New York Jets: Antonio Garay

Jets release final cut list -- finally

August, 31, 2013
The New York Jets announced their final cuts, paring the roster to 53. Keep in mind, this doesn't mean the roster is final. There will be moving parts as the weekend continues. The 22 cuts:

QB — Greg McElroy (with an injury).

RB — Mossis Madu (with an injury).

WR — Michael Campbell, Mohamed Massaquoi, Ben Obomanu, Zach Rogers.

TE — Chris Pantale.

OL — Erik Cook, J.B. Shugarts, Jason Smith.

DL — Junior Aumavae, Lanier Coleman, Tevita Finau, Antonio Garay.

LB — Troy Davis, JoJo Dickson, Jacquies Smith.

DB — Royce Adams, Mike Edwards, Rontez Miles.

K -- Dan Carpenter.

Running back Mike Goodson was moved to the reserve/suspended list and thus will not count against the 53-man roster limit, the Jets noted in a press release.

Source: Jets release DT Antonio Garay

August, 30, 2013
Veteran defensive tackle Antonio Garay, projected as a backup to nose tackle Kenrick Ellis, was released Friday as the New York Jets began to cut their roster, a source confirmed.

Garay started Thursday night and played 41 defensive snaps, third-most among the linemen. It's never a good sign when a veteran plays that much in the final preseason game. Evidently, the Jets deemed him expendable because of the emergence of second-year nose tackle Damon Harrison, who seized his opportunity with Ellis sidelined by a back injury.

Garay, 33, a New Jersey native who wanted to finish his career with the Jets, signed a one-year, $905,000 contract as a free agent. It included a $65,000 signing bonus.

The defensive-line depth chart looks like this:

Ends: Muhammad Wilkerson, Junior Aumavae.

Tackles: Ellis, Sheldon Richardson, Harrison, Leger Douzable, Tevita Finau, Lanier Coleman.

The Garay release was earlier reported by

Coples: We want to be the best

July, 29, 2013
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- The Jets have invested a lot of resources in their defensive line -- three No. 1 picks -- and now they're expecting a big payoff. The goal, according to Quinton Coples, is to be the scourge of the NFL.

[+] EnlargeQuinton Coples
Rich Barnes/USA TODAY SportsQuinton Coples has high aspirations for the Jets' defensive line.
"No disrespect or discredit to any defensive front out there, but we want to be the best and make our own name," Coples said Monday.

Confident man, Coples.

"Why wouldn't I be?" he asked. "I see what we have, I see the talent we have. ... The sky is the limit."

The line has tremendous potential, but it's important to keep it in perspective. The only proven player among the projected starters is Muhammad Wilkerson, who felt he should've made the Pro Bowl last season. After two years, he's already considered one of the top 3-4 defensive ends in the league.

Coples posted a team-high 5.5 sacks as a rookie, but he's still learning. (Technically he's no longer listed as a defensive lineman, but he still lines up on the line in the nickel package.) Rookie Sheldon Richardson, selected 13th overall, has impressed in the early practices, but he played only two years at the major-college level.

Rex Ryan, a former defensive-line coach, loves the unit's potential. But he was careful not to gush too much.

"We have a long road before we say (it's the best)," he said. "How 'bout we play a couple of games? But they certainly are a talented group. They're a talented group, no question. You want your guys to have that kind of confidence, but to be the best, you have to show up every day."

Ryan added: "It'll be interesting to see this group grow together. Could it be one of the best? If they keep working, I certainly hope so."

The projected starters are Wilkerson, Richardson and NT Kenrick Ellis, a first-year starter. The elder statesman, Antonio Garay, said Ellis "hasn't even scratched the surface yet of how good he can be." Garay, who played with the Bears in 2006 and 2007, said Richardson reminds him of former Chicago DT Tommie Harris. Nice compliment. Garay, the wise vet, believes in the unit. But he's not ready to anoint it as the next Steel Curtain.

"Coaches and media tell us how good we can be, but it's not as good as we can be," he said. "Right now, we have all the potential in the world, but that doesn't mean anything without hard work."

