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Posted 23 Jun 2015For the third straight year, the Around The NFL crew will document the players we believe will be "Making the Leap" in 2015. This could be a player emerging from no-name status to a quality starter. Or it could mean an excellent player jumping to superstar status.
Geno Smith showed more last December than Derek Carr or Blake Bortles showed all season. He torched the Dolphins in a nearly flawless Week 17 game, but nobody noticed because the Jets' season was over in November. Nobody noticed because "Geno" is already a four-letter word in New York.There are different types of Making the Leap candidates. There are diamonds in the rough like Charles Johnson. There are guys like Le'Veon Bell last year, a great young player that we believed could develop into a true superstar. And there are guys like Geno, just trying to improve to "acceptable."Though he is only 24, it feels like the book has already been written on Smith because of his propensity for big mistakes under pressure. But after being viewed as a punchline for two seasons, Geno is now in a perfect position to develop into a midlevel starter who survives a full 16-game slate. After a brutal start to his career, that would be quite a leap.
What changed in December
Geno's lowest moment as a pro was the last memory most folks have of him. In an ugly Week 13 loss to Miami on Monday Night Football, Rex Ryan was so afraid of letting Smith actually play quarterback that the Jets only attempted 13 passes compared to 49 rushes. Rex told a national audience that he'd rather set offensive progress back 40 years than allow Smith to do his job.And then suddenly Geno started to do his job quite well. In the last four games, Smith completed 65 percent of his passes for 1,001 yards, six touchdowns, and two picks. He averaged 9.2 yards-per-attempt over that stretch, tied for best in the league. By the time the Jets played Miami again in Week 17, Geno was virtually flawless :
I re-watched each Smith snap on the coaches film from Game Rewind to see how he pulled off this turnaround. Here are my biggest takeaways :
1. Geno excelled over the final month because of his decision-making. His biggest issue as a pro has been panicking when under duress and throwing passes up for grabs. He's prone to the brain freeze. In the final month, Smith calmly found the open receiver. When no one was open, he made plays with his legs or got rid of the ball.
2. One huge reason that Smith made good decisions: He had time. The Jets protected Smith very well over the final month, which allowed him to show off his strengths. Smith has a strong arm and methodically goes through his reads better than plenty of his young contemporaries. A big question: If protection isn't so ideal in 2015, can he still excel ?
3. Geno got me fired up enough to write this because he owns skills that are difficult to teach. He has excellent pocket movement, buying time to attempt passes. Some quarterbacks never get that sixth sense in the pocket; Geno has it. He is not afraid to make difficult throws, aggressively pushing the ball down the field. He looks off defenders. The play below is an example of him stepping up in the pocket and taking a hit before delivering :
4. The Jets didn't ask Smith to do too much. He ran the offense and didn't take too many chances.
5. In Weeks 14-16, Smith played solid midlevel starter football. He mostly stayed out of the way. But in the season finale, Smith put together one of the best games by any quarterback all season, throwing for 358 yards on only 25 attempts. He threw receivers open and even his incompletions were on point. The game showed off his big arm and his touch.
The Gailey effect
December was fun and all, but Smith wouldn't make our list if not for the arrival of Jets offensive coordinator Chan Gailey. In previous stops, Gailey has turned Tyler Thigpen into a starting fantasy option, helped Ryan Fitzpatrick get a $60 million contract and coached a Jay Fiedler-led Dolphins team to finish eighth in points scored.Gailey accomplished all of the above by getting mediocre quarterbacks to play smart and get rid of the ball quickly. Smith has plenty of talent, and he certainly has the supporting cast. The Jets receiver posse -- Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, Jeremy Kerley, second-round pick Devin Smith and tight end Jace Amaro -- form one of the deeper groups in the league.Gailey has cooked up numbers with far less talent. His best offenses are similar to the one that Smith excelled in at West Virginia. It's almost like the Jets had a plan here.
We aren't making the case that Geno Smith will be a Pro Bowler. We do believe he has the skills to be a competent starting quarterback that holds off backup Ryan Fitzpatrick all season. He can be the type of guy that finishes in the top 20 of our year-end QB rankings. Those guys have plenty of market value.
To put it another way : Geno, like Alex Smith in Kansas City, will no longer be the guy to hold the team back. The Genocoaster in 2015 should more closely resemble a Swiss train, staying efficiently on schedule.
Did Jets Really Get The Most Value Out Of The Nfl Draft, Among All Teams ? ?...one Study Says Yes ~ ~ ~
Posted 12 May 2015We all know that grading an NFL team's draft right after it happens is a fool's errand, if you take such grading seriously.Still, after the Jets finished their 2015 draft earlier this month, we posted a couple "just for fun" lists of grades — here and here.
Really, though, you need two to three years to properly and accurately grade a draft class. So in addition to those 2015 grades, we also circled back and graded the Jets' 2012 draft.But what if there was a way, for 2015 draft picks, to assess the relative value and efficiency of a team's draft, beyond just arbitrary letter grades? Might we really be able to determine how well a team drafted, compared to the NFL's other 31 organizations ? No immediate draft grading system is perfect, of course, but RotoViz conducted a neat exercise after the draft. And it determined that the Jets got the most value out of this draft, among all NFL teams.
Following the Jets, in these ratings, were the Falcons, Bears, Jaguars and Vikings. The worst value grades went to the Titans, Panthers and Eagles, with Philadelphia coming in last. (Or maybe Eagles coach Chip Kelly just sees something the rest of us don't, as he scouts draft prospects.)
