to a trade that will send Revis to Tampa Bay for a pair of a draft picks.The deal includes the Buccaneers’ first-round pick in the upcoming draft (No. 13 overall) plus a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2014 draft (that pick becomes a third-rounder if Revis is on the Buccaneers’ roster as of the third day of the 2014 league year). Tampa Bay also announced that it had agreed to a new six-year contract with Revis, reportedly worth $96 million — his previous contract was set to expire after the 2013 season.
The only hiccup that lingered Sunday was Revis’ physical in Tampa Bay, which apparently went off without a hitch. The 27-year-old Revis missed 14 games last season after tearing an ACL, so Tampa Bay wanted to ensure that he’ll be ready for the start of the year before pulling the trigger on such a blockbuster move.
Here’s a closer look at the fallout of Revis’ move from New York to Tampa Bay :
What it means for the Buccaneers
First and foremost, Revis’ arrival should mean that the Buccaneers will be able to improve on a pass defense that was the league’s worst last season, allowing just shy of 300 yards per game. Though it remains to be seen how well Revis will bounce back from his serious knee injury, he was the NFL’s premier cornerback prior to that setback.The Buccaneers traded Aqib Talib to New England last season, then recently lost E.J. Biggers via free agency. Ronde Barber, a member of Tampa Bay’s secondary since 1997, has not yet re-signed and may opt for retirement.So, Tampa Bay needed to add some bodies, one way or another. The expected trade for Revis comes on the heels of Tampa Bay signing safety Dashon Goldson away from San Francisco. Assuming “Revis Island” reopens and the four-time Pro Bowler can lock down the opponent’s top weapon, the Bucs should have a lot more freedom to turn the rest of their defense loose.
Revis should be particularly useful in an NFC South division that’s loaded with offensive talent. He’ll likely draw the assignment to cover Julio Jones or Roddy White against Atlanta, Steve Smith when the Bucs play Carolina and Marques Colston when New Orleans is the opponent.Financially, as mentioned above, Tampa Bay handed Revis $16 million per season, though with no guaranteed money. That figure basically matches the six-year deal Mario Williams received from Buffalo (though that included $50 million guaranteed) and would place Revis is a stratosphere mostly reserved for quarterbacks — Eli Manning signed a contract that averaged about $15.2 million back in 2009. But the Buccaneers currently are sitting on more than $30 million in cap space for 2013, so Revis’ demands are doable.
What it means for the Jets
The obvious result is trading Revis removes the Jets’ best player off their roster. Of course, stranded in salary-cap misery (thanks in no small part to the hefty contract extension Mark Sanchez signed last year), the Jets would have been hard-pressed to keep Revis around beyond 2013.John Idzik, then, probably deserves a pat on the back for getting as much trade value in return for Revis as he did. That’s doubly true considering that there did not appear to be any other teams in the mix here, leaving the Buccaneers essentially bidding against themselves.
The loss of Revis puts the onus back on Antonio Cromartie to hold the No. 1 cornerback spot. He stepped in and filled that role admirably in Revis’ absence last season — Pro Football Focus graded him out as the third-best Jets defender for 2013, behind only Muhammed Wilkerson and Mike DeVito. Kyle Wilson, who joined the starting lineup following Revis’ injury, likely will be pegged (for now) as the No. 2 CB.It also is fair to assume that the Jets will look to add a cornerback or two via the draft, possibly with one of their two first-round picks (No. 9 and the Bucs’ acquired spot at No. 13).Completing this deal prior to June 1 costs the Jets a $!2 million cap hit, but it frees the Jets of any additional Revis-related salary issues in 2014.
What it means for the draft
By dealing away the 13th pick, the Buccaneers would not have any selections until No. 43 overall. New York, meanwhile, would own three picks before that spot: Nos. 9 and 13 in Round 1 and the eighth pick in Round 2 (No. 39).How the Jets approach that trio of selections is anyone’s guess. They could use one of those picks to add a cornerback — Dee Milliner, Xavier Rhodes, Desmond Trufant or any CBs available at No. 39 could not replace Revis totally, but the chance is there for the Jets to pick up a very talented player for their secondary.The Jets’ also would like to improve their offensive line, pass rush and playmaking capabilities. So, any of the big three offensive tackles (Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher, Lane Johnson) could be in play if they get to No. 9, as could defensive ends like Barkevious Mingo or Ziggy Ansah.And the wild cards in all this are the Jets’ needs are receiver and quarterback. Would they consider WRs Tavon Austin or Cordarrelle Patterson in Round 1? Or, in a more headline-grabbing move, could they take a chance on a QB like Geno Smith, Ryan Nassib or E.J. Manuel ?
Though Revis’ departure clearly weakens the Jets’ defense for 2013, they have the chance to add three impact players early, in addition to more flexibility in the ’14 draft.
Sometimes it seems the only thing about the Jets that hasn't changed over this off-season is their coach, Rex Ryan. They have a new general manager in John Idzik, a new prospective franchise quarterback in Geno Smith, and a new image as an organization that knows when to hold its tongue. Such are the consequences of a 6-10 season.
Though two years remain on Ryan's contract, he's been labeled a lame duck ever since owner Woody Johnson fired Mike Tannenbaum, who was the Jets' GM when they hired Ryan in 2009.Jets coach Rex Ryan says he never gives a thought to whether his job is on the line because he's focused on coaching the team.In a phone interview Friday with The Wall Street Journal, Ryan discussed his job status, his relationships with Johnson and Idzik, and the reasons the Jets drafted Smith. The questions and his answers have been edited for clarity and space considerations.
WSJ: Geno Smith has sustained some public criticism—much of it anonymous—for reportedly lacking the maturity necessary to be a successful NFL quarterback. What's your take on the scuttlebutt around him?
RR: I can tell you this: The only opinion we care about is our organization's opinion. We're excited about Geno. We know he's an excellent player, and we think he's an excellent person. If somebody else is making a comment about him or whatever, if it was a negative feeling, then that wasn't shared with us.
WSJ: How much input did new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg have in the decision to select Smith?
RR: Everybody is involved in the process. It's not just one guy. It's not just Marty Mornhinweg's opinion about Geno Smith. It's a collective effort of our scouting department, our assistants—[quarterbacks coach] David Lee has a voice in it. But clearly Marty evaluated Geno Smith, and he did like him. There's no question about that.
WSJ: When the team drafted Mark Sanchez in 2009, you went out to California to see him work out. Did you see Geno work out in person?
RR: No. We sent David Lee and Marty Mornhinweg. I did not attend any of the quarterbacks' workouts.
WSJ: What did you think after watching film of him?
RR: He can really throw it. He's accurate with the football. He's an excellent athlete. I think he's got great movement skills, and the thing that really jumps out at you is the way he spins it and the production. [Smith completed 71% of his passes in his senior season at West Virginia, throwing 42 touchdowns and six interceptions.]
