Have the New York Jets Finally Figured it Out?

Remember when the New York Jets lost to the Miami Dolphins? The season was over. The Dolphins, at that point, were winless, and the only win the Jets recorded was against the THEN 3-2 Dallas Cowboys. 1-7 at week 9 in the season, all was lost, and everyone was calling for coach Adam Gase’s head.

Then they beat the New York Giants, in a game that was dubbed the “poop” bowl. Then, they beat the Washington Redskins, who scored their first touchdown as a team in… well, it was over a season. Both games weren’t really considered “quality wins” when you look at the teams. The Giants are in the same boat the Jets are in, getting a newbie quarterback acclimated to playing pro football. And the Redskins are just a hot mess. Duane Haskins spent HOW LONG trying to learn the offensive system before the Redskins front office said: “START HIM!”

Now, in their first real challenge from a good team since Dallas, the Jets beat a team with a winning record. Going into yesterday’s game, the Raiders were 6-4. That’s the second team the Jets beat with a winning record this season. With a nice, and pretty, 3 game win streak, have the Jets truly figured it out? I think the answer is a resounding yes.

How Do You Measure Success?

Mathematically, the Jets have a slim chance of making a Wild Card berth for the playoffs this year. You read that right, they have a mathematical chance of making the playoffs as a Wild Card team. How realistic is it though?

The Bills are sitting pretty as the top Wild Card team at 7-3. The Raiders are 6-5, tied with the Colts. The Colts are not only tied with the Raiders for the second Wild Card team, but they’re also only 1 game behind division leader, the Houston Texans. The Jets, still have to face the Bills and the Ravens down the stretch, not to mention they’re playing Miami again, a team they’ve already lost too. Way too much have to go the Jets way in order to nab that second Wild Card spot, like a beyond epic collapse from the Bills, on top of beating the Bills on the seasons last day.

So you shouldn’t measure the success of this season by the Jets making it to the playoffs. 

Considering the Jets going through just HOW MANY?!?! quarterbacks in the first 4 games of the season, a .500 season, or even a 7-9 season should be viewed as a success for the team. You can’t predict or prepare for your starting quarterback going down with mono. And while Darnold can still improve as a quarterback, Darnold has looked impressive during the Jets current 3 game win streak. 

So I think, yes, I think if the Jets finish within a game of .500, you can count this season as a success. If we’re talking 2 games below .500, it’s borderline. Anything below .500, considering how the Jets streak of a new coach having a winning record is going to be broken with Gase this season, and you can consider the season a failure for the still-developing Sam Darnold and the Jets.

New York Jets: Brandon Copeland Is A Big Return

New York Jets, Sam Darnold

A lot of people have focused on the high profile return of Sam Darnold. Yes, the offense really really needs a boost and Darnold will provide that. However, the New York Jets pass rush could use a boost. One of their best pass rushers returns this week and the New York Jets will immediately get a leader back on the field.

Brandon Copeland Constantly Improves

Originally, Copeland came into the league and had trouble finding a spot. He played on the Ravens and Titans practice squads. Then he finally found a home in Detroit with the Lions.  In his first two years in Detroit, Copeland played solid football. He had 19 tackles, a TFL, 2 QB hits, and 1 FF as a backup/rotational LB. After tearing a pectoral and missing the whole 2017 season, Copeland was hungry last season. Copeland posted a career year with 35 tackles, 2 PDs, 5.0 sacks, 8 TFLs, and 14 QB hits. Copeland had a great year and was coming back this season with high expectations.

PEDs In The Past

There were lofty expectations for Copeland this season and those got diminished immediately. Copeland tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) and was hit with a 4 game suspension. Copeland is a good guy and a hell of a ballplayer who made a bad mistake. Now he is back with a clear mind and a chip on his shoulder. He can be a key impact guy immediately and his presence should help in a big way. The Jets needed to make an impact on their pass rush and his return will do just that.

The Philadelphia Eagles Rise Above the New York Jets

New York Jets, Avery Williamson

The New York Jets lost another one. They now have started the season 0-4. A team with so much hope has had a very tough start to their season. There’s a lot to dive into from this game so here goes nothing.

Offensive Line Needs An Overhaul

The Jets offensive line has been horrific to watch this season. Like, historically bad. The Jets allowed 10 sacks in Sunday’s game against Philly. Yes, their defensive line is good but not THAT good. The Jets shouldn’t have played as poorly as they did at offensive line. The ”changes” that Adam Gase made really didn’t do very much. The offensive line still couldn’t guard a pee wee football edge rush. Quite frankly they’ve got to get it together. It’s hard to watch. It’s scary that our franchise guy will come back from a dangerous illness and end up behind that terrible offensive line. They’ve got to get it together and at the very least make it through the season without Belk or Darnold getting destroyed.

