JetsLondon – Week 2 Takeaways

It has been a while since I’ve posted here, so now I shall try to reignite this humble blog with a few of my favourite takeaways from week 2 in the 2015 NFL season.

The Underdogs

Week 2 saw many of the teams that most had either already written off or likely put down for a loss in their game line bets, but suddenly they went to prove everybody wrong and prevail in dramatic fashions. In recent years, can you remember the last time the Bucs, Jaguars, Raiders, Redskins and Browns all won their games within the same week? I couldn’t, till now. What this shows, whilst respectively being only two games in, is that you can’t write off any team in this league. Gutsy performances from Manziel and Winston didn’t go unnoticed and the Raiders choice to take Amari Cooper doesn’t look too bad either.

Cardinals flying again

This may be a somewhat bias takeaway due to Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald both being in my fantasy league team in week 2, but whilst being a good day at the office for me, it was also another outstanding one for the Cardinals. The duo may have a combined age of 67, but it doesn’t seem to be causing them any problems thus far. Palmer looks back to his best and everyone is wondering whether its possible those old knees can hold up? 4 touchdowns in only 185 yards certainly was impressive.

Disaster in Dallas

In week one Dallas saw recently well paid WR star, Dez Bryant have to leave the game early with a broken foot. With that being a potential lengthy absence even with the stud himself stating its day-to-day, matters were only made worst with another key pillar falling in QB Tony Romo (Broken collarbone). The length of Romo’s injury looks to be around the 8 weeks mark, making it another consecutive season with an injury for the franchise QB. Will Dallas look to backup QB Brandon Weedan to keep the Cowboys shooting, or will they look else where? I recall two fairly competent QBs leave East Rutherford recently(Matt Flynn and Josh Johnson), maybe they will get the call? Or maybe Dallas chose to rally up the Washington pen and pay a heavy ransom for a much lesser price bull? Who knows?

 Eagles clipping wings

Whilst Dallas struggling with injuries an old household favourite seems to also be struggling to take flight with his new team in Philly. Some may think Murray’s hurdle in week 2 may beg to differ this, although a stat recently revealed by ESPN shows that DeMarco Murray isn’t doing so well. Based on 21 rushing attempts Murray is 274 yards behind the mark he set last year in Dallas. Actually, 21 QBs have more rushing yards than DeMarco this season, one in fact being Tony Romo himself. Hopefully Philly and Chip Kelly can work this one out because last years offensive player of the year doesn’t seem best pleased and I quote: ” Give me the f****** ball”.

Brady

Brady: 466 Yards, 3 TDs. (754 Yards, 7 TDs)

In week 1 the AFC East was the only division to be 4-0 collectively, so when the Patriots were to face a pumped up Bills side it simply had to go one way or the other. Brady put on a real display against the Bills side that saw off the Colts. No matter how much we try to not think it, Tom Brady is the best at what he does. The Patriots secondary isnt in the best state and allowing a lot of yards and points, although Brady just heads back out there afterwards and turns it back in their favour. Unless he can be stopped personally, Patriots look to dominate this division once again and leave the rest in a frenzy to finish close by.

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Deon Simon makes it 7

Once the 7th round came, the Jets made Deon Simon, DT from Northwestern State their 7th player acquired that weekend (7 including DeVier Posey in Houston trade). Simon would go 223rd overall and quickly spoke out saying, “It feels good. I’ve been patiently waiting and I finally got my opportunity”.

The 24-year-old DT managed an impressive combine. Having recently come off a knee injury, Deon was still able to show great power and straight-line speed. Measuring in at 6ft 4 and 321 lbs, Deon went on to record a 5.12 40 showing he has good pace for a big guy. Later Deon benched in the top bracket of the 220-pound bench press, achieving 35 reps in total. At 35 reps, Deon’s lifts were to be the most among the entire defensive lineman tested at the combine. A number only tied by the ever explosive Vic Beasley.

