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Posted 27 Feb 2014Phil Simms never is shy about offering an opinion, and the CBS NFL analyst expressed a few Wednesday on this year's class of quarterback prospects to NFL.com columnist Adam Schein on SirusXM's Mad Dog Sports Radio.
The most interesting opinion: "I think if Geno Smith was in this draft class he would be the number one guy, without question."
Yes, Simms is saying that he thinks a quarterback who went in the second round in the 2013 draft is better than any quarterback in this draft. And remember that three quarterbacks -- Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater, UCF's Blake Bortles and Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel -- potentially could go in the top four in the '14 draft.
Not surprisingly, Simms -- who spent 14 seasons as the New York Giants' quarterback -- had thoughts on each of the top three. Here are some of those thoughts.
(Keep in mind that Simms admitted that "I haven't watched them on coaches' film." He also opined in October that "this 'unbelievable' quarterback class that is coming out -- it is not going to be unbelievable.")
» "It would concern me, and a lot, that he ran a 4.68 at the combine. ... The 30-inch vertical jump? I know it's a vertical jump but, I hate to say it, it bothered me. I expected more explosion. If you're going to be a scrambling, move-around quarterback, I think that's a pretty important thing -- to be explosive and to do these things."
» "The style of play? Does it worry me? Oh, sure it does. Because nobody can play that free and easy in the NFL."
» "The Russell Wilson comparison. ... Russell Wilson is more explosive. He's naturally bigger and stronger than Johnny Manziel. They're not even close in arm strength."
» "He's probably the one I want to watch more than anybody. I saw Blake Bortles play, maybe, I'm going to say five games this year on TV. ... I just didn't think I was looking at potentially a top three or four pick in the draft. I just didn't see that."
» "Yeah, of course, I liked his size [Bortles measured 6-foot-5 and 232 pounds at the combine] and all that. ... At least you have that."
» "The arm from Blake Bortles -- I just don't see him as a, so far, maybe I didn't see it, got to couch it because I said some of these things about Andrew Luck, that I didn't see great throws when he was at Stanford. Boy, I see a lot of them now in the NFL, that's for sure. So he could be one of those guys."
» "I have question marks about him, too. The arm. What is Teddy Bridgewater going to be? You tell me. What does he do that's going to drive him over the top in the NFL as we think of quarterbacks?"
» (asked to characterize Bridgewater's arm) "I'll characterize it, NFL, middle of the pack. ... Solid arm. When I say middle of it, I'm taking about all the quarterbacks in the NFL. It's just an average power arm or whatever."
On the overall quarterback class
» "I think this is a tough class to judge to say there is a true, without question, franchise quarterback ready to be drafted."
Posted 7 Feb 2014What's changing?
Rex Ryan returns, but some notable veterans are likely to be shown the door this offseason. Expect the Jets to make a push to upgrade their woeful skill position talent on offense. On defense, there is room for improvement once you get beyond an excellent D-line led by Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson, the 2013 Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Biggest free agents
» RT Austin Howard: Howard isn't a stud, but he brought stability to a position that had been a major issue for the team in recent seasons. Howard started all 16 games and didn't get Geno Smith killed. He's a liability as a run blocker, but the Jets could do worse (cough, Wayne Hunter, cough).
» OLB Calvin Pace: Pace set a career high with 10 sacks this past season, and plays a position where the Jets have little depth. That said, he'll be 34 in October and is unlikely to repeat his '13 production.
» RG Willie Colon: Another 16-game starter that helped bring stability on the right side of the Jets' line. ProFootballFocus.com ranked Colon 36th among 81 qualifying guards in 2013.
Other key free agents: K Nick Folk, TE Jeff Cumberland, S Ed Reed, TE Kellen Winslow and OL Vlad Ducasse.
What they need
The Jets have went defense on their past five first-round draft picks. That's about to change. It won't be a surprise if New York -- in desperate need for a playmaker -- takes the best available wide receiver off the board with the 18th overall selection. The Jets could also be players for free agent Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker, who's coming off a career year.
Finding competition for quarterback Geno Smith is also a priority, whether or not that be through the draft or locating a veteran in free agency.
On the way out?
» CB Antonio Cromartie: Cromartie is coming off a down season and carries a $14.98 million salary cap charge. He said himself he believes he could be a cap casualty next month, though he later took the statement back. A healthy Cromartie -- he battled a hip issue this season -- could still be a solution in a thin secondary. He'll have to be open to a pay cut, however.
» WR Santonio Holmes: With the exception of his impact 2010 season, Holmes has been a blight for the Jets. They'll save $8.25 million on their cap by cutting the mercurial wide receiver loose. They won't look back.
» QB Mark Sanchez: Believe it or not, Sanchez actually still makes sense on this roster as a veteran who can push Geno Smith. But too much has transpired over the last 24 months to justify keeping the erstwhile "Sanchize" around.
The Jets will gain cap space but cutting the quarterback and Sanchez will get what he desperately needs -- a fresh start.
Offseason crystal ball
Holmes and Sanchez will be history. Cromartie could be back. The Jets have some cap flexibility for the first time in awhile, and we can see them making a splashy move in free agency to add a playmaker (Woody Johnson loves the back page, after all.) Idzik's challenge will be to plug holes with under-the-radar impact players the way his former team in Seattle did so deftly.
The Jets shouldn't be fooled by their 8-8 season. It took a lot of luck to be an also-ran. Some pieces are in place, but there's still much work to be done.
Posted 1 Feb 2014Im picking Denver. But I think this game can go anyway.
Posted 9 Jan 2014New York Jets tight end Kellen Winslow has been charged by East Hanover (N.J.) police with possession of Fubinaca, a synthetic form of marijuana.
The incident occurred Nov. 19, eight days after Winslow's four-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances expired.
Winslow is charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance, a third-degree offense. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.
"We are aware of the situation," a team spokesperson said Thursday, via the New York Daily News. "This is a pending legal matter and we will have no comment."
This arrest is a substance abuse issue, which doesn't fall under the same umbrella as his October suspension.
It's not known if Winslow is already in the NFL's substance abuse program for previous offenses.
An impending free agent, Winslow's status with the Jets is up in the air. The arrest won't help his chances of re-signing after spending the entire 2012 season out of the league.
Posted 1 Jan 2014The New York Jets aren't ready to commit to Geno Smith.
General manager John Idzik made that clear during the team's end-of-season news conference.
"We're all excited about having Geno as part of the Jets, but we will always look to improve every position in any manner we can and that doesn't change going into 2014," Idzik said, via the New York Daily News. "We'll look at quarterbacks. Yes, we'll look at quarterbacks."
Smith won the starting job in training camp by default after Mark Sanchez suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in the team's third preseason game. Smith started in all 16 games in his rookie campaign, finishing with 3,046 passing yards, 12 touchdown passes, 21 interceptions and a 66.5 passer rating. He added six rushing touchdowns.
Smith went through extended periods where his play held the Jets back or took them completely out of games. It's almost certain the rookie would've been benched if the Jets had a better backup option than Matt Simms, an undrafted free agent with little NFL upside.
"He's a very resilient young man," Idzik said of Smith. "For him to start all 16 games, go through the highs and lows of an NFL season and just to see him develop as a player, see him handle a game, see him be more efficient in the pocket, his accuracy, threatening with his legs, all of the things that he did, they were very positive."
The Jets' quarterback depth chart will look very different in a few months. Sanchez almost certainly will be gone. Ditto for David Garrard. Signing a veteran quarterback who will challenge Smith this summer makes the most sense, a move that also will free up Idzik to use the draft to address the dearth of playmakers on offense.
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