New York Jets Who Could Be Two Sport Stars: Le’Veon Bell

New York Jets, LeVeon Bell

LeVeon Bell joined the New York Jets prior to last season on a four-year, $52.5 million deal. Rumors have swirled about what his future may look like in the Green and White, however, heading into next season he is a Jet.

The former All-Pro back will have a much-improved line blocking for him next season and looks to recreate some of his old magic from Pittsburgh. With that said, what if there was no magic in Pittsburgh, or what if Bell wasn’t a football player. What if Bell was a high jumper instead.

Le’Veon Bell: High Jumper

Bell was an All Ohio Capital Conference First Team running back his senior year. Despite having over 1,300 yards and 21 TDs, he was still a two-star recruit out of high school. Despite that, Bell eventually found a home at Michigan State, where he tore it up for the Spartans.

Bell still played other sports in high school and did very well. At 6-foot-1 and 225 lbs, Bell was a very good basketball player. Bell’s stats were unavailable, but he was a second-team All Ohio Capital Conference member for his senior season.

So you may think, why didn’t I say Bell should play basketball? Well, because his size and stature would be a poor fit in basketball, and his stats were unavailable for the sake of this piece. With that said, high jumping was where Bell really impressed.

He was recognized as one of the best high jumpers in all of Ohio. His best was 2.03 meters, which is incredibly impressive. The athleticism and hops he had and further developed in basketball, paired with the lateral quickness he has developed throughout his football career, would make for the makeup of a scary good jumper.

Matched with the level of skill you have to have to succeed in one of the best athlete breeding states in Ohio, that shows how much potential was truly there with his high jumping abilities. Although Bell is an incredible back with a distinguished resume, what if he held out entirely and went out for the Olympics in 2018, or better yet, what if Bell was a high jumper out of high school rather than chasing his dreams of football? Would we be talking about Lev Bell, the olympian instead?

Which New York Jets have played out Patrick Mahomes’ contract?

If all goes according to plan, Patrick Mahomes will be in Kansas City for the next 12 years. How many New York Jets have lasted that long?

Earlier this week, Patrick Mahomes earned himself a mighty surplus of ketchup funds.

The Kansas City Chiefs quarterback made financial history on Monday, inking a 10-year contract extension with the potential to reach $503 million. It’s the first half-billion-dollar deal in American potential sports history.

Save for their scheduled matchup this November, the New York Jets perhaps have little to worry about when it comes to writing such a check. They’re a rebuilding squad and are still searching for an identity as they enter a new decade of football. It’s certainly enticing for Kansas City fans to envision at least a dozen more seasons of Mahomes antics under center (counting the two left on his original rookie deal), one can certainly wonder if Mahomes play the contract out to its fullest. A dozen more seasons equates to a whopping total of 192 regular season games.

Just how hard is it to reach that plateau? ESM looks back on the rare Jets who managed to put up that number in a green uniform…

K Pat Leahy (250 games)

Leahy didn’t even play college football, have starred on the soccer pitch at Saint Louis University (even earning All-American honors as a Billiken). After two training camp stints with the local Cardinals, he signed on with the Jets after Bobby Howling’s 1974 injury and didn’t look back for nearly 18 years. By the time he retired in 1992 (only departing due to a sciatic nerve condition), Leahy owned pretty much every meaningful scoring and kicking record in the Jets’ history books. He remains the all-time points leader in Jets history at 1,470, which is currently good for 26th in NFL history (fifth among players who spent their entire career with one team).

(Photo by Fred Roe/Getty Images)

G Randy Rasmussen (207 games)

As the last player to retire from the Jets’ legendary 1968 squad, Rasmussen is the last Jets Super Bowl champion to partake in an NFL game. Save for an eight-game stretch in his penultimate season, Rasmussen was incredibly durable during his run, missing just three games outside of that outlier campaign in 1980. Rasmussen even earned a touchdown during his NFL career, recovering a fumble in the end zone during a 1972 loss to Miami at Shea Stadium.