The Defense Has Played Really Well

The offense has been absolutely pitiful. Obviously injuries, offensive line play, and poor coaching made that happen. However, the defense, on the other hand, has been really good. The main issue with them is that they either have to play defense when the opposing offense has amazing field position or they are exhausted because they’re constantly on the field. Gregg Williams and that defense have dealt with just as many issues as the Jets offense and yet, the defense has been really damn good. That might just be a reflection of coaching but I mean what do I know.

The Play Calling Is An Issue

Unlike some New York Jets fans, I won’t call for Adam Gase’s dismissal. However, he does deserve a lot of blame for the poor start and poor take yesterday. The fact is, Adam Gase doesn’t have a good situation. His star QB is out, his blockers stink and he can’t revolve the offense around key guys if the QB can’t get the ball to them. Luke Falk has performed pretty bad but in his defense, he’s played the last two Super Bowl champs and had little preparation. With that said, an ”innovator”, ”offensive genius” and a ”guy who knows where the game is heading” should be able to produce something on offense. Those were all words labeled to Gase by Chris Johnson. If you’re all those things then you don’t have the defense with as many touchdowns as your offense through 4 games. Gase needs to prove why he’s here and not why he shouldn’t be.

Brighter Days Ahead

Brandon Copeland and Chris Herndon are guaranteed to return to the team this week. Jordan Jenkins, C.J. Mosley, and Sam Darnold could possibly return as well. This team has a much brighter outlook with those 5 on it. Hopefully, this squad comes back to normal with their returns but it all starts at the top and Gase needs to get their act together.

New York Jets: Fixes Must Begin with the Offensive Line

New York Jets

The New York Jets are likely the minority team that is happy to see the bye week finally arrived. After a nightmare 0-3 start on the season, fixes need to be made by Adam Gase and company, and it starts with the offensive line.

The New York Jets are 0-3 on the season, are currently down to their third-string quarterback, have seen injuries on both sides of the ball, and the offense has managed just one touchdown and a meager 13 points in three games. Suffice to say, what could go wrong has gone wrong.

Luckily, a few of those concerns should (and hopefully) will be fixed sooner rather than later. Sam Darnold (should) be back under center by Week 5, and the Jets will be glad to welcome back key defensive personnel such as C.J. Mosley and Quinnen Williams. Demaryius Thomas will hopefully have recovered from a hamstring injury as well.

But other issues will require fixing, and among them is the play of the offensive line, which has left much to be desired so far this season.

The reason why it’s particularly concerning is the realization that the Jets made moves in the offseason to upgrade the offensive line, and create better pass protection. Kelechi Osemele, for example, was acquired via trade from the Oakland Raiders for this exact reason. Osemele is not a bad player, he’s still solid and was a force with the Raiders.

And yet so far, his addition hasn’t helped this offensive line take that next step. The Jets have allowed 13 sacks through their 0-3 start. Last week against the New England Patriots, in which five of those sacks were registered, three came from a four-man rush and one from a three-man rush. Simply put: unacceptable.

The Jets have registered the fourth-most sacks so far this season, sitting alongside the likes of the Miami Dolphins (13 sacks) and Arizona Cardinals (16 sacks) (ProFootballReference). Those franchises are either tanking or at the start of their respective rebuilds. The Jets should be another step ahead, steering in the right direction.

Yes, injuries have ultimately created obstacles too massive for the Jets to overcome through three weeks, and the bye week should help with that. But unless the offensive line gets back on track, it will continuously put Sam Darnold in the crosshairs of the opposition’s pass rush. Subpar offensive line play means there will be no room for Leveon Bell to get going.

Staring at an 0-3 hole is tough, but these changes can and should be fixed. For the offensive line, it might mean simplifying things even more. Unless the Jets accomplish that, then it won’t matter who or how many players come back to suit up. Fixes have to start coming, and it starts with the offensive line.

 

New York Jets: Wide receiver position battle taking shape

New York Jets, Greg Dortch

With the New York Jets progressing through the preseason, the position battles are starting to take shape and weed out the rotten eggs. Here are several battles that you should keep an eye on:

The Biggest Battle for the New York Jets:

The Jets will likely carry six players with Josh Bellamy likely being on the roster as a WR and key special teamer. That lowers the field down to Tim White, Greg Dortch, Deontay Burnett, and Deonte Thompson. Thompson has had a quiet camp and not flashed anything spectacular on or off the field.

