New York Jets add former Air Force defensive back to ranks

New York Jets, Zane Lewis

The New York Jets have added a new piece to the secondary in the former track star and defensive back Zane Lewis. Lewis was signed by the Cardinals as a UDFA out of Air Force for the most money of any of the 21 UDFAs they brought on.

When watching him, a few key abilities show why he earned the money he did originally. His speed, versatility, and on-field production are big reasons why and why the Jets picked him up quickly.

How will Zane Lewis fit in with the New York Jets: 

At Air Force, Lewis played in 37 games with 94 tackles, 5 TFLs, and 2 INTs. In 2019, Zane played in all 13 of their games and put up 45 tackles and one pick. He also finished fourth in the Mountain West for pass deflections with 15 as well.

Lewis was a key contributor and leader for a squad that had their best year in a long time, finishing 11-2. Lewis received a lot of compliments during the pre-draft process for his coverage abilities and his vertical speed. His biggest flaws though, came when looking at his tackling. It was evident in watching him shortly that he needs to get better as a tackler to stick in the league.

With the Jets they have a lot of depth at corner currently. That doesn’t mean much, though. Aside from Pierre Desir, Bless Austin, and Brian Poole, there is no clear 4th option. If Lewis comes in and performs quickly, he could fight for that role at some point. Still, with his flaws, he will need to shape up quickly. If he does, the speedy corner could be a nice addition. 

Report: New York Jets signing veteran corner Logan Ryan to prove it deal

New York Jets, Logan Ryan, Tennessee Titans

Throughout this offseason, New York Jets GM Joe Douglas has been very active in signing players to prove it deals to attempt to fill critical needs. He’s also been very aggressive in trying to fill one of the Jets’ biggest voids. Last season the Jets’ cornerback group was one of the worst in football. With minimal depth and no proven entities, the Jets had to upgrade the position this the offseason.

They released Trumaine Johnson and Darryl Roberts, two bad signings from the old regime, and added Pierre Desir on a one year deal. They also brought back Brian Poole on a one year deal as well. The Jets still have Bless Austin, Nate Hairston, and Arthur Maulet, but they looked to upgrade the position in the draft.

The Jets then came out of the draft with two more new corners—Bryce Hall from Virginia and 23-year-old former second-rounder from the Colts, Quincy Wilson. Although there were reports before the draft of the Jets’ interest in CB Logan Ryan, it seemed as though the team was comfortable with their corners. Well, apparently they were not. The New York Jets have reportedly signed Logan Ryan to a one year deal per Manish Mehta of the NY Daily News.

Who is Logan Ryan?

As we’ve covered extensively here at ESM, Logan Ryan is a reliable veteran coming off a very successful season. Ryan is a hometown kid who attended Rutgers University. After a solid career there, Ryan was drafted in the 3rd Round of 2013 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. When Ryan debuted, he immediately carved himself a role with the Pats. Ryan was an excellent corner with them until he left in 2016.

He then joined the Titans, where he’s been coached by Mike Vrabel. He comes from a very good coaching tree, and he’s got a championship pedigree with two rings under his belt. Ryan is also 29 years old; he’s still got a few years of good football left. After remaining unsigned for the first two months or so of free agency, he now goes to a team in need of a reliable lead corner.

How Will Ryan Fit?

Logan Ryan is coming off a season where he had 113 tackles, 4 INTs, and 4 TFLs. In one of the best years of his career, he also picked off his former teammate, Tom Brady, in what was ultimately the last play of Brady’s time in New England. Now the former Patriot is coming home to the Jets.

Ryan will be tasked with leading a young cornerback group while also trying to perform well to earn himself a long term deal. What better coach to have with that pressure then one of the best defensive coordinators in the game, Gregg Williams. The opportunity to play under Gregg has been a critical reason that players like Brian Poole and Jordan Jenkins took such cheap deals to return to the Jets and is likely a reason Logan Ryan is coming to Gang Green. Williams gets the best out of his players, and he will try to do that with a veteran player who’s had a lot of success.

Even if this move bombs, the Jets have loads of young talent in the secondary that need mentorship. Bryce Hall and Bless Austin could both benefit from learning behind an experienced player, and even Quincy Wilson and Pierre Desir could pick up a thing or two from Ryan. Overall, the Jets have solidified their secondary for the upcoming season and formulated serious competition for the starting roles.

If there is anything you can pull from this offseason, it’s that Joe Douglas likes two things, leadership and establishing competition. By adding a talented player like Logan Ryan, he did just that. 

New York Jets Could Pursue CB Logan Ryan (Report)

New York Jets, Logan Ryan, Tennessee Titans

The New York Jets reportedly have interest in cornerback, Logan Ryan:

The Jets have four pressing needs — offensive Line, cornerback, wide receiver & edge rusher. The Jets need another corner; however, they could really use a development guy to build around alongside Bless Austin, which makes the latest rumblings a bit confusing.

