New York Jets Position Group Grades: Defensive Line

New York Jets, Quinnen Williams

As the season looms, I decided to take a deep dive into each New York Jets position group within the organization and grade each group. Today’s group is one that is full of talent from top to bottom. From vets to high potential young pieces, this group is not about the individuals but rather the collective unit itself. Gregg Williams is a mastermind in defensive line rotations, and that showed last season. With one of the top rushing defenses in all of football, this group will be graded as a unit rather than as individual pieces. So without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the defensive line.

The Starters: Steve McLendon (NT), Henry Anderson & Quinnen Williams

The New York Jets have one key leader up front. Steve McLendon has been a consistent captain and leader in the Jets locker room. His presence is felt on the field as a run stuffer and a consistent force up the middle. He’s one of the most consistent nose tackles in the league, and I expect that to continue this season. Henry Anderson had a breakout season after being acquired from the Colts two years ago. Now, this could very well be his last season donning the green and white. Last season was a quiet year for Anderson, and if he can’t establish more of a presence, he will have a lessened role quickly. Quinnen Williams is the key x-factor of this front seven as a whole. Williams is no longer the baby he was in his first year. Williams looks more athletic and sounds more confident. He had a great camp, and I’m expecting a breakout year from the former 3rd overall selection.

Backups: John Franklin-Myers, Folorunso Fatukasi, Nathan Shepherd, Kyle Phillips, and Jordan Willis.

This group is one that is crucial to the defensive line’s success as a whole. All five guys are expected to play a role in the rotation immediately. Myers had an impressive camp and earned a roster spot, so it’ll be intriguing to see what kind of role he has early. Fatukasi and Phillips are two starting-caliber linemen who had phenomenal years last year. Both men established themselves as two of the most talented young pieces on the defense. Fatukasi is the likely successor to McLendon and Phillips to Anderson. Both guys will look to continue their success in 2020. Shepherd was a highly touted selection from Canada during the former regime’s run. Todd Bowles could never really find a role with him, but the same can’t be said about Williams. Shepherd has role fairly quickly as a rotational end, and I expect him to continue to grow in that spot in 2020. Willis is in a similar spot to Phillips last year, where he will need a strong season to earn a spot in the rotation, but that’s entirely plausible.

Grade: A

As I’ve said, individually, I’m not going to rave about any one piece of the puzzle. When put together, though, with the magic of Williams, this unit is incredibly talented. I fully expect them to take a step forward this year with growth from Quinnen, Fatukasi, and Phillips. I ultimately believe those three will be the key pieces of this line for the next few years. I’m excited for this group, and I’m glad that this is the one group I’ll probably give an A to of all the groups in New York.

As a team, the New York Jets have relatively little to lose

New York Jets, Sam Darnold, James Morgan

Individually, the New York Jets have several make-or-break cases. It’s a shame because, from a 2020 point-of-view, they have little to lose.

In the latter stages of “Like a Rolling Stone”, Bob Dylan declares “when you ain’t got nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose”.

That’s certainly one way to look at the current state of affairs of the New York Jets. The team is the midst of a nine-year playoff drought (third-longest in the NFL) and, even with expanded playoff invitations, ending it will be a tall task. Established contenders populate the AFC (which will likely run through Kansas City until further notice) and the Jets were dealt a further blow with linebacker C.J. Mosley opting out.

But desperation creates difficult times. With no expectations, this could a time to break out of their shell, take chances, risk it all. After all, this is a team whose few veterans are getting quite sick of the piled-up defeats.

“I’ve been here four, going on five years and I’m tired of f***ing losing,” linebacker Jordan Jenkins said earlier this month, per Andy Vazquez of NorthJersey.com. “So, now (we) just got to ramp (things) up and just try to get the ball rolling.”

New York Jets, Jordan Jenkins
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Entering his fifth season in green, Jenkins has been on the wrong end of many an NFL scoreboard. His collegiate career at Georgia endured only 13 losses. That number was surpassed by October of his sophomore season. A strong season (leading the Jets with eight sacks) led to the Jets welcoming him back for another year, but Jenkins, 26, perhaps has plenty to lose as his career enters a crossroads and he seeks to earn a long-term contract, be it in New York or elsewhere.