Here's essentially how RotoViz's analysis worked: The website used NFL.com's prospect scouting grades, in combination with where players were actually picked, to determine whether a player was picked above or below his expected slot.Now, this doesn't factor the necessary filling of positional needs into a team's drafting acumen. And naturally, teams' internal scouting of players isn't going to match up with NFL.com's ratings, even if teams are operating on the "take the best player available, regardless of position" method. The draft — as if you didn't know this already — is a subjective, unscientific process that is largely a crapshoot. It takes a lot of luck.
Considering all those caveats, RotoViz rates the Jets as having milked the most value out of this draft — largely because they picked defensive end Leonard Williams sixth overall and offensive guard Jarvis Harrison in the fifth round. In short, the RotoViz analysis concluded that both players should've gone higher, based on their scouting grades.A lot of people were surprised Williams fell to the Jets at No. 6. Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan basically said Williams was a no-brainer pick, once the Jets saw he was available. Williams was widely regarded as the most talented defensive player in this draft.Harrison is a more interesting, less-heralded potential value pick. It's likely that he fell to Round 5 because of concerns about his work ethic. By most accounts, he has the talent and physical attributes to play in the NFL. But is he willing to put in the work required of a starting offensive lineman in this league ?
When considering this question, Jets coach Todd Bowles offered a good summary of how teams weigh these risks, while attempting to maximize their value in the draft."Some games, [Harrison] played harder than others, but you can probably pull out any college player going into the pros that has done that at some point in time," Bowles said. "Jarvis is a big guy. He's not going to go out and run 400 meters in 47, 48 seconds. Obviously, the better shape he's in, the better he can play. He has a chance, for where we got him, to be a value pick. He has to show that he's more than that type of [lazy] player. We thought it was worth the gamble to take on him."
Posted 1 Apr 2015The New York Jets announced Tuesday they will conduct training camp this summer at their year-round facility in Florham Park, New Jersey, joining a leaguewide trend. Currently, 21 of the 32 teams hold training camp at their facility.
Starting in 2009, the Jets camped in Cortland, New York, where they trained at SUNY-Cortland. Former coach Rex Ryan, the driving force behind Cortland, liked the location because it allowed the team to get away from home and build chemistry. Under Ryan, they skipped only one summer in Cortland -- 2011 -- the year of the NFL lockout. That summer, they held camp in Florham Park.
But this is a new era, and Todd Bowles is looking to put his stamp on the team.
Team president Neil Glat said their hope is that staying at home will allow more fans to attend camp. In 2014, the Jets drew 22,500 fans in Cortland, according to a study. The study also determined that the Jets' presence in Cortland generated $4.6 million for the local ecomony over a three-week period.
"SUNY Cortland felt like home because of the tremendous local support we received during our time there," owner Woody Johnson said in a statement. "President Erik Bitterbaum and the university staff, as well as the families and businesses of Central New York, all went above and beyond to embrace our organization and create a comfortable environment for our team and fans. They always will be a part of our Jets family."
At one point, the Jets were leaning toward SUNY-Farmingdale on Long Island. The objective, it seemed, was to get back to the metropolitan area, trying to re-energize a fan base that became disgruntled with last season's 4-12 record.
The team hasn't announced the starting date, but it will be about July 28. There is no word yet on where the Green & White scrimmage will be held -- or if it will be held at all.
Posted 1 Apr 2015Source : Ryan Fitzpatrick brought to Jets with idea that he'll be Week 1 starter
He may not be ready for offseason workouts or minicamp but that doesn't mean that Ryan Fitzpatrick won't be squarely in the mix for the New York Jets come training camp.
Two weeks ago, general manager Mike Maccagnan said that a broken leg suffered last season means that Fitzpatrick likely won't be ready to throw until training camp. The resulting domino effect points to incumbent starter Geno Smith as well as third-string quarterback Matt Simms as the two quarterbacks who will enter the offseason receiving the majority of snaps. Fitzpatrick isn't expected to be back on the field until later in the summer.But a league source tells Metro that even if Smith has a “lights out offseason" the team still won't name a starter until Fitzpatrick is back.
There will be patience from the front office and coaching staff to see how the ace of the Wonderlic can recover from his season-ending injury last year. There's also a familiarity with this veteran quarterback as Fitzpatrick certainly has multiple ties to the team. Last year, he was with the Houston Texans where Maccagnan was the director of college scouting, and Jets offensive coordinator Chan Gailey was his head coach for a spell with the Buffalo Bills.
All of which means, in the words of the source, that Fitzpatrick will be given the chance to make a case for the starting job.“There is a familiarity with what he can do. He wasn't brought in just to backup,” the source said. “There's no need to rush him back. The Jets won't hurry to name a starter. This is a true competition at quarterback and 'Fitz' is going to get a chance to win the job.”
In fact, it might be more than just a chance to win the job.“He was brought in with the idea that he can start come Week 1,” the source said. “It isn't a lock, it isn't a guarantee. But he was brought in knowing full well that he can win the job and help win some games.“He was brought in and will be given the opportunity to win the job. No one is anointed this year. The best man will start and the Jets seriously think he can win this thing and be their starter.”
The source also confirmed a report from Metro in February that Michael Vick is not returning to the Jets.“The team has moved on from him,” the source said.Fitzpatrick suffered the broken leg in December and is progressing well.“He will be ready by training camp,” the source said. “He's making nice progress.”
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