WSJ: You're very loyal to your players. Is it a challenge to make a transition to a younger player from someone who has helped you win games and whom you know well?
RR: The big thing is, you're loyal to your organization first and foremost. That's it. I respect every player I've ever coached—there is no question about it—and the ones in particular you've had a long run with...they understand this is a business and you can't play the game forever, and sometimes you have to move on from them. It may be hard, but when you focus on what's best for the team, I think the decisions you're talking about are easier to make.
WSJ: At what point in your relationship with Idzik do you feel "comfortable," and at what point do you wonder, "OK, where are things going from here?" After all, he didn't hire you. Tannenbaum did.
RR: First off: Woody Johnson hired me. Make no mistake about it. Woody Johnson is the man who hired me. I've got a great deal of admiration and respect for Mike Tannenbaum—he's a friend of mine—but when the decision was that Mr. Johnson and the Jets were moving on from Mike, I knew the person they would hire would have very similar characteristics to what I had, in that this person would be passionate about the game, would have a vision for the football team, and that vision is to have sustainable success. We may be very different in a lot of areas, John and I and Woody, all three of us, but we're lined up completely with that vision in mind.
WSJ: You've always struck me as being very confident in your job status. Is that based on your relationship with Woody?
RR: I have a great relationship with Mr. Johnson. There's no doubt. But my thing is this: It's never been about me. I don't go to work thinking, "Well, I've got to do this or that to keep my job." I've never thought about that, ever, not one day.
WSJ: That's my point. It seems that you're very confident that Woody is confident in you, so you don't have to worry about your future.
RR: That's not it. I have a job to do, and if my focus is somewhere else, I'm not going to do as good a job. It's never been about me, and that's the truth. Whatever I have, this organization's going to get. It's not that I'm so confident I'm going to be the head coach here. That doesn't play into it. I have a job to do, and I'm going to do it, and I'm not going to spend one ounce of energy worrying about my fate, whatever it will be.
Many people want the Jets to switch to a 4-3 base defense. After this years draft we have now 4 starting quality players. One project who has never really hit his stride in Ellis. And a bunch of LB'ers that are either a step behind, situational, or need to step up. Here we look at the big differences in the 4-3 and 3-4 play and I'll explain why it's not so easy.As you may know the Jets have not played a 4-3 scheme since the 2006-2007 season under legendary ESPN commentator Herm Edwards. Since then, they have played a passive 3-4 under Mangini, and then a fully aggressive 3-4 with Rex. If the Jets do decide to go to a 4-3 it's going to be a totally new feel for the linebackers and a lot of new responsibilities.
Let's start off with the 3-4. There are multiple ways a 3-4 is used, however, the base concept is that the 3 lineman eat up the blockers. They basically are needed to fight off double teams all while penetrating. It's almost their job to not only clog up a hole, but push two guys back and stuff a run/pass. It's also very rare to see a totally dominating 3-4 lineman with a ton of tackles.The linebackers in the 3-4 must be quick, smart, and most of all: hungry. Hungry for the ball carrier that is. They make the difference on defense either by stuffing runs, making correct reads to the ball carrier, or dropping back into coverage. Because of the complexity of the 3-4, I'm going to break down the positions into ILB and OLB later individually. However, the main thing to remember is that 3-4 linebackers are tied to gaps and must make reads and hit gap assignments rather than blindly following the ball.
Now the opposite: the 4-3 requires excellent and disruptive line play and requires the linebackers to be mostly used in pass coverage rather than pass rush. Now the most important positions flip to the defensive line.Instead of being just bodies in front that need to eat up blockers and penetrate, defensive linemen in the 4-3 must be physical forces who get into the backfield at will and can make life rough for the offensive line. While that may seem easy, remember that in a 3-4, you're not sure where the 4th guy is coming from. Now you know where the 4 guys are coming from and have 5 to block them.Linebackers in the 4-3 are more free to roam then in a 3-4. They must be able to go sideline to sideline and be able to make tackles on the run. Unlike the 3-4, they are less worried about gaps and more about getting the guy upfield. Think Ray Lewis, who despite whatever opinion you have of him, was possibly the best at getting sideline to sideline and making tackles in the backfield. They also must take on blockers right away in the hole taking on blocks in the running game. Unlike the 3-4, linebackers, the 4-3 requires the inside linebacker and outside linebacker to fight off either a lineman or FB to make a block.
The alignments are also very different (this is mostly to show base concepts, obviously there are wrinkles)
In the 3-4 the nose tackle is typically head up with the center, while the two defensive ends are typically over the offensive tackles. Two outside linebackers play off the tackles to the outside but near the line of scrimmage, while the two insider linebackers play inside near head up with the guard 5 yards back. Here's a visual:
In the 4-3, things do change a bit. Mostly there is an offset, unlike the 3-4 which can be played almost straight up. Notice the NT is now offset, the defensive tackle plays mostly off the guards shoulder in the C gap, and the two defensive ends are more to the outside than the defensive ends in a 3-4. The inside linebacker (middle linebacker) shifts and plays over the center shoulder, while the two outside linebackers play over the tackles shoulders. It makes a lot of difference in how they play from where they align.
Now we have the basics done: meaning that now we can really get into the fun part.
Time to break it down position by position starting with the 3-4.
Nose tackle: The fat cat. This guy must be big, strong, and in beast mode. This guy faces the most double and sometimes triple teams and must fight him off. Think Vince Wilfork or Pouha in his prime, big strong guys who can beat a double team sometimes while not getting pushed off the ball at all. The Jets used a rotation at most of the line positions, although Kenrick Ellis seems to be the most prototypical 3-4 nose tackle now that Pouha and Devito are off the roster. Garay also fits in real well into this role, but I think is going to be used as the backup.
Defensive end: Here is the position the Jets are stacked at. Defensive end must do the same things as the nose tackle except must also be good at pass rushing and at getting into the backfield. They must also be big and strong, however they must also be able to fight off double teams to get the job done. However, unlike the NT whose job is basically to clog the middle and provide some rush, these guys must provide it. They tend to be smaller and quicker than true NT's, so they can disrupt plays in the backfield. This is probably the second most important position in the 3-4, because they must be strong enough to not get pushed back, but provide a ton of rush by themselves.
Outside linebacker: The outside linebackers must be spot on with the reads and get into the backfield to be successful.They are truly the defenders that make or break the defense. A good 3-4 defense needs two outside linebackers that cover the gaps created and stuff the run on running plays. Part of what makes a good outside linebacker is the ability to set edges on the run, something Rex always praised about Bryan Thomas.They have outside gap responsibility in runs, which forces them to set the edge and turn the run inside to the bigger guys. Circa 2009-2010 Jets is a classic example of a good run stuffing outside linebacking corps. Why is this so key? If a guy gets outside, it's game over.