Deon Simon draft

For a powerful player, its no surprise one of Simon’s strengths is to swallow up blocks on the run. Using his 33” hands well, the DT is described be potentially be a “commander of his spot” by draft analyst Lance Zierlein .

It’s these traits I’m sure Maccagnan and Bowles saw. If Deon can be coached to use his size more, he could become a useful weapon in Bowles’ defence. If Simon can build on his blocking strengths and help to release our star-studded backfield, his efforts wont go unnoticed. Another potential return off the gambles made on 7th rounder’s.

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Simon looks to improve on the only other Northwestern player drafted by the Jets, DB Jermaine Jones. Jones only managed one game for Gang Green, 3 in nfl total.

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@DaveBalcombe

Harrison for OL

The offensive line was always a position analyst and fans alike knew the Jets would address. Whatever round/s it chose to be, everyone knew it would be a sensible move. Anything the Jets could do to protect their QB was always going to be a priority. After all, that position is still more clouded than the sky I write this under.

The Jets reached the 152rd overall pick and their 5th rounder to select a single player for their offensive line. Maccagnan chose to call the name of Jarvis Harrison, OG from Texas A&M.

Jarvis-Harrison2 Harrison would become the 3rd heaviest player at East Rutherford, that behind TJ Barnes and David Harrison. Weighing 330 lbs and 6ft 4, Harrison certainly has the frame to play guard in the NFL, although we mustn’t forget Maccagnan did sign Carpenter in free agency and re sign Willie Colon back to New York.
Harrison may have to compete with as many as 4 players for the guard position (Carpenter, Winters, Aboushi, Dozier).
This may be a challenge as the first concern to arise was Harrison’s work ethic. People do consider him a possible pro bowl talent, but it’s known his love for the game is lacking. Its apparent he likes basketball more than football, so our offensive line coach Steve Marshall may have his work cut out. Overall, he has the physical and technical traits to perform at the level required, lets see if he plays ball.

Jarvis Harrison ball

@DaveBalcombe

Who’s Petty Now?

After some great decisions in round 1-3, the New York Jets didn’t slow up going into the 4th. Maccagnan made an intelligent trade down in the 3rd to gain an OLB in Mauldin at 82nd overall, plus a WR and three extra picks from Houston. Therefore, the Jets went into the 4th with the 5th overall pick of the round and 5 remaining picks there after.

Maccagnan had already been making a strong name for himself. Selecting consistent BPA players, whilst also filling many needs at the franchise. It’s been a sure site to see for all Jets fans. As its known, we’ve been used to rather uninspiring drafts in the past. The Mauldin trade confirmed the Jets’ confidence to trade down and still succeed, but what hadn’t been seen yet was Maccagnan trading up to bag a target.

Macca war room

By the time the 102nd pick was selected it was Jacksonville up next. It was to be then Maccagnan would make his move. The Jets were only selecting one pick after, but Mike said after the selection, he heard his target was in high demand, so he pulled the trigger. The Jets would make a trade with Jacksonville for the 103rd pick overall. They chose to select Bryce Petty, QB from Baylor and send their 104th overall pick plus a 7th rounder at 229th overall to the Jags. From that moment Bryce Petty was officially a Jet. Going QB in the forth, Jets will see Petty join the current QB battle containing projected starter Geno Smith and contenders Ryan Fitzpatrick / Matt Simms.

Bryce 2

Bryce finally comes into the NFL at the age of 24 years old. He spent his final two years at Baylor as a college graduate, having waited for his turn behind Robert Griffin III and Nick Florence, gaining his spot in 2013. Last year Bryce was a contender for Big 12 player of the year, having recorded 3,855 yards, 29 TDs and only seven INTs.
Petty was subject to much media attention being considered a member of the 2nd tier QBs, that behind Winston and Mariota. He joined the hot competition competing with Hundley, Mannion & Grayson. Garrett Grayson was to be selected the 3rd QB overall by the Saints. No doubts a sit and learn role waiting for Brees to retire. This is a similar short-term future most analysts consider for most of this class. Petty I consider no exception.