Tim White has a noteworthy motor and is extremely motivated to work diligently for his place on the team. He consistently works after practice to better each aspect of his game. He never stops grinding, and although he deserves a spot somewhere, Gang Green doesn’t seem like his destination.

Deontay Burnett has a connection to the QB 1, Sam Darnold; he’s got excellent hands and overall phenomenal talent that gets consistently overshadowed. He deserves the WR 5 spot and deserves to earn a place to demonstrate his capabilities truly.

The WR 4 seems like Greg Dortch all the way. Dortch is a special teams weapon and also happens to be a dynamic playmaker who can help the offense in many different ways. Dortch and Burnett both deserve to stick around and see prime opportunities.

Who Fills In For Herndon?

Ryan Griffin and Trevon Wesco have been the two guys most likely to step in for Herndon during his suspension. Wesco has looked solid, and Griffin has been quiet. Wesco deserves to get a fair shot to prove himself. Right now I’d say although Wesco has had success and could still see the field, this seems to be the veterans job to lose. 

New York Jets: Checking In On Key Position Battles Part 1

New York Jets, Luke Falk

With two weeks until the preseason comes to a close for the New York Jets, cut day is looming. With crucial multiple position battles beginning to get intense, it’s time to check in on who will be on the 53 man roster. 

Luke Falk Deserves It?

The battle is between Luke Falk and Davis Webb. Davis Webb was supposed to be the guy who ultimately took over for Eli Manning in some people’s eyes. He works hard and prepares to be the starter even with Trevor Siemian in front of him. He has dedication, but I hate to say it, Luke Falk beats him in the talent department. I was a big fan of Luke Falk coming out of college.

He was one of my under the radar guys who could end up as a suitable backup or average starter. He faced a lot of hardship at Washington State seeing the death of one of his best friends and his backup QB. Now he finally gets rewarded for his talent and is primed to be the third-string QB for the New York Jets.

Veteran or Experiment?

Bilal Powell was a veteran of this squad for a few years. He’s a leader and a good role model for guys like Le’Veon Bell and Ty Montgomery. Talent-wise he might not have it all like he used to, but he might still be a productive piece to have around especially for his off the field contributions. Elijah McGuire has had his shots to run away with the lead back job even last season. He never did anything to ‘wow’ anyone and has had a lackluster training camp.

Trenton Cannon will likely get kept as a specialist so McGuire could be on his way out and Bilal Powell looks like the guy who will be holding down the fort at RB 3.

Can Anyone Kick A Football for the New York Jets?

The battle is genuinely Taylor Bertolet vs. himself. The young kicker played pretty poor against Atlanta and further reiterated the sentiment that the Jets need a new kicker after the old regime let their pro-bowler walk out the door. The Jets week one kicker needs to join the team soon, or Taylor Bertolet could still be the guy costing the Jets valuable points.

Proven Choice or Inconsistent Competitor?

Punter seemed to be a spot that didn’t need to raise any eyebrows. Lachlan Edwards is a phenomenal punter and in my opinion, one of the best holders in the game. Lachlan makes kickers better and is an excellent punter. He’s a safe option and would be my option. He has Brant Boyer (Special Teams Coordinator) in his corner. However, Matt Darr received the bulk of the punts vs. the Falcons and has the head coach in his corner. He had a rocky few years in Miami, and he saw great success and utter failures. Now the Jets are at a crossroads with their punting situation. Right now I’d say it’s anyone’s race, but I’d give Lachlan a slight edge.

The WR spots and more will be highlighted in part two.

Complete 2019 NFL Draft Board – Ranking by Overall Talent Level

 