LB Kyle Clifton (204 games)

No one in New York has earned more takedowns than Clifton, who put up 1,468 solo stops in his NFL career. He led the league in tackles on three occasions ranks 10th in NFL history in the combined variety (1,484). Current free agent Antoine Bethea is the closest active player to knocking him out of the spot (1,333).

LB Mo Lewis (200 games)

Lewis is perhaps best known for his indirect role in NFL history, as he’s the one whose tackle of Drew Bledsoe gave way to Tom Brady in 2001. But his mark on Jets and the NFL, in general, goes far beyond that single play. Along with Clifton, Lewis is one of two Jets with at least 1,000 tackles (1,232) and he also reached the Pro Bowl three times. Lewis was named to the Jets’ 40th anniversary squad, as well as the first 1998 All-Pro team en route to the Jets’ AFC Championship Game appearance.

T Winston Hill (195 games)

The late Hill’s legendary career finally got the ending it rightfully deserved in January, as the Super Bowl starter was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Joe Namath’s entire career saw Hill protect his blindside, as the pair event spent one non-Jets season as members of the Los Angeles Rams. Winston Hill’s Ribs & Stuff, a barbecue restaurant Hill formed decades after his retirement, continues to operate in Littleton, Colorado.

(Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)

G/T Dan Alexander (192 games)

Alexander was drafted in the eighth round of the 1977 draft out of LSU and carved out a 13-year career in New York. He was, in fact, drafted as a defensive lineman but was switched to the other side of the ball in the midst of his first training camp. Alexander also partook in seven playoff games and didn’t miss a game until his 11th year on the job.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets RB Le’veon Bell laughs off spot in Top 10 rushers’ poll

Le’veon Bell of the New York Jets appeared in an ESPN poll ranking the league’s top rushers but didn’t appear satisfied with his slot.

An appearance in a top-ten list organized by ESPN would be cause for celebration for many NFL running backs. As Le’veon Bell has proven, however, he’s not like most professional rushers.

The New York Jets starter showed up on the list organized by the network, polling 50 NFL personnel to determine the league’s top rushers. Such a list was bookended by New Yorkers, with Saquon Barkley topping the list and Bell rounding things out. The rankings premiered on ESPN’s morning talk show Get Up!.

Bell was smiling upon learning his spot…but only in the form of sarcastic laughter.

Bell’s reaction was mocked by some, some of whom felt the slot should’ve gone to someone else (Green Bay’s Aaron Jones was a popular proposed substitute). The second-year Jet responded by expressing hope that this season will be played and vowing to right the wrongs of 2019.

Added to the Jets on a four-year, $52.5 million deal last offseason, Bell, 28, ran for only 789 yards last season, his lowest full-season tally since entering the league in 2013. That came after he sat out the entire 2018 season due to a contract dispute with his original employers from Pittsburgh. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler noted that Bell channeled his inner Bart Scott and texted him “can’t wait” after the Jets selected Mekhi Becton in the first round of April’s draft.

The 2020 outlook is a bit brighter for Bell after the Jets upgraded their offensive line. He currently ranks sixth amongst active NFL rushers in career yardage (6,125). The leader of that list, Frank Gore (15,347) joined the Jets as a spell option earlier this offseason.

New York is currently slated to open their season on September 13 at Buffalo.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets: A Demaryius Thomas reunion could work wonders

New York Jets, Demaryius Thomas

Deep into the offseason, Demaryius Thomas remains a free agent. A return to the New York Jets would be beneficial for all sides.

Legends of NFL lore have borne the green of the New York Jets…albeit too late in their careers to make an impact.

The uniforms have hosted a plethora of superstars making a stop in the metropolitan area, looking as out of place as Vince Vaughn did in that Psycho remake. You could, in fact, form a whole that would probably win 10-12 games in their prime with the out-of-place gridiron gods that have passed through Jets camp. Brett Favre could be throwing passes to Art Monk while Jason Taylor and Ty Law handled things on defense (Law, to his credit, put up 10 interceptions in 2005).

