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Posted 5 Oct 2014m.espn.go.com/nfl/story?storyId=11646779
QuoteTension may impact Brady's future
Chris Mortensen [ARCHIVE]
ESPN | October 5, 2014
Tension exists between Tom Brady and the New England Patriots' coaching staff, and multiple sources told ESPN that they believe it could influence whether the quarterback finishes his career with the team that he has led to three Super Bowl titles.
Two sources told ESPN that former rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was drafted as Brady's successor and the move could happen "sooner than later." No source suggested that "sooner" would mean a change during the 2014 season.
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
Tom Brady may not finish his career in New England because of tension between the star quarterback and the Patriots' coaching staff, according to sources.
Much of Brady's frustration relates to the downsizing of the Patriots offense that stems from questionable personnel decisions and the retirement of longtime line coach Dante Scarnecchia after the 2013 season, the sources told ESPN.
With Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins being traded before the season, the line now coached by Dave DeGuglielmo is so inexperienced that Brady's input into game plans, personnel groups and pre-snap adjustments has significantly diminished.
One team source told ESPN that a conservative approach is necessary and said everyone needs to be patient to allow the team and staff to get on the same page. Brady's declining performance also has been cited internally, a source told ESPN.
Nevertheless, the circumstances have affected Brady's confidence and performance, sources told ESPN, and the Patriots have had little success providing the talent needed to execute the team's previous approach -- a complex scheme that can change dramatically on a weekly basis.
The team's draft history also is under fire. The Patriots have used 11 draft picks on receivers since 2002 and only two -- Deion Branch and former college quarterback Julian Edelman -- have made any impact. The signing of Danny Amendola as a slot-receiver replacement for Wes Welker has proven to be a failure, too.
Even though Patriots coach Bill Belichick chuckled when asked Monday night about Brady's status, more than one source told ESPN that "nobody is untouchable."
Brady has stated publicly he wants to play another four or five years, at least. Sources close to the quarterback told ESPN that remains true but acknowledge that his career may end with another franchise unless Patriots owner Robert Kraft intercedes.
Posted 5 Oct 2014I'll just leave this here
Number of downloads: 19
Posted 1 Oct 2014http://www.ganggreen...-jets-trade-for
QuoteThe Jets aren't scoring, especially in the red zone this season. That's the biggest reason why they're losing games and have a 1-3 record a quarter into the campaign. Getting their hands on a play making wide receiver could change this teams fortunes dramatically.
Before we get into the arguments about which need is greater, I think we can all agree that the Jets have pretty big needs at both wide receiver and cornerback, as well as some other positions. Outside of the defensive line and perhaps running back, it is difficult to identify too many positions where the Jets are not in need of some substantial upgrades. So if we argue that the need at cornerback is greater than the need at wide receiver, or vice versa, this is not to say that the other need doesn't exist or isn't very urgent. It's entirely possible to have multiple urgent needs.
Given the needs of the Jets, which need is greatest? It seems to me the need is pretty clearly greatest at cornerback. What is the evidence supporting that position? Let's get to it.
Since September 1 the Jets have signed and/or released the following cornerbacks to or from either the active roster or the practice squad:
53 Man Roster
That's 12 separate transactions at the cornerback position in a single month, including multiple guys who have been going up and down between releases and signings like yo-yos. It would appear from this record that the Jets are pretty desperate to find somebody who can competently man the position.
Now compare this to the record at wide receiver:
53 Man Roster
It's pretty clear from this record that the Jets have been much more desperate and thus much more active in trying to plug the holes at cornerback than they have been at wide receiver. This isn't definitive evidence that the need is greater at cornerback than at wide receiver, just suggestive. We'll continue to build our case.