Camp preview: Defensive line

July, 22, 2013
Breaking down the Jets, position by position, as they prepare for training camp, which opens Thursday:

Position: Defensive line

Projected starters: Muhammad Wilkerson, Kenrick Ellis, Sheldon Richardson.

[+] EnlargeKenrick Ellis
Joe Robbins/Getty ImagesKenrick Ellis is preparing for his third NFL season -- but his first as a starter. What kind of production will the Jets get from him?
Projected reserves: Antonio Garay, Damon Harrison.

New faces: Richardson, Garay.

The departed: Sione Po'uha, Mike DeVito.

Player to watch: Richardson. The Jets' scouts were so high on Richardson (No. 13 overall pick) that they rated him fourth on their draft board. He's an athletic lineman with a terrific motor, and he's expected to play a key role on the revamped line. The question is, does he fit Rex Ryan's 3-4 base defense? Richardson isn't accustomed to being a two-gap lineman, so there will be a transition period. Ryan won't get the best of Richardson if he lines him up as a 5-technique end in a straight 3-4 front, so he's likely to move him around, using him in 1- and 3-technique positions as well.

Potential strength: Without question, this is the youngest and most athletic defensive line of the Ryan era. And it should be. After all, they've picked first-round linemen in the past three drafts -- Richardson, Wilkerson and Quinton Coples, who will be used in a hybrid role. Wilkerson, entering his third year, has a chance to be one of the best 3-4 DEs in the league; some say he's already there. The line started to get a bit creaky last season, especially with the banged-up Po'uha at nose tackle. The '13 group has a chance to be special if it realizes its potential.

Potential weakness: Depth. A bad injury to one of the top four players would be devastating. The depth isn't as bad as it looks on paper, because they can use Coples, Calvin Pace, Antwan Barnes and Garrett McIntyre -- all outside linebackers -- at defensive end in certain fronts. Nevertheless, they still need a veteran backup to increase the comfort level.

Wild card: Ellis. This is Year 3, so he's out of mulligans. After two years of adversity (injuries and legal problems), Ellis steps into a starting role, replacing the well-respected Po'uha. Basically, Ellis was handed the job based on his potential. He has the size (6-foot-4, 346 pounds) and raw ability to control the point of attack, but he's still green and needs technique work. His small-college background bought him a two-year honeymoon. Now it's time to deliver. If not, Garay could assume the starting job on the nose.

Rapid Reaction: Jets pick Richardson 13th

April, 25, 2013

PICK: First round (13th overall)

PLAYER: Sheldon Richardson

SCHOOL: Missouri

POSITION: Defensive tackle

HEIGHT: 6-foot-2½

WEIGHT: 294 pounds

What this means: Rex Ryan apparently still has some influence in the draft room, as the Jets used their two first-round picks on defensive players. This marked the third straight draft in which they chose a defensive linemen in the first round. Richardson is a terrific talent, but many believe he's best suited to be a penetrating lineman in a one-gap scheme. That's not how the Jets play defense, but they could be planning to play more 4-3 fronts. Richardson had only one impact season, recording four sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss last season. He's a junior college transfer who played only two years at Missouri. He was suspended one game last season for violating an unspecified team rule. He's explosive and light on his feet, capable of blowing up blocking schemes.

How he fits the defensive scheme: It'll be interesting to hear Ryan's explanation of Richardson's role. With Richardson, Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples, the Jets have the makings of a formidable front. And don't forget about NT Kenrick Ellis. It sure looks like Ryan and new coordinator Dennis Thurman will be calling more 4-3 fronts. In a 3-4, Richardson has the size to hold up as a 5-technique end. He also has the athleticism to be a third-down rusher. Ryan has options.

Projected impact: The Jets' run defense plummeted to an embarrassing 26th last season -- and that was with Mike DeVito and Sione Po'uha. They cut Po'uha and lost DeVito in free agency, signing veteran Antonio Garay as a stop-gap measure. But do you really want to go into a season with Garay and the still-unproven Ellis as your top interior linemen? Not really. Richardson should help immensely on first and second down, possibly on third. If Richardson, Wilkerson and Coples reach their potential, the Jets will have a premier line.

