Issue number one
The signing of McGlockton will hopefully take the pressure of both Dewayne Robertson and Terry Bradway
.....What do the New York Jets do in the wake of the Josh Evans fiasco and the possible training camp holdout of No. 1 pick Dewyane Robertson?
With all due respect to the highly entertaining and informative McLaughin Group on NBC, the Jets quest to fill a void on the defensive line isn't as pressing as the Iraq situation, the pending showdown with North Korea, or terrorism.
However, with start of training camp just a few days away and the preseason opener on Aug. 2, Gang Green needed to address the issue ASAP. And they did so in resounding fashion albeit not without risk. But as the saying goes, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
The signing of four-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Chester McGlockton was a bold and gutsy move by general manager Terry Bradway. Not only does it lessen the sting of losing Evans for at least eight games for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, it justifies a need for a proven veteran presence in the interior line. Not to mention alleviates the very real scenario of Robertson missing valuable time while his contract negotiations drag on.
"We've got a young defensive line and [McGlockton's] at a point in his career where he understands his role," said Bradway. "You can never have enough good defensive linemen, and in light of what happened with Josh, we feel we have improved our depth."
We all know that the Jets can ill afford another slow start nor continue to have their run defense be the sieve of the American Football Conference. And without playing a single down, McGlockton is an upgrade over Larry Webster, who was signed last offseason to fill a similar role.
McGlockton, late of the Denver Broncos, is an 11-year veteran who should have at least another year or two left in his tank. And his $25,000 signing bonus is no-brainer. The big question is: can he get his gargantuan 6-foot-4, 370 or so - pound frame in game-playing shape?
Since becoming a salary cap casualty in February, McGlockton, who turns 34 on Sept. 16, hasn't exactly been doing his Winsor Pilates.
When in shape, McGlockton, who had his best seasons playing for the Oakland Raiders, can wreak havoc on an offense. Although he's not a productive pass rusher anymore - he posted just 2.5 sacks last season - he is a formidable run stuffer as evidenced by leading the Broncos defensive linemen with 63 tackles a year ago. He started 15 games last season.
Stopping the run is why Bradway and Co. signed the former No. 1 pick out of Clemson to a one-year deal. The thinking is: If McGlockton can offer any semblance of a brick wall inside, he can hold the fort until Evans and Robertson return and sign, respectively.
There are no guarantees that McGlockton will start. In all likelihood it will take him a month to shed some pounds and get his wind. In the interim, Jason Ferguson, James Reed, and Alan Harper will get plenty of snaps in lieu of Robertson's projected absence.
"It's going to work on a rotation basis," said head coach Herman Edwards. "When we line up, we play the best guys so we'll see what happens."
Jets defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell, for one, can appreciate what McGlockton can bring to a defense. Teams will be hard-pressed to run the ball up the Jets gut. What's more, if McGlockton can collapse the pocket with any success, it will allow the likes of John Abraham, Bryan Thomas, and Shaun Ellis to pounce on opposing quarterbacks.
In short, getting McGlockton is a big move that could pay huge dividends.
"He can be a starter, he can be a backup. Time will tell," Bradway said. "In our minds, we've got some flexibility now because we've got another guy inside that can play and produce."