The Jets currently have eight wide receivers on the active roster compared to four cornerbacks and one safety turned cornerback. Even if Nelson ends up on injured reserve the Jets still will have seven wide receivers and five cornerbacks. Seven wide receivers is a ridiculous number, particularly for a team that emphasizes the run. Seven wide receivers guarantees some will be inactive every Sunday, because no run oriented team will use seven wide receivers in a game, even if two are return specialists. In contrast, as long as Rex Ryan is the coach, cornerbacks will always be crucial to his defensive schemes. The Jets have only five cornerbacks on the roster, and one, Dee Milliner, is always injured, meaning the Jets have been limited to four cornerbacks on game day most weeks. If even one goes down in a game, the Jets will be down to three cornerbacks and won't even be able to run standard dime coverage packages without bringing in yet another safety to do a cornerback's job. Clearly there is a major roster imbalance right now, with excess spots being taken up by back of the roster wide receivers who won't even be active on game day, while the defense is hamstrung by a lack of bodies at the cornerback position.
Still not convinced? That's OK, we're just now getting to the real crux of the matter, and that's quality at each position. First let's look at the quality available at cornerback.
For most of the year the Jets have started career backup Darrin Walls and converted safety Antonio Allen at the two outside cornerback positions. That sounds pretty bad on paper, but of course it's possible guys can step up when called upon and exceed expectations. So how has the Jets pass defense held up with these guys? Not so good it turns out. In terms of quarterback rating against the team, the Jets currently rank 6th worst in the NFL at a whopping 104. That quarterback rating is good enough for Hall of Fame induction if achieved over the course of a career. The Jets are also 2nd worst in the NFL in passing TDs allowed with 9, trailing only the Eagles at 10. The Jets are 4th worst in TD % allowed, and tied for worst in the NFL with the Saints in interceptions and interception percentage with zero. No matter how you slice it the Jets cornerbacks have been getting shredded. Yes, the safeties and linebackers have contributed to the mess, but the cornerbacks are the first line of defense, and anybody who has seen the Jets cornerbacks play knows they have been inadequate in the extreme.
Of course, the supposed number one cornerback has been missing due to injury and is on track to return this Sunday, so things could turn around quickly, right? Well, maybe, but I wouldn't bet on it. First, Milliner has been injury prone both in college and in the pros, so there is a good chance he won't be back for long. Second, and perhaps more importantly, it is highly questionable just how much Milliner adds to the equation even when healthy. Dee spent a large majority of his rookie year being burnt on a weekly basis. He was among the worst starting cornerbacks in the NFL last year. Yes, he had a mini run at the end of the year where he seemed to turn the corner. But coming into camp this year he was healthy and still getting burned on a daily basis by the Jets' less than awesome wide receivers. In the brief glimpses we have had of Dee in 2014 he has at times looked decent and at other times looked horrible. Counting on Milliner to solidify the defensive backfield might pan out, but it is pretty likely that it won't, whether due to injury or just plain poor play. If Milliner pans out the Jets still have one gaping hole at the other cornerback position and a couple of safeties who are below average in providing a last line of defense to cover up for any inadequacies. If Milliner doesn't pan out the Jets have no competent cornerbacks and a couple of safeties who are poor in pass coverage. Either way the Jets have huge inadequacies in the defensive backfield which a proven cornerback would go a long way toward solving. Contrast that with the situation at wide receiver.
At wide receiver the Jets have one proven upper tier player in Decker, a guy with multiple 1000 yard seasons on his resume. The Jets also have Jeremy Kerley, a proven slot receiver who, while hardly elite, is a proven NFL quality receiver who has some playmaking ability. Other than that the Jets are thin at the position, but Greg Salas looked decent subbing in for the injured Nelson last week and might actually prove to be an upgrade there. More importantly the Jets tight ends have quietly performed reasonably well so far this year, having combined for 20 catches and 222 yards in the first 4 games. That's on track for 80 catches and 888 yards from the tight end position, competent if not earth shattering numbers that will likely rise as Amaro takes on a more prominent role. Now I know we're talking about wide receivers, not tight ends, but the point here is that in the receiving game you can to some extent substitute tight ends for wide receivers if your tight ends are decent, thus mitigating any need at the wide receiver position. Contrast this with the situation at cornerback, where you can't really substitute other guys at other positions very well, Antonio Allen notwithstanding.