Demaryius Thomas could be the next name on that list. A recent slew of injuries and perhaps sheer bad luck has caused many to forget just how explosive and game-changing a receiver Thomas can be. Between the 2012 and 2017 seasons, only Antonio Brown and Julio Jones acquired more receiving yardage than Thomas. Some could say those numbers were inflated with Peyton Manning throwing him the ball in Denver, but Thomas managed to make the most of situations where journeymen like Tim Tebow and Trevor Siemian. During his final full season with the Broncos (2017), Thomas still appeared in the top 20 in receiving yards (949) and receptions (83) with a terrifying throwing hydra of Siemian, Brock Osweiler, and Paxton Lynch reigning in Denver.

Embracing a rebuild, Denver traded Thomas to Houston where he suffered a torn Achilles. The Texans released him soon after and a comeback effort with the Patriots that ensuing summer went for naught. A rare trade between AFC East rivals sent Thomas the Jets’ way, where pedestrian numbers awaited (433 yards on 36 receptions and a score over 11 games).

Today’s NFL is one of instant gratification and memory spans shorter than a New York minute. Cam Newton, an MVP as little as five seasons ago, was a free agent into June. Thomas, 32, remains on the pickup list awaiting an opportunity as the NFL offseason reaches its twilight stages and an uncertain future.

A New York Jets reunion would not only benefit Thomas but help Gang Green solve some immediate problems of their own.

The idea of a Thomas return was ignited by a report from Connor Hughes of The Athletic earlier this month, who mentioned that the two sides “are talking” about 2020. It’s foolhardy to assume that his rearrival makes the Jets an instant contender but he’s the exact type of player the Jets need right now.

It’s admirable to see that the latest stage of the Jets’ perpetual rebuild has gone with a youth-oriented approach. Only six players on the squad are at least 30 and three of them are newcomers Frank Gore, Joe Flacco, and Brett Maher. But every rebuilding young squad needs some sort of veteran anchor, a veteran mentor to keep things rolling. A veteran anchor is a player that has been there before, someone who has seen the trials and tribulations a professional league has to offer, one that can make a transition of power all the more smooth.

Josh McCown perhaps fulfilled that role for the Jets before his brief retirement. Their metropolitan athletic brethren have employed similar concepts in their own rebuilds, as Henrik Lundqvist has taken on a similar role with the New York Rangers. The Brooklyn Nets took on two in the forms of DeAndre Jordan and Wilson Chandler.

Thomas would could help a receivers room in desperate need of some guidance. Slot man Jamison Crowder is currently the most experienced option, sharing the honor with Breshad Perriman. The latter is expected to be the top receiving option alongside second-round pick Denzel Mims. Thomas can be a reassuring veteran prescience that can help Perriman expand on the career-best stretch we saw at the end of last season, as well as a strong instant teacher for Mims.

His influence on the youth has been perfectly documented by the case of 24-year-old Vyncint Smith. The pair worked together during their brief time in Houston and Thomas convinced Jets management to take a waiver on the undrafted veteran from Division II Limestone College. Reunited with Thomas, Smith made in an impact in the Jets’ starting lineup, making four starts and tallying 277 yards from scrimmage.

“He’s a big help. He’s the reason I came over to the Jets when they were scouting my film,” Smith said to Olivia Landis of NewYorkJets.com. “They asked him about me, and he said, ‘Yeah bring him in, he’s going to be big.’ He helped me out in Houston and I helped him a little bit with the plays, and he helped me with everything else. Things like being a professional on and off the field, he’s helped out a lot.”

Thomas’ leadership was rewarded through captaincy honors in November.

“It’s because everybody respects the man, the young guys and the older guys,” fellow captain Steve McLendon told Peter Botte of the New York Post. “Demaryius is a man of few words, but when he does say something, you take it to heart. Plus, he has gone and been to where we all desire to go and be.”