Example: watch the OLB get sucked inside. No one is there outside and Greene walks into the endzone because the OLB committed inside and it lead to a quick 7.
The problem is that is only half the battle. They also must be excellent pass rushers, something Calvin Pace was brought in for, and never lived up to. They must be able to get by the tackles, not just by firing by the outside, but by also beating the tackle one on one. As a general rule of thumb: Outside linebackers are much more needed then inside linebackers at pass rushing in the 3-4. This is the one area the Jets have never quite found a guy. John Abraham was the last true guy, but he played defensive end in the 4-3. Since then, nada.
However, I did find one example of how an OLB should impact the QB. Check out around 1:20 mark and Calvin Pace track down Brady. He laid him out, after a great rush.
Inside linebacker: Inside linebackers in the 3-4 must be great gap shooters. They must be able to read where the ball is going and fire into the gap stopping the play. Because the lineman eat up the line, it's up the inside linebackers to fill the inside holes and stuff the run. However, they cannot simply rush a hole, they must be excellent readers of the play. David Harris, who despite losing a step, is still tops among read and reactors. He can fill holes quickly, but doesn't over commit. In this defense the inside linebacker is strictly tasked with the inside gaps in the running game and can focus on those.
In the passing game it gets interesting for the inside linebackers. Generally speaking, in Rex's defense the inside linebacker is mostly covering a back or tight end but occasionally blitzes in a scheme. Harris. despite being a great run protector is not that great in pass defense, and now with a question mark at the other inside linebacker position, it begs the question of how can we defend against good tight end and running back play.
Time to break down the 4-3 position by position. It must be said again, in the 4-3 the defensive line is charged more with than just eating blockers. Now they are the ones who must create pressure.
Nose tackle: He must be big, but arguably must also be quick. For comparison's sake, it's mostly a hybrid between the 3-4 nose tackle and defensive end leaning more to the nose tackle. Unlike the 3-4, this guy must be able to penetrate. His job simply isn't just to eat up two blockers, he must be able to also get in the backfield in running and passing downs. Kenrick Ellis in this defense may go to waste, he doesn't seem to offer as much as a rush as needed. However, our newest Jet should be a great fit for this nose tackle position.
Defensive tackle : The defensive tackle is more like the defensive end in the 3-4 than a nose tackle, but still must be big enough to fight off the offensive guard and offensive tackle. However, again it's more than just eating blockers, he must be able to rush. The run responsibilities aren't just limited to stopping guys from getting to the second level, it's also about getting into the backfield and forcing the running back backwards. Wilkerson is probably the best example we have of a true 4-3 defensive tackle. He can rush, eat blockers, and be a force. Ideally you can easily slide him into this role.
Defensive end: These guys are a combination of outside linebackers and defensive ends in the 3-4. I'd say 75% outside linebacker and 25% defensive end in a 3-4. They have to be big enough to be the primary run stoppers, but also be great pass rushers. The nose tackle and defensive tackle will eat up most of the blockers which would allow the defensive end to have one on one matchups with the offensive tackle. This is where the defensive end must shine. A good defensive end can cause problems. A great one requires the offense to shift help. The defensive end is by far the most important position in the passing game. However, that's not to say the defensive emd must not be good at the run, now the outside contain requires the defensive end to force the play back inside, but not get caught on the outside and give up a big hole. Arguably, the Jets may have Coples who can play this role, and you're not going to like this: but the only other guy I see being able to slot in the role is Calvin Pace. I'll get to this below.
Middile linebacker: This is where the bread and butter position of the 4-3 defense is. If defensive end is 1A for a 4-3 to succeed, than the middle linebacker is 1-AA. This guy must be fast, a great reader and better yet, and great athlete with size. Ray Lewis and Urlacher are the best examples.
This guy must be able to cover just about the whole area in between the hashes in the running game. That's the main difference. In the 3-4 the inside linebackers have to cover only the middle gaps in the offensive line. The middle linebacker must cover the middle part of the field and be able to go sideline to sideline. Why you might ask? Because once you get past the first 4 lineman now there are only 3 guys before you get to the secondary. Now instead of covering the run with 4 linebackers now you have 3, meaning more field to cover per person.
Here is what I mean in a 4-3:
In the 3-4 mostly inside responsibilites:
In the 4-3 though the middle linebacker is mostly left to defend the pass by not rushing but by staying in zone or man. Because this defense relies so heavily on the defensive line for a rush it's not always necessary to bring more than 4 unlike the 3-4 defense.
Outside linebacker: Unlike the 3-4 these guys aren't as critical. They still must be able to provide good run support but need to be bigger than the 3-4 outside linebackers whose primary goal is to provide pressure. These guys are mostly like the inside linebacker in the 3-4 but faster. They must be able to get to the sidelines in run support and also provide good pass defense similarly to that of the middle linebacker in the 4-3.
Let's recap the position by position differences between that of the 3-4 and 4-3.
Nose tackle: 3-4 must be bigger able to take on double teams. 4-3 must be a tad more agressive into the backfield.
4-3 defensive tackle/ 3-4 defensive end: The 4-3 defensive tackle is simliar to that of a 3-4 defensive end but more aggressive and a touch bigger. The 4-3 defensive tackle must also be more inclined to get into the backfield and disrupt the play
4-3 defensive end and 3-4 outside linebacker: Similar in style but very different in practice. Both must be able to rush the QB. 4-3 DE must be bigger but 3-4 DE must have better pure speed and quickness
3-4 inside linebacker and 4-3 middle linebacker: No comparison. Totally different responsibilities. 3-4 ILB are bigger, quicker and focused on the inside holes. 4-3 MLB are faster and must be able to move laterally.
4-3 outside linebacker: Similar to that of of 3-4 inside linebacker but much faster and can be smaller. 3-4 outside linebackers tend to be smaller than the 4-3 due to the pass rush needs.
That being said how do the Jets fit in a 4-3 with the personnel they have now?
I'd argue it's roughly the same either way: we're hurting/doomed. I think that by switching to a 4-3 would require a bunch of players to be out of position and probably really cause some catastrophes.
The Jets have David Harris, who hasn't played a 4-3 probably since HS at the earliest and was a beast up until a few years ago in the 3-4. The 4-3 needs linebackers to cover the passes more and Harris has never been a great cover guy. The outside linebackers in a 4-3 need to be good in coverage, so that seems out too. The worst part is Harris to me doesn't have the speed to be good enough to play the 4-3 middle linebacker or outside linebacker. He'd be a fish out of water in the defense. And the best position for him might be on the bench, which with his contract...ouch.
