Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.comOn Friday, Jets head coach told reporters that it was “still too early to tell” if the secondary’s centerpiece player, Dee Milliner, would be ready to suit up against the Raiders for the first game of the season. With all questions about Dimitri Patterson and concerns at the team’s depth in the secondary, what can they do?
Keep more cornerbacks than normal — Normally, the Jets might not be able to afford to keep some extra players like Johnny Patrick and man-on-the-spot LeQuan Lewis. Brandon Dixon might have been a 2014 draft pick for the team, but if this secondary had to press two of them into service, right now I’d take Lewis and Patrick over Dixon by a wide margin. In other seasons players like Lewis and Patrick might feel the crunch. But after some commendable play in the preseason after being put in a tough position, the Jets might find a spot or two (and playing time) for players like Lewis and Patrick while they await Dee Milliner’s return to the field.
Sign one of the few veteran players left — We wrote about the “big” names left on the market a few days ago. Players like Asante Samuel, Terrell Thomas and Jabari Greer might all be looking to hook on with an NFL team … could the Jets be their next home? If the Jets were to bring in one older player, I would like adding Drayton Florence the best, who played last season with the suprisingly good Panthers secondary in 2013. There’s also the question of timing. Could the Jets sign one of these players after the first week of the season when veteran salaries are no longer guaranteed for the entire season? It’s possible, but it is an unecessary move for a team with around $20 million in cap space and serious concerns in their secondary.
Utilize the cutdowns — In past years, former GM Mike Tannenbaum would refer to this time of year as the team’s “minidraft” in which the team would use their prior draft grades from young players that were squeezed off rosters for one reason or another. Teams might have wanted to move on, or just send them to the practice squad and the Jets tried to take advantage. Some players that the Jets currently have on their roster that fit this bill are backup swing tackle Ben Ijalana, receiver Clyde Gates and former Packers running back Alex Green. While the level of player likely to get cut and added via waiver claims is dubious, depth might be the play for the Jets here. Two names that hit the radar that might fit the bill yesterday were Tommie Campbell and Brandon Harris.
Just wait it out — We fully believe that a healthy Milliner solves most of the problems the Jets are faced with in their secondary. It seems unlikely that Dee Milliner will be able to play at 100% before October, but if there is one saving grace in this whole thing it is that the Jets play the Raiders in Week 1 who have yet to determine who their starting quarterback will be for their first game eight days from now. Can the Jets whistle past the graveyard in Week 1? It’s possible, but that doesn’t mean the Jets won’t want to get Milliner back on the field as soon as they can thereafter with offenses like the Packers Bears Lions bearing down.