The Star-Ledger is reporting that the New York Jets will go into the 2009 season with WR's David Clowney & Brad Smith. Apparently, the franchise decided against drafting a wideout based on the feeling that these two could and would be their guys. According to the report, the Jets general manager, Mike Tannenbaum, and the organization feel either one, possibly even both, of these two young men have the potential to be big time contributors in the offense.
Didn't we just learn that Tannenbaum made calls to Drew Rosenhaus in regards to Plaxico Burress and his legal 'situation'? What about all the talk about seeking deals for the likes of an Anquan Boldin or Braylon Edwards? Something about this screams smoke-screen to me. After all, Mike Tannenbaum and the Jets have basically been lying through their collective teeth, not only to the media, but to fans as well.
Time after time, we were told there would be a QB competition for the starting job. Rex Ryan painted a pretty rosy picture for us at this years NFL owners meeting:
"I feel good about our quarterback situation. Everyone seems to think we have major issues there. I don’t think the situation is what people think it is. I think we’re going to be just fine. As I look at our offense, if we don’t have the best offensive line in the league, I think we’re certainly in that mix. We have one of the best offensive line coaches in the league, if not the best, in Bill Callahan. That’s a great foundation right there.
We have two Pro Bowl running backs in Leon Washington and Thomas Jones. We have a former Pro Bowl fullback in Tony Richardson. We’ve got a great receiver in [Jerricho] Cotchery. We’ve got a tight end that scares the heck out of defenses in Keller. I think we’ve got plenty of weapons on offense. I’d like to be the quarterback for those guys." - Rex Ryan
The reality was that the Jets were working the phones trying to land Jay Cutler, flying out to Manhattan Kansas to work out Josh Freeman all while schmoozing Mark Sanchez. Later reports have them planning on making a play for Mark Sanchez as early as March. Now the organization would have us believe that David Clowney & Brad Smith, two players who have had seriously limited playing time, will round out our experience challenged receiving corps?
Like many of you, I believe that Jericho Cotchery has earned the right to start but as far as Chansi Stuckey, David Clowney & Brad Smith are concerned, I am not entirely convinced they are quite ready for prime time. Out of the three, I am inclined to lean towards Stuckey. While he has all of 2 starts under his belt, Chansi did show some excellence early on last year. Let's not even mention Marcus Henry in this discussion...the Jets certainly aren't saying much about him. All in all, this team needs to find a replacement for Lavernues Coles and don't you believe for one second that the Jets don't know it.
In light of the over-all game plan to run the ball down everyone's throat, a defense stretching, play-maker is of the utmost importance. According to reports out of ESPN, head coach Rex Ryan wants to implement a 'no more than 30' passes per game scheme. Basically, he wants to mimic the scheme that brought Ravens head coach John Harbaugh success with Joe Flacco in Baltimore. The Ravens and Joe Flacco were 11-2 in games where he threw the rock 30 times or less in the 2008 season. I love the plan but no running game can be successful until you have an established air game. That's just football 101.
Dave Hutchinson reports that his sources claim the Jets plan going into training camp will go something like this; if neither Clowney or Smith steps up during the offseason program and the mandatory June minicamp, the Jets will then seriously consider trading for a veteran wide receiver or signing a veteran off the street. I would look for the Jets to make a play for Braylon Edwards. Edwards is certainly the kind of player who commands respect from opposing defenses. Don't count out moves for Plaxico Burress, Anquan Boldin or even Marvin Harrison who is still floating around out there.
I'm not too sure how I feel about the possibility of having a Plaxico Burress on the team. He is certainly a dynamic player who would bolster our offense from day one. An honest to God difference maker, he definitely has the on field experience I would love to have around my younger less experienced players. I wish that was all there was to consider when talking about Burress. His well documented insubordination and recent legal woes make him a bitter pill to swallow. I find it hard to believe that he and a man like Rex Ryan could have a successful working relationship. I mean seriously...does Ryan look like a man who jives well with prima donnas? Me thinks not. Having said that, it will be hard to let him slip away if he is eligible and available to us. He's that good.
No team in the league would pass on Boldin if they could afford him and I'm sure the team from NY will cast their lot in that lottery should Arizona not find a way to keep their man.
One way or the other, I suspect the Jets will make at least one more major move for a wide receiver before the start of preseason play.
Xander Diaz is Editor-In-Chief for AFCBeast.com