Free-agent snapshot: Low risk, low PT

March, 20, 2013
As expected, the Jets haven't made a big splash in free agency, opting for under-the-radar players at modest prices. Most of them missed significant time last season due to injuries, increasing the risk factor.

Here's a breakdown of their free-agent additions with last season's playing-time totals:

Colon, Garay: Big chips on their shoulder

March, 19, 2013
G Willie Colon turns 30 next month and has missed 36 of the last 48 games due to injuries. NT Antonio Garay is 33 and has suffered five season-ending injuries in his career. If they were used cars on the lot, they wouldn't be listed in mint condition.

But say this for them: Starting fresh with the Jets, they're eager to prove people wrong.

"I’m like a young bull getting ready to go back into the ring," Garay said Tuesday on a media conference call.

Colon, released last week by the Steelers, said, "I have no ill feelings, (but) I do have a big-ass chip on my shoulder."

The two new Jets, both of whom signed one-year contracts, displayed a feisty attitude. Does sound mind mean sound body? We'll find out. They both have a chance to start, especially Colon. Last year's guards, Brandon Moore and Matt Slauson, are free agents. It could be a Colon-Vladimir Ducasse guard tandem in 2013.

Colon was switched to left guard last season after spending his entire career at right tackle. He got comfortable around midseason but hurt his knee and missed five games. He missed the 2010 season with a torn Achilles' tendon and he missed 15 games in '11 with a torn triceps.

"It’s been extremely challenging," he said. "It’s one of those things where every time I kind of felt like I got over the hump, there was always something else. I’m a fighter. Any time you fall off the horse, you get back on it and ride it. That’s my attitude with anything. It’s tough. It’s been a tough two years, I’m not going to lie, but I have a new home and I’m excited to be a Jet."

Garay had a cup of coffee on the Jets' practice squad in 2009, his return to football after missing two full two years with a broken ankle/leg. The Chargers signed him off the Jets' practice squad and he stayed four seasons in San Diego, enjoying his best year in 2010 (5.5 sacks).

"My career definitely hasn't been easy," Garay said. "I take on all the challenges. I’ve never hit the eight ball, I’ve just always been directly behind it."

The Jets have an affinity for former Chargers -- Antonio Cromartie, LaDainian Tomlinson and newly signed OLB Antwan Barnes. Garay said he bumped into Cromartie when trying to punch his security code into the Jets' entry system. He said Cromartie was happy to see him, asking affectionately, "What's up fat ass?"

Garay gave a glowing scouting report on Barnes.

"(He's) a great pass rusher, a guy that has been undervalued during his career," he said. "I think Barnes is going to have a major impact this year for the Jets. I don’t think a lot of Jets fans really know him that well, but he’s a guy that was in the Baltimore organization, knows this defense, knows how to play this defense and what is expected of him. He’s a beast off the edge, a guy that has a (heck) of a get-off, a guy who is going to create a lot of havoc and create a lot of plays on the defensive side of the ball this year."

Sunday notes: Crumbling around Revis

March, 17, 2013
A look at the Jets and the rest of the NFL -- posted 25 minutes later than usual, but I'm blaming the fax machine:

1. SPEAK SOFTLY, BUT ...: GM John Idzik has said very little publicly about the Darrelle Revis situation (We love Darrelle, we want him to get healthy), but his actions in the early days of free agency are coming across loud and clear. The Jets are rebuilding, allowing longtime starters to leave and replacing them with hold-the-fort guys. Idzik's philosophy is as obvious as a billboard at the Midtown tunnel, and it's hard to imagine Revis being part of his long-term plan (as crazy as that sounds). No GM strips down his team and builds around a cornerback, even a cornerback as great as Revis.

My opinion hasn't changed: There's no way he gets a long-term contract from the Jets, and I expect him to be traded before the draft.