Per Manish Mehta, the Jets have internally discussed making a run at CB Logan Ryan. Manish has had his fair share of stories be debunked, so this can be taken with a grain of salt. Still, this is an interesting player for the Jets to have a case in.

Who is Logan Ryan?

Logan Ryan is a New Jersey kid who attended Rutgers University. After a stable career there, Ryan was drafted in the 3rd Round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. When Ryan debuted, he immediately carved himself a role with the Pats.

Ryan was a very solid corner with them until he left in 2016. He then joined the Titans, where Mike Vrabel has coached him. The now-former Titan comes from an excellent background of coaches, and he holds a championship pedigree with two rings under his belt. Ryan is also 29 years old, so it’s fair to assume he still has a few years of good football left, so being unsigned has been a bit perplexing.

How Would Ryan Fit?

Logan Ryan has always been a stable corner. Last season he had one of his best seasons yet — 113 tackles, 4 INTs, and 4 TFLs. Ryan had an awe-inspiring season and was overshooting his potential market value.

Now the Jets are discussing how he’d fit financially and within the team. Ryan and Pierre Desir would be a great duo to pair with Poole, but it seems like more of a win-now move. If Ryan is cheap, and they believe it gives them more draft flexibility, than it’s a solid decision. You can never turn down a good player, but Ryan would likely pull some reps away from Bless Austin, and unless they don’t have much faith in Austin, this move would be a strange one.

I like Ryan, and I think adding him would make for a solid secondary, but he’s likely in the market for a multi-year deal. At the same time, teams are a bit concerned with his ability to hold up in coverage, allowing a dismal 66% completion rate against him in 2019. Also, the move may take opportunities away from younger guys like Austin and a potential draft pick at a time where their development is more crucial than adding a veteran with inconsistent coverage abilities. 

New York Jets Resign CB Brian Poole (Report)

New York Jets, Brian Poole

The New York Jets secondary was very weak last year. They didn’t have a true number one or two corner. They continuously rotated guys in the spots to see who, if any, could cover on the outside. At nickel corner, however, the Jets were set. Brian Poole had a career year for the Jets and according to PFF, was ranked as one of the top 10 best corners in the league. This made him a priority on the Jets list this offseason. Now, the Jets locked Poole up, according to The Athletic’s Connor Hughes.

The Contract

Locking Poole up may be an understatement– the Jets inked Poole to a one year, $5 million dollar deal. The deal is actually a win-win for both sides. The Jets get stability at the slot corner position for another year on a very good value deal. Poole gets $5 million and another shot to cash in next offseason. The Jets likely used the fact that last year was his best year as a negotiating tactic for the 27-year-old corner. The Jets will now get him back on a team-friendly deal and Poole gets to prove his worth yet again.

What do the Jets do next?

The Jets made Poole a priority and got him back. Now the Jets can turn their attention to adding an outside corner to pair with Bless Austin. The Jets will likely sign one bigger name corner and maybe add a few lower-level guys with good potential. The Jets can now turn their focus to the edge rusher spot and outside corner spots as previously noted, as they await Robby Anderson’s decision. If Anderson doesn’t resign then expect the Jets to move quickly to ink another receiver like Phillip Dorsett and turn their attention towards the other side of the ball.

New York Jets’ CB Darryl Roberts is Healthy, but Shouldn’t be Playing

The New York Jets‘ pass defense is playing better than any time in the past two years. They can’t allow Darryl Roberts to ruin that.

The Jets’ pass defense has been on a tear since Bless Austin and Arthur Maulet took over as a tandem. The two first played together as the primary outside CBs at the beginning of the second half of the New York Giants game. Since then the Jets have allowed just 228 passing yards per game, on 57.6% completion, for four passing TDs. The Jets’ pass defense has also forced two INTs and eight fumbles, only two of which were recovered by the Jets. Meaning the Jets have forced as turnovers in pass defense as TDs allowed.  If that was extrapolated over the full 11 game season the Jets would have allowed 15 TDs and 15 turnovers.

To put into perspective how dominant those numbers are here’s how they would rank league-wide if the Jets played this well over the course of the full season:

11th in passing yards per game
2nd in completion percentage allowed
T10th in Passing TDs allowed
The Jets would join the other nine teams in the NFL who have at least as many takeaways as passing TDs allowed. Those teams have a combined record of 72-29.

Bless Austin and Arthur Maulet have been a revelation. They have helped turn the Jets from one of the worst pass defense teams in the NFL into one of the ten best in the league, that’s a huge deal. There isn’t any reason to replace either in the lineup right now. Especially when the guy coming back is Darryl Roberts.

Robert had been a career backup before playing relatively well in place of an injured Trumaine Johnson in 2018. He was quickly moved to safety when Johnson came back and performed very poorly. Still, former Jets’ GM Mike Maccagnan decided to give Roberts a three-year $18 million contract. Thankfully the deal only had $4 million guaranteed so the Jets can cut him at the end of the season at no cost.

