AFC East: Emanuel Cook

Rapid Reaction: Jets 17, Giants 3

August, 29, 2011
8/29/11
10:37
PM ET
WHAT IT MEANS: So the New York Jets captured the Snoopy trophy as the winner of the first annual MetLife Bowl against the New York Giants. Yawn. Based on the way his team played, Rex Ryan should punt the trophy. Forget about the final score, 17-3; the Jets’ starters were badly outplayed in the first half, out gained 209 to 61. The offense was a disaster and the Jets made dumb penalties. Basically, they played like they didn’t give a hoot about the preseason.

WOE IS O: Mark Sanchez & Co. was brutal. Can you say “regression”? In seven possessions, the Jets’ starting offense punted five times, lost a fumble (Sanchez) and, somehow, saved face with a touchdown -- a 17-yard pass to Santonio Holmes. They probably wouldn’t have scored the touchdown if it weren’t for Antonio Cromartie, who set up the offense at the Giants’ 35 with a 70-yard kickoff return.

Sanchez (8-for-16, 64 yards) was off his game from the outset, appearing indecisive as he made his reads. But this mess wasn’t all his fault. The pass protection was shoddy and his receivers, namely Plaxico Burress and Derrick Mason, couldn’t gain separation against the Giants’ cornerbacks. That could be something to watch, as Burress and Mason -- 34 and 37, respectively -- aren’t the fastest guys around.

The starters won’t play in Thursday night’s finale against the Eagles, which means the No. 1 offense scored only three touchdowns in 5 1/2 quarters for the preseason. Blech!

DUMB & DUMBER: The Jets were undisciplined, committing five major penalties. The biggest blunder came from rookie defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson, who was ejected in the third quarter after taking a swing at running back Brandon Jacobs. Jacobs swung back, so he, too, was tossed. Wilkerson, whom the Jets are counting on to be a starter, deserves an earful from Ryan. That is unacceptable behavior.

But Wilkerson wasn’t the only guilty Jet. Right taclke Wayne Hunter (unsportsmanlike conduct), safety Brodney Pool (chop block on a punt), safety Emanuel Cook (facemask) and cornerback Donald Strickland (unnecessary roughness) all committed 15-yard penalties. Shame on them.

All told, the Jets had seven penalties for 79 yards, including a holding call on wide receiver Courtney Smith that nullified a touchdown run by backup quarterback Greg McElroy.

THE PLAX EFFECT: Burress doesn’t need to touch the ball to have an impact on the game. You saw that on Holmes’ touchdown reception. Burress lined up in the right slot, with Holmes on the outside, against the Giants’ three-by-two coverage. Safety Kenny Phillips rolled toward Burress, leaving Holmes in man-to-man against cornerback Corey Webster. Phillips tried to get back, but it was too late. Holmes ran a post route and got open in the back of the end zone.

Aside from that contribution, Burress’ anticipated matchup against his old team turned out to be a big zero -- as in zero catches. Burress, coming off his sensational debut against the Bengals, was targeted four times. In fact, Sanchez completed only four passes to his wideouts.

OPPORTUNISTIC D: For a team with a very good defense, the Jets made an alarmingly low number of interceptions last season (12). So far, they seem to be reversing the trend. Safety Jim Leonhard and linebacker David Harris intercepted two of Manning's passes, giving the Jets six picks in three games (two by Leonhard). Leonhard’s interception was set up by Harris, who came on an inside blitz and slammed Manning.

BEND BUT DON’T BREAK: Aside from the interceptions, the Jets’ No. 1 defense did some nice things in one half of play, holding the Giants to 2-for-8 on third down and 0-for-1 in the red zone. But -- and this is a big "but" -- they were pushed around between the 20s. The Jets allowed 209 total yards in the first half, uncharacteristic for a Rex Ryan-coached defense. Their conventional pass rush was nowhere to be found and there were a couple of missed tackles in the open field, including a big one by linebacker Bart Scott.

THE NEW BRAD: The Jets finally unveiled their 2011 version of the Wildcat, with rookie wide receiver Jeremy Kerley -- no surprise -- taking the direct snap and playing the role of Brad Smith. The Jets ran it four times, resulting in 39 yards. Kerley ran twice for 13 yards, handed off to Joe McKnight for eight and threw a pass -- yes, a pass! -- to Matt Mulligan for 18. That will give the Cowboys a little extra to think about as they prepare for the season opener.