McLendon was perhaps indirectly referring to the Super Bowl, which Thomas has visited twice. His Super Bowl touchdown, in fact, came at MetLife Stadium, the lone bright mark for Denver in their 43-8 loss to Seattle in the game’s 48th edition. It was one of a Super Bowl-record 13 receptions for Thomas in that game. He’d eventually get his long-sought-after ring in the return trip two years later, when the Broncos topped Carolina 24-10 in Santa Clara.

Set to turn 33 this Christmas, it’s possible that Thomas might never be the same after the injury in Houston ended his 2018 season. But a chance to leave a lasting legacy could await him in New York. It’s no guarantee that he would be around to truly reap the fruits of his potential veteran labor, but a simple one-year signing, so common in this offseason, could pay big dividends in the long run.

Images of Favre, Law, etc. wearing Jets green may be viewed as sacrilegious by the football faithful. They’ll more than likely lump Thomas in the same view, but the modern Jets could look back on such an image fondly if the leadership returns in this crucial year.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags 

New York Jets: WR Quincy Enunwa addresses mental health in Instagram post

The New York Jets receiver took to Instagram after a long hiatus to address mental health and look back on his time in New York.

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#MinorityMentalHealthMonth⠀ I've been off IG for a long time, but I'll try to keep this post short. ⠀ •⠀ I was once somebody who didn't think I could be affected by mental illness. I always believed that my will would pull me through any issue. If I was really a "Man," I could deal with my own problems. I managed to live that way for a while, and then I injured my neck again. Suddenly just being a man wasn't enough. I needed something more to help me figure out what I was going through. Long story short, I found therapy and in it a space to process not only what I was going through, but also my relationships, friendships, and being black in America. Some people may think, "But Q, you just signed a 4-year extension, I would have just wiped my tears with those dollar bills," and to that, I say you right, but mental illness doesn't discriminate. @kevinlove said it best, "Success is not immune to depression or mental illness." ⠀ • With that being said, My wife created and is selling #BlackFeelingsMatter masks. When people are continually looking for ways to give back, she's found an amazing one. 100% of proceeds will be donated to @therapyforblackgirls and @nqttcn , which aim to provide culturally affirming therapy to people of color.⠀ •⠀ As I continue to evolve and use my platform for change, I refuse to allow my community to continue to struggle in the dark. Asking for help isn't weak and you're not alone in your struggle. Like @beastmode said, "Take care of your mental"

A post shared by Quincy Enunwa (@quincyenunwa) on

New York Jets receiver Quincy Enunwa returned to Instagram after a 13-month hiatus this week to address his mental health and look back on his time in the metropolitan area.

In a multi-photo post, the 28-year-old Enunwa admitted to having suffered from mental illness in the past but was proud to disclose that he worked through it with the assistance of therapy and through the words of his fellow athletes. The accompanying photos feature Enunwa engaged in various activities in the New York area, including a lead photo of his time with the Jets.

“I was once somebody who didn’t think I could be affected by mental illness. I always believed that my will would pull me through any issue,” Enunwa’s caption says. “If I was really a “Man,” [sic] I could deal with my own problems. I managed to live that way for a while, and then I injured my neck again. Suddenly just being a man wasn’t enough. I needed something more to help me figure out what I was going through.”

His post coincides with Minority Mental Health Month, which was established in 2008 by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

Enunwa’s words include a quote from NBA All-Star Kevin Love, reading “Success is not immune to depression or mental illness”. The Cleveland Cavaliers forward was one of the first and most renowned professional athletes to address his mental health publicly.

“Long story short, I found therapy and in it a space to process not only what I was going through, but also my relationships, friendships, and being black in America,” he continued. “Some people may think, “But Q, you just signed a 4-year extension, I would have just wiped my tears with those dollar bills,” and to that, I say you right, but mental illness doesn’t discriminate.”

The receiver was referring to a four-year, $36 million extension he inked with the Jets in December 2018 and the resulting neck injury in the Week 1 contest against Buffalo in the ensuing season. Placed on the reserve/physically unable to perform list in May, Enunwa will also miss all of the 2020 campaign.