Quinnen Williams IDL Alabama
Nick Bosa EDGE Ohio State
Brian Burns EDGE Florida State
Ed Oliver IDL Houston
Jonah Williams OT Alabama
Christian Wilkins IDL Clemson
T.J. Hockenson TE Iowa
Jeffery Simmons IDL Mississippi State
Devin White LB LSU
Noah Fant TE Iowa
Josh Allen EDGE Kentucky
Kyler Murray QB Oklahoma
Jawaan Taylor OT Florida State
Cody Ford OT Oklahoma
A.J. Brown WR Mississippi
Byron Murphy CB Washington
D.K. Metcalf WR Mississippi
Garrett Bradbury IOL NC State
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson S Florida
Devin Bush Jr. LB Michigan
N’Keal Harry WR Arizona State
Dwayne Haskins QB Ohio State
Dexter Lawrence DT Clemson
Chris Lindstrom IOL Boston College
Montez Sweat EDGE Mississippi State
Clelin Ferrell EDGE Clemson
Nasir Adderly S Delaware
Marquise Brown WR Oklahoma
Greedy Williams CB LSU
Deebo Samuel WR South Carolina
Dalton Risner OT Kansas State
Erik McCoy IOL Texas A&M
DeAndre Baker CB Georgia
Darnell Savage S Maryland
Andre Dillard OT Washington State
Jerry Tillery IDL Notre Dame
Dru Samia IOL Oklahoma
Kelvin Harmon WR NC State
Juan Thornhill S Virginia
Amani Oruwariye CB Penn State
Hakeem Butler WR Iowa State
Julian Love CB Notre Dame
Emmanuel Hall WR Missouri
Miles Sanders RB Penn State
Rashan Gary EDGE Michigan
Yodny Cajuste OT West Virginia
Taylor Rapp S Washington
Joshua Jacobs RB Alabama
Charles Omenihu IDL Texas
Elgton Jenkins IOL Mississippi State
Jachai Polite EDGE Florida
Deionte Thompson S Alabama
Rock Ya-Sin CB Temple
Dre’Mont Jones IDL Ohio State
Foster Moreau TE LSU
Andy Isabella WR UMass
Will Grier QB West Virginia
Jace Sternberger TE Texas A&M
Chase Winovich EDGE Michigan
Connor McGovern IOL Penn State
Drew Lock QB Missouri
Justin Layne CB Michigan State
Mack Wilson LB Alabama
J.J. Arcega-Whiteside WR Stanford
Trayvon Mullen CB Clemson
Zach Allen EDGE Boston College
Riley Ridley WR Georgia
Jonathan Abram S Missisippi State
Terry McLaurin WR Ohio State
Christian Miller EDGE Alabama
David Long CB Michigan
Amani Hooker S Iowa
Renell Wren IDL Arizona State
Parris Campbell WR Ohio State
Darrell Henderson RB Memphis
Ben Burr-Kirven LB Washington
Isaiah Buggs IDL Alabama
DaMarkus Lodge WR Mississippi
L.J. Collier EDGE TCU
Khalen Saunders IDL Western Illinois
Devin Singletary RB FAU
Dawson Knox TE Mississippi
Michael Dogbe IDL Temple
Irv Smith Jr. TE Alabama
Daylon Mack IDL Texas A&M
Ben Powers IOL Oklahoma
Tytus Howard OT Alabama State
Drue Tranquill LB Notre Dame
Justice Hill RB Oklahoma State
Daniel Wise IDL Kansas
Michael Deiter IOL Wisconsin
Kahale Warring TE San Diego State
Chuma Edoga OT USC
Miles Boykin WR Notre Dame
Trysten Hill IDL UCF
D’Andre Walker EDGE Georgia
Greg Little OT Mississippi
David Montgomery RB Iowa State
Vosean Joseph LB Florida
Gerald Willis IDL Miami
Hunter Renfrow WR Clemson
Daniel Jones QB Duke
Damien Harris RB Alabama
Blake Cashman LB Minnesota
Dax Raymond TE Utah State
David Sills V WR West Virginia
Joejuan Williams CB Vanderbilt
Nate Davis IOL Charlotte
Rodney Anderson RB Oklahoma
Oshane Ximines EDGE Old Dominion
Mecole Hardman WR Georgia
Bobby Okereke LB Stanford
Jakobi Meyers WR NC State
Jarrett Stidham QB Auburn
Wyatt Ray EDGE Boston College
Stanley Morgan Jr. WR Nebraska
Malik Gant S Marshall
Kingsley Keke IDL Texas A&M
Dillon Mitchell WR Oregon
Devine Ozigbo RB Nebraska
Marquise Blair S Utah
Justin Hollins EDGE Oregon
Ross Pierschbacher IOL Alabama
Joe Jackson EDGE Miami
David Edwards OT Wisconsin