2nd teir qbs - Petty

Maccagnan did not select Bryce to be starting Week 1. Coming from a Baylor spread offence he joins the list of players having to adapt to NFL pro style offences. A transition being considered close to a coins flip. Take our current QB Geno Smith for example. He came from a spread offence in West Virginia and two years into the Jets, he’s still got much to learn.
Geno is most likely the projected starter in 2015. Of course subject to Ryan Fitzpatrick’s challenges having played for Chan Gailey before. This almost certainly gives Bryce a year on the bench. But, if he’s smart, I’d suggest a year in the classrooms and playbooks too. A duty some have recently questioned Geno for and maybe a mistake causing his lack in progression.

Bryce running Either way, Bryce does show good upside. He has the size of a NFL QB. Not so big that he’s chained to the pocket, but enough to show a late penchant for a scramble. He was complemented for his leadership at Baylor and that would be no bad thing for a QB going pro. What I like most is his arm strength and deep ball accuracy. Having been drafted beside a new deep threat talent, perhaps Petty and Devin Smith can have a lot of fun in years to come. Hopefully resulting in countless yards and TDs. Fingers crossed.
So to conclude, taking Petty any earlier and I may have questioned this selection, but taking him in the 4th could be considered a steal. Lets see how his transition develops and lets hope for the best. If Geno can’t reach the bar, maybe we have a potential franchise QB in Petty. After all, stranger things have happened.

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@ DaveBalcombe

Mauldin’s maudlin tale

Not long after the New York Jets selected WR Devin Smith, I chose to cave in and go to sleep. Yes, that is a call for sympathy. Please feel sorry for the UK fans, we’re trying. Thankfully, this did turn out to be a good call. The Jets were due to select at 70th overall, however that pick didn’t take place.

Jets GM Mike Maccagnan, who was already having a stormer in this draft, sort to trade away Jets 3rd round pick, choosing to listen to offers from Houston, his old stomping ground. They striked an agreement and what an agreement it was!
By sending the 3rd pick, 70th overall to Texans, in return the Jets received Texans’ 5th Rounder, 6th Rounder, 7th Rounder and WR DeVier Posey to boot. I’m not sure about everyone else, but that’s some deal, especially in the third round!

Devier

To recall, the Jets went into this draft 2 draft picks down due to moves made in free agency. Now, thanks to the trade, they can potentially pick 9 players in total! 9 draft picks! 9! That on top of the players already acquired, like Revis, Cromartie, Marshall, Ridley and Fitzpatrick, all now in green and white. That’s some going for our first timer GM!

At the time of the trade there was still potential ‘Jet players’ on the board. Players like Harold and Gregory were linked to the Jets to fill the proclaimed need at pass rush. So when the trade was confirmed, fans may have disliked the option, but once you’ve considered the returns like the ones I’ve just mentioned, i’d find that hard to believe. Maccagnan clearly left Houston on good terms and also maybe with a few favours left to reclaim. Stunning work.

Soon after the pick, the Jets went to select from the Texans 3rd round position of 82nd overall. They chose to take a flier on Lorenzo Mauldin, OLB from Louisville.

Mauldi 3

Although, it wasn’t till after when most people, including myself, learned the heart-breaking story of the young linebacker. My fellow Euro Jet @Biffarujet was the one to introduce me to Mauldin’s story.

Lorenzo had a tough life at home. He often had no parental guidance to turn to and him being oldest sibling, he’d take it upon himself to raise him, his brother and sister. By the age of 10, he was essentially running the family and one day at school, Lorenzo and his siblings were taken out of class and put into child protection, on grounds of neglect.
Lorenzo then went into the foster system. He was bounced around many homes, often separated from his siblings. It was football that would be the source of inspiration that would pull him through and later save him.
Nowadays football can overwhelm the best of players, but Lorenzo was one to stick it out. He’d leave games to an empty parking lot and go home to all his other responsibilities.
With the stats stacked against him, Lorenzo was informed foster children are just as likely to become a professional athlete, as they are to graduate college, but Lorenzo didn’t give up. He used his siblings as inspiration, fearing the chance of failing them.