2. POKER FACE: I spoke to one agent who lauded Idzik for the way he has refused to engage in the Revis hysteria, which has bordered on silly at times. A "brilliant" tactic, said the agent, who described Idzik as "tough and smart. Don't mistake kindness for weakness." We'll see how this turns out. The rookie GM has to make a decision that will affect the franchise for years to come.

[+] EnlargeAntonio Garay
Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY SportsNew Jersey native Antonio Garay is certainly the Jets' most colorful acquisition.
3. JERSEY BOYS: The Jets' free-agent signings all have connections to the New Jersey/New York area. QB David Garrard was born in East Orange; DT Antonio Garay was born and raised in Rahway; RB Mike Goodson was born in Irvington; and G Willie Colon was born and raised in the Bronx and attended Hofstra. Too bad the Jets couldn't get QB Joe Flacco (Audobon) on that list.

4. GARAY'S ANATOMY: Garay, 33, has suffered five season-ending injuries in his career, which began as a sixth-round pick of the Browns in 2003. The worst came in 2007, when he broken a leg and shattered an ankle on a horrific chop block by Redskins OT Chris Samuels. Garay missed two seasons, making his return on the Jets' practice squad, of all places. Give Garay credit for determination; he could've packed it in a few years ago. He and Colon could co-author a book about injuries.

Since 2010, Colon has undergone at least three surgeries -- Achilles' tendon, triceps and, most recently, a knee arthroscopy. The knee still isn't 100 percent; he's still a couple of weeks away. If Colon is healthy, he's expected to start at one guard spot. With Brandon Moore and Matt Slauson floating in free-agent limbo, the other starter could be Vladimir Ducasse.

5. RAINBOW CONNECTION: Garay is quite a character. He made national headlines a couple of years ago when he bought a "Hello Kitty" Smart car (this is what a 320-pound dude looks like in a Smart car), and he has become known for his zany hairstyles. He has colored his hair blue, yellow, green, orange, purple and pink. When Junior Seau died, Garay honored Seau by having the former Charger's likeness shaved into his head. USA Today did a nice job of collecting Garay's many hairstyles.

6. FOLK STINGER? On Saturday, free-agent PK Nick Folk re-signed with the Jets on a one-year deal. I've always thought of Folk as an under-rated kicker. I also think that if special teams coach Mike Westhoff hadn't retired, Folk might not have returned. There was some friction in that relationship.

7. NOT-SO-SPECIAL K: Former Cardinals QB Kevin Kolb is attracting a lot of buzz in these parts for someone with a 9-12 record as a starter. Remember, this is a man who lost a traning-camp competition last summer to John Skelton. The Cards wanted to bail on him after a year, when they started flirting with Peyton Manning.

8. HOLMES-COMING BACK: I find it interesting that Santonio Holmes agreed to a $3.5 million pay cut to stay with the Jets. His new base pay is $7.5 million, the guaranteed portion of his salary. In other words, there was no financial downside to getting cut; he collects the money no matter where he plays. So did Holmes take the cut because of his devotion to the Jets? I think his surgically repaired foot may have been the bigger factor. Maybe Holmes, still not able to run, was worried the injury would've hurt his ability to find a new team. If that's the reason, I'm concerned if I'm the Jets.

9. BROADWAY GENO? There will be a lot of Geno Smith-Jets speculation as we get closer to the draft, but after an impressive pro day, the West Virginia quarterback won't be around for the Jets with the ninth pick. He could go as high as the Raiders (third), with the Eagles (fourth), Cards (seventh) and Bills (eighth) possible landing spots.

A lot of people figure Bills coach Doug Marrone will try to reunite with his former Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Bills make a play for Florida State's EJ Manuel, presumably in the second round.

10. TOUGH MARKET: I think a lot of free agents are wondering, "When do I get mine?" This is a buyer's market, with many big-game free agents settling for one-year contracts. Why? The salary cap remained relatively flat, increasing to $123 million from $120.6 million. Mind you, the cap was $123 million in 2009. This CBA, born from the 2011 lockout, is putting the squeeze on the players. Free agency is a cash cow for only a select few.