Looking at the current crop of linebackers outside of Harris, I really don't really see much in terms of great coverage guys on the roster. Mauga is probably too slow to be good in a 4-3 middle linebacker role, but can probably be slotted over into the outside linebacker in a pinch. Davis is the interesting one, as he could probably be put in the middle instead of Harris.That could work with Harris moving to the strong side outside linebacker, if you wanted Davis to be the key to the linebacking corps. Again though, I can't see Harris being great in any linebacker role in the 4-3. Barnes our FA pickup is probably too small for the outside linebacker plus he's more of a pass rusher than run stopping threat. I'd argue we're not helping ourselves in the linebacker department, even though Davis may be able to play middle linebacker in the 4-3.
The 4-3 line is fine on the inside: Wilk can easily be a great defensive tackle in the 4-3. I think he has the size, speed, and pure ability to be a great defensive tackle or nose tackle but would be much better suited for the defensive tackle role. Our new guy Sheldon Richardson is probably going to get the nose tackle role considering how good Wilk fits as a 3 technique, but could also rotate there. IMO Ellis would be left out as he is more suited for the 3-4 nose tacklethan a 4-3 role, but he would be the nose tackle backup role with Garay. Coples would easily fit a defensive tackle role but probably would have to be moved to the outside. Basically we'd be left with something like this rotation: NT: Richardson/Garay/Wilk DT:Wilk/Richardson/Coples.
On the outside things get interesting: Coples probably would be moved over seeing the logjam at 3 technique. Although Coples is arguably better on the inside, Wilkerson should not be moved from the 3 technique where he'd dominate. Seeing we need a 4-3 defensive end, Coples would be moved there, but is probably not going to be a world beater. I think he's much more suited for that of a 3-4 role, where he can beat a guy with speed, I just can't see that with today's crop of OT. He's much more suited for the defensive end in the 3-4 or defensive tackle in the 4-3.
Then the other side is a huge question mark assuming Coples goes to DE: Who can you play there? Pace is probably the best option which is problematic.(Trying to be diplomatic here). Barnes to me is just to small and would probably be without a true position in the 4-3, but could be slotted in a pinch. IE the Jets just don't have the right personnel to get a 4-3 defense without moving more than half the players from true positions.
The 3-4 presents other issues. Mainly can Mauga/ Davis step into the role of Bart Scott? I'm not 100 percent certain. You have an obvious lack of any starting material at one OLB and are counting on a part time player to step into a full time role on the other side. For my money though the 3-4 offers better options from the LB standpoint.
The defensive linemen for the 3-4 is stacked. With Ellis/Garay/Sheldon at NT and defensive endbeing a mix of WIlk/Sheldon/Coples this could be really a great DL. The possibilities are endless in rotations and matchups against offenses. It's scary how this line can go from run stuffers to pure pass rushers. Problem is the linebackers, which are key to the 3-4 are suspect, despite the line's possibility of greatness.
To wrap it up: The 4-3 would cause more headaches. We have 3-4 personnel. I know you can't fit four guys in the line on a 3-4, but it would seem to me that the 3-4 would provide a better chance for success.
Side note: for anyone who thinks the 46 is the wave of the future: Read my article on the 46 bear. Yes, this is a SHAMELESS PLUG for a previous article.
The Jets will conduct the second of 10 OTA practices Wednesday morning. This one is significant because the media will be allowed to watch. Some storylines we'll be following:
Mark vs. Geno: These OTA practices -- and next month's minicamp, for that matter -- are the preliminary heats in the quarterback competition. The serious stuff starts in training camp and, of course, the preseason games. But we here in New York love a good quarterback controversy, so you can bet we'll be following closely as Mark Sanchez and rookie Geno Smith begin what should be a three-month battle for the No. 1 job. Based on his experience, Sanchez should take the early lead over Smith. Granted, it's a new system for both players, but Sanchez has practiced for four years against a Rex Ryan-coached defense -- a big edge. The key for Smith is to avoid mental errors and show daily improvement.
The new Q: This will be our first look at Quinton Coples as an outside linebacker. It's hard to get a feel for linebackers in non-contact practices, but it'll be interesting to see how the 280-pound Coples handles the responsibilities of the position -- moving in space, dropping into coverage, etc. The Jets are convinced he can make the transition, but this is a tall order. We're talking about a former interior lineman playing in a two-point stance, moving forward, backward and side-to-side. It should be fascination to see this unfold over the next few months, assuming it lasts that long.
The post-Revis defense: Darrelle Revis is gone, happy that he found his bucks with the Bucs. Also gone are Bart Scott, LaRon Landry, Yeremiah Bell, Mike DeVito and Sione Po'uha. That formidable Jets defense, so impressive in 2009 and 2019, is a memory. They could have at least six new starters, including four players with limited or no NFL experience -- LB DeMario Davis, NT Kenrick Ellis, rookie DE Sheldon Richardson and the winner of the safety battle between Josh Bush, Antonio Allen and Jaiquawn Jarrett. It's not like starting over, but it's close. Fortunately for the Jets, they have a stalwart on each level of the D -- CB Antonio Cromartie, LB David Harris and DE Muhammad Wilkerson. That will help with on-field communication. First-round CB Dee Milliner (shoulder) still is rehabbing.
On guard: Unlike last summer, when the Jets created a faux competition between Matt Slauson and Vladimir Ducasse at left guard, there are legitimate battles at both guard spots. Old vets Willie Colon (still limited by a knee scope) and Stephen Peterman are the favorites, but they'll be pushed by third-round pick Brian Winters and, yes, Ducasse. Change doesn't come too often to the Jets' offensive line. In fact, the last time they began a season with two new starters was 2008, when Alan Faneca and Damien Woody. That was so long ago that some guy named Favre was the quarterback.
All hands on deck: New offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg likes to throw the ball. The question is, does he have enough people to catch it? WR Santonio Holmes (foot) is out, so this will be a good opportunity for others to get reps. The MIP (most important player) is sec0nd-year WR Stephen Hill, who needs to take a giant step. Slot man Jeremy Kerley is solid, but they need more production out of the tight ends (hello, anyone home?) and the backs. The key addition in the backfield is Chris Ivory, but he's a banger, not a pass catcher. Mike Goodson is supposed to be that guy, but he's dealing with his legal problems. Right now, the offense could be as limited as it was last season.
As it stand right now, I can't see this team being any better than last season. There are still too many holes. The offense definitely got better as a result of the draft and some FA. But the defense IMO unfortunately got worse. New faces, youngsters that need to build chemistry, and just a hole a FS. I think this years defense will be the worst in the Rex Ryan era.
I still think there are moves Idzik will make to fill the hole at FS. maybe another LB is in the fold? Hopefully.
But right now, I can't see the team being any better than 6-10.
As it stand right now, I can't see this team being any better than last season. There are still too many holes. The offense definitely got better as a result of the draft and some FA. But the defense IMO unfortunately got worse. New faces, youngsters that need to build chemistry, and just a hole a FS. I think this years defense will be the worst in the Rex Ryan era.
I still think there are moves Idzik will make to fill the hole at FS. maybe another LB is in the fold? Hopefully.
