The Expendables: Seller's Remorse?

I take another look around the league at some of the guys the Jets got rid of since the end of last season, to see whether there are any early indications that these releases could prove to be shrewd moves or disastrous mistakes on behalf of both the Jets and the new teams for the crop of ex-Jets. If you missed part one, click here.

I’ve watched a ton of preseason football and been searching for articles and blog posts about our former players and I’ll share my findings after the jump.

Disclaimer: Yes, I know, it’s only preseason and the results and performances often prove to have little correlation with regular season production. Still, I can look for positive and negative signs, so that’s all I’m trying to do here.

Let’s get things started with a guy whose career was said to be in jeopardy about nine months ago…

Leon Washington

4-19 rushing with a touchdown and caught one pass for six yards

Leon did not handle kick return duties and only played in the second quarter, but made an immediate impact with his touchdown run, which I’m sure most of you have seen by now. His other four touches netted 14 yards, but there were other encouraging signs, as he slipped out of a tackle on an 8 yard run that was negated by a hold and also saved Matt Hasselback from being sacked with a great blitz pick-up on Nick Collins.

What they’re saying:

…the 11-yard touchdown run Washington got off in the second quarter to pull Seattle into a 14-all tie with the Packers was a nice piece of running through a tough Green Bay defense that still had the first-teamers on the field.

Jay Feely

1-1 FG’s, 1-1 PAT

Feely made a chip shot field goal and an extra point and also put all three of his kickoffs into the endzone. He did overpursue in kickoff coverage, badly missing a diving tackle to set up a 60 yard return too, though.

What they’re saying: Not a whole lot.

Kerry Rhodes

Started, 4 tackles, 1 pass defensed

Rhodes was again mostly employed in center field again, but had a much busier game than last week, with four tackles and a pass broken up at the goalline. He was badly beaten by a tight end coming across the field for a 30 yard gain though and had a bad missed tackle deep downfield after a long pass. One of his tackles came as he was backpedalling and almost tripped following a long run up the middle, but was just about able to bring his man down. He still wasn’t aggressively attacking plays, as two of his tackles were of the “fall on the pile” variety. Another came after he wasn beaten for a short catch in the flat. The pass breakup was a good read, but a horrible throw that would have landed at the receiver’s feet.

What they’re saying:

Kerry Rhodes should have assuaged some fears about replacing Antrel Rolle at safety. Rhodes broke up what would have been a touchdown in the red zone.

Alan Faneca

Started, Arizona starters went three and out on first three possessions

The left side of the line is still struggling as it doesn’t seem that Levi Brown and Faneca are completely on the same page. On more than one occasion, they blocked the same guy and a rusher came free to get pressure on the QB. Faneca was easily beaten on the first series on third down. On the next series, he blocked nobody, then turned his back and a guy ran right by him and got a big hit on the QB. On the third series, he tried to repel the pass rush by giving his guy a big shove, but he just bounced off and got pressure round the edge. He did display some strength to stop an inside move after his man got a step on him, but that could have been called a hold and he wasn’t getting any kind of surge in the running game and was driven backwards once. There was one play, in pass protection, where I’d say he did a good job, but even that was an incompletion. As I said last week, Faneca is a notorious slow-starter though, so you can’t read too much into this.

What they’re saying:

The line appeared to miss some blocks, and the Cardinals rushed for minus-4 yards on three attempts in the first quarter.

Thomas Jones

Started, 8-29 rushing with one lost fumble and caught one pass for two yards.

Not great stats for Jones and a terrible start as he had the ball poked out on a run up the middle with his first carry and then dropped a pass. However, he did convert three short first downs, including one through the air. He didn’t break any tackles, but did cutback through a big hole to pick up 8 yards for his longest carry of the day. He celebrated almost too much after that play though, I must say.

What they’re saying:

It’s not been a stellar preseason for Jones, who has been outplayed as a runner by both Jamaal Charles and Dexter McCluster.

Marques Douglas

No stats recorded

Douglas failed to make any impact whatsoever this week as the Jags did a good job keeping him well away from the quarterback and he didn’t get near any ball carriers either. It looked like a frustrating game for him, but I’ll say this: He was working his tail off, chasing lost causes and so on.