The Jets have 36 players due for free agency next offseason. They’re working with a coaching staff that may well be fighting for their jobs. At the same time, 2020 is a bit of a consequence-free season from a team standpoint. It’s anything but a Super Bowl-or-bust campaign. Everyone outside of Foxboro has the Buffalo Bills pegged to usurp the AFC East throne. Matching last year’s win total of seven may be a reasonable goal. Anything else would be a pleasant surprise. But, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not exactly a tragedy if the Jets miss out on the postseason party this year.

Thus, it’s on the guys whose positions are relatively safe to get things rolling and opening the book of chance up. Fortune can be risked. Moves can be made. It’s all about the Jets of the present and future working on something new. It’s on them to play a brand of risky Jets football that probably hasn’t been seen in a while. When was the last time, for example, you heard of a Jets trick play? Deep balls have been far and few in between. It’s time for the team to take risks on a year of no consequence.

Rookie safety Ashtyn Davis knows all about that brand of football. The Cal-Berkeley alum’s days as a Golden Bear were defined by a sense of nothing to lose as a walk-on player who had track to fall back on if the football experiment didn’t work out. He went on to be a crucial part of the Berkeley defense and special teams, becoming a regular on the Pac-12’s leaderboards. He played his way into consideration for the Burlsworth Trophy (awarded to the most outstanding Football Bowl Subdivision player who began his career as a walk-on) and into a third-round selection in April’s NFL Draft.

Set to be a big part of the New York defensive efforts as it was, Davis has a huge opportunity ahead upon the departure of Jamal Adams. His healthy reckless abandon, a willingness to immediately play two parts of the game (Davis has worked as both a returner and a gunner) has drawn the attention of defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who hopes that veterans emulate such an attitude.

“I love the fact that he had to walk on and he had to do everything he could to just get a scholarship and get some time at the college level to play,” Williams said, per Kristian Dyer of Sports Illustrated. “But he’s done very well with everything we’ve seen, he’s going to have to slow down mentally and that’s what happens when any young guy comes into our league and this league is not one of those things where you just do a couple of things and let him go.”

“I’m a fast guy and special teams is just defense in space so it’s a good opportunity to show that I can do the things I need to do on defense as well as making a contribution on the field,” Davis added. “I’m competitive so as long as I’m on the football field so when I’m out on the field, regardless of what it is, I like doing it.”

Veterans can likewise roll with the continuing change and the potential to take risks and roll through. Quarterbacks entering a “make-or-break” year appears to be a theme in the Adam Gase era…it felt like Ryan Tannehill went through a decade of them in Miami…but this isn’t the case for Sam Darnold.

As the Jets continue to search for an offensive identity, Darnold has a chance to establish himself as a true leader and franchise man. The Jets’ receiving corps continues to develop and work itself out, a process that might get even lengthier with both Breshad Perriman and Denzel Mims nursing injuries. But the potential of a bolstered offensive line gives him a good opportunity for a true breakout.

Considering the turnover Darnold has had to deal with in only two years as a New York starter (both the receiver corps and offensive line from Darnold’s rookie season are gone), it’s almost a miracle that he’s been able to flash his occasional brilliance under center. Stationed behind a group of blockers that has the most to lose on this squad, Darnold has a chance to develop chemistry and work on the personal issues that have prevented him from reaching his full potential, such as the deep ball. NFL Next Gen Stats had him ranked third-worst among starters in air yard distance (46.2).

“Continuing to work on deep-ball accuracy, is huge for me. (I) feel like I left some of those on the table last year,” Darnold said during the spring. “But with the weapons that we have now, we’re looking for good production from our wide receivers and running backs.”

Risks should even be on the table for those who have everything to lose. Marcus Maye has an opportunity to truly take over the New York defense. When he gets back on the field, Perriman has a chance to truly live up to his first-round potential and hit the reset button his career.

By no means, obviously, should this team even consider tanking or “trusting the process”. This isn’t the NBA, where a high draft pick proves more valuable than getting the 7th/8th seed. Seasons in the NFL are simply far too valuable to entertain that kind of thought.

