In honor of the Jets starting OTA's tomorrow, I thought I'd wrap up everything that's gone down since off-season workouts began.
- After New York signed David Garrard, and used a second round draft pick on Geno Smith, the writing seemed to be on the wall for Sanchez. Previously, reports surfaced that the Jets might be content to cut Sanchez before the season, and let Smith and Garrard battle it out.
- Fortunately for Sanchez, David Garrard has left the Jets, and will be forced to retire after a recent flare up involving his knee. Mark Sanchez went from potentially not making the Jets 52-man roster, to effectively sealing his place on the team.
- Sanchez will still have to prove that he is better than Geno Smith in order to be the Jets Week one starter, but that’s a lot closer than he seemed to the job just a few weeks ago.
- So far, the Jets seem to like what they have in Geno Smith. After watching him practice for just three days during Rookie camps, Rex Ryan has already praised Smith’s arm strength and feel for the offense.
- Geno took a lot of heat for the way he acted during his slide in the draft, and many wondered if he could handle the spotlight of playing in New York. After Smith fired the agent who represented him through the draft, those criticisms grew louder. It now seems that Smith is considering signing with Roc Nation Sports, the sports agency owned by Jay-Z.
- High profile New York athletes like Victor Cruz and Robinson Cano have already signed with the agency, so Geno’s interest in them should only be seen as a positive. Jay-Z is one of the Big Apple’s brightest stars, and to attach oneself to Jay-Z, means to attach oneself to New York. After a rocky start, Geno Smith appears ready to take on the spotlight.
- After suffering through two seasons of the plodding Shonn Greene, Jets fans rejoiced when New York traded a fourth round pick to New Orleans for Chris Ivory. It seems that Jets fans aren’t the only ones excited by Ivory’s potential. Recently, CBS Sports Insider Jason La Confora mentioned Ivory as a breakout player to watch in 2013. Ivory hasn’t been handed the No. 1 running back job, but he is used to competition. In New Orleans, Ivory had to fend off the likes of Reggie Bush, Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram to get carries. The Jets are far less loaded at running back, and Ivory likes his chances to contribute.
- "I think it does give me a better opportunity," Ivory said. "It was just a tough situation over there. We all had our roles. It's just tough to fit four backs in a system."
- During the 2012 offseason, Joe McKnight was given a chance to win the Jets staring running back job. He took that opportunity about as seriously as his first NFL training camp, where he infamously showed up so out of shape, that he was reduced to vomiting during workouts. McKnight had a reduced role during the 2012 season, and now it appears as if he’s a candidate to get cut.Even though McKnight has failed to improve as a player over three NFL seasons, he wants everyone to know that he plans on remaining a Jet.
- "I don't care who they bring in. They're gonna have to kill me to take my spot," McKnight said after a recent team workout.
- When the Jets signed Mike Goodson on March 15, to a three year, $7 million contract, they hoped he could be a big contributor in 2013. However, after a recent arrest involving marijuana possession, Goodson might not even be a free man this season. Even if he avoids jail time, the Jets would be wise to sever ties with the troubled back. What a shame, this guy could have been at least, the Jets third down back this season.
- Marcus Davis was claimed off waivers by the Jets on May 14th. Davis played his college ball at Virgina Tech, and spent some time with the Giants this off-season before being cut. Davis has fantastic size, and his 6'4, 230 pound frame is definitely NFL ready. Unfortunately, Davis isn't much more than an athletic body, as he often struggled to catch passes in College. Antavious Wilson (WR) was cut by the Jets in order to make room for Davis.
- Rogers was the slot receiver at Tennessee last season, even though he was extremely productive, he was often overshadowed by NFL studs Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Peterson. Despite having two fend off two 1st round picks for targets, Rogers was still able to make plays, as he finished the season with seven touchdowns. Rogers has already drawn praise from the coaching staff, from Rex Ryan in particular.
- "The guy that stood out at receiver was this young man from Tennessee, I thought he stood out, Zach Rogers, No. 15, he caught a lot of balls out there, slot receiver, I saw him return punts, and he did a good job on the special teams drills as everybody watched, you know, breaking down, form tackling, things like that, so he looked good", Ryan said.
- After the Jets let Dustin Keller walk, many fans and pundits alike thought that New York would address the position in the draft. When that didn’t happen, attention was turned to the current TE’s on the roster. Jeff Cumberland, Chris Pantale, ouch. The Jets did address tight end finally, when they signed undrafted free agent Mike Shanahan. Shanahan played receiver at Pittsburgh, but his size and skill suit him best as tight end. He probably won’t see the field this season, but could be a factor in 2014.
- "I think I had a chance to be an H-back type of tight end and be able to still run routes and do a lot of catching more than blocking," Shanahan said. "I think that's what my niche would be, but I'd still be willing to get in there and block."
- "I think (tight end is) where the direction's headed, and I kind of sensed that."
- In preparation for the position switch, Shanahan put on between 10 and 12 pounds to get above 240. He has the potential to add more or to shed the weight he's already gained if a team does want to try him as a receiver.
- There’s no denying it, Vlad Ducasse has been a bust for the Jets. After being selected in the 2nd round of the 2010 NFL Draft, Ducasse has struggled to adapt to the fierce competition of the NFL. Vlad was drafted by former-GM Mike Tannenbaum, so he will need to really impress the new management if he wants to keep his roster spot. At this point, he’s no more than a backup.
- "It's now or never," Ducasse said. "It's pretty much a year for me to do what they drafted me to do."
- Last season, the Jets offensive line play was pretty bad. At times, it looked down right atrocious. Despite the sacks and butt fumbles, the Jets offensive line graded out as the 16th best in football in 2012, according to Pro Football Focus. That’s far from impressive, but not quite the terrible unit that some have made it out to be. The Jets were not content to sit on an average offensive line, and loaded up in the draft.
- After the Jets drafted Geno Smith in the 2nd round, they did the smart thing and gave him some talent up-front. In the third round, the Jets selected Brian Winters. He wasn't a top offensive line prospect, mostly because he doesn't have the measurables to play tackle, but he has all the makings of a great NFL guard.
- The Jets didn't stop there, and spent their 5th and 6th round picks on Oday Aboushi (OT), and William Campbell (OG). Campbell was a defensive tackle at Michigan, but will make the transition to offensive line in the NFL. Campbell has great size at 6'5, 311, and has shown the potential to grow at his new position. He's still very raw, and projects as a versatile backup for the time being. Aboushi brings athleticism to the Jets offensive line, and could see time as a swing tackle. The Jets want to bring in more outside rushing packages for Chris Ivory, so perhaps Aboushi has a place in the starting lineup one day down the line.
- On the same day that the Jets signed Mike Goodson, they also brought in Willie Colon on a one year deal. Colon graded out as a top 15 run blocking guard last season, and the Jets recently announced that they expect him to be their starting left guard. Colon is far from elite, but is a solid replacement for Brandon Moore.
Lookout for the Defense edition, I'll try to get that posted before Training Camp officially starts.