Quote: Willie Colon on Brian Winters

“I never grade anybody until the pads come on. I’ve played enough football to know a guy will be great in shorts and he’ll look like a superstar – and come August, you can’t find him on tape. But Winters, just from a physical standpoint, you can tell he’s put on muscle. He looks so quick. He’s athletic. He runs really well. That’s all the signs you want to see from a young guy.”

Jets guard Willie Colon on fellow Jets guard Brian Winters as he heads into his second season (Source: Star-Ledger)

Jace Amaro

Jace Amaro ‘looked lost’ at minicamp

The Jets second-round TE Jace Amaro “looked lost” at minicamp, according to reporter Rich Cimini (ESPN, July 15).

Amaro needs to make a “host” of adjustments to a professional system, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said recently (Cimini, June 24).

Still, Amaro is likely ahead of TE Jeff Cumberland in most pass packages (Cimini, June 17).

“We’re deep and talented at the tight end spot,” Mornhinweg said in June. “That’s going to be an impressive position for the New York Jets for years to come.”

Previously: Amaro isn’t the only rookie TE trying to keep up with NFL playbook (TJB, July 2)

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com


Rookie tight ends take time to adjust to the NFL game.  Even more nowadays with the implementation of the “F” receiver.  See the link above from July 2nd for more thoughts of mine on the matter.

Amaro played in a simplistic spread offense in college and much more is going to be piled on him now in the new scheme.  The F is a dynamic role in any given play. Other than quarterbacks, the F might have the toughest job in reading the defense and playing the right role or route accordingly.

With the addition of Amaro, the Jets now have a very solid group, but one that needs time.  Cumberland’s career trajectory might be flattening out, but Amaro provides a longer-term boost to the group while Zach Sudfield rounds out a solid third spot after flashing some solid play for the Jets in 2013 following his late addition and his stint with the Patriots.

Daily Links: 51 Days Until Football

  • Rotoworld ranks Jets’ pre-camp roster No. 26 in NFL [NJ]
  • Colon wants to try broadcasting when his NFL career ends [Star-Ledger]
  • Jets Roster Predictions: Pre-Training Camp [Pro Football Spot]
  • Donovan McNabb: Playoffs for the Jets [The New York Jets]
  • Ex-Jet writes op-ed about paying student-athletes [Vice Sports]
  • Karl Dunbar: The Man Behind the Jets’ Defensive Line [One Jet at a Time]
  • ‘Snacks’ no longer a secret for Jets, still a weapon [NY Post]

Jets not interested in Andre Johnson

The Jets are not interested in trading for wide reciever Andre Johnson (Dyer, July 14).

Trading for Johnson “is not something we are actively pursuing,” a Jets executive said.

Johnson is quite adamant about getting out of Houston, even talking retirement from the NFL. He is likely going to hold out from Houston unless he gets a raise, or dealt to another team.

“Clearly Andre is a special player, but special players come at a price,” the executive said. “Right now, with the direction the team wants to go, it isn’t the best fit. While he is a tremendous talent, he would hurt a lot of cap flexibility.”

Jets running back Chris Johnson recently exuberantly proclaimed that he would be on board with the Jets making such a move.

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

We wrote in-depth about the Jets and Johnson just a few days ago (TJB, July 12), so see more there.

In short, Johnson is a certain upgrade to what the Jets depth chart, but the cost in money, draft picks and roster impact seems to be more than the team is willing to take on.

TJB Hall of Fame: Ken O’Brien

We kick off Hall of Fame week today with the first of our tribute articles. Look out for more over the rest of the week. For the first time ever, we decided to let you choose the first of our TJB Hall of Fame inductees for 2014. The winner, with 30% of the vote, just three votes ahead of Chad Pennington and six votes ahead of Vinny Testaverde was Ken O’Brien.

Bent, TheJetsBlog.com

My first introduction to NFL football was a Jets-Dolphins game in 1986 that just so happened to be one of the finest performances of Ken O’Brien’s career. O’Brien out-duelled Dan Marino that day, as me and my Dad – who had been in North America when Joe Namath won the Super Bowl – rooted for the Jets. Who knows where I’d be without that performance?

At the time, I knew nothing of the way Marino’s shadow was destined to always hang over O’Brien, following the decision of the Jets to draft him over Marino in 1983. Jets director of player personnel, Mike Hickey, was a man with a reputation for over-thinking picks and trying to hard to outsmart everyone. True to form, he had decided to take the relatively unknown 6-4 kid from a small school in California rather than the golden boy from Pitt who had somehow fallen into the Jets’ laps at 24 amidst unsubstantiated rumors of recreational drug use and a poor wonderlic score.

Marino would go to Miami three picks later, with the Jets bearing the brunt of the media’s criticism for letting him slip through their fingers. While many other teams had passed on him too – including his hometown Steelers, who needed a replacement for Terry Bradshaw and five other teams who drafted first round quarterbacks – it was the Jets that were the easiest target, especially after O’Brien sat out all of his rookie season and most of year two. With Marino already setting records by that stage, albeit while making the most of being able to join a top team with a Hall of Fame coach, the Jets unsettled quarterback system made missing out on him even worse. The fact he was lighting it up with a divisional rival would add further fuel to the fire.