Once possibilities of college came, it was Lorenzo’s academics that would affect his chances of playing football at that level. Only naturally, he thought all the doors were closed on him. That was until Louisville gave him the call. They saw him as a face for youths in his position and gave him the chance to shine.
Louisville immediately felt like the home and family that Lorenzo never had. The rest wrote itself. Lorenzo didn’t quit and it paid off. The 6ft 4, 259 lbs Lorenzo recorded 51 tackles, 13 for a loss, 6.5 sacks and a forced fumble in 2014.

Mauldin 2

I love this decision by the Jets, not only because it was a method to accumulate more draft picks and give Maccagnan more opportunities to show his scouting skills, but also it seems fitting for the Jets to be the strong and proud platform for such a wonderful person and player who’s continuing to grow. Bowles is the perfect role model to sculpt and build Mauldin’s raw talents. With the Jets OLB core not getting any younger, Bowles has the opportunity to make his new OLB into a fixture within his Jets defence for years to come. We all wish the best of luck to Lorenzo Mauldin.

Mauldin Celebrating

@DaveBalcombe

Devin Smith going DEEP

Alongside many Jets fans, I was still in the wake of our first round pick Leonard Williams when the second round got underway.

Like many other years, the New York Jets chose to fund their defence with the 1st pick, but what was on my mind going to round 2 was Woody Johnson’s quote about supplying Geno Smith. He said, “We’re going to get him more targets”. I agreed, Geno Smith averaged only 184.1 yards per game, so Jets simply had to go with an offensive playmaker at 37th overall.

The Jets made their 2nd round pick, none other than, Ohio State’s deep threat talent, Devin Smith. Devin Smith has impressive skills down the stretch, he recorded a 4.42 40 at the combine. The sort of speed the Jets arguably didn’t have of their roster before the pick.

Devin Smith Champion

Smith, who is also a 2014 college national champion with the Buckeyes, averaged a mouth watering 28.2 yards per catch last year. Catching 33 receptions and 12 for TDs. Another impressive fact is Ohio State were 22-0 when Smith caught a touchdown in his 4 years there.

Devin Smith One Hander

The Jets clearly chose wisely when making their pick at 37, as other receivers such as Dorial Green-Beckham and Jalen Strong were still available at the time Jets were choosing. Maccagnan and Co clearly saw Smith the ideal selection to improve their current receiving core already bolstered with names like Marshall, Decker and Kerley.
Analyst, Ron Pickett quickly saw Smith’s inclusion a perhaps talent or skill set replacement for Percy Harvin, who was lost in the off-season. An idea I can too see comparisons in. Smith’s targets will be no doubt be more limited than perhaps Percy’s, however, he does now offer Geno that 9 route option to blow a game wide open. For example, Devin Smith managed 5 college TDs for over 50 yards and also set a school with a 90-yard TD reception. Geno will have no excuse about going deep now. Devin is the burner he’s been waiting for.

Devin Smith 1

If it was the Jets goal to provide Geno with more targets, they undoubtedly accomplished that by drafting Devin Smith. Going into Week 1, Geno Smith may have no excuses to pull if his lack of performance shows face once again. Maccagnan has filled his reads with quality receivers, so it’s up to Geno now to make them shine.

@DaveBalcombe

New York Jets select Leonard Williams

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With the 6th overall pick, the New York select, Leonard Williams, Defensive Tackle, University of Southern California.

After months, weeks and days of waiting, last night the event we had all been waiting for, finally arrived. The NFL Draft 2015 had officially begun.