Which is exactly what the Jets will do after Roberts’ performance this season. Roberts is allowing 6.9 receptions per game and 74.4 yards per game this season, those rank 74th and 65th in the league respectively.  He’s also allowed six TDs this season, which is 74th in the NFL. Roberts’ 117.5 passer rating allowed is 71st in the NFL.

He’s been absolutely dreadful. Putting him back into the lineup shouldn’t even be a discussion for the rest of the season. He has been thoroughly outplayed by the young tandem of Bless Austin and Arthur Maulet. Those two have left the New York Jets with only one option, bench Darryl Roberts.

Any other decision would be unacceptable based on every measurable metric.

How Good has the New York Jets Defense Been?

Don’t let the Jets scoring defense fool you. This team’s defense is among the best in the NFL.

The New York Jets are 20th in the NFL in points allowed per game with 23.5. If you just looked at that stat you would think the Jets had a below average defense. They aren’t stopping the other team from scoring so they must not be that good, that’s what many fans think of the Jets defense.

That’s simply not the case. The Jets have one of the elite defenses in the league. After holding a potent Raiders offense to just three points on Sunday they should the league how good they can be.

They now rank fifth in the NFL in total defense DVOA, 17th in passing defense DVOA, and second in run defense DVOA. Those are incredible numbers, especially that passing defense. The Jets starting CBs right now are rookie sixth-round pic Bless Austin and undrafted 3rd-year Arthur Maulet. The two of them, along with slot CB Brian Poole, held the Raiders to under 150 yards of passing offense. The Raiders came into the game last week with the seventh-best passing offense DVOA.

This was not a bottom of the barrel passing attack, this was one of the best in the NFL and the Jets shut it down. Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams deserves a world of credit for the work he’s put in this season. He has taken a battered and bruised defense to the top of the league.

This Jets defense traded Leonard Williams, hasn’t had either of their starting LBers for all but one game this season, is down to practice squad players at CB, and doesn’t have an edge rusher with more than five sacks this year. Gregg Williams doesn’t care about any of that. He has whipped this defense into shape no matter what the obstacle is.

So why are the Jets allowing so many points? They have the worst average starting field position in the NFL by a wide margin. Teams don’t need to move the ball that well at all to score points against them. The sad fact is that the Jets offense has been so bad that it puts their defense in a position to fail.

Yet, each and every week they go out and play at a high level. It truly is a testament to the work that Gregg Williams has done this season. It’s absolutely unbelievable that the Jets have a top-5 defense in the NFL, yet here we are.

It’s entirely possible that Gregg Williams will win the NFL’s coordinator of the year award. If he does it’s likely that he will find a head coaching job next season. The award has only existed since 2014, but four of the five winners of the ward went on to get head coach jobs in the next season. The only one who didn’t was Wade Phillips who had multiple failed head coaching runs already.

Hopefully, Gregg Williams is here next year to help lead the New York Jets defense into the future.  He’s certainly earned the right to do so.

Bless Austin Changed the Game for the New York Jets Last Sunday

New York Jets

Bless Austin made his NFL debut on Sunday for the New York Jets, and he made it count.

When the Jets came on the clock in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL draft fans were excited. At least, they were as excited as they could be for a sixth-round pick. Many wanted one man, WR Kelvin Harmon out of NC State, instead they got Bless Austin a CB out of Rutgers.

Harmon was supposed to be  day two talent who slid all the way to the bottom of the sixth round. Fans were screaming for him on twitter and on online draft boards. When the Jets took Austin fans were upset, not many had ever heard of Austin, and with reason.

Austin had only played one game during the 2018-2019 NCAA season after tearing his ACL. That came after just playing five games in the 2017-2018 season after tearing his ACL.

Fans were enraged that the Jets would throw away a pick on a CB with such little game experience the last two year who’s proven to be injury-prone.

Well, Austin proved the Jets right on Sunday. It may only have been one game, but it was an impressive one. Austin earned a 78.8 PFF grade for his play on Sunday. That’s the highest single-game grade for a Jets outside CB this season.

Austin came into the game to replace Nate Hairston after Darius Slayton burned him for a 35-yard touchdown on a fourth-down play. When he came in the defense immediately improved.

Prior to Austin coming into the game, Daniel Jones was 8/11 for 104 yards and two TDs. He was shredding the Jets defense and making it look easy. After Austin came in the game got a little bit more difficult for Jones. He was 19/30 for 209 yards and two TDs.

Now that’s still very impressive for Jones, but that’s also a dramatic decrease in numbers compared to before Austin came in.

Austin himself was excellent. Austin played 38 coverage snaps, he was target four times and allowed only one catch for 14 yards. He had two passes defended and a forced fumble in the game.

That’s quite the impressive debut for a young CB. With Trumaine Johnson out the rest of the year and Darryl Roberts still dealing with a hamstring injury, it looks like Austin is going to get a lot more playing time.

This is his chance to prove all those Jets fans who booed his selection wrong. This is also his chance to lock down a starting CB job in the NFL. The Jets are desperate for a starting outside CB and will likely be looking for two new one next offseason. Maybe just maybe Austin can take one of those opening for himself.