However, O’Brien would finally get his chance and went on to enjoy a successful career with the Jets, where he currently sits in second place in virtually every passing category (apart from interceptions, where he is third). He would attend two Pro Bowls, lead the league in passer rating and get the Jets into the postseason three times over the course of a Jets career that saw him pass for over 24,000 yards and 124 touchdowns.

While he would play his entire career with Marino’s sceptre looming over him, facing off against Marino typically brought out the best in O’Brien, who won more times than he lost (8-7) against Marino with the Jets. That included some of the better performances of his career and – with Marino being one of the most enjoyable opponents to beat in franchise history – that’s as good a reason as any to pay tribute to O’Brien today.

To read more of this story, click here

Plaxico: Vick will be opening day QB

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

There’s no question that Vick was brought in to provide a better safety net than Mark Sanchez or Matt Simms could.  It was the absolute right decision for the Jets to bring in Vick to help provide better depth for a team that sorely needed it at almost every position on offense in 2013.

That said, in a perfect world the Jets want Geno to win the job and pulling the rug out from under him — before he takes snaps against the trainwreck that is the Raiders — seems like a very long shot to me.

It’s a bold prediction by Plax, but Geno Smith would have to have an atrocious training camp and preseason for him to be benched in favor of Vick before the start of the season.

Predicting the future? Looking at ESPN’s Future Power Rankings and the Jets

As we begin the heavy lifting over the next two weeks in preparation for training camp and the 2014 season, here’s ESPN’s future power rankings run by their top analysts with panels to grade specific areas of all 32 NFL teams from roster composition, quarterback, the team’s drafting history along with front office and coaching. Last year, the Jets were at the back of the pack when ESPN analysts ranked the team. This year the team was ranked 22nd by ESPN.com, which are designed to determine teams positioned for success over the next three seasons.

The breakdown, with five categories ranked on a scale of 10 points (2013 grade in parentheses) and then weighted was as follows:

  • Roster — 6.0 (3.8)
  • Quarterback — 7.0 (3.2)
  • Draft — 7.1 (5.3)
  • Front Office — 7.4 (5.0)
  • Coaching — 8.8 (3.7)

Compared to last year, there’s not a single grade that went down.  The team’s talent is better, the quarterback position is more stable with Sanchez gone and Smith being backed up by Mike Vick.  The team has done a great job in the draft, coming away with a number of starters in Idzik’s first year and potential playmakers again in the team’s second year.  There’s also more confidence in the front office and coaching staff.

We’ll take the comments from the ESPNers in snippets and then add our two cents after each section:

The overview: The Jets’ coaching outlook improved 20 spots, from last to 12th, which ties with the Jaguars’ drafting leap for largest year-over-year gain in any single category. It’s not that Rex Ryan suddenly rediscovered how to coach; it’s that his ability to go 8-8 with a struggling rookie QB led to a contract extension that could help him stay with the team for the longer term. The team’s coaching outlook is better now that Ryan is no longer considered a long shot to keep his job. The Jets ranked between 20th and 28th in every category other than coaching. That isn’t great, but the team did gain ground in every category since the past offseason. The lack of optimism over Geno Smith stands out, but the Jets did rank ahead of Minnesota, Buffalo, Houston and Tennessee in QB voting. –Mike Sando

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

As a reminder, Sando recently posted an article (ESPN, July 3) in which Geno Smith was ranked dead last among starting quarterbacks the NFL.

If there was any perceptive jump on the Jets coaching, it has less to do with Rex Ryan and more to do with another coach.  No offense to Ryan, but we believe that a large part of the regained general league-wide confidence in Ryan stems from the savvy hiring of Marty Mornhinweg as the team’s offensive coordinator.  With MM in the house, Ryan didn’t have to manage the likes of Tony Sparano or Brian Schottenheimer.  Mornhinweg demonstrated that he is fully capable of running an NFL offense and did his best to help an with the team’s obvious talent concerns at the skill and quarterback positions.

Not to beat a dead horse, but Bucky Brooks had an excellent summation of Brian Schottenheimer and his failures so far as a coordinator on the ATL podcast (NFL, June 6 start at 25:30 mark), saying that “great play callers … take the strengths of a quarterback and they find a way to recycle those same concepts over and over again by giving you window dressings with formations and motions.”  Instead, Schotty recycled window dressings to set up plays that would break the tendency of prior plays — it’s betting on the play call rather than the strength of the player and it’s the exact opposite of how Rex Ryan runs his defense and as I’ve seen so far from Mornhinweg, the way he runs his offense.

To read more of this story, click here

Jets Nation: Talking Twitter

Brian Custer and Ray Lucas answer Twitter questions from fans on Jets Nation.

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

On Stephen Hill, I agree with Lucas.  Coples and Wilson’s roles are defined and they should perform well in those based on past play.  Hill on the other hand has had trouble staying healthy and GM John Idzik might not feel compelled to wait for him, despite his comments (TJB, December 15, 2013) to Hill at the end of last season when he told the receiver that “we have a plan for you.”

On Vick, there was a reason that the team brought him in favor of keeping Mark Sanchez or finding another player.  If Geno can’t get off to a quick start and play well against four of 2013′s middling-to-bad defenses, there should be no shock if Vick sees playing time.

As far as the defense, up front there should be no concerns about the team’s abilities.  With the addition of Calvin Pryor and Dee Milliner’s scorching hot play at the end of 2013, they seem to be poised for a better season than they saw a year ago with an obviously injured Antonio Cromartie and poor coverage unit at the safety spot.