Keith Fitzhugh explains turning down Jets

December, 8, 2010
12/08/10
9:05
PM ET
The New York Jets denied Associated Press and Newark Star-Ledger reports that had them offering a roster spot to Keith Fitzhugh, a free-agent safety who turned them down to keep his job as a train conductor.

The Jets claimed they invited Fitzhugh to serve on the practice squad, a job which would pay substantially less than being on the 53-man roster. Newark Star-Ledger reporter Jenny Vrentas tweeted Fitzhugh thought he could be on the real roster.

The Jets signed safety Emanuel Cook on Wednesday to help them overcome injuries to safeties Jim Leonhard and James Ihedigbo.

Fitzhugh appeared on ESPN via satellite from Atlanta to discuss turning down the Jets.

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'Knocks' reveals Jets' internal depth chart

August, 26, 2010
8/26/10
12:02
AM ET
Storylines for this week's episode of "Hard Knocks" focused on the New York Jets' fringe players, laying the groundwork for drama on final cutdown day in a couple weekends.

Most revealing from my perspective was the chance to eavesdrop on general manager Mike Tannenbaum and head coach Rex Ryan discussing their roster numbers. On a dry-erase board, Tannenbaum tried to do the math and gave a glimpse of what the 53-man roster will look like, more or less.

Next to the team's official depth chart, Tannenbaum scrawled out the number of players they plan to keep at each position, with the caveat they can adjust for special teams.

Offense (25 players):
  • Three quarterbacks
  • Five running backs
  • Five wide receivers (including Santonio Holmes)
  • Four tight ends
  • Eight offensive linemen

Defense (23 players):
  • Six defensive linemen
  • Four outside linebackers
  • Four inside linebackers
  • Five cornerbacks (I think because I couldn't decipher the abbreviation)
  • Four safeties (I think for the same reason)

Add a kicker, punter and long-snapper, and that's 51 players, leaving two special-teams spots for everybody else to fight over.

The show suggested the bubble players were running back Danny Woodhead, fullback Jason Davis, receivers David Clowney and Larry Taylor, tight end Matthew Mulligan and linebacker Lance Laury.

Injuries, of course, can impact the numbers. The breakdown was done before defensive end Ropati Pitoitua suffered a season-ending torn Achilles tendon in Saturday's preseason game against the Carolina Panthers.

Pitoitua's injury was significant for Rodrique Wright, who had an "X" next to his name on the depth chart, suggesting the Jets planned to cut him.

"Hey, you going to make this [expletive] team?" Ryan says to Wright on the sideline after learning of Pitoitua's injury. "This kid just tore his [expletive] Achilles. Or do I need to pick somebody else up?"

"Hard Knocks" revealed others with an "X" next to his name or a "PS" to indicate practice squad. For effect, "Hard Knocks" slowly panned all the name plates to set up the scene. That helped determine who'd been labeled in the shots that showed Tannenbaum sketching out the roster.

These were the other "X" players still on the roster I could decipher thanks to the high-def on my big-screen plasma: quarterback Kellen Clemens, running back Chauncey Washington, center Robby Felix, guard Marlon Davis and tackles Dan Gay and Michael Turkovich. An "X" also appeared next to a blank spot at fullback, suggesting Jason Davis.

These were the "PS" players: defensive linemen Matthew Kroul, Ty Steinkuhler and Martin Tevaseu and safety Emanuel Cook.

Also notable about the depth chart, rookie Vladimir Ducasse was above Matt Slauson at left guard. Shonn Greene was on top of LaDainian Tomlinson in case you were wondering.

Not a lot of surprises, but interesting nevertheless.

Yet based on Ryan's comments about his third-stringers late in the 9-3 victory over the Panthers, there's plenty of room to make an impression over the final couple weeks.

"Guys, we're dead with this group. We have replacements?" Ryan says into his headset to his defensive assistants in the press box. Ryan's voice gets angrier. "Do we have any replacements? Get me the No. Twos out there! I'm not going to lose this [expletive] game! Give me the [expletive] Twos out there. Finish the [expletive] job!

"We're leaving the Twos out there if we have to. Finish the game. I don't give two [expletive]. Some of those guys can't play dead in a B western."

Washington, for example, went from having an "X" next to his name to receiving a game ball for a jarring hit on punt coverage and strong running.

Jets announce practice squad

September, 7, 2009
9/07/09
3:28
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham


On Monday afternoon, the New York Jets named the eight players they've signed to open the season on their practice squad:

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