Enunwa then went on to reveal a new charitable endeavor, selling protective face coverings that read “Black Feelings Matter”. The masks are made by Enunwa’s wife and U.S. Army veteran Deanna. All of the proceeds will be donated to Therapy for Black Girls and the National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network. These organizations, according to Enunwa, “aim to provide culturally affirming therapy to people of color”.

“As I continue to evolve and use my platform for change, I refuse to allow my community to continue to struggle in the dark. Asking for help isn’t weak and you’re not alone in your struggle,” Enunwa concludes. “Like (All-Pro running back Marshawn Lynch) said, “Take care of your mental”.

Numerous teammates left messages of support under Enunwa’s post, including Jamal Adams and Chris Herndon.

Enunwa was drafted by the Jets in the sixth round (209th overall) of 2014’s draft out of Nebraska. He has earned 1,617 yards on 119 receptions in his career to go with five touchdowns.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

 

New York Jets: Three new Patriots to fear more than Cam Newton

Cam Newton certainly complicates matters for the New York Jets’ AFC East chances, but he’s far from their only new problem.

Cam Newton cast his shadow over the AFC East and announced six more years of New England Patriot dominance.

Fans of the New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, and Miami Dolphins sang of liberation after Tom Brady announced his departure from Foxboro for the warmer fields of Tampa Bay. After passing on a quarterback in the 2020 NFL Draft and signing only career journeyman Brian Hoyer on the throwers’ market, the assumed successor to the Brady throne was Jarrett Stidham, he of a 2019 fourth-round selection whose third NFL pass was taken back by Jamal Adams for.a touchdown. The arrival of Newton seemed to restore the Patriots to their former glory without even suffering a single instance of on-field regression.

But the fact remains…just because Brady left doesn’t mean the glory ever did.

It’d be foolhardy for even Brady’s biggest detractor to call him a bad quarterback, but there’s no denying that the six-time Super Bowl champion’s 2019 ledger wasn’t what football surveyors were accustomed to. Brady posted a passer rating under 90 in 10 games last season (in comparison, he had only 10 such games in 2017-18 combined), and the Patriots still managed to go 6-4 in such events. Even during New England’s most recent Super Bowl run, Brady had a combined 74.6 rating in the AFC Championship Game and Super Bowl LIII.

It’s undeniable that Newton does make the Patriots a better team. This is, after all, a dual-threat not far removed from a legendary MVP campaign. Time will tell if he can fully recover from injuries that limited him to two games last season, but if you have to replace arguably the greatest quarterback in football history, you can do far worse than Cam Newton.

But, as New England’s recent track record proves, success wasn’t determined by a single name. Whoever the new quarterback was, be it Newton, Stidham, or some third party, he was going to walk into a strong situation where he would work with veteran receivers (Julian Edelman, Mohamed Sanu, first-round project N’Keal Harry), a multi-faceted run game (James White, Sony Michel), and a strong, tenured defense and offensive line…and a Bill Belichick in a pear tree.

In fact, there are other New England newcomers that should warn the Jets and their East brethren that their Patriot problems were still active long before Newton’s arrival…

S/PR Kyle Dugger

The Patriots’ never-ending dynasty has been kept running by countless diamonds in the draft’s rough. No school is exempt from examination from Belichick’s relentless scouts, not even tiny Lenoir-Rhyne University football. The Division II program yielded New England’s first pick in Dugger (37th overall), who shot up the draft board after a strong showing at Senior Bowl week. New England was already relatively set in the secondary (Devin McCourty was re-signed) so the scariest part about Dugger is that he’s a potential force to be reckoned with down the road. Scouts have praised his size and speed, and he’ll have an elite group of mentors working with him (Stephon Gilmore, Patrick Chung, Devin and his brother Jason). More immediately, Dugger can make in the return game, serving as the primary punt man with the Bears.