Maxx Crosby EDGE Eastern Michigan
Anthony Ratliff-Williams WR North Carolina
Beau Benzschawel IOL Wisconsin
Saivion Smith CB Alabama
Bobby Evans OT Oklahoma
Terrill Hanks LB New Mexico State
Antoine Wesley WR TTU
James Williams RB Washington State
Jaylon Ferguson EDGE LA Tech
Trayveon Willians RB Texas A&M
Demarcus Christmas IDL Florida State
Josh Oliver TE San Jose State
Greg Dortch WR Wake Forest
Sutton Smith EDGE Northen Illinois
Te’Von Coney LB Notre Dame
Bryce Love RB Stanford
Joe Giles-Harris LB Duke
Penny Hart WR Georgia State
Mike Weber RB Ohio State
Montre Hartage CB Northwestern
Isaiah Prince OT Ohio State
Kaleb McGary OT Washington
Brett Rypien QB Boise State
Anthony Johnson WR Buffalo
Ugochukwu Amadi S Oregon
Jaquan Johnson S Miami
Karan Higdon RB Michigan
Kendall Sheffield CB Ohio State
Ben Banogu EDGE TCU
Myles Gaskin RB Washington
Kris Boyd CB Texas
Lester Cotton IOL Alabama
Sean Bunting CB Central Michigan
Mike Bell S Fresno State
Gary Jennings WR West Virginia
Armon Watts IDL Arkansas
Isaiah Johnson CB Houston
Oli Udoh OT Elon
Jahlani Tavai LB Hawai’i
Mike Edwards S Kentucky
Dennis Daley OT South Carolina
Benny Snell RB Kentucky
Kaden Smith TE Stanford
Jamal Custis WR Syracuse
Anthony Nelson EDGE Iowa
Alexander Mattison RB Boise State
Sheldrick Redwine S Miami
Isaac Nauta TE Georgia
Mark Fields CB Clemson
Preston Williams WR Colorado State
Clayton Thorson QB Northwestern
Jordan Scarlett RB Florida
Max Scharping OT Northern Illinois
Garrett Brumfield IOL LSU
Terry Beckner IDL Missouri
Elijah Holyfield RB Georgia
Chris Slayton IDL Syracuse
Lamont Gaillard IOL Georgia
Lonnie Johnson Jr. CB Kentcuky
Zedrick Woods S Mississippi
Tyler Jones OT NC State
Darius Slayton WR Auburn
Alize Mack TE Notre Dame
Malik Carney EDGE North Carolina
Michael Jackson CB Miami
Dontavius Russell IDL Auburn
Tyree Jackson QB Buffalo
Jonathan Ledbetter EDGE Georgia
Darwin Thompson RB Utah State
Travis Fulgham WR Old Dominion
Ryan Connelly LB Wisconsin
Drew Sample TE Washington
Jalen Jelks EDGE Oregon
Cody Thompson WR Toledo
Gardner Minshew QB Washington State
Keesean Johnson WR Fresno State
Terronne Prescod IOL NC State
Terry Godwin WR Georgia
Tyler Roemer OT San Diego State
Lukas Denis S Boston College
Ryan Finley QB NC State
L.J. Scott RB Michigan State
Evan Worthington S Colorado
David Long LB West Virginia
Ryquell Armstead RB Temple
Zach Gentry TE Michigan
Hamp Cheevers CB Boston College
Jamal Dean CB Auburn
Chase Hansen LB Utah
Will Harris S Boston College
Dexter Williams RB Notre Dame
Deshaun Davis LB Auburn
Bunchy Stallings IOL Kentucky
Austin Bryant EDGE Clemson
D’Cota Dixon S Wisconsin
Ryan Bates OT Penn State
Blace Brown CB Troy
Kevin Wilkins IDL Rutgers
Bruce Anderson RB North Dakota State
Derrick Baity CB Kentucky
Germaine Pratt LB NC State
Tyre Brady WR Marshall
Phil Haynes IOL Wake Forest
Jimmy Moreland CB James Madison
Shareef Miller EDGE Penn State
Jamal Peters CB Mississippi State
Lil’ Jordan Humphrey WR Texas
Alex Bars IOL Notre Dame
Tommy Sweeney TE Boston College
Khalil Hodge LB Buffalo
Tim Harris CB Virginia
T.J. Edwards LB Wisconsin
B.J. Blunt S McNeese State
Donnie Lewis Jr. CB Tulane
Tre Lamar LB Clemson
Byron Cowart IDL Maryland
Ulysses Gilbert III LB Akron
Nick Brossette RB LSU
Caleb Wilson TE UCLA
Tre Watson LB Maryland
Olamide Zaccheaus WR Virginia
Michael Jordan IOL Ohio State
Kendall Joseph LB Clemson
John Battle S LSU
Jordan Ta’amu QB Mississippi

