BGA: The Expendables – Regular Season Update #2

Bent, TheJetsBlog.com

Every year, teams have to let some players go. Even though the Jets did bring back some of their free agents (Including Nick Folk, Tanner Purdum and restricted free agents Austin Howard and Jeff Cumberland), they chose not to bring everyone back. Throughout preseason, Bent’s Game Analysis kept track of the progress of the guys they let go in order to at least start to form some views on whether letting any of these guys loose was a mistake or a smart move and we last provided you with a regular season update in September. Since the Jets are on a bye this weekend, this affords us an ideal opportunity for another update.

We’ll be aiming to cover all of the players and key coaches that were with the Jets during 2012 or 2013 and are now with another team. After the jump, a comprehensive list of how these ex-Jets have been performing so far this season.

This article contains exclusive statistics from PFF and we thank them for providing us with access to these.

Dustin Keller, TE, Dolphins

Keller’s season was over before it began, following a horrific knee injury due to a low hit by rookie DJ Swearinger in preseason. With the emergence of Charles Clay in Miami (32 catches, three touchdowns) the chances are that the Dolphins won’t be bringing him back next year, so it will be interesting to see who will take a flyer on him. That’s if he can even recover to the point where he can take the field.

Julian Posey, CB, Browns

After being cut by Miami, Posey ended up on the Browns practice squad. He was activated for one game in October, playing only on special teams and was cut the following week. He is currently a free agent.

Bill Callahan, Offensive Coordinator, Cowboys

The current controversy making the rounds in Dallas at the moment is that the Cowboys offense has no balance. With Callahan calling the plays, they’ve passed the ball two-thirds of the time, including a recent win where they only ran the ball eight times. It seems to be working to an extent, as the Cowboys sit atop a woeful NFC East, but they are just 17th in the league in terms of yards and 27th in terms of the running game. Bearing in mind that Callahan was the running game coordinator for the Jets, that’s surprising. The Cowboys pass offense is ranked 9th, but that’s partly due to how often they throw it – they’re only 13th in yards per attempt. They are, however, the 2nd highest scoring team in the league at the moment. In terms of situational play calling, the numbers don’t reflect too well on him, because the Cowboys are 24th in the league in 3rd down conversion percentage.

Tim Tebow, QB (?), Patriots

As anticipated, nobody wants Tim Tebow, although his name does crop up whenever someone like Aaron Rodgers or Jake Locker gets hurt. As recently as yesterday, there was a story about a Jacksonville councilman appealing for the Jaguars to sign him.

John Conner, FB, Giants

It was less of a surprise that Conner was able to find himself a role, since he had looked good in preseason. Sure enough, he’s been the Giants’ starting fullback over the last three games and has been referred to as an unsung hero for the Giants. Conner has contributed to the running game and in pass protection, where the Giants have been much improved since he moved into the lineup. He has caught four passes, stayed in to pass block successfully seven times and graded positively as a run blocker in all three games. He did have one penalty last week.

Tony Sparano, OL Coach, Raiders

Despite being in a tough situation with a team that has had a couple of key injuries and has no chance of finding replacements due to their terrible cap situation, Sparano can take partial credit for the 5th best running game in the NFL, as the Raiders have averaged over five yards per carry. However, these numbers are ridiculously skewed by Terrelle Pryor’s running. Pryor has rushed for 485 yards at 7.7 yards per carry and if you exclude that from their totals, they would drop out of the top 25 in terms of yardage totals and their average per carry drops to 4.0 (which would be 18th). They’ve also allowed 32 sacks this season – only Miami has allowed more and you wonder how many more they’d have given up if they didn’t have such an elusive quarterback.

Jay Richardson, DE, Saints

Richardson had a great preseason and then was re-signed by the Saints in week two, after missing the opening weekend (presumably so the Saints didn’t have to guarantee his salary for the year). However, he played just two games before being released for Keyunta Dawson and has been a free agent ever since. Richardson played just 16 snaps and did not generate any statistics.

Darrelle Revis, CB, Bucs

It’s been a disastrous season for the Bucs, but Revis has performed like an elite cornerback all year. He confessed that he was playing a lot of zone coverage because playing press-man was too demanding on his knees, but that they had strengthened over the course of the season so he anticipated playing more man coverage in the second half of the season. Revis has given up just 14 yards over the last four games, which sounds phenomenal, but he’s only been targeted twice in each game. In terms of whether he could play like his old self coming off such a serious injury, it looks like Revis has proved himself. However, in terms of whether his impact on the game is worth anywhere near $16m a season, the Bucs 0-8 record speaks for itself.

Matt Slauson, G, Bears

Slauson turned in one of the best games of his career against the Packers, where he had a key role in their running game. That performance vaults him from outside the top 20 to 4th overall in PFF’s guard rankings for the year. Until that game, he has been slightly above average in pass protection and no better than average in the running game, so it will be interesting to see whether that game proves to be an aberration or a sign of things to come. With the Jets’ struggles at left guard this year, some will wonder why the Jets didn’t make more of an effort to retain Slauson, but he’s not really seen as an ideal fit for the Jets’ system. Having said that, what the Bears have been doing this year isn’t that different from what the Jets do. Slauson only signed a one-year deal, but I would expect the Bears to try and retain him.