S Adrian Phillips

Further depth was added in the form of Phillips, the ex-San Diego/Los Angeles Charger. A safety who has made a name for himself as a strong special teams defender, Phillips is coming off a lost 2019, limited to seven games after suffering a broken arm in Week 2. It overshadowed a breakthrough year in which he earned a career-best 94 tackles (an NFL-best 17 coming on special teams) and nine pass breakups. For his efforts, Phillips was named to his first All-Pro and Pro Bowl teams. Quarterbacks also posted a mere 44.8 passer rating when throwing into his area. Defensive upgrades seem redundant for the Patriots, but, Brady or no Brady, they seem to be operating on a time-honored axiom that should be obvious: can’t win if you can’t score.

LB Josh Uche

The Jets spent a good portion of the 2020 offseason upgrading their offensive line, which makes all too much sense when you look back on what Sam Darnold and Le’Veon Bell had to deal with last year. New England earned 6 of their 47 sacks (second-best in the AFC) in the pair of matchups against the Jets, and while Darnold was the victim of only one, as Luke Falk was the unfortunate soul who started the original game, the relentless pass rush had him infamously “seeing ghosts”. One could see the Patriots losing a defensive edge with their sack leaders Jamie Collins and Kyle Van Noy respectively leaving for Detroit and Miami, but the Patriots restocked by taking Uche out of Michigan. Reuniting him with fellow former Ann Arbor resident Chase Winovich, Uche can fill the roles the absconders left behind. His speed was particularly impressive, breaking into backfields for 14.5 sacks over the last two seasons. Uche’s arrival ensures that the numerous newcomers on the Jets’ frontline will still have a lot to deal with, as will the new mobile franchise quarterbacks in Buffalo (Josh Allen) and Miami (Tua Tagovailoa).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Former New York Jet Tavon Mason Helps Countless Kids

New York Jets

An accomplished author, a stellar athlete, a man who dedicates his time to helping others, all this and more perfectly describe former New York Jets wide receiver Tavon Mason.

Through his foundation Tavon Mason Loves the Kids Foundation or TMLTKF for short, Mason has helped countless kids foster a love for reading by visiting schools to promote literacy.  Mason knows just how fundamental reading is and brings awareness through his Summer Reading Program, in which Mason travels around reading his highly popular children’s book Tavon Does it All.  Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Mason recently read his book virtually via Caribu along with NFL great Andre Fluellen  The book follows Tavon, a young star of his football team and a well-rounded young man who holds many passions in life.

The story is a great read as it is highly encouraging and inspirational.  The book also teaches extremely valuable lessons of showing kindness to one another, carrying oneself with respect, and being a good sport both on and off the field.    Be sure to pick up a copy at https://www.amazon.com/Tavon-Does-All-Mason/dp/1519383290.

Mason knows that a good education and a healthy lifestyle go hand in hand in ensuring a balance in equilibrium in the lives of the next generation.  Mason promotes good nutrition and exercise.  During the summer seasons, Mason ensures that all kids have something healthy to eat by providing them with nutritious snacks during camps.

To help ease students in to back to school time, Mason makes sure that students of Baltimore City have all of the essentials needed to excel during the upcoming school year.

When the winter months hit, Mason holds a drive to collect winter coats and necessities for men at shelters and give books and arts and crafts supplies to and provide a hearty meal for all at the women and children’s shelter.  The cold winter season can be a difficult time for those in need and Mason is so generously trying to ease their struggles through this program and beyond.

Each year, Mason also collects slippers to hand out to kids at local children’s hospitals.  Something as simple as a slipper can truly make a difference in the lives and brighten the days of these amazing warriors!

Mason is a class act and truly selfless when it comes to making a difference in the lives of so many.  He exemplifies kindness, humility, and is an inspiration and role model to all!  He is a true game changer when it comes to promoting awareness about education, nutrition, and physical well-being!