NFL has a Robert Kraft Problem, and They Helped To Create It

So any big news in the world of sports today? Oh, the owner of the NFL champions, the leagues latest and longest dynasty and one of the most influential individuals in American sports was busted engaging in a prostitution sting in Florida? This story has some interesting tangents to explore for the NFL as a league, Roger Goodell as commissioner, and even the POTUS.

First, let me start by saying this is something that the NFL should not have to adjudicate in any way. It’s essentially a private criminal matter for Kraft and his family to deal with. However, since Serpico Goodell has made any type of mild transgression by anyone who’s ever watched a football game his domain to act as judge/jury/executioner he is going to be forced to take some action on this. The fact its Kraft whose punishment he will be doling out makes it all the more complicated and likely to become a huge shitshow. Mazel Tov!

Goodell and Kraft have a long and complicated history, with Kraft going from one the strongest supporters of the commissioner to a guy who publicly labeled him a duplicitous liar and has convinced an entire region that Goodell actively hates the Patriots.

First, there were the fines and draft picks taken due to Spygate, followed by Tom Brady’s deflated balls and subsequent suspension. Kraft dropped his appeal for the latter because he thought the league would shorten or eliminate the suspension. When neither happened Kraft gave a statement that basically said he dropped the appeal and lawsuit for the good of the league and thoughts that would grant some leniency and that he felt Goodell screwed him. He may have even cried while screaming “Why?Why?”, or maybe that was Nancy Kerrigan. Either way, their relationship was destroyed at that point.

So the first issue is if Goodell can make a decision that won’t be viewed as biased against Kraft. League precedents include Colts owner Jim Irsay is suspended 6 games and fined 500k for drug/DUI related charges and Jerry Richardson being fined 2.75 million for a long pattern of sexual harassment within the Panthers organization. Kraft’s situation is in many ways more serious.

This is a league where conduct towards women is already a huge problem and Kraft is being implicated in a situation with elements of human trafficking,  forced prostitution, and there is a video of at least two instances. Even if Kraft goes into a diversion program and avoids criminal prosecution, that won’t be good enough for the NFL. League conduct rules are very clear “It is not enough simply to avoid being found guilty of a crime.

We are all held to a higher standard and must conduct ourselves in a way that is responsible, promotes the values of the NFL, and is lawful.” If there is not serious ramifications for this incident I think the NFLPA and their attorneys will get very involved considering the zero-tolerance policy that players have been held to.

So what would a “reasonable” penalty be? It’s too soon to tell as evidence and information are still being released. It’s being reported that the women lived in the spa and that some were there against there will. If true and if reports that they were victims of trafficking are also true I’m not sure any suspension will be long enough. If a video is released or leaked it will make things even worse(although it shouldnt..but the NFL has shown time and again that video makes it harder to sweep away and they want no part of it). Also right now there are 2 incidents recorded, who knows how many times he actually was there or if he did other things like this. If this continues to snowball the league will have to consider its brand and I wonder if his ownership will become an issue.

As the commissioner and the league continue to navigate this there is another element to take into consideration. Robert Kraft is very close to one of the NFL’s most outspoken critics with an audience significant enough to be an issue. Donald J. Trump. Now I know as a sportswriter you never want to get into politics as it can only alienate half your readers, so understand this isn’t about policy but about his impact on the NFL.

His outspoken tweeting during the Kaepernick situation, and on the national anthem while not really something that could hurt the league,  was an irritant that no one wanted to deal with. The thought of daily tweet storms about whatever action the league takes in conjunction with Kraft and New England fans lambasting Goodell’s ability to be impartial is a recipe for an epic disaster. Factor in the NFLPA and the 90% of fans that hate the Patriots and those sides not thinking any penalty will be strong enough and you have a no-win situation.

The Kraft charges are a serious problem for the NFL and one with no good answer. The league has put itself into this situation by stepping further and further outside the realm of on-field or competition related discipline. It’s always been a slippery slope to hand out punishments with no real set parameters making it all look like it’s based on the whim of Roger Goodell in a given moment. This situation may be where the league finally falls down that slope and has to reassess its role in the off-field conduct of players and owners.

What Should The New York Giants Do At Quarterback In 2019?

giants, eli manning, odell beckham jr.

Eli Manning may have just pulled off his 36th career game-winning drive in San Francisco on Monday night, but there are a few undeniable truths that the Giants fan-base and organization need to recognize and consider:

  1. Manning is 37 years old and will be 38 at the start of the 2019-2020 season.
  2. Manning’s quality of play has declined over the past few seasons.
  3. The Giants are 5-20 over the past two seasons.
  4. Cutting Eli Manning this offseason will save the Giants $17 million in cap space, according to Over the Cap.
  5. The Giants do not have an heir apparent at the quarterback position.

With that being said, what options do the Giants have?

Current New York Giants Quarterbacks:

Eli Manning: Despite his declining and consistently lackluster play over the past two seasons, there are a few reasons why the Giants might want to keep Eli Manning in 2019. For one, he is a Giants legend and they may fear facing fan-base backlash from cutting him, similar to the back lash they faced when benching him last season. Letting him play an extra year gives him the chance to retire and go out with a season long send-off.