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The NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, kicked off another prime-time spectacle from its once fond location, the windy state of Chicago. The draft hasn’t returned to Chicago and it’s golden carpet since 1964, but the Media and player Agents still managed to keep to it’s traditions by conjuring up an amalgamation of smoke screens, mock drafts and articles to drive the scouts and fans crazy. So once Goodell finally took the podium, I was relived to hear Tampa Bay were on the clock.

Jets fans went into this draft more excited than usual. After a strong free agency with a new GM clearly meaning to put wrongs right, the fans were confident the Jets could make a serious game changing pick with 6th overall.
Thankfully, the scouting skills of Mike Maccagnan are well known. A possible reason for Jets bringing Mike to New York was he’s banged the table for such players like JJ Watt in the past, so his resume speaks volumes for his keen eye for talent. Expectations were high, putting a lot of weight on Mike’s shoulders. This was going to be his first ever draft as a GM, but did he disappoint? Of course he didn’t.

As predicted, the first four rounds went as follows. Winston at 1, Mariota (without trades) at 2, Dante Fowler 3 and my personal favourite player for the Jets, Cooper, went at 4. It wasn’t until number 5, when Washington was on the clock, that this draft got blown wide open.
Allegedly, the Jets main areas of need were pass rush, offensive line and Quarterback. Once the Washington pick was in, it was almost certain they would take the best player available (BPA), as their needs surpassed most teams in the league. The BPA was of course, Leonard Williams, the argued best player in the entire draft.

What was to be announced shocked everyone. Redskins selected Brandon Scherff, OT. Scherff is no doubt the best player in his class, but it was still certainly unexpected. Something no analysts saw coming let alone Williams falling to 6.

IMG_2811 The Jets were now on the clock. It was time for Maccagnan and Bowles to put their heads together and make their pick. By this time, OLB Vic Beasley and WR Kevin White were among some other names still left in the draft. It was during the 10-minute countdown my mind went into overdrive and the nerves started to kick in.
Who should we pick? Can we pass on Williams too? Is there an issue? Is he injured?

It was at this time I recalled a conversation NFL.com had with Charley Casserly. As GM, Charley sent time in Houston with Mike Maccagnan on his staff and he spoke of the time he was drafting in 2002 and Mike wouldn’t stop saying “Take the best player available”. Charley said he’d hope Mike would use his own advice come Thursday 30th. This is exactly what Maccagnan and the Jets chose to do. They selected Williams with the 6th overall pick.

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Williams, a defensive lineman joins an already strong positional area at the Jets. A move some fans and analysts would see as a bad option to do with the first pick, but like Mike preached, when you have the opportunity to take such a player, you have to pull the trigger.

Leonard’s introduction makes the Jets defense arguably one of the strongest in the whole league. With the six overall pick, Mike Maccagnan manages to land the best player in the draft. Surely and yet again, not doing any damage to his reputation and current position at the franchise. Actually, he’s potentially becoming a possible legend in the making, in a very short space of time too.

The reaction to the pick lit up social media. Many Jets fans were shocked and elated that Williams fell to the Jets and amazed we had the opportunity to take him. Although, only naturally, with Jets Nation being who we are, some doom and gloom descended on the uncertain future of Mo Wilkerson. A Jets legend, who’s still without a new contract now has a stud player drafted in the first round, in his respective position.
Now please allow me to be another to defuse this. If you saw, Maccagnan was quick to reach out to Wilkerson and make his intentions known to Mo. With the inclusion of Williams, he mentioned he still had plans for him at the Jets.

Last night was undoubtedly an unpredicted, yet prosperous evening for the Jets franchise. The defense gained another possible stud and the team continued to strengthen. What Mike Maccagnan has done in his short time at the Jets is simply outstanding.

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Tonight is the start of the 2nd round, which is where Mike could look to address the original areas of need and maybe truly prove his scouting background. I eagerly await his next choice.

@DaveBalcombe