But right now, I can't see the team being any better than 6-10.
If you thought the New York Jets quarterback situation couldn't get any worse, brace yourself.
It's about to go nuclear.
An unnamed player told CBSSports.com "80 to 90 percent" of the team wants to see quarterback Mark Sanchez benched in favor of someone else :
"Everyone on the team likes Mark personally," the player was quoted as saying. "[B]ut there's a general feeling among some of the players that maybe it's time to give someone else a chance."
Let that sink in for a second: Based on this unnamed source, four of the five guys blocking for Mark Sanchez don't want to be blocking for this guy.
Now, unnamed sources aren't the most reliable. It always creates animosity, those secretive "players-only" meetings where everyone comes out singing Kumbaya. And four out of five seems awfully high, even if Sanchez can't throw a spiral deeper than 12 yards down the field.But usually there's a grain of truth in every rumor. It's not hard to imagine players grumbling after seeing turnover after turnover from the fourth year starter, seeing your team be a game away from the Super Bowl only to become the laughingstock of the league on the shoulders of one guy.
And let's face it -- The Sanchize is that guy.
He had full support of the suits in Florham Park, even if he didn't have it from the jerseys in the locker room.From moving up on draft day to signing a lucrative, yet undeserved, extension before last season, Mark Sanchez has been the Golden Boy. Unfortunately, gold can tarnish.
The one thing that can overcome the rumblings is your play on the field. But even OTAs aren't being kind to Sanchez. After a dismal performance this week where Sanchez completed only 6 of 11 passes to go with three interceptions, there's no reason to expect greatness. With no defensive pass rushers, no pads and no one pushing him, Sanchez couldn't perform. Rookie Geno Smith fared no better, missing on eight of his 11 throws and tossing one to the defense.
Makes you wish for David Garrard now , doesn't it ?
If these performances continue, don't be surprised if the grumblings get louder from inside the Jets' locker room. As it stands now, four out of five Jets want someone else to steer the ship.
Unfortunately, there's not another captain on board.
The good news for the Jets is Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith can't play much worse than they did on Wednesday.The bad news,of course,is that this qualifies as good news on May 22.Sanchez and Smith began their competition for the starting quarterback job on Wednesday,and to say neither distinguished himself would be a charitable characterization indeed.
Sanchez, whose days in a Jets uniform are numbered after he committed 52 turnovers the last two years, threw three interceptions in 11 attempts as the first-team quarterback Wednesday. Sanchez was picked off by cornerback Antonio Cromartie, safety Jaiquawn Jarrett and lineman Damon Harrison."It's a good thing the defense made some plays, but no, I'd rather him not turn the ball over once, obviously," head coach Rex Ryan said. "It's funny because you can look at the practice, he did a lot of great things, and then those negative things, but at the end of the day, that's what gets you beat."
The Jets are 14-17 in Sanchez's 31 starts the last two years, including 6-12 in his last 18 outings."We have to do a better job of eliminating those turnovers," Ryan said. "We have to protect the football."Smith wasn't much better, but at least he only threw one pick while running the second team and at least he has the excuse of being a rookie.Had Ryan been told two weeks ago that Sanchez and Smith would get off to such inauspicious starts, he likely would have consoled himself with the knowledge that the unspectacular but reliable David Garrard would be there as a fallback option to serve as a stopgap starter.But Garrard announced May 15 that he was retiring due to chronic knee issues, though Ryan didn't comment specifically on Garrard on Wednesday because his retirement paperwork hadn't been completed."The good thing, I think, about the timing of this (retirement) was the fact that it happened early enough where the reps are dispersed between two guys, where maybe it might have been dispersed differently," Ryan said.
That seemed like a pretty good alternative on Wednesday.
--Technically, Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith aren't the Jets' only options at quarterback, But the usage of Greg McElroy and Matt Simms on Wednesday -- as well as Ryan's comments about the quarterback competition -- made it clear they're afterthoughts.McElroy, who started in place of Sanchez against San Diego last Dec. 23, got just one rep during 11-on-11 drills, one fewer than Simms, who has yet to take an NFL regular-season snap. McElroy and Simms each got two snaps during 7-on-7 drills.And while Ryan gave lip service to the idea of a wide-open quarterback competition, he didn't speak of McElroy or Simms when discussing how Garrard's retirement would impact the distribution of reps.
--On Tuesday, Jets Hall-of-Fame quarterback Joe Namath told the New York Daily News he was rooting for Sanchez."I am pulling for him," Namath said of Sanchez. "I know that he can do better than he's done. And we saw him lead a team to two AFC Championship Games, right? I also know what it's like not to necessarily have the weapons you'd like to have, not to necessarily have the time you'd like to accomplish."
--Smith is going with Jay-Z's new Roc Nation Sports to represent him, he announced after Wednesday's practice.Smith's contract agent will be Kimberly Miale, who is considered relatively inexperienced.Asked whether he was attracted to the Roc Nation by Jay-Z, Smith said, "Not that big of a role. It's just the agency. When you're talking about being in New York from the standpoint of what they can do through the city, all the connections they have, I think it's a good move."My mother and my family is comfortable with it, I'm comfortable with it. I'm just going to move on from there, not let it be a big deal, remain humble and keep focusing on football."Smith fired his agency, Select Sports, after he was picked in the second round of the draft. He interviewed several other agencies before settling on Roc Sports."The only thing that's important to me is the image status perceived around this locker room," he said. "The guy I am to my teammates and my coaches, the work I put in on the football field. I'm all about football, I'm all about getting better. That's the one thing I have to focus on, and that's better myself daily, better myself to be there when the time comes."
As far as the perception that Smith might be more interested in his image, he said, "I don't worry about the outside world's perception when it comes to that type of stuff. I'm comfortable with who I am, strong in my faith, I know this isn't because of an image thing or trying to market myself. It's just about being comfortable with the guys who are going to represent me. That's ultimately why I made that decision."Meanwhile, the NFL Players Association is looking into Roc Nation's recruitment of Smith, NFL.com reported Friday.Roc Nation was founded by Jay-Z, but he is not yet certified by the players' union to act as an agent. Friends or colleagues who are not certified agents are not allowed to be present during meetings in which an agency is recruiting a player.Smith's adviser John Thornton told CBS earlier this week, "I was in those meetings, and Jay-Z connected with him on many levels."Thornton later said he was misquoted.Smith also posted an Instragram picture of himself with Jay-Z during the recruiting process.According to the NFL.com report, the union plans to send a letter of inquiry to Roc Nation agent Kim Miale to get more information about Jay-Z's involvement in the recruitment of Smith.Smith is Miale's third NFL client, according to NFLPA records, but Smith is by far the biggest name. Linebacker Brandon Hicks, who spent time in two NFL training camps the last two summers, and arena league kicker Carlos Martinez are the other two.Victor Cruz, who is represented by Tom Condon, is using Roc Nation for marketing purposes.The NFLPA sent a letter of inquiry to Condon, but cleared him of any wrongdoing.