Furthermore, if they do decide to draft a quarterback this year, they could sit him behind Manning for a year and let him learn from the veteran, similar to what Kansas City did with Patrick Mahomes. In addition to this, it can be argued that Manning is not playing as bad as the media says he is.

Manning’s completion percentage this season is the highest it has ever been at 67.6 percent, he is ninth in the league in passing yards so far this season, and he has been sacked a league high 32 times. These statistics can draw a few key conclusions.

First off, the Giants have an awful offensive line and it would be difficult for any quarterback to play behind it. Secondly, Manning has shown that he is capable of playing well when given time in the pocket. Finally, Eli’s 11 touchdowns in 9 games but 2,565 yards demonstrates that he and the Giants offense are good until they get into the red zone. This can be attributed to player execution and even coach Shurmur’s play calling.

Kyle Lauletta: Giants fans are eager to see what the team has in the 4th round rookie out of Richmond, but he has yet to even be activated for a regular season game. Coach Shurmur should definitely look to see what the team has in Lauletta sometime this season with some regular season playing time. However, his recent arrest and Eli’s magical win against the 49ers might delay the Kyle Lauletta show.

If he gets to play this season, the team can assess him and plan ahead accordingly. Best case scenario: they hit big-time on a 4th round quarterback and found their heir apparent. Worst case scenario: Lauletta has a maximum potential that most would expect out of a 4th round quarterback and he ends up being a backup for the future. The only way for the Giants to know the answer is to give Lauletta a chance in the 2018 season.

Current NFL, Non-Giants Quarterbacks:

Teddy Bridgewater: The 2014 first round pick out of Louisville for the Minnesota Vikings has had a rocky career. In his rookie season, Bridgewater showed great potential and won the Pepsi Rookie of the Year award. In his sophomore season, Bridgewater progressed further and was selected to his first pro bowl. At this point, it looked like there was a promising career ahead for the young quarterback, until he suffered a devastating knee injury that would sideline him all of 2016.

In 2017, Bridgewater still was not healthy enough to be a starter again, but he managed to remain on the roster. In the 2018 offseason, Bridgewater signed a one-year deal with the New York Jets, played well in the preseason (one might even say well enough to start for another franchise with a 73.7% completion percentage and 104.7 QBR), but was then traded to the New Orleans Saints to backup Drew Brees.

Teddy Bridgewater will be a free agent again this offseason, and he is expected to draw interest from around the league if he is not retained by New Orleans. Being that he is a former Minnesota quarterback, Bridgewater has a connection with Giants head coach Pat Shurmur, former offensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings. Shurmur is familiar with Bridgewater and knows his potential.

If the Giants are willing to cut ties with Manning, Bridgewater could be a great developmental option for the Giants if they feel like they can maximize his potential. Additionally, signing Bridgewater does not mean that he needs to be the future of the Giants. Theoretically, they could sign him the same way that the Jets did, if he agrees to it. The Giants could try to get Bridgewater on a one-year deal and draft a quarterback, just like the Jets did.

Derek Carr: Raiders coach Jon Gruden began a fire sale in Oakland during the 2018 season, trading away Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper. According to Oakland’s general manager, Reggie McKenzie, no one is untouchable. That would seemingly include Carr. Derek Carr has been selected to a pro bowl each of the last three seasons and he lead his team to a 12-3 season before breaking his leg in 2016, a season in which he was an MVP candidate.

However, this season Carr has looked like somewhat of a shell of his former self. The former gunslinger now settles for countless check downs, as documented by NFL Next Gen Stats’s passing charts, and has a 10 to 8 touchdown to interception ratio through nine games.

This begs the question: what happened to Derek Carr in 2018? These issues could be attributed to his putrid offensive line, a lack of weapons, a fear of reinjuring himself, or the new coaching staff. These issues could potentially all be solved with a change of scenery for Carr, and that could just bring him back to his 2016 playing level.

If the Raiders end up with the first pick and decide to move on from Carr, they could select Herbert and put Carr on the trading block. If that happens, the Giants would need to consider trading for Carr, since Herbert would no longer be an option. The trade would be costly (potentially one first, one second, or maybe even two first round draft picks) but if the Giants are confident they could get Carr back to playing to his full potential, they should make the move and acquire the three time pro-bowler.

College Quarterbacks

2019 Draft Class: Last year’s draft class was considerably loaded. This upcoming year’s class? Not so much. The consensus for the top signal-caller of the 2019 class is Oregon’s Justin Herbert (and there are rumors that he might not even declare this year).