In summary, though both needs are pretty big, the need at cornerback is greater than the need at wide receiver. The Jets themselves have scrambled like crazy trying to fill the need at cornerback, while pretty much leaving wide receiver alone, indicating they see a bigger need at cornerback. The roster is currently imbalanced in favor of wide receivers to the detriment of cornerbacks, even though Rex has historically carried a lot of cornerbacks. The cornerback position is so bare the Jets have been forced to play a converted safety there. The cornerbacks have been getting torched at a rate at or near the worst in the NFL. There currently isn't a single proven starting caliber cornerback on the entire roster. Contrast that with the wide receiver position, which has at least two proven starting caliber receivers in Decker and Kerley. Finally, the quietly decent play at tight end can help to compensate for any deficiencies at wide receiver, as the Jets can choose to go to more two tight end sets if a third reliable wide receiver can't be found. In contrast, there really are no other players on the Jets' roster who can compensate for the deficiencies at cornerback, and in fact the Jets are dangerously close to not even being able to field a standard dime package in pass coverage. The needs at both positions are pretty apparent, but there is little doubt the need at cornerback is greater than the need at wide receiver.
What Position Should the Jets Trade For?
Wide Receiver (I agree with Rich)
Cornerback (I agree with Smackdad)
Neither (Stand pat)
VOTE view results
Posted 30 Sep 2014
QuoteFollowing last season's strong finish, the New York Jets would have never imagined they would find themselves in a do-or-die position this early in the season. Not only were the Jets outperforming expectations with a young roster, but they were primed to make huge leaps in the talent spectrum with an abundance of cap space in draft picks to work with.
Instead, Rex Ryan finds himself trotting out the same undermatched team that is not much, if at all, more talented than the one Ryan was touted as some type miracle worker for just reaching an 8-8 record. Only his boss, general manager John Idzik, is to blame.
Free of the shackles of bloated contracts leftover from the previous regime, Idzik was careful in how he allocated his resources—too careful. He deserves some credit for keeping the future in mind when he turned down one free agent after another, but the Jets are now finding out why so many teams have a difficult time restraining themselves in free agency.
Idzik's idealistic approach to building a team that can sustain success in the long term with bargain contracts is turning out to be just that—idealistic. Maximizing value is important, but at some point, paying the sticker price for a player is needed to avoid the ugly losing streaks the Jets find themselves in.
Rich Schultz/Getty Images
DeSean Jackson was one of many players Idzik turned down.
Even with over $40 million in cap space to work with this offseason, the Jets have hardly improved in areas that were already among the worst in the league. In truth, Idzik added just one proven, high-level free agent to his struggling offense (Eric Decker), and the results on the field directly reflect Idzik's inaction.
The Jets are not just losing—they are losing for the exact same reasons they were losing last year. $40 million in cap space and 12 draft picks later, and the Jets are still trying to feed the ball to the likes of David Nelson and Greg Salas.
Outside of Decker (who has been in and out of the lineup himself), the receiving corps is hit-or-miss at best. Even the usually dependable Jeremy Kerley was limited to just one catch in Sunday's loss. The Jets have rid themselves of the Stephen Hill headache, but no one on the roster has yet to justify the Jets' decision to part ways with their talented receiver prospect so early in his career.
Meanwhile, Idzik never made a serious push to sign another free agent outside of Decker. As ESPN New York's Rich Cimini noted, he balked at the idea of bringing in DeSean Jackson, ignoring the recommendation given from offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg (who coached Jackson in Philadelphia).
On the other side of the ball, the secondary is held together with the strength of off-brand masking tape. The team's top cornerback, Antonio Allen, was playing safety just over a month ago.
Without Ryan's innovative idea to move Allen to cornerback (or the play of undrafted Darrin Walls), the Jets secondary would somehow be in even worse shape than last year's group that ranked 22nd in pass defense.
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
Idzik was applauded for parting ways with Dimitri Patterson after he mysteriously did not show up to the third preseason game against the New York Giants, but Patterson was penciled in as a starter at the start of training camp. Having to cut Patterson on the eve of the regular season only exacerbated the on-field problem.