But, as a team, healthy reckless abandon should be the name of the game. Not everyone is going to make it through this season of transition, one that will serve as an audition for many as the Jets try to prepare for potential glory days ahead. From a team standpoint, it’s time to take risks, make your own luck. If it wasn’t meant to be, it wasn’t meant to be. Who knows, the season could well play out the way many expect it to play out: another losing season and no playoff berth to show for it. If that’s the way it goes, at least work on the development. Risk and chance could well be the way to go.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

 

The Good and The Bad of New York Jets First Scrimmage

New York Jets, Nate Hairston

A number of things stood out to me from today’s first team scrimmage for the New York Jets, and for the most part they were not very good. So, let’s breakdown what went right and what went wrong for the Jets today.

The Good

Frank Gore

Gore reportedly looked “terrific” according to The Athletic’s Connor Hughes among others. Gore has been fantastic to this point according to Gase in terms of leadership impact and on the field performance. The ageless wonder continued to amaze and I’m excited to see him debut with the Green and White.

LaMical Perine

Sticking with the running backs, Perine was impressive today ripping off a 20 yard gain and then a 79-yard score. Perine was known for his breakaway speed at Florida and he flashed that today. The Jets know they have a unique blend of speed and size in that running back room and the perfect definition of that is Perine. I’m intrigued to see how he continues to grow from here as the season progress.

Mike White and James Morgan

The little known former 5th rounder was a practice squad fixture last season. Then this season, Gase said it’s been like two different quarterbacks. He’s thrown the ball very well in camp to this point and that reportedly continued today with another solid showing. Morgan also dominated the first-team defense which is impressive but also scary.

Ashtyn Davis

Davis continued his impressive camp with a pick-six today. Davis has been working side by side with the Jets defensive coaches in order to maximize his potential early on. It’s clear the organization has high hopes for him.

The Bad

Turnovers

The Jets first-team offense turned the ball over 3 times today against the second-team defense. That’s inexcusable and something that you’d expect earlier in camp, not two weeks away from the season. That’s an issue that needs to be worked on quickly.

First Team Defense Pressure

The Jets reportedly had no pressure in the backfield today. Presumably, Tarell Basham was set for the second pass rusher role, but with his injury, Jenkins will get targeted all the more. So, this makes pressure a difficult thing for the Jets to sustain right now. A move might need to be made for a pass rusher if Basham won’t be ready by week one.

Injuries

It seems like every day more injuries occur. Today, Lawerence Cager caught bad luck during his excellent camp with swelling emerging around his knee. That’s the latest receiver out and latest important piece. Then, new guard, Greg Van Roten got hurt as well. The Jets need to find ways to minimize injuries or this will be a long year.

Wide Receivers

I touched on the injury to Cager, but with Crowder and Hogan having a bad record with injuries and both fumbling during the scrimmage, it’s apparent the Jets need more insurance. Perriman and Mims will be back soon, but the Jets could use another vet to provide more insurance.

Lev Bell

Lev was pulled after just a few reps. It was reportedly to keep him loose, but he refuted those claims on Twitter immediately. He claimed that he needs reps to get going and the Jets were mismanaging him. All I can say is, welcome to Jets football. 

Potential Jets Head Coaching Candidates if the Adam Gase experiment fails

New York Jets, Adam Gase

Currently, the New York Jets are a little over a year removed from tapping Adam Gase to be the next head coach of the franchise. The Jets’ choice came down to three guys. Now Panthers coach Matt Rhule, Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy and Gase. Now, with his less than impressive reputation from Miami and a mediocre first season in New York, Gase is a hot seat candidate for next offseason. Obviously, the hope is that Gase is the long term leader of the team. However, if Gase can’t show growth in year two, these are a few early candidates to replace him.

Kansas City Chiefs Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy 

Eric Bieniemy is a football lifer. Bieniemy was an All American running back for the Colorado Buffaloes. Bieniemy was a Heisman Trophy finalist and ultimately earned himself a spot as a pro running back. Then, after nearly a decade in the NFL, Bieniemy went into coaching. After being the offensive coordinator for his alma mater, Bieniemy has now worked his way up to Andy Reid’s right-hand man.