--Garrard wasn't the only one of John Idzik's impact free-agent signings who wasn't on the field Wednesday.Running back Mike Goodson, who signed a three-year, $6.9 million deal in March, instead appeared in court in Morristown
-- just 15 minutes from the Jets' facility in Florham Park -- to plead not guilty to a litany of gun and drug charges stemming from a traffic incident last Friday morning.Goodson, who is free on $50,000 bail, was the passenger in a car that was stopped along I-80 in Denville. The driver, Garant Evans, allowed the car to be searched and police found a bag of marijuana in Goodson's pocket as well as other drug paraphernalia and a loaded gun in the car.
Goodson was also intoxicated and had to be hospitalized for a few hours after his arrest. Per an affidavit obtained by USA Today on Wednesday, Goodson "was incoherent, slobbering and had vomited all over himself as well as the interior of the vehicle."Jets owner Woody Johnson said during the NFL league meetings in Boston on Tuesday that Goodson met with Idzik earlier Tuesday and that the Jets are "at a point of investigating the facts."Head coach Rex Ryan made it clear Wednesday he didn't want to discuss anything about Goodson."The organization has already issued a statement on Mike, so I will just leave it at that," Ryan said, referring to an 11-word statement issued Friday.Goodson was penciled in as the starter upon signing his deal, though the acquisition of Chris Ivory during the draft likely nudged Goodson back into a change-of-pace role.
--Jets wide receivers began 2013 like they ended 2012: Injured.Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill, who are expected to be two of the Jets' top three receivers, didn't practice Wednesday as they continued to recover from the injuries they suffered last year.Holmes, who underwent two surgeries to repair the Lisfranc fracture he suffered last Sept. 30,was expected to miss practice. Ryan said Holmes probably won't be ready to participate in the Jets' minicamp in June.Hill's absence was the more concerning one.The second-year receiver, who underwent arthroscopic surgery after hurting his right knee against the Jaguars on Dec. 9, said he was fully recovered earlier this month, but sat out Wednesday with swelling in the knee.Clyde Gates, who missed a handful of games last season due to a concussion, also sat out Wednesday with a hamstring injury while Jordan White, who barely played as a rookie after an injury-plagued collegiate career, was sidelined with an undisclosed ailment.
QUOTE TO NOTE :
"We had a good-looking receiving corps that wasn't out there today. It's similar to the issues we had last year. It's about half of what we had last year, when we only had three receivers." - Coach Rex Ryan on receivers absent from OTAs.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
A closer look at the Jets' picks :
Round 1/9 - Dee Milliner, CB, 6-0, 201, Alabama
Milliner was one of the most decorated cornerbacks in the draft, as well as perhaps its most banged-up. He's already had five surgeries, including a recent shoulder operation to repair a torn labrum, but the Jets are confident in his medical records and believe he can perform in the NFL as he did at Alabama, where he led the nation with 21 pass breakups last year. Not drafted to replace Darrelle Revis, but will likely anchor the secondary for years to come.
Round 1/13 - Sheldon Richardson, DT, 6-3, 294, Missouri
Viewed as a bit of a reach by many draftniks, but Richardson fills a glaring need for a team that lost its two starting nose tackles and whose rush defense fell to 26th in the NFL last season. Richardson only played two years at Missouri but led the SEC with 75 tackles last year and recorded 30 tackles on third or fourth down.
Round 2/39 -- Geno Smith, QB, 6-3, 218, West Virginia
One way or the other, he'll likely be the defining pick of the John Idzik Era. Jets were thrilled he fell from a potential No. 1 overall pick all the way into their laps in the second round, but is it a good idea to draft a quarterback when the head coach is very likely entering a lame-duck season? Smith's struggles in the second half of his senior season - and in the wintry conditions of the Pinstripe Bowl, located just a few miles from MetLife Stadium - are cause for concern, but his upside was too good to pass up. May not be an immediate starter, but Mark Sanchez's days in green and white are surely numbered.
Round 3/72 - Brian Winters, G, 6-4, 320, Kent State
Another pick who will contribute right away. Winters played left tackle at Kent State but is expected to move to guard for the Jets, who lost guards Matt Slauson and Brandon Moore via free agency. A tough (he was a wrestler in high school) and experienced (50 starts in college) player, Winters should fit right in with the Jets' lunch-pail offensive line.
Round 5/141 - Oday Aboushi, T, 6-6, 308, Virginia
Aboushi, a Brooklyn native, is more of a project, especially with Austin Howard ahead of him on the depth chart. Like Winters, he played guard at the Senior Bowl and could end up becoming a versatile utilityman along the line.
Round 6/178 - William Campbell, DT, 6-5, 311, Michigan
Yet another player who will switch positions as a pro. Campbell played in 51 straight games, mostly at defensive tackle, for the Wolverines but is expected to move to the offensive line. He's more of a long-term project than Aboushi and may not see much action as a rookie.
Round 7/215 - Tommy Bohanon, RB, 6-1 246, Wake Forest
Bohanon was a do-everything type at Wake Forest who played four years of special teams and has experience at both tight end and H-back, so he has the potential to be a useful late-round find. With Lex Hilliard atop the depth chart at fullback, Bohanon should have a chance to compete for the starting job immediately.
--WR Braylon Edwards made an unlikely return to the Jets after he was cut by the Seahawks last December and became an unlikely contributor with 10 catches in the final three games. Of course, he was a contributor solely because the Jets had the worst wide receiver corps in the league. Edwards is clearly on the downside at 30, and the fact that new Jets GM John Idzik was with the Seahawks last year surely doesn't help his chances of returning.
--G Brandon Moore is one of the Jets' two longest-tenured players and he showed no signs of slowing down in his 11th season and would likely be welcomed back. He did appear worn out by the constant drama surrounding the Jets, though, and could seek a deal with a contender.
--WR Chaz Schilens played in 15 games, his most since his rookie year in 2008, but Schilens proved to be nothing more than a replacement-level talent. Won't likely be pursued by Idzik and might have a hard time finding a deal anywhere.
--LB Bryan Thomas is the lone remaining signee from 2002. He fared pretty well as a rotational player before suffering a torn pectoral muscle in December. That's just the latest injury in a litany of ailments suffered by Thomas over the years and more proof there's little left in the tank. His chances of returning may have further diminished when it was revealed he was arrested on domestic violence and drug possession charges in October.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers)
--TE Dedrick Epps (not tendered as ERFA).
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.
DRAFT CHOICES SIGNED
--G Brian Winters (3/72): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
--T Oday Aboushi (5/141): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
--G Will Campbell (6/178): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
--FB Tommy Bohanonn (7/215): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
--TE Jeff Cumberland: RFA tendered at $1.323M with no compensation; $1.323M/1 yr.