New York Jets Who Could Be Two-Sport Stars: Breshard Perriman

As my series highlighting two sport Jets continues, I continued with a speedy new Jet. Breshard Perriman may be a new Jet, but he’s primed to be an impact player early. He’s being brought in to fill the role of former number one wideout Robby Anderson. His freak athletic ability made him a first rounder just a few years ago. That athletic ability is what the Jets are counting on can make up for the loss of Robby. One aspect of that athletic ability that makes Perriman stand out is his straight line speed. His ability to be a dangerous deep threat will make him a big weapon, but it also could’ve made him a big track star.

Breshard Perriman: Track and Field

Perriman was always insanely fast and he turned heads at a young age. Although, he  focused primarily on football throughout high school, he made noise in track. He used most of his time and athleticism on the gridiron, where his father, former NFL receiver Brett Perriman tutored him to bring him up to the highest level. In his free time though, Breshard lit up the AAU Track and Field. Perriman parlayed his speed into a U.S. Junior Olympic bid. Perriman was able to turn heads and gain even more notoriety with his speed. Perriman ran a 4.4 40 yard dash coming out of high school, had a 36 inch vertical and at 6’2 his stride length was impressive. With such freakish speed and athleticism, Perriman could’ve made a lot of noice in track at the highest level.

Perriman chose the right sport. Although he had his struggles early, last season was a breakout season for Perriman. When Perriman was struggling though, one has to think his mind wandered to what could’ve been with track. Who knows, although he’s a quality pro receiver, Breshard Perriman could’ve been a potential Olympian or even better, an Olympic medalist. 

New York Giants And Jets Could Play Two, Or Zero, Preseason Games

New York Jets, Luke Falk

The preseason is traditionally the first time that NFL fans get to see how their teams look in real games before a new season, but the New York Giants and Jets could end up not playing a preseason at all. The alternative seems to be two games, compared to the normal four.

The news is being reported by Pro Football Talk and has been reported by other sources too by now. According to the early reports, it’s the league that’s decided on this so far. That doesn’t mean that the player’s association has went along with these plans, however.

The NFL has decided to cut the preseason in half. NFL Media reports that the NFL Players Association has yet to sign off on this. Which makes sense, because the NFLPA hasn’t signed off on anything, including the league’s protocol for facility and locker-room virus safety.

The NFLPA and the NFL still have multiple issues to work out and it remains to be seen what the player’s association’s stance is on the length of the preseason. With training camp not starting until late July, the timeline between that and the regular season could be awkward if the preseason is played. The regular season, after all, is set to begin during only the second week in September, which doesn’t leave time for a long preseason.

If the league does end up having no preseason, that will make the start of the season all the more interesting for both teams in New York. The Giants have a new head coach and many changes, while the Jets have a coach on the hot seat. Neither team will know just how their new additions and strategy will pan out until the regular season, if there’s no preseason to give any early indications.

But then again, preseason results generally aren’t accurate when it comes to predicting the course of the regular season. We may just have to wait until September to see both New York teams in action once again.

Should the New York Jets’ offensive line be expected to improve?

New York Jets, Mekhi Becton

The New York Jets‘ offensive line has been disappointing the last few seasons, to say the least. Out of 32 teams and offensive lines, Pro Football Focus ranked them number 28. According to the PFF rankings, the Jets averaged just 0.7 yards before contact on rushing plays and allowed pressure in less than 2.5 seconds nearly 28% of the time. It is extremely hard for anyone to succeed with those numbers. The Jets certainly changed their line during the offseason and draft, but can they be expected to improve? Let’s compare last season’s depth chart with the one for this upcoming season:

Left Tackle

2019: Kelvin Beachum was the main player last season, playing in 13 games. In those games, he had seven penalties called against him, six of which were for holding. Those penalties totaled 63 yards against the offense. Aside from penalties, he allowed four sacks for a total loss of 30 yards. On the bright side, he did not commit any false start penalties throughout the season, which he did for the first time in his career. He was a regularity for the Jets, but a change was needed.

