The top of the Jets receiving corps is going to look much different than it did just a year ago. What can we expect out of the Jets players and how they’ll be utilized? The key is in their skillsets.
5’11” 192 lbs // Age: 27
Report: Holmes has gets to top speed quickly and is one of the best in the league out of his cuts making him an extremely elusive receiver who can get open with ease. Holmes has deep speed and his ability to stay in control at speed make him a legitimate deep threat. Not the biggest, strongest, or most physical receiver, he does his best work on the perimeter of the field: outside the numbers or behind defenders.
Potential Usage: Schottenheimer loves to attack defenses in a triple tiered method (shallow, middle, deep) often flooding one side of the field to create chaos for secondaries. With that in mind, look for Santonio to often run middle and deep routes on passing plays. He’s the team’s best fastest receiver, and he’s equipped to burn secondaries deep. Of course, Holmes and Sanchez have a great chemistry and work well on slant & post patterns too, so expect to see Holmes run those routes often in critical down & distance scenarios.
Size: 5’10” 197lbs // Age: 37
Report: If the Jets had to find a current NFL player to get replicate Cotchery’s (historical, let’s call 2010 an aberration) skillset, Mason is as good an approximation as was available on the market. Mason has excellent hands – even for a receiver and catches a high number of balls thrown his way. Mason is a master of disciplined route running, with fluid movement and some quickness out of his cuts; a fact that has allowed him to be so productive this late into his career. Mason is not a big-play WR and can’t stretch the field and like Cotchery was, he’s more “quick than fast.” Because of his size and his lack of ability to separate, he isn’t the most physical receiver and gets catches based on his route running skill, discipline, and veteran smarts.
Potential Usage: Derrick Mason was a security blanket for Joe Flacco in the past three years as a Raven. For that very reason, one writer at Baltimore Beat Down thinks that’s why the Ravens might have moved on from Mason. While I don’t wholly agree with the sentiment, I think there’s some merit to the Ravens parting ways with Mason. Mason runs the short routes very well, specifically the curl, so he’ll be useful to the Jets in situations where the Jets need to keep the chains moving, or need a specific number of yards for a first down or the next play to get a first down. Mason is not at this point a playmaker, so while he can be a reliable target, he’s not going to be streaking uninhibited down the sideline for an 80 yard score. Look to see him out of the slot working the middle of the field at shorter distances, or on the edges on quick flats, or coming inside on longer developing drags.
6’5” 232 lbs // Age: 33
Report: While he’s not played in over two years, Burress was always known as a physical receiver, willing to get hands-on with a defender, a large presence who can push off smaller corners in coverages, easily absorb a defender’s hit and has an uncanny knack for knowing where his defender is at all times to get a few extra yards. Burress has great body control, uses the sidelines to his advantage, and is a solid “high-pointer” as a receiver, bringing down many passes on the edges of the field or in the end zone. Burress isn’t great at moving past initial contact if hit in the act of catching, and his lack of speed keeps him tangled with corners and relying on his jumping and physical gifts to catch passes.
Potential Usage: The Jets will have to analyze just what Burress is capable of doing on the field before they find a role for him, but his style is in contrast to both Holmes and Mason, so look for him on longer developing routes, and routes on the sidelines or in the red zone as a target who can jump over his defender to make catches.