Twitter mailbag: Any ex-Patriot gems?

June, 14, 2014
Jun 14
9:00
AM ET
Plenty to discuss as the New York Jets prepare to wrap up the offseason with next week's mandatory minicamp:

@RichCimini: You're referring, of course, to cornerback Ras-I Dowling, tight end Zach Sudfeld and outside linebacker Jermaine Cunningham. Dowling and Cunningham are both former second-round picks of the New England Patriots, so we're talking about players with some degree of talent. On the other hand, Bill Belichick is a smart coach, not in the habit of dumping useful players. Dowling has impressed the coaches this offseason, working his way up to the second-team defense. I wouldn't say he's a lock to make the team, but his chances are better than 50-50. Cunningham has received some reps with the first-team nickel package. If he can rush the passer, he'll make the team -- but it remains a big if. I'd say Sudfeld has the best shot, based on the lack of numbers at tight end. Jeff Cumberland and Jace Amaro are locks, but Sudfeld -- who has intriguing receiving skills -- probably will stick as the No. 3. @RichCimini: I think the running backs will be Chris Johnson, Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory, with Tommy Bohanon at fullback. I'd like to put Daryl Richardson on the team, but he's a wild card, still recovering from last year's turf toe injury. I don't see Mike Goodson in the picture. At wide receiver, I see Eric Decker, Jeremy Kerley, Stephen Hill, Jalen Saunders, David Nelson and Jacoby Ford. You're right, it's crowded and there will be some tough decisions. Truth be told, I think Decker and Kerley are the only true locks. Saunders and Ford are helped by their kick-returning ability. We know that John Idzik likes to protect his draft picks, so you know Shaq Evans will be in the conversation. If Evans impresses in camp, a veteran like Nelson could be in jeopardy. @RichCimini: As I've noted a couple of times, I think they need to sign a veteran for insurance. None of the backups have experience -- unless you count Caleb Schlauderaff, who has played only 14 regular-season snaps. Right now, their top backups are Oday Aboushi, Ben Ijalana and William Campbell -- a.k.a. the Idzik Redshirts from 2013. Rex Ryan is talking up Aboushi, and that's fine, but there's no substitute for experience. They a grizzled vet who can play multiple spots, someone like Wade Smith, formerly of the Houston Texans. @RichCimini: Interesting question. I did some research, and here's what I found: In 2012, the Jets blitzed on 34.3 percent of the dropbacks (11th in the league), according to ESPN Stats & Information. Last season, it dropped to 29.6 percent (22nd). I find it very hard to believe that Ryan will dial it back even further; that's not in his DNA. I could see definitely see him cranking up the pressure in an attempt to reduce the burden on the back end. One thing about "pups," as you call them: They usually can run faster than the old dogs, which, in theory, should help them in man-to-man coverage. So, no, I don't see Ryan dialing it down. @RichCimini: I realize this has nothing to do with football, but I like questions like this because they give the fans an off-the-field appreciation for the players. I've covered a lot of genuinely nice guys over the years (too many to list), but I'll try to narrow it down to a few: Curtis Martin, Dennis Byrd, Brandon Moore, Kyle Clifton, Marty Lyons, Pat Leahy, Jerricho Cotchery, Vinny Testaverde, Sione Pouha, Mike DeVito, Damien Woody, Lonnie Young, Kyle Brady ... and I could go on. A locker room filled with these guys would be awesome for a beat writer. When I'm in a bad mood, maybe I'll name my all-nasty team. 

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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