--K Nick Folk: UFA; $780,000/1 yr, $65,000 SB.
--RB Lex Hilliard: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--T Austin Howard: RFA tendered at $2.023M with second-round pick as compensation); terms unknown.
--LB Josh Mauga: Potential RFA; terms unknown.
--LB Calvin Pace: FA, had been released by Jets; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--LS Tanner Purdum: Not tendered as RFA; 2 yrs, terms unknown.
--LB Antwan Barnes: UFA Chargers; $4M/3 yrs, $900,000 SB.
--G Willie Colon: FA Steelers; $1.2M/1 yr.
--NT Antonio Garay: FA Chargers; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--QB David Garrard: FA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--RB Mike Goodson: UFA Raiders; $6.9M/3 yrs.
--RB Chris Ivory (trade Saints).
--S Jaiquawn Jarrett: FA; terms unknown.
--S Dawan Landry: FA Jaguars; terms unknown.
--G Stephen Peterman: FA Lions; terms unknown.
--FB/TE Josh Baker (released).
--S Yeremiah Bell: UFA Cardinals; 1 yr, $905,000/1 yr, $65,000 SB.
--DE Mike DeVito: UFA Chiefs; $12.6M/3 yrs, $6.2M guaranteed.
--RB Shonn Greene: UFA Titans; $10M/3 yrs, $2.5M guaranteed.
--TE Dustin Keller: UFA Dolphins; $4.25M/1 yr, $2.25M guaranteed.
--S LaRon Landry: UFA Colts; $24M/4 yrs, $14M guaranteed.
--NT Sione Po'uha (released).
--CB Darrelle Revis (traded Buccaneers).
--LB Bart Scott (released).
--G Matt Slauson: UFA Jets; $815,000/1 yr, $100,000 SB/$200,000 guaranteed.
--S Eric Smith (released).
--T Jason Smith (released).
--QB Tim Tebow (released).
1. Geno and Jay-Z: If perception is reality, Geno Smith made life harder for himself by hiring Jay-Z's fledgling Roc Nation Sports agency to represent him. Fair or not, it sends the message that he's concerned about show biz and marketing. That's not a bad thing if you're Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, an established star who took the Jay-Z plunge, but Smith is a rookie with no guarantee he'll be the opening-day starter. He should focus on being a football player, not a brand, working hard to craft an image that conveys that message.If Smith plays well for the Jets, it won't matter if Lindsay Lohan is his agent; no one would care. But if the former West Virginia star doesn't meet expectations, he'll leave himself open to criticism. Maybe he has thick skin and it won't matter. Or maybe he set himself up for a rude New York experience. Considering the recent dings to his reputation, he should stay away from flashy. He should take the Mark Sanchez approach. After being drafted fifth overall in 2009, Sanchez and his reps decided to lay low for a year, turning down endorsement opportunities. Maybe Roc Nation will take a conservative approach with Smith; we'll see. He has a tremendous opportunity with the Jets. He should to pick it up in the classroom and worry about One Jets Drive, not Madison Avenue.
1.b. Protecting its turf: The NFLPA is investigating Jay-Z's role in Smith's recruitment by Roc Nation for a possible violation of the "runner" rule, NFL.com reported. By rule, non-agents (Jay-Z isn't certified) aren't allowed to recruit athletes for agencies. Kimberly Miale, a certified agent, was just hired by Roc Nation to rep Smith in contract negotiations. Jay-Z is so popular that his arrival in the business was bound to ruffle some feathers.
2. Glass half-full: Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg told me that Sanchez's "completion percentage and accuracy percentage have been sky high up to date." (In Mornhinweg's grading system, he considers them separate categories.) He told me that Wednesday afternoon -- after Sanchez's three-interception stinker in practice. I kid you not.
Geno Smith should focus more on his QB competition with Mark Sanchez than endorsements.
3. Truth, Justice and the Jet Way: GM John Idzik is taking some heat for the way he's handling the Mike Goodson situation. When fringe players Cliff Harris and Claude Davis were arrested last month for possession of marijuana, in a car that included a loaded handgun (owned by a third party), they were cut immediately. Goodson was arrested on gun and drug charges, yet he remains on the team. On Tuesday, he's expected to return to practice. Double standard? You bet. But does that make it wrong? No. Idzik is handling it the right way. His charge is to do what's in the best interest of the team. In this case, the best interest is served by allowing the legal process to play out. It makes no sense to cut a $2.3 million-a-year player to simply send a message. Bill Parcells always used to say all players aren't created equal. He was right.
4. Fantasy Island: Bucs GM Mark Dominik told the NFL Network that he started thinking about the possibility of a Darrelle Revis trade as soon as the star cornerback went down with a season-ending knee injury. "Because I knew what his contract situation was, and so when he hurt his knee, I thought, 'That’s going to be an out possibility,'" Dominik said. The handwriting was on the wall: The Jets-Revis relationship, already toxic, would never produce another contract, especially not with the complication of an injury.
5. Money matters: The Panthers last week signed first-round DT Star Lotulelei, the 14th overall pick, to a four-year, $9.604 million contract, fully guaranteed. Therefore, it shouldn't take much longer for the Jets to hammer out a deal with DT Sheldon Richardson, the 13th pick. Richardson, CB Dee Milliner (No. 9 overall) and Smith (No. 39) are their only unsigned draft picks.
6. Chasing a ghost: Funniest item of the week -- an unnamed Jets player allegedly telling another media outlet that 80 to 90 percent of the team doesn't want Sanchez as the starting quarterback. I didn't realize there were voting booths in the players' meeting rooms.
7. A Cup of Joe: I respect Joe Namath's opinion, but I have to disagree with his statement that the Jets didn't need to draft Smith. Tell me, what's wrong with a quarterback-needy team picking the best quarterback in the draft (by most accounts) in the second round? Key words: Second round, not first round. It won't be a significant investment -- about $5 million over four years. If Smith doesn't impress as a rookie, the Jets can turn around and select another quarterback in 2014.
8. Super-sized rookie: The Rams signed an undrafted free agent named Terrell Brown, a 6-foot-10, 403-yard offensive lineman Ole Miss. I'm dating myself here, but it brings back memories of Albert Goss, the Jets' 12th-round pick in 1988. He was 6-foot-7, 348 pounds, a defensive tackle from Jackson State. Actually, that was his draft weight; he was 365 when he showed up for training camp. He was cut on the first day, as soon as he stepped off the scale. And so ended the career of Albert Goss.
9. Relax, coach: Someone needs to tell Tom Coughlin that OTA practices are voluntary. Commenting on Hakeem Nicks' absence the other day, the Giants' coach said, "He should be here. I expect everybody here."