2020: As of right now, Mekhi Becton is slated to be the starter for the upcoming season. The newest first-round pick for the Jets has fans excited, and for good reason. The 6-foot-7, 364-pound tackle has great movement for someone his size. After playing 12 games in 2018 as a sophomore, he played 11 as a junior. Everyone seemed to have fallen in love with his combination of size, strength and athleticism to the point where his actual play is pushed aside. He has a high ceiling, don’t forget, but he has to sharpen his technique to reach it. He was able to rely on his size much more in college then he’ll be able to in the NFL. If he can improve on those skills somewhat during the season and power through his growing pains, he can be a major upgrade for Sam Darnold’s blindside.

 

Left Guard

2019: Kelechi Osemele was slated as the starter here but eventually had season-ending surgery. As a result, he played just three games. When he went down, Alex Lewis stepped in and started 12 of the remaining games but missed the Week 17 game against the Bills with an ankle injury. He did a so-so job filling in quickly. He was, however, called for six penalties, four of which were for holding. His play led Pro Football Focus to rank him number 57 out of 80 qualified guards.

2020: There is no change here, as Alex Lewis is returning as the current starting left guard. As a result, there isn’t much to dive into here. This shouldn’t be considered an upgrade, or a downgrade. This should, however, be seen as a good sign for this line going forward. In an offseason riddled with offensive line turnover, this should bring some consistency and familiarity to the group.

 

Center

2019: Jonotthan Harrison started the season as the starting center. He started 10 games, so let’s focus on him. In those 10 games, he had four penalties called on him. He played relatively well at center last season, though he mostly went unnoticed. Sure, he wasn’t playing at a level of a top center in the league, but he was a serviceable player on that dreadful line.

2020: The Jets gave former Broncos lineman Connor McGovern a three-year, $27 million contract to take over the center position. Although he was initially a guard, he moved to center last season and started all 16 games for Denver. Throughout all 16 games last season, he had zero penalties called against him. Zero! That is remarkable news for a player that moved positions. Jets fans should be excited as McGovern is a nice upgrade and should seriously improve the middle of the line.

 

Right Guard

2019: Brian Winters. That name is one that Jets fans have known for some time now. He has been with the team since 2013 when he joined as a left guard. After moving to right guard in 2015, he became the main guy for seasons to come. Throughout his seven seasons with the team, he has certainly had some ups-and-downs. He’s been somewhat inconsistent, but always found his way back onto the field. However, he has never been a “bad” guard. He’s been OK, but there was room to improve. The Jets certainly did that.

2020: The new starting right guard for the New York Jets is expected to be Greg Van Roten. After playing left guard the last two seasons for Carolina, and quite well I might add, he is slotted in as the starting right guard for the upcoming season. Over the past two seasons, Van Roten has started 27 games at left guard and has only been called for one penalty! Also, that penalty wasn’t even accepted or enforced. So, technically, he has had zero penalties that have hurt his team. Sure, right guard is different from left guard, but he should be able to adjust. He’ll be using the same mechanics and movements, just on the other side of the line. All in all, Van Roten should be a bright spot and improvement to the right guard position.

 

Right Tackle

2019: The right tackle spot was somewhat shared by Brandon Shell and Chuma Edoga last season. Last season was Shell’s fourth with the team, while Edoga was a rookie. Edoga had some growing pains, but that is expected as a rookie. He had some bad penalties called against him but, overall, it wasn’t an awful rookie campaign. He is expected to compete for the starting job this upcoming season.

2020: There should be some competition for the starting job come Week 1. Edoga played here last season and his familiarity should help him somewhat. However, the Jets also brought in former Seattle Seahawk George Fant. The one thing that might hurt Fant is that he played left tackle for Seattle. Yes, he could change to the right side, but there could be growing pains there as well. Also, he was not a consistent starter. Throughout his three seasons in the league thus far, he has started just 24 games and seven last season. He isn’t a huge improvement at right tackle, if he is at all. It’ll be interesting to see who wins the job. Either way, there should be an improvement in consistency from last season.

 

The offensive line for the New York Jets couldn’t get much worse than they were last season as a unit. There are new faces and players added in both free agency and the draft that should improve the unit. Overall, they should definitely be expected to improve upon their rank of number 28 last season.