Following a Super Bowl win, Bieniemy continues to fly under the radar. Bieniemy is almost certain to earn more head coaching consideration this next cycle, and if the Jets are in the market for a coach, Bieniemy would be an obvious candidate. Bieniemy is a natural leader who has built excellent relationships with his players. Bieniemy is likely the safest option of next offseason with the level of mentorship he’s had and his extensive knowledge. Still, the Jets have tried the safe route before with their last two hires, and it’s time to go for a more innovative candidate. 

Buffalo Bills Offensive Coordinator Brian Daboll

The Jets should turn to the AFC East for their next head coach. Daboll came into Buffalo to mentor Josh Allen and has since been tied to his development. He’s been credited for designing the offense around Allen’s strengths and having an excellent control over the offense. Daboll is a quarterback whisper, but that sentiment can only carry him so far if Allen doesn’t take another big jump this season. If Allen and the Bills offense takes another step forward, Daboll could be a proven yet innovative mind that could make sense.

Carolina Panthers Offensive Coordinator Joe Brady

Joe Brady has been labeled as a key guy in the step Joe Burrow took last season from a mediocre season to one of the best statistical seasons in college football history. Brady also used Clyde Edwards Helaire fairly well and all the other weapons LSU had. Brady now earned a shot to prove himself at the pro level. Brady will now run the Panthers offense for this upcoming season. A good season could catapult him from a young coordinator to a franchise-changing head coach. Brady still has to prove himself before he earns legitimate hype as a head coach candidate.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Offensive Coordinator Byron Leftwich

Leftwich is a former quarterback turned coach. After showing impressive growth in his first season as the offensive coordinator for the Buccaneers, Leftwich deserves recognition. Leftwich led the top offense in franchise history, which says something. Leftwich is still unproven having a mediocre season in 2018 as the Cardinals offensive coordinator. Leftwich would be an outside the box hire that could reshape the offense for the long haul.

Michigan Football Head Coach Jim Harbaugh

Harbaugh tends to set an internal limit on how long he can stay in one spot. Once the team gets back on track and competitive, he tends to head elsewhere. Prior to this season, he seemed content with Michigan, that was until the pandemic postponed the season. Harbaugh seems less than enthused with the way the Big Ten has handled the situation, so could that prompt a move? Harbaugh was floated as a candidate once before, and he could make a lot of sense this time around.

Current Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams

I firmly believe that if the Jets were to ax Gase, Williams makes the most sense as his successor. Yes, he’s been a head coach before, but that was nearly two decades ago. Williams had a 17-31 record coaching the Bills. Since then, he’s been a defensive coordinator for a bunch of different teams. He also has grown as a coach from experience, and that showed two seasons ago. After the Browns axed Hue Jackson midseason, Williams piloted the team to a 5-3 finish that set expectations incredibly high for last season. Then, when the Browns passed over Williams for Kitchens, he found a home in New York. With the lack of success Kitchens had last season, it’s fair to say that Williams was the reason that team had as much success as they did. Williams is a true leader and deserves a shot to try again at leading a franchise.

New York Jets: Jordan Jenkins can lead a defensive revolution

New York Jets, Jordan Jenkins

Displeased with losing, New York Jets linebacker Jordan Jenkins, one of the longest green veterans, is ready to change the NYJ perception.

Jordan Jenkins partook in 13 losses during his four seasons with the University of Georgia Bulldogs. It took only a year and three weeks to match that total with the New York Jets.

Jenkins was among the first New York Jets to emerge from isolation to speak publicly this week. His words when asked about the Jets’ last decade of distress, would likely be better suited for HBO rather than NFL Network or SNY. But Jets fans of all ages may nonetheless see them as essential listening.

“I know that the Jets didn’t have really a winning history and it really sucks that in the last four years we couldn’t get it done,” Jenkins remarked in a report from SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano.” But me being back here, been here four going on five years, and I’m tired of (expletive) losing so, you know, now just gotta ramp (expletive) up and, you know, try and get the ball rolling.”

