TJP:What’s your take on the Mike Goodson situation, with the limited info being shared by the team?
CL:Who the heck knows what to expect from Mike Goodson at this point. His off-season legal troubles have been well-documented but, according to the Jets, that’s not the reason he’s been absent from camp. Whatever it is that’s keeping him away, the Jets say they were aware of it and understand why he couldn’t attend. I’m not going to speculate on his whereabouts but I have a feeling we’re going to find out sooner or later. When all is said and done, I do expect him to return at some point…even if it’s not this season. He’s under contract for 3 years and the Jets only guaranteed him $1 million so it’s not like he’s costing them an arm & a leg.
TJP:Talk about how good the defensive line can be in 2013………
CL:In my opinion, the defensive line is the unit with the most potential for this season. That shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the draft picks that the Jets have devoted to d-line over the last few years. Muhammad Wilkerson has already established himself as one of the top 3-4 defensive ends in the NFL and will only continue to get better. Sheldon Richardson has showed off the athleticism and high motor that allowed him to standout on a mediocre Missouri team. I know Quinton Coples is now “listed” as an outside linebacker but I still expect him to play a lot of snaps with his hand in the ground. We’ve already seen that throughout camp and during the preseason opener. He’s a versatile player and I think Rex will look to line him up at different spots to keep opposing teams guessing. The depth chart at nose tackle is the biggest question mark. This is a make-or-break season for Kenrick Ellis. The team was pleased with his performance in Cortland but he went down with a back injury this week and might not be available for tonight’s game. If that’s the case, it should be a big opportunity for Damon “Big Snacks” Harrison. He is a locker room/coaching staff favorite who has made great strides over the last year or so. Antonio Garay also provides a solid veteran presence. He can fill in at multiple positions in a pinch. Overall, it should be a deep, young, athletic group that will finally cause some big problems for opposing QB’s.
TJP:Finally, give us some of the UDFAs or other lesser-known acquisitions that look good to you so far.
CL: I’ll give you four guys to keep an eye on during tonight’s game. WR Ryan Spadola, S Jaiquawn Jarrett, LB Danny Lansanah, P Ryan Quigley.
I feel like Spadola has already established himself with Jets fans. Undrafted out of Lehigh, he has made a big impact in camp. The Jets have a relatively young & unproven WR corps so Spadola has been given plenty of opportunities to prove himself. He has been solid in all aspects of the game and it earned him some 1st team reps against the Lions. He should see plenty of playing time tonight on offense and on special teams. His ability to play ST’s will likely decide whether or not he makes the final 53. If he does, get ready for the Wayne Chrebet comparisons.
Jarrett might not qualify as a “lesser known player” because he was a 2nd round pick of the Eagles back in 2011. However, he was a major bust in Philadelphia and basically got kicked to the curb early last season. Given a new opportunity with the Jets, he has played very well and earned praise from the coaching staff and his teammates. There’s an open competition between Jarrett and Antonio Allen opposite Dawan Landry at safety. Rex has been pleased with both players but Jarrett gets the start against Jacksonville tonight after playing 50+ snaps against the Lions last week.
I can’t tell you a whole lot about Lansanah but my pal Dennis Waszak Jr. from the Associated Press has a cool feature on him here. Lansanah has been solid throughout camp. With the addition of Coples and Antwan Barnes, the Jets have a pretty large LB corps. However, after David Harris and Demario Davis, there isn’t a ton of depth at inside linebacker. Josh Mauga ended up on IR last season and he’s been out with a back injury this week so Lansanah has another chance to step up and make his mark.
I know it’s not that exciting to watch the punters but Quigley should get a big opportunity to open some eyes tonight. Robert Malone was also sidelined by a back injury this week and might not play tonight. If that’s the case, Quigley will be the guy for 1st year special teams coordinator Ben Kotwica. Malone has a huge leg but Quigley hasn’t been over-matched thus far. If he puts on a good showing and Malone can’t get healthy, the Jets might have a new punter for 2013.