Mike DeVito, DL, Chiefs

The fact that Mike DeVito is quietly having an extremely solid season is perhaps less bothersome than the improvements shown by Slauson, because the Jets’ defensive line has been so superb this year. DeVito signed a deal for $4.2m per year and Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson and Damon Harrison count less than that against the cap this year … combined. However, DeVito is an interesting case because I wanted to see whether his modest improvements as a pass rusher would extend into 2013. Sure enough, he has 11 total pressures after having just 12 all of last year (a career high). It’s as a run stuffer where he continues to excel though and he’s ranked 4th among NFL 3-4 DE’s against the run on PFF, right in between Richardson and Wilkerson, as it happens.

Bob Sutton, Defensive Coordinator, Chiefs

Sutton has deservedly been getting a bunch of credit for the Chiefs 9-0 start. Nobody has scored more than 17 points against them this year and the defense has also been making plays – including this week in Buffalo, where they scored two touchdowns in a 23-13 win. This article describes him as a “mad scientist” in terms of his game planning, which should amuse anyone who can remember the bend-but-not-break nature of the defense he coordinated during the Eric Mangini era. It’s obvious he’s picked up some tips from Rex Ryan, although bend-but-not-break does still feature – the Chiefs are only ranked 8th in terms of yards, but 1st in terms of fewest points allowed.

LaRon Landry, S, Colts

Landry missed some time through injuries, but has been productive when healthy. He has 40 tackles in four games, but did miss three tackles in the most recent game against Houston. In coverage, he’s given up just 55 yards on nine targets and hasn’t had a single penalty all year. It seems like he’s been playing a lot more disciplined than last year, but if he can’t be relied upon to stay healthy, then I would imagine the Jets are relieved to not be paying him $6m per year while Antonio Allen is emerging at a fraction of the price.

Mike Pettine, Defensive Coordinator, Bills

While the Bills struggles can largely be attributed to their personnel issues at the quarterback position, Pettine’s defense hasn’t been as dominant as many expected it would be. The Bills have given up the 9th most points in the NFL and are in the bottom half in terms of yardage surrendered. Some early season injuries at cornerback hurt them, but they’re healthier now and things don’t seem to have improved much. They’re middle of the pack for run defense and pass defense and have committed 32 penalties on defense, only six less than the Jets. In fact, if you exclude the early season meeting between the Jets and Bills, the Jets have just 26 penalties in their other eight games to Buffalo’s 27. One positive is that they are third in the league in sacks, led by Mario Williams, who has 11 already.

Marcus Dowtin, LB, Bills

Dowtin had a great preseason and looked set to be a valuable backup and special teams contributor for the Bills this year. However, he played just 18 snaps on defense and did not make any impact and then was released after a disastrous game on special teams in week five where he was blocked out of seven separate special teams plays, including four where he ended up on the ground. Dowtin worked out with the Patriots earlier this week.

Shonn Greene, RB, Titans

Greene has been injured for most of the season, playing just 21 snaps in total. Until last week, he had just five carries for 20 yards, but he ran for 38 yards (on nine carries) and a touchdown and caught a 28 yard pass in last week’s game. Chris Johnson typically plays about 80% of the snaps, so it remains to be seen how significant of a role Greene will have the rest of the way.

Josh Brown, PK, Giants

Brown started off the year 4-for-4 but then went four straight weeks without a made field goal. He did only attempt two though. He’s been 8-for-8 over the last two games, but I don’t think any Jets fans will be disillusioned with the decision to let him go, based on how well Nick Folk has been kicking.

Spencer Lanning, P, Browns

Lanning only lasted three days with the Jets last year, as they opted to go with Robert Malone instead. This year, the Jets let Malone go early in the year, for Ryan Quigley. Lanning’s gross average has been slightly better than Quigley’s, but his net is worse. This is mainly due to the fact that he has allowed 250 return yards – 5th most in the league.

Yeremiah Bell, S, Cardinals

Bell looked finished towards the end of last season as he was a step slow in the last few games of the season, having been solid up to that point. However, he’s been starting with the Cardinals and has been doing a solid job with them, working in tandem with rookie Tyrann Mathieu (aka the Honey Badger). The Cardinals often don’t bother to change personnel when the other team goes three or four-wide, simply playing with one safety and using Mathieu and/or a linebacker in the slot. Bell obviously is usually the deep safety in these situations, but also comes into the box to play as an extra linebacker on running downs. Bell has 47 tackles, an interception and three passes defensed, but has given up a league-leading six touchdowns in coverage, although that’s because he’s been playing more man-to-man this year. He’s already been targeted 35 times, after being targeted just 27 all of last season despite starting every game and missing just one snap in the first 15 games.

Paul Cornick, T, Broncos

After clearing waivers, Cornick landed on the Broncos practice squad. He has remained on there all season.

Dan Muir, DT, Raiders

Muir was a great pickup for the Raiders last month, after an excellent preseason campaign with the Texans was cut short because he broke his hand. Muir joined the team two weeks ago and immediately had a sack and three QB hits in their win over the Steelers. He has three tackles in two games and has played a total of 59 snaps off the bench.

Everybody else is still a free agent, including Hayworth Hicks, Chaz Schilens, Jonathan Grimes, Ryan Steed, Tracy Wilson, Marcus Dixon and Martin Tevaseu. The one exception is Aaron Maybin, who recently joined the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts.

We’ll be back with a final update at the end of the season.




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