“No one is used to losing, and no one likes losing,” Jenkins continued, this quote from Olivia Landis of NYJets.com. “The sentiment is, losing sucks and no one wants to come out here and play a game just to lose every game. Ultimately, we want to go out there and win. I’m not from New York, but I’m pretty sure they’re tired of it too.”

For all of the losses the Jets have suffered in Jenkins’ tenure, the linebacker has been a rare silver lining of consistency since his arrival as a third-round pick (83rd overall) in 2016. Over the past two seasons, Jenkins is one of 17 outside linebackers throughout the league to earn at least 15 sacks.

Contrary to popular belief, Jamal Adams wasn’t the Jets’ 2019 sack master wasn’t the departed Jamal Adams, but rather Jenkins, who earned a career-best eight quarterback takedowns (good for sixth amongst AFC linebackers). Among those sacks was a vital third-down stop of Daniel Jones in the battle of MetLife Stadium last November. Jenkins’ strong efforts were rewarded with a new single-year contract worth $3.75 million.

That showdown against the Giants led to a rare win in Jenkins’ era. Since 2016, only the Cleveland Browns have a worse winning percentage than the Jets.

“No one is used to losing, and no one likes losing,” Jenkins said in Landis’ report. “The sentiment is, losing sucks and no one wants to come out here and play a game just to lose every game. Ultimately, we want to go out there and win. I’m not from New York, but I’m pretty sure they’re tired of it too.”

Set to enter his fifth season in green, several releases have transformed Jenkins into the longest-tenured Jet alongside fellow defender Steve McLendon. Jenkins’ role as a team leader will likely only increase with Adams traded and linebacker compatriot C.J. Mosley opting out of 2020. With so many newcomers in tow, many of whom are inexperienced and raw, the Jets need some semblance of sanity to work their way through an AFC full of changing offenses.

Jenkins’ skills in the pass rush may be more vital than ever with new developments in the AFC East. Recent NFL Top 100 Players nominee Josh Allen returns to Buffalo, New England filled the Tom Brady-sized gap with former NFL MVP Cam Newton, and Miami drafted former national champion Tua Tagovailoa. Each of the newcomers has been shown to be capable of changing the course of games through the air and on the ground.

The linebacker believes that the Georgia alum is more than ready to accept the challenge and be that source.

“That’s, honestly, a really great factor for this defense. We’ve got some new faces in here and being able to have the same defensive scheme,” Jenkins said of Williams and his system through Matt Howe of 247Sports. “It sort of puts you ahead of the ball. And the way we do stuff, the way we go through the plays and whatnot, we’re ahead of the curve than we were this time last year.”

“Having Gregg back is going to be a great asset to the defense. It gives guys comfort in that you already know what you’re supposed to do, so go out there and just do it.”

Head coach Adam Gase himself was high on the idea of Jenkins making a bigger impact in the New York stoppage.

“Jordan has these subtle, little pass-rush moves that guys sometimes don’t understand that he’s really effective with,” Gase remarked upon Jenkins recommitment to the Jets. “He gets his hands on you and then he throws you. He’s a very strong player.”

“The sack is never good enough for him. He’s always trying to get the ball out.”

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets: Let bygones be bygones with Jamal Adams

New York Jets, Jamal Adams

Since he was shipped to the other side of the country, the New York Jets can’t let the memory of Jamal Adams linger.

If the start of training camp is any indication, the modern New York Jets may resemble the forgotten 2012 blockbuster The Bourne Legacy. Despite trying to move on with a fresh face of the franchise…Sam Darnold may well be the Jets’ Jeremy Renner in this scenario…the project may doomed to spend its runtime living in the shadow of its star attraction’s departure.

In this edition, the role of Matt Damon/Jason Bourne will be portrayed by Jamal Adams…except there’s more than likely no reunion tour coming four years later.

Jets representatives are emerging from isolation as training camp and Adams is the one name on their minds. The most prolific name of the Jets’ late 2010s offerings demanded his way out of New York and now begins his own training camp proceedings with the Seattle Seahawks. Yet, his prescience hasn’t truly left One Jets Drive.

Part of the lingering Adams sentiment obviously stems from modern times, as the Jets join the NFL in trying to navigate its way through the ongoing health crisis. Chances to speak to the Jets have been scarce compared to a normal offseason and the local media pounced on any opportunity to ask the defenders Adams left behind about his turbulent departure.