Idzik may have had a philosophy of not overspending in free agency, but let's not pretend that this 1-3 team is what he envisioned back in March. Idzik whiffed on far too many free-agent negotiations to suggest that this offseason was a part of some type of master plan.
Idzik goofed multiple times. And those within the walls of One Jets Drive know it, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports.
Idzik planned on leaning on his draft class for good reason—with a dozen picks at his disposal, the Jets had more than enough ammunition to make an aggressive move up the draft boards. Idzik certainly tried to get into a more premium position on the draft board, but once again, his stubbornness and unwillingness to cater to the market left his team empty-handed.
Now, Ryan and his coaches are forced to work with a draft class that is, by most standards, entirely useless.
Jets' 2014 Draft Class
Round Player Position Status
1 Calvin Pryor S Starter
2 Jace Amaro TE Second String
3 Dexter McDougle CB IR
4 Jalen Saunders WR Waived
4 Shaq Evans WR IR
4 Dakota Dozier OT Third String
5 Jeremiah George ILB Claimed by Jaguars
6 Brandon Dixon CB Claimed by Buccaneers
6 Ik Enempkali OLB Third String
6 Tajh Boyd QB Free Agent
7 Trevor Reilly OLB Second String
A 1-3 start is much easier on Idzik, who is virtually guaranteed employment into next season because of the long-term nature of his position, than the coaches, who are fighting for their livelihood each week. Ryan and his coaches need to win now—Idzik just needs to win eventually.
Coaches are always at the front lines of criticism, and Ryan will be the first man out the door if their record does not turn around in a hurry. However, blaming the men on the sidelines for the numbers on the scoreboard is about as responsible as blaming a dog for eating the chocolate you left on the kitchen floor.
Ryan and his staff have not been perfect, and neither have their players, but the Jets have not lost three games in a row because players are underperforming. The Jets simply do not have the firepower to beat teams not named the Oakland Raiders, nevermind making a deep playoff run.
These results would have been much easier to accept a year ago when Idzik had the excuse of the hangover from the previous regime to fight through. Now, expectations are too high to think that anything less than a winning product is acceptable, just as owner Woody Johnson declared back in March:
There is no how-to manual for how to be a general manager of an NFL franchise. Idzik is finding out the hard way that building a sustainable winner in the NFL is much easier said than done.
Idzik certainly deserves to have a chance to redeem himself and learn from his mistakes. Unfortunately, if the Jets do not turn things around in a hurry, a lot of coaches and players will lose their jobs in what will be a costly on-the-job lesson.
Posted 30 Sep 2014profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/09/29/jets-release-fourth-round-pick-jalen-saunders-sign-t-j-graham/
QuoteJets cut fourth-round pick Jalen Saunders, sign T.J. Graham
Posted by Josh Alper on September 29, 2014, 2:59 PM EDT
The Jets removed fourth-round pick Jalen Saunders from the punt return job after he muffed a punt in the team’s Week Three loss to the Bears and then left him inactive for Sunday’s loss to the Lions.
Now they’ve dropped him from the roster altogether. The Jets announced Monday that they have waived Saunders and signed former Bills third-round pick T.J. Graham to take his place on the depth chart at wide receiver.
Saunders was one of three wide receivers that the Jets drafted in May, but none of them are on the roster right now. Fourth-rounder Shaq Evans is out for the year after having shoulder surgery and sixth-rounder Quincy Enunwa is on the practice squad, which is exactly what the Jets didn’t need from three rookies at one of the weakest positions on their roster.
The failure to draft and develop wide receivers has been a problem for the Jets for more than a decade as only Jeremy Kerley (2011) and Jerricho Cotchery (2004) have become productive players for the Jets since they drafted Santana Moss in the first round of the 2001 draft. General Manager John Idzik has only been responsible for the last two years of futility, but changing it would be a good way for him to quiet grumblings of discontent about his job performance.
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