TJB Podcast: O-line and D-line previews


Jets GM embracing new celebrity role

The shouts from the stands kind of caught Mike Maccagnan off-guard.

“Hey, what’s up, Mike?” yelled one New York Jets fan, excited to see his team’s general manager standing just a few feet away.

“You’re the man, Mike Mac!” exclaimed another before several others in the crowd at training camp begged for an autograph from the Jets’ newest Mr. Popularity – a reluctant celebrity after a career spent behind the scenes.

“I’ve never gone through that before,” Maccagnan said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I probably never really signed an autograph before I took this job, but it’s very nice and I feel very honored.”

The 48-year-old Maccagnan is charged with returning the franchise to respectability after owner Woody Johnson made sweeping changes following a fourth straight season without making the playoffs. Maccagnan’s moves to hire Todd Bowles as coach, bring back cornerback Darrelle Revis, trade for wide receiver

Brandon Marshall and draft defensive lineman Leonard Williams scored him huge points from fans and the media.

He’s well aware, though, that he’ll ultimately be judged on wins and losses.

“That’s the joys of working with a professional sports team,” Maccagnan said. “You just control what you can control.”

Read more on…


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Aug 21, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA;  New York Jets quarterback Matt Flynn (5) during warm up before game against the Atlanta Falcons at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Flynn could start final preseason game

Head coach Todd Bowles hinted that quarterback Matt Flynn could start the final preseason game for the Jets and Josh Johnson would also see some playing time when the Jets face the Eagles on Thursday at 7 p.m.

“We’re probably going to see a lot of Matt and try to see some of Josh as well,” Bowles said (Sept. 1). “I’m going to try and focus on those two guys.”

Bowles still hasn’t decided whether or not rookie QB Bryce Petty will play Thursday, but said QB Ryan Fitzpatrick will not play in the preseason finale (Sept. 1).

Brian Bassett,

Even with yesterday’s shelving of Jace Amaro, the Jets have a number of injuries to backups that are impacting the ease of the decision in drawing up a final roster.  An extra spot with or without Flynn on this roster might not seem like a lot, but that very spot could prove vital in protecting another player they covet elsewhere.

The Jets already know that Bryce Petty is a roster lock for this team, but it would seem they might be trying to determine whether or not they would keep four quarterbacks on this roster while Geno Smith recovers from his broken jaw.  Allowing Flynn to start this game would give them a good sense of where Flynn is in picking up this offense and whether or not he would provide value to the team on the roster.


Daily Links: Welcome Matt

– Rex “feels bad” for Amaro, but still can’t resist a few jabs [NJAM]

– Loss of Amaro won’t be crippling for Jets [ESPN New York]

– Bowles suggests Flynn will start on Thursday [Jets Official Site]

– Jets hoping three-headed monster can pulverize opponents [NY Post]

– Colon officially named as starting right guard because he “wanted it more” [Jets Insider]

– Pats trade for 2014 Jets draft pick Saunders []

– Bills claim Dalton Freeman off waivers from Jets [Bills Official Site]

BentBent, In the New York Post article about the Jets’ running game, Zach Braziller focuses not just on the “three-headed-monster” in the backfield, but also on the offensive line.

If the Jets – who had the 3rd most productive running game in the NFL last year – are going to be successful again, it starts up-front. It’s therefore reassuring to see the confidence players on the offense are displaying in the five linemen. While they’ve been inconsistent with their run blocking so far, the potential was shown in the Falcons game with a couple of perfectly blocked plays, including the one on which Chris Ivory scored a 33-yard touchdown.

There’s one thing not being accounted for here though and that’s the influence of non-linemen on how well plays are blocked. While the Jets have some good blockers in their wide receiving corps, their tight ends have not been blocking well – even Kellen Davis, for whom blocking is supposed to be his speciality. In addition, Tommy Bohanon at fullback has never been one of the most consistent lead blockers around. That’s an area where the Jets must improve, otherwise they might end up having more success when they run out of the spread.


Five things we learned from Todd Bowles…

Jets head coach Todd Bowles spoke with the media on Tuesday. Here are five things we learned…

1.) Willie Colon is officially the starting RG, and he earned the position by being “more aggressive” than the other players who were vying for it.

2.) Jeremy Kerley is feeling better but hasn’t gone through any physical contact yet.

3.) At the moment, WR Quincy Enunwa is not expected to be called on to help fill the void left by injured TE Jace Amaro.

4.) Bowles is not concerned about Ryan Fitzpatrick‘s arm strength, and he would be “very comfortable” if he needs to play Fitzpatrick all season.

5.) It’s not yet clear whether or not Stevan Ridley will begin the season on the PUP list.