“That’s a situation between him and his party and the guys upstairs,” Adams’ former secondary companion Marcus Maye said, per Brian Costello of the New York Post. “Obviously, he was my running mate for three years, a hell of a player. He was looking for other things. I guess they had to part their ways.”

Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was the most vocal about the former safety, to the point of starting a war of words with Adams’ new employers in the Pacific Northwest.

“Jamal may get bored there because they don’t use their safety-type things with all the complexities, maybe not showing what they’re doing as much as we do,” Williams said per ESPN’s Rich Cimini, taking a slight shot at Seattle’s Cover 3 setup. “We’ll still do a lot of the same exact things, but we’ll highlight the people we have here. As you saw what we did [last season], he had maybe his most productive year here because of how we highlighted the skill set he has.”

Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Both Adams himself and Seattle head coach Pete Carroll has since responded to Williams’ comments with a more direct jab at the long time defensive coordinator. Time will only tell if the bad blood makes it to the teams’ scheduled get-together in December.

But any flare-ups, references to Adams, or unnecessary rekindlings of the New York-Seattle rivalry that has been dormant since the 2001 ALCS is the last thing that the Jets need. Thus, it’s time to let Adams go.

As more Jets take to the practice fields, questions will continue to rise about Adams’ impact on the team or lack thereof. His ex-compatriots on the secondary will be asked how much they’ll miss him. Answering those questions is fine, but they can’t do what Williams did and start a verbal scuffle on the other side of the country. Once the first few practices of the post-Adams experience commence, the Jets need to focus only on New York…the green side of it, anyway.

“I’m not going to give a gauge on that, but hopefully we’re pretty (expletive) close,” linebacker Jordan Jenkins said in another report from Costello when asked about how close the Jets are to a breakout. “It’s ultimately up to us to decide whether to go out and do it. All the talking is done. It’s time for us to go out and do it.”

Jenkins is exactly right: only the Jets can control their future fortunes. Adams has nothing to with it. Let’s act that way.

New York Jets, Jordan Jenkins
 (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Williams has been a rare, silver lining in this infantile era, one that has had Jets fans and players alike ready to run into a brick wall. But going after Adams reeks of sour grapes, which is the last thing they need this season.

This 2020 campaign is going to present new, and hopefully temporary, challenges for each of the NFL’s 32 teams. The Jets are a team starting to open a new decade on the right note. Their infamous moniker of “same old Jets” has been earned through not just losing, but losing through ways that are entirely avoidable and over-the-top. Pining after Adams and trying to get in the last word is the type of move that can define a season and set things off on the completely wrong foot.

Even without the challenges of working through a global health crisis, this was going to going to be a season that’d be awkward for the New York Jets. Making the playoffs was going to be a challenge, even with an extra invitation being sent out to each conference. This was going to be a year for the Jets to find themselves, a chance to build for the future, a chance for players, many of whom are on affordable single-year contracts, to prove why they should be allowed to stay for the (potential) glory days ahead. There may be heavier consequences for some…a make-or-break year for Adam Gase isn’t one for Sam Darnold…but there’s still a chance to earn mini-celebrations through development and growth.

This year, if and when we’re allowed to complete it, is a chance to prepare for a new decade, for a future. The last thing the Jets can afford to do is spend its first chapter fixated on the past.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets: Gregg Williams says Adams “might get bored” in Seattle

Jamal Adams

New York Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams believes Jamal Adams “might get bored” playing for the Seahawks. He said this in a press conference today, as shown on SNY and SNY’s Jets Twitter account:

Adams played a massive role in the Jets defense. He was a hard-hitter, good tackler and, arguably, their best pass-rusher. Across three seasons and 46 games played in New York, he totaled 266 tackles, 12 sacks, 25 passes defended and 2 interceptions. Aside from that, he brought a new life and energy to the defense. Now, in Seattle, he isn’t the alpha. Bobby Wagner still has exclusive rights to that title.