10. May Day: Maybe you heard, the draft is moving to May 15-17 next year. To me, this is all about dollars. The month of May happens to be a TV sweeps month. Pushing it back three weeks also allows the NFL to dominate more of the sports calendar. Also imagine: Three more weeks of draft hype and over-analysis. Good thing Geno Smith came out this year.
1. Another cup of Joe: I realize some people might be Namath-ed out after the last few days, but I'd like to share some leftovers from our conversation the other day. Joe Namath has very strong opinions (gee, what a shock) on Rex Ryan. He doesn't care for Ryan's player-friendly approach, which he believes contributed to the team's two-year slide."I’ve always said I've never seen that kind of coaching style before in my life," Namath said. "The first two seasons, you win. Hey, OK. In the meantime, those teams were inherited to some extent. The psyche of the team got in a place where they’re spending more time thinking about what they've done rather than what they're doing and what they're going to do."Coaches, they all want to feel like they're loved. Nice. Nice. Nice. Don Shula was hated by some of his players. Coach [Bear] Bryant was hated by some of his players. Bill Belichick, Tom Landry, Chuck Noll. Come on, you can't be Mr. Nice Guy as a head coach. You have too many players that have to be disciplined. Trying to be everybody's buddy at one time, I don't what that coach is. I think that's one of the situations Rex created, being a really friendly guy. He's got everybody's back. Yeah, he's got everybody's back until you get rid of them. Excuse me, this is a business."Namath also suggested the recent coaching defections on Ryan's staff are a poor reflection of Ryan, saying: "When your coaches are leaving you, it's not a good endorsement of the head guy. This goes back to [Bill] Callahan and [Brian] Schottenheimer. They weren't getting the offensive input in the draft they would've liked and they saw the writing on the wall, so to speak. Our defensive coordinator for the last four years [Mike Pettine], where's he? New job, OK, but I don't know if it's moving up. When it comes to coaching, if you're not happy, you move around. You leave to improve your chances of becoming a head coach or it's jumping ship because you don't like how the captain has been handling it."
Tell us how you really feel, Joe.
2. Keeping up with the Joneses: I'm not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but the Jets' actual draft was eerily similar to the player ratings on the Cowboys' draft board, which was exposed during a TV interview and pieced together by a web site called Blogging the Boys.CB Dee Milliner was rated fourth on the Cowboys' board; he was picked ninth overall. DT Sheldon Richardson was 16th on their board; he was picked 13th. QB Geno Smith received a second-round grade and was 37th on the board; he was chosen in the second round, 39th overall. OT Oday Aboushi got a fifth-round grade and was 112th on the Cowboys' board; he went in the fifth round at 141st overall.The only discrepancy involved G Brian Winters, who received a low fourth-round grade from Dallas (89th on its board). Obviously, the Jets liked him more than that, taking him near the top of the third round (No. 72 overall). If you're a Jets fan, are you feeling good, knowing that your draft aligned with Jerry Jones' view? I didn't think so.
3. Farewell to Yarnell: Steve Yarnell, the Jets' VP of security, announced his retirement after 16 years with the team. He started in 1997, hired by Bill Parcells, who coached him at West Point back in the day. Before the Jets, he worked with the FBI as a special agent on criminal and terrorism matters. He could write one heck of a memoir if he ever decided to dish on his job experiences. Fans probably don't know Yarnell, but he was the stern-faced guy on the Jets' sideline, the man who always escorted the head coach to midfield for the postgame handshake. That alone could be a chapter in the book.I interviewed Yarnell only once, three years ago, for a story on Laveranues Coles. If it weren't for Yarnell, the Jets wouldn't have drafted Coles, who was deemed a risk because of off-the-field issues in college. He dug into Coles' background, gave him a thumb's-up and stood his ground in a legendary draft-room showdown with Parcells in 2000. Yarnell told Parcells he'd stake his reputation on Coles, who turned out just fine. When I spoke to Yarnell, who became friendly with Coles over the years, he got emotional when he mentioned Coles' 2005 admission that he was molested as a child by his stepfather. Yarnell choked up for a few seconds, expressing his admiration for Coles' courage. It was a quick glimpse into the man behind the poker face. And that was the last time we talked.
4. Give Me the Damn Bieber: This Keyshawn Johnson-Justin Bieber spat is kind of amusing. The last time Keyshawn got this fired up about one of his neighbors was 1997, when he trashed teammate Wayne Chrebet in his book, "Just Give Me the Damn Ball." Their lockers were side-by-side, which made for some interesting situations.
5. Pace setter: LB Calvin Pace believes the Jets' offseason overhaul on defense will become the norm in the league. "I think this is the way the NFL is going to become now," he said. "You don't see a lot of guys playing 10 years. I don't think the young guys see that. I think it's going to get younger and younger to the point where you're going to look at a guy playing five years, and he's a vet. I think that's the way of the business." Everything, of course, is dictated by the salary cap, which has remained relatively flat -- but this was the deal the players agreed to.
For the record, the Jets cut two starters (both over 30), lost four starters in free agency (two over 30) and traded one.
6. Mangenius to San Francisco: I'm not surprised by Eric Mangini's decision to take a job with the 49ers as their senior offensive consultant. Coaching is in his blood. This isn't coaching, per se, but it gets him back into a competitive environment. He's always been a defensive coach, but his expertise on that side of the ball will allow him to help the offense. The 49ers make sense. GM Trent Baalke was a Jets scout in the late 1990s when Mangini was a low-level assistant with the team.
7. Holmgren on Mornhinweg: I couldn't fit this anecdote in a feature story on Jets OC Marty Mornhinweg, but Mike Holmgren tells a funny story about his former protégé. A few days before the Packers faced the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI, Holmgren got so disgusted with his team in practice that he took the play cards -- used by the scout team -- and threw them in the air. "These are junk," he screamed.Holmgren told me he did it for effect, but Mornhinweg, who stayed up all night designing the cards, didn't know that. After practice, Mornhinweg emerged from the shower with the cards and, buck naked, gave Holmgren and another coach a mini-lecture on how hard he worked to prepare them. He was Holmgren's QBs coach for the Packers. Recalled Holmgren: "He was so passionate. We did all we could to keep from laughing."
8. The Kid is All Right: Bills coach Doug Marrone said first-round QB EJ Manuel has performed better so far than any rookie he's ever coached. He was around two good ones as a Saints assistant coach, G Jahri Evans (2006) and T Carl Nicks (2008). If Ryan made that comment about Geno Smith, it would be back-page news.
9. Tebow Time: So now Tim Tebow's father has chimed in, telling NFL.com, "You are old enough to believe not all you hear" -- a convoluted way of dismissing ESPN The Magazine for reporting that someone in the QB's inner circle suggested that Tebow thinks his career is likely over.
Here's a novel idea: Why doesn't Tebow speak for himself ?
10. June swoon: Remember when June 1 on the NFL calendar meant a slew of cap casualties? Those days are gone. Can't say I miss them.