Jace Amaro

Jace Amaro placed on season-ending IR

The Jets have placed TE Jace Amaro on the season-ending injured reserve list after suffering a torn labrum that will require surgery (Jets, Sept. 1).

Amaro, 23, suffered the injury during the Jets preseason opener against Detroit. He had 38 receptions for 345 yards and two touchdowns in his rookie season.

DE Kevin Vickerson was also placed on IR while CB Deshaun Phillips was placed on waivers.

Brian Bassett,

Injuries are always going to play into the composition of any seasonal roster, but the shelving of Jace Amaro has a huge impact on the offense and what the unit could look like this year.  With the expectation that Dee Milliner will be the team’s one player who can be eligible for Injured Reserve Designated For Return (IR-DFR), the team feels the prudent course of action is to shut Amaro down for the season; keeping him active would be seemingly counterproductive to the team’s goals and clog a roster spot.

While the tight end has played a large role in Chan Gailey’s offense in the past, this will place more of an emphasis on using the team’s third receiver in a “Riley Cooper” role which also aligns with the reduction of Jeremy Kerley’s role.  Using a third receiver as a Cooper-type means that Owusu/Enunwa will be asked to run-block primarily from wherever they line up and can be a big-bodied mismatch (red zone, third downs) when required.  This also means that Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker’s target volume in this offense should be boosted in terms of market share by another 3-5% rather easily — assuming the team makes no acquisitions at the TE spot beyond what they already have on the roster.

Kellen Davis is not a threat to take any target market share away from anyone and he will likely make the team as a pure-blocker.  Jeff Cumberland will likely see a much higher number of targets than was expected of him just days or weeks ago as the team’s best two-way tight end.

This of course creates an opportunity for the Jets to snag a waived player off another team if they see someone they like, or press Wes Saxton into earlier than expected work on the team’s active roster.  Assuming the Jets don’t trade for a player or pluck someone off waivers, Saxton now has an inside track as a candidate for the 53 man roster.  Maybe the Jets like Saxton more than they have let on so far … the fourth preseason game should help us determine that.  This news might also bode well for (brace yourself) Tommy Bohanon’s shot at making the final 53.

What follows this is all retro-active “Bassett-narrative” so feel free to treat it as such.

Knowing almost nothing about the true severity of Amaro’s injury, the team’s decision to shelve Amaro for the year could spell trouble for him moving forward.  While I have liked Amaro and wished for his success, watching his 2014 season’s tape again this spring, and seeing him fight the football more than play smoothly, he didn’t make a strong enough case for the team to allocate that roster spot on him in 2015.  In other words, assuming he could have gotten healthy at some point, the team didn’t foresee him producing the results they wanted.  Additionally, with some serious questions about which receivers, offensive linemen and linebackers the team will bring with them into the regular season, the team couldn’t justify tying up Amaro’s roster spot seemingly indefinitely.

Amaro’s drafting in 2014 during John Idzik’s last year as GM smelled overly reactionary for missing out on a talented 2013 tight end (Tyler Eifert, Zach Ertz, Gavin Escobar, Vance McDonald, Travis Kelce) draft class.  Word on the street entering Idzik’s first (2013) draft was that the Jets were hoping to grab one of those luminaries in the the middle rounds.  Once Ertz went off the board in the second, the Jets pulled the trigger on Geno Smith four picks later and then were seemingly always too-little-too-late to aligned value at the tight end spot with their picks.

It could be argued that with the top tier of prospects teetering on the brink (Ebron and ASJ gone), the Jets might have reached to take Amaro when they did.  That could align with the current regime’s thinking on the player in question and how they treat the nature of how hard they fight to make him available.  While we are sure that Amaro’s injury is severe, the new regime isn’t exactly bending over backwards to find ways to make him available for the Jets this year and that must be a concern, but now it is just one for the 2016 season.  Contrary my own point, if the regime didn’t regard Amaro highly, then what is most surprising is that the front office didn’t find ways to make Amaro redundant prior to this news as certainly there were chances to do so since March.


Fitzpatrick won’t play in final preseason game

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick will not play in the Jets’ final preseason game, according to head coach Todd Bowles.

Bowles said “some” of the team’s starters will play in the preseason finale against Philadelphia on Thursday night, but not Fitzpatrick. Bowles hadn’t decided whether rookie Bryce Petty would start, saying he needs to see veterans Matt Flynn and Josh Johnson.

“We’re going to see who’s the healthiest and try to at least have them available if something happens to some of the guys out on the field,” Bowles said of his starters.

Bowles said that Flynn and Johnson should both be able to play, despite the former missing time with a hamstring injury and the latter just joining the team last week.


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