What they’re saying:

DE Jared Odrick [has] reportedly locked up [a] starting job … for the Dolphins barring a meltdown over the next two weeks … [He] has remained ahead of veteran Marques Douglas on the depth chart.

Marques Murrell

Started, two tackles, two pressures

After a promising start against the Saints last week, Murrell struggled to make any kind of impact this week. He didn’t make any major mistakes, but was beaten by Tony Gonzalez for an easy first down and wasn’t impressive against the run. His two pressures were the result of the Falcons leaving him unblocked and throwing a quick pass, as Atlanta did a good job of keeping him in front of them and getting rid of the ball quickly. He was mainly matched up against Sam Baker and did manage to spook him into a false start. That was probably his biggest contribution.

What they’re saying:

The OLBs, paper thin in the depth department, didn’t have an overly impressive night. Marques Murrell and Derrick Burgess started and didn’t get much pressure on QB Matt Ryan, allowing him to have the time to hit his check-downs.

Note: I have not watched last night’s game yet.

Wallace Wright

One catch for six yards, one special teams tackle

Wright didn’t start this week, but did record his first catch of the preseason, running a nice square-in route, but coming up short of the marker on third down. He had plenty of chances to shine on punt coverage, but only made one tackle. It was a good one though, gettting downfield quickly to hold Jim Leonhard to a short return with a big hit.

What they’re saying:

Wright always had the work ethic, but he said he learned how to be a professional with the Jets … Jets receiver Jerricho Cotchery was a positive influence on Wright. Cotchery showed Wright how to be a professional through his actions on and off the field. Wright said he modeled his actions after everything Cotchery did.

Donald Strickland

Came off the bench and played nickelback or slot corner. No stats recorded

Despite missing time during the week, Strickland returned to his nickelback role. He blitzed once and was picked up easily and was only thrown at once, with Miles Austin beating him on an out pattern on third and short, but then dropping the pass.

What they’re saying:

CB Donald Strickland returned [to practice on Thursday] after missing time with a hamstring injury.

Lito Sheppard

Started, no stats recorded

This game was pretty baffling, because Lito got loads of reps but the other team again did not bother to test him. When they finally did, Dominque Ziegler had a 15 yard catch on a post route where Lito was literally 6 or 7 yards off him the whole way. Ted Ginn had a 65 yard catch and was initially Lito’s man, but Ginn ran across the field and Lito stayed in zone coverage on his side of the field rather than running deep with him, so I don’t think that was his fault.

What they’re saying:

The early returns on [Chris Cook] are good, and it looks like he might be pushing for a starting job. I mean, when your primary competition to replace an injured Cedric Griffin (Lito Sheppard) gets burned by Ted Ginn and the third string QB, you look better in the eyes of the coaches.

Howard Green

Came off the bench, 1 tackle

I’m not convinced Green is going to make the team, since the Redskins already have Golston, Haynesworth and Carriker at DT, which may be of relevance after the injury to Pitoitua. He didn’t exactly shine though, being part of the rotation with the threes and actually seeming to get most of his reps at DE, making one tackle from behind after the runner burst up the middle for four yards. Also, he has the same number as rookie offensive lineman Trent Williams. I know that you can have two guys with the same number in College Football, as long as they are never on the field together, but I’ve never seen it in the NFL before. It can’t be a good sign that the Redskins won’t give him his own unique number.

What they’re saying:

[In practice] Rookie center Erik Cook released too early on a screen pass to the right, allowing NT Howard Green an easy path to QB Richard Bartel. It would have been a sack.

Others

Remember when the Jets dumped Clint Stitser, who had been brought in to compete with Nick Folk earlier in the offseason? He did kicking duties for the Seahawks this week, hitting a field goal and three extra points. However, I think this is a temporary thing, because they were resting regular kicker Olindo Mare’s ailing calf. As for James Dearth, he didn’t get any playing time this week and Nick Sundberg had another solid game, so he may yet come available (although Tanner Purdum hasn’t been a problem in the two games so far.)