The Rundown: CB Ras-I Dowling making his case

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

The Jets are no strangers to reclamation projects.  Over the lats few years the team has picked up players like Aaron Maybin, Jarron Gilbert and Marcus Dixon.  On the roster currently are Jaiquawn Jarrett, Jermaine Cunningham and Ras-I Dowling.  

Jarrett quietly established himself as a backup for the Jets in 2013.  Cunningham has seen some time in the nickel pass rush package this spring (TJB, June 6) due to Antwan Barnes’ ACL recovery.  Lastly, cornerback Ras-I Dowling is playing well and impressing the coaches in practice.

Could the former Patriot be another darkhorse candidate as a contributor to the Jets defense this year among a deep group of corners?

Dowling was signed by the Jets as a practice squad player last October after being cut by the Patriots coming out of camp.  Dowling was taken with the 33rd pick in the 2011 draft by the Patriots, but was injured in both 2011 and 2012 and has injury concerns that date all the way back to high school, with PFW going as far to call him “snakebitten.”  For that reason, it might be hard for Dowling to get over the injury issues that have hindered his career, but it is his instincts, size, athleticism and ability to jump a route that made him a Patriots second round draft pick in the first place.

So far this spring, Dowling has had some good moments according to Dom Cosentino of the Star-Ledger.

Cosentino wrote this about Dowling over a week ago.

During two different plays on Wednesday, he managed to stay stride-for-stride with both Eric Decker and Jeremy Kerley, preventing both from catching deep balls thrown in their direction.

Cosentino looks like he’s keeping a close eye on the former Patriot, who had another notable pass break-up this week.

[Dowling] did it again on Wednesday by getting a hand in to knock away a short slant Vick had thrown for tight end Jeff Cumberland. That said, Dowling was likely only playing with the starters because Dee Milliner sat out with hamstring tightness and Darrin Walls was absent for what Ryan called a “personal thing.”

While Dowling might not make the final roster, all he can do is take advantage of the opportunities that are being presented to him and do his best to stay healthy.  If Dowling can keep breaking up passes in practice it will lead to a long look at him come the preseason.  ESPN NY’s Rich Cimini wrote about Dowling Saturday stating that “if he stays healthy, Dowling could push for playing time in a sub package.”

Beyond the youth movement in the secondary, what makes cornerback particularly fascinating this summer is the training camp competition that looks to be setting itself up from the inside out.

As the team prepares for camp, there will be (1) additional experience for galvanizing players like Darrin Walls and Ellis Lankster, (2) a new hold-the-fort starter Dimitri Patterson from free agency, (3) Kyle Wilson’s last year under contract and (4) two new corners added through the NFL draft this unit.  This could be one of the best camp battles on the roster from top to bottom.

Ras-I Dowling might emerge as a viable contributor to this team or might never make it off the launchpad due to his injury history.  But until then, it should be fun to watch him compete in camp.




9 comments
jvsvn
jvsvn

A lot is going to happen between now and the start of the season (and throughout the season too). We we're having a similar discussion about Aaron Berry last year.  I agree that the open questions involve the starters, but the team deserves credit for trying to develop depth from any direction it may come from.  I think Mcdougle seems like a possible redshirt, maybe even starting the season on the 6 game IR. We'll need lots of bodies through out the season. Even if Dowling (or any of the other guys) doesn't make the final roster, it's very possible that any one of them could wind up on the roster at some point down the road. Cole and Trufant come to mind as guys who hung around for a while before finding a role n the field. 

harvlis
harvlis

Knowing that our defensive line is deep and stout, any depth that we have in our defensive backfield is a plus.  If the 33rd pick in the NFL draft can stay healthy and show why he was picked that high, we are that much better.  Go RAS!

juunit
juunit

Seems like a longshot to me. The CB depth is actually pretty solid, the issue has always been the starting CBs over this offseason. With Wilson, Walls, Lankster and two rookies almost assuredly filling the 3-7 CBs on the depth chart, I don't know where Dowling's roster spot is coming from. Yes, we could carry lots of CBs like we did with OL last year. But I think we're gonna be doing that at WR or even OL again.


Is he even eligible for the practice squad anymore? Maybe Dixon could go on the PS, but I'm not sure a 6th round CB who fell because he played D II is really likely to make it past all 31 other teams 53 rosters. Someone's bound to see his combine numbers and snap him up to fill out the bottom of their CB depth I'd think.

metjetnet
metjetnet

(miketaliaferro)

"... it should be fun to watch him compete in camp."

The single, greatest, all-time sentence written on ANY blog, let along this one, in years.

Remember "fun"?

Remember the joy of "watching" athletes compete?

It was bad enough seeing the ESPN-seeded sports media explosion, which turned reporters into "analysts" who unfortunately felt compelled to "analyze."

Later came all manner of comment sites, like ours here, which turned large segments of fans into NFL Coach Surrogates.

The death knell sounded with the first Fantasy Football league which turned a larger fan segment into Junior GMs, all across America, armed with stats which did little but buttress whatever rage against the NFL or team thing they had working.

So, instead of spending Sundays sitting back & watching the plans the leaders of our favorite team had come up with unfold, praying & clutching our "lucky" thing, toy, friend, icon to assure its success, we're all now giddily over-anayzing every micro second of game time, all season long, and every day of the off season, convinced we know better.

We've placed ourselves above the expertise of the men who get paid large sums to devise & execute a roster's make up or that week's plan.

We've turned from fans watching athletes compete, to micro-managers who can never be satisfied.

Sad.

Thanks for stating clearly, at least once, what the joy of the game really is, Brian.

levi
levi

It would be great if he stays healthy and can make an impact with the team if for no other reason than to give New England the one finger salute. I like the big physical CB's who can disrupt routes at the line.

Bent
Bent moderator

@juunit Dowling is still practice squad eligible.

Bent
Bent moderator

@metjetnet I literally published an article today where the first paragraph of the conclusion goes like this:


"While much has been written and speculated about Coples’ role and likely performance in 2014 and beyond, the proof is in the pudding and it will be exciting to see what he can achieve this season."