It is also well-documented that the Giants are heavily interested in Herbert. They have attended six of his ten games so far this season. He’s a big body, strong arm quarterback with a good personality. He’s had a good, but inconsistent junior year, thus far. He has games with a completion percentage as high as 78% and as low as 47%, so there is still much work to be done with consistency if he wants to be a star in this league. His 25 touchdowns and 2,621 passing yards in ten games are impressive, however, his accuracy can be inconsistent (as displayed in the Oregon vs. Arizona game in October).

Even with his high ceiling, when compared to the 2018 class, it would be hard to rank Herbert inside the top three prospects. Mayfield, Darnold, and Rosen would likely all rank higher than Herbert if they were a part of the same draft class. That being said, he could be a franchise quarterback with some development, but he’s not as close to a “sure-thing” as anyone in the 2018 draft class.

Other notable quarterbacks in the 2019 draft class include Will Grier (West Virginia), Drew Lock (Missouri), Dwayne Haskins (Ohio State), and Daniel Jones (Duke). All of these players have potential to be first and second round quarterbacks and, with the right development, maybe even starting quarterbacks in the NFL. However, none of these guys are considered to have the same potential as the 2018 draft class by sources such as Pro Football Focus and Bleacher Report.

2020 Draft Class:

A lot of fans believe that Monday night’s win has ruined New York’s chances at the top pick in 2019 and, subsequently, their chances at drafting Justin Herbert. If that is the case and the Giants are unable to secure the Oregon quarterback, they might look to trade back, accumulate more picks, and draft someone from the 2020 draft class. 2019 Heisman candidate Tua Tagovailoa has been lighting it up in his sophomore year for Alabama, drawing comparisons to Russel Wilson. He will be every quarterback-needy team’s dream choice in 2020 and, with an accumulation of picks from trading down in 2019, the Giants could possibly have the first pick, or enough draft capital to move up to the first pick and select Tua Tagovailoa.

The Giants have tons of options for their future at quarterback. Being that they have so many options, it is too soon to say that passing on a quarterback for Saquon Barkley in 2018 was a mistake. After all, Saquon Barkley truly has hall of fame potential. Could this have been New York’s plan all along? Draft Barkley and secure a quarterback the following season? Possibly. Time will only tell. The New York Giants need to make the right decision this offseason in order to avoid what general manager Dave Gettleman would consider to be “quarterback hell.”

Who’s New York Giants’ Saquon Barkley’s NFL Comparison?

Let’s get this out of the way first and foremost, not a single NFL running back can be compared to New York Giants‘ Saquon Barkley in regard to his measureables, but maybe his skills. Scratch that, his skills are so diverse and impeccable that we must compare each one individually to a specific running back.

Now, I understand that Barkley hasn’t even stepped on an NFL field yet nor taken a snap, but based on what we have seen so far, he’s preparing to blow up the entire league.

Skill #1 – Agility:

One of Barkley’s most explosive weapons is his agility. His low center of gravity and powerful lower body allows him to stop on a dime and jump cup to dismiss opposing tacklers. Providing the offense and Eli Manning with a running back that can open up the game in the blink of an eye will change the way defenses approach the Giants’ offense.

Who does Barkley compare to in regard to this skill, though? Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson fits the bill. His immense ability to shake defenders in in close-quarters and change directions instantaneously offers tremendous value to his quarterback and fellow teammates. Here’s a clip to show you what both Johnson and Barkley are capable of:

Skill #2 – Strength:

While Barkley has been coined a “scat-back” by some, his power is one of his most underrated traits. As stated before, his strong lower-body allows him to make quick decisions and stop on a dime – it also helps him power through tackles and keep his legs churning when tacklers are draped over him.

This reminds me of Ezekiel Elliot, who can barrel into the opposing defense and push forward for extra yards. Barkley has the ability to do this and will often be asked to in the I-formation the Giants tend to run.

It will be interesting to see if they play out of the shotgun more frequently, rather than reverting back to the I-formation that Manning is used to. This will be a big part of head coach Pat Shurmur’s game-plan.

Skill #3 – Vision:

One of the most important traits for any running back is their vision, as finding holes no matter how small is what is needed to turn a short gain into a big one. Barkley has the power and vision to exploit even the smallest of gaps, but patience is also essential. For this specific skill, we will compare him to LeVeon Bell.

Bell is one of the most patient a backs in the league, as he makes his living on waiting for the right moment to explode through the line and pick up extra yards. He uses his blockers to his advantage, and with an upgraded line for Barkley, we should expect to see much of the same.