The Seahawks have had their fair share of star safeties in past years, such as Earl Thomas III and Kam Chancellor. They were star safeties without a doubt, but they weren’t used the same way Adams is used to. He’s used to being the best pass rusher and best player on defense. If he expects to be the number one guy making plays, he’ll probably be in store for another story.

If Jamal Adams expects to be used the same was he was in green and white, then yes, he might get bored. However, if he is there strictly for wins, then he won’t be. One thing is for sure, it’ll be interesting to see how he adjusts to being a Seahawk.

 

Photo edit credit: McManus Designs 

 

Can the New York Jets extract the best from former CFL star Anthony Cioffi?

New York Jets, Anthony Cioffi

Can the New York Jets find gold in CFL standout Anthony Cioffi?

Anthony Cioffi was just your typical Jersey boy. Except he’s a freak athlete. Oh, and he was a 2012 state champion in the 100-meter dash, excelled at football, and earned honors there. Ultimately, he ended up at Rutgers and, you guessed it — excelled there with 122 tackles, eight interceptions, and 2.5 sacks in 122 games. Surprisingly, he went undrafted and signed with the Raiders following the 2017 draft. Cioffi didn’t make the team out of training camp and ended up in the CFL. While there, he made a name for himself.

Cioffi Controlled the CFL

In 33 games, Cioffi had 97 tackles, 4.0 sacks, 3 FFs, and 2 INTs. Cioffi was a hybrid defensive back and was used all over the field. His impressive speed allowed him to be used just about anywhere on the field.

Cioffi built a reputation as one of the best defensive players in Canada. He succeeded in a hybrid role, as a linebacker, he had great sideline to sideline ability. As a safety, he was dominant in coverage and tackling. Cioffi projects as a safety with Gang Green mainly because he’s undersized to be a linebacker at the pro level.

Cioffi’s Fit With the Jets

Cioffi could play a few roles for the Jets. The Jets could use more special teams depth, and his speed would make him an immediate asset. As a gunner, he could use his speed to make the tackles which he’s also good at. As a safety, he could make the roster because of his upside. With the Jets’ current safety issues in regards to Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye needing a new deal soon, if a trade occurs or a surprise move, Cioffi could gain some playing time.

The more reps Cioffi gains, the more he could shine. Looking at his playstyle, Cioffi could be an attractive scheme fit under Gregg Williams’s defense. However, his fit within special teams will likely be his best selling point to make the roster.

What are the New York Jets getting in UDFA CB Lamar Jackson?

New York Jets

The New York Jets signed Lamar Jackson! No, not the electric QB/RB that’s coming off an MVP campaign. Instead, the Jets got a corner (who played QB in High School) who was projected to be a late-round pick. Lamar Jackson, a CB from Nebraska adds versatility and continues to add more depth to the secondary. He could be a solid pickup, so let’s breakdown his skill set.

Strengths

Lamar Jackson adds a few key things the Jets like. Durability and leadership. He was the defensive MVP in 2019 after a breakout season. Besides that, he was a 3-year starter. Jackson is an accountable corner capable of being left on the island. He has an excellent size which makes him a very physical press corner. Do you know who likes corners like those? Gregg Williams. Lamar Jackson will fit very well in Williams scheme and has the potential to be an impact player at some point. He played his best football last season when he put up 40 tackles, 4 TFLs, 3 INTs, and allowed a 55.7 passer rating. Lamar is capable of being left on an island and is a player overall capable of being a starter at some point at the next level.

Weaknesses 

As much as I raved about Lamar, he does have weaknesses. Although he’s a lockdown corner against physical receivers and in the red zone, in the vertical game he leaves much to be desired. He lacks speed to hang with some of the speed threats at the next level. He lacks a strong football IQ as well. He’s a more matchup specific player who would excel in 1v1 matchups. If he can’t prove his worth on special teams and doesn’t draw the eye of any of the higher-ups, he won’t stick on the roster.

Overall Outlook

Lamar Jackson has some of the most potentials of not just the UDFAs, but even some of the draft picks. The issue is, he also is flawed in his game. Ultimately, the scheme fit is going to benefit Lamar’s chances of sticking on the roster, but he’s still going to need to develop his IQ and speed if he wants to be a long term NFL player.

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.