Elster's World

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

What It All Means

Sorry about the flurry of posts abut the Jets, but so much has happened since free agency began last Friday - it's been positively dizzying. So you need to bear with me while I try and sort this all out in my own head.

Since Friday, the Jets have added 2 interior offensive linemen, a nose tackle and a pass rushing 3-4 linebacker. In other words, they have spent gobs and gobs of money to shore up the two weakest parts of the team - the lines.

From left to right, the Jets will now trot out D'brick, Faneca, Mangold, Woody and Clement to protect the quarterback (more on that later) and open up holes for Thomas Jones and Leon Washington. Assuming Faneca still has enough left in the tank (and presumably while he isn't the same guy he was when he was 27, 28, he still has something left in the tank), this should solidify the left side of the line. Bringing in Damien Woody to play with Clement means the right side is much stronger as well. Assuming he isn't cut, Brandon Moore provides needed depth at the position.

UPDATE - The Jets axed Clement today, meaning they plan on playing Woody at right tackle. So much for the above paragraph.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Jets are slotting Jenkins in at nose tackle, to play along side the Big Cat (Ellis) and defensive end X (perhaps Dewayne Robertson - the trade with Cincy fell through and with his size and quickness (when he tries), he wouldn't be a terrible option if they can re-do his contract). If Jenkins is healthy, happy and engaged (all big ifs), he could be the nose the Jets 3-4 scheme has been desperately seeking since the switch. Sione Pouha and Kenyon Coleman (assuming he isn't cut) provide decent depth at best.

At linebacker the Jets look to go Linebacker X, Barton, Harris and Pace across. Pace and Bryan Thomas are the same type of linebacker (rushing type, not guys who can cover tight ends) so this might spell the end of Thomas' career with the Jets. He's a bit too expensive to be a backup. Bowen will be gone too. Despite Team Tangini's talk of depth, Jets seem a bit bare at linebacker still.

The quarterback position is still a mess. Certainly, the line should be much better this season at keeping either Clemens or Pennington upright, but the choice at quarterback remains Pennington or Clemens - one is too raw and the other still has a weak arm. With the additions the Jets made through free agency, the quarterback position is the most glaring weakness on the team right now.

The signings mean the Jets can draft less for need and more for talent with their picks. I don't believe Darren McFadden will be around at 6, but if he is - go get him. I think the Jets might be better served trading down a bit to get a few more picks or maybe a corner or speed receiver - available a bit lower down in round one.

All in all I like the moves the Jets made - especially Jenkins (a good calculated gamble - and his contract is not nearly as bad as originally thought), Faneca (sure they overpaid, but what choice did they have? They needed him) and Woody. I think they totally overpaid for Pace but to be honest, I don't know anything about him. Perhaps they could have gotten more value drafting Vernon Ghoulston, but time will tell.

On some level, these moves smack of a bit of desperation - desperation on Team Tangini's part, knowing that they have to win now or they will be jobless next January and desperation of an owner, Woody Johnson, who is sick of watching the Patriots and now worse, the Giants, bringing home the glory. Maybe the Jets needed this kick in the pants to succeed - and certainly the Giants super bowl win has taught us you don't need to be a perfect team to win - so with a few breaks and a good draft, this could end up working out great.

If not, the Jets just saddled themselves with a number of bad contracts.

Let's pull for the former.

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