Remember when ...: Four years ago on this day, the Jets welcomed back Darrelle Revis after his long and acrimonious holdout. The happiest guy in the building was Rex Ryan, who knew he needed a lockdown corner like Revis to have a championship-caliber defense. On Monday, Ryan's reinforcement was a journeyman named Phillip Adams, who will be playing for his fifth team in five years. Adams arrived one day after Leon McFadden, a waiver-wire pickup. The Jets, once known for their formidable cornerback play, have been reduced to sifting through the garbage dumpster. You have to feel for Ryan, who, regardless of what he says publicly, has to be freaking out. You can't control injuries, but injuries aren't the only reason for the current mess. They did a poor job in the offseason of addressing the needs at cornerback.
No mea culpa: I think we can all agree that signing Dimitri Patterson was a mistake, right? The Jets paid a $1 million signing bonus for a guy who practiced a couple of weeks, got hurt, went AWOL and ripped the organization publicly, saying it lied about his no-show. GM John Idzik, however, refuses to own it. No, sir. Asked if he regrets not signing a "legitimate" cornerback in free agency (a loaded question, to be sure), he replied, "I would call Dimitri Patterson a legitimate cornerback. That’s why we signed him. We liked the player. We interviewed the player. We don’t look back. There are no regrets. We’re in a people business and you can’t anticipate some of the things that might happen."
He said the same thing after firing Mike Goodson, another free-agent signing who had personal issues and went AWOL.Idzik is right, it's a people business. But if the people picking the people keep making mistakes, the owner eventually brings in new people to make those decisions. Got that, people?
Patterson explanation: Oh, by the way, is anybody buying Idzik's reasoning that Patterson's inflammatory statement had nothing to do with his release? Didn't think so.
Roster tinkering: Let's give credit where it's due. Idzik did some clever tinkering with the roster over the last 48 hours, waiting until Monday to release rookies Quincy Enunwa and Jeremiah George because he knows they're less likely to be claimed on waivers now that rosters are pretty much set. On Saturday, the Jets waived linebacker A.J. Edds, confident he'd clear waivers -- which he did. That enabled them to make the Edds-for-George swap, providing much-needed depth at inside linebacker. Look for George and Enunwa to be added to the practice squad, assuming they clear waivers.
Dwindling draft class: It looks like the Jets will go into the season with six of their 12 draft picks on the active roster -- Calvin Pryor, Jace Amaro, Jalen Saunders, Dakota Dozier, IK Enemkpali and Trevor Reilly. Two (Dexter McDougle and Shaq Evans) are on injured reserve and two (George and Enunwa) will be on the practice squad. They wanted to add Brandon Dixon to the practice squad, but he signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That leaves Tajh Boyd, out in the cold.
Lucky seven? After claiming Walter Powell from the Arizona Cardinals, the Jets are back to seven wide receivers -- a head scratcher.
This came as a surprise because of Lankster's special teams value; he was the Jets' second-leading tackler last season. Due to injuries, he actually started the second preseason game at cornerback. He did a decent job, although he never was viewed as a solution at corner. Obviously, the front office deemed him expendable with the additions of Phillip Adams and Leon McFadden.
They cut Lankster to re-sign linebacker A.J. Edds, whom the released Saturday. After waiving rookie Jeremiah George earlier in the day, the Jets were left with only one backup at inside linebacker, Nick Bellore, who is nursing a calf injury. Edds played a lot on special teams in the preseason.
If you're trying to keep track at home, here's the current crop of corners:
Dee Milliner (injured)
Antonio Allen (injured)
There wasn't much to say about Hill -- we all saw the dropped passes -- but Ryan chose to focus on the special-teams angle.
The Jets didn't see Hill as one of their top three receivers. If you're a No. 4 or lower, you'd better be a contributor on special teams. Rookie Jalen Saunders and Saalim Hakim made the team because of punt- and kickoff-return ability, respectively. Greg Salas isn't a core special teams player, but he can play on some units.
On Monday, the Jets picked up rookie wide receiver Walter Powell on waivers from the Arizona Cardinals. At Murray State, he was a prolific kick returner and a gunner on coverage units. The Jets, under new special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey, have placed an added emphasis on the kicking game.
Ryan shrugged off the criticism aimed at him by Hill's agent, Alan Herman, who accused the coach of not supporting his client as he does with defensive players that struggle. Ryan held his tongue, saying it was a "tough situation for everybody." He said the agent is entitled to his opinion.
"Hey, I have skin like an armadillo," Ryan said. "I'll take whatever they throw at me."
Idzik said he was a bit surprised that Hill, a former second-round pick, wasn't claimed on waivers.
As for Patterson, the Jets provided no clarity whatsover. Idzik wants you to believe that Patterson's inflammatory statement, basically accusing the Jets of lying about the reason for his absence, had nothing to do with the decision to release him. If that were the case, why didn't they cut him immediately instead of handing down a one-week suspension? Truth is, they were willing to give him a second chance, but Patterson blew it by making a public stink.
But Idzik wouldn't acknowledge that.
"I don’t put too much weight on statements," Idzik said. "I’d rather hear the statement directly from the player. ... Suffice it to say, he had an open forum here to spill everything out, and we told him our views as well. In the end, it just felt appropriate that we move on from Dimitri. That was the best thing for the Jets."
Idzik, in a conference call with reporters, got flustered by the repeated questions about Patterson. After one follow-up, he paused for several seconds.
"We felt like it was good for our team to go forward, pure and simple," he said, explaining why they cut their most experienced cornerback.
Adams was released Saturday by the Seattle Seahawks. He was originally a seventh-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers, but he has bounced around the league. He has played for the New England Patriots, Seahawks (2011) and Oakland Raiders.
In 66 career games, Adams has three interceptions.
Clearly, the Jets are reaching, hoping something works out. On Sunday, they acquired Leon McFadden, formerly of the Cleveland Browns, on waivers.
To make room for Adams, the Jets waived wide receiver Quincy Enunwa, a sixth-round pick. He likely will return on the practice squad.
Playing for the Cleveland Browns, McFadden was called four times for defensive holding, three times for illegal contact and once for pass interference. Two penalties were declined. All told, it amounted to 60 yards.
The former third-round pick apparently didn't get the memo on the league's increased emphasis on contact penalties.
A few other statistical nuggets on McFadden, whom the Jets picked up Sunday on waivers:
- He played a lot in the preseason -- a total of 188 snaps, including two starts. Conditioning shouldn't be an issue.
- He was targeted 20 times (that's a lot) and allowed seven completions for 145 yards, according to the stats-based website Pro Football Focus. His catch percentage (35.0) is good, but he obviously surrendered big plays.
- As a rookie in 2013, he ranked 181st out of 199 cornerbacks, according to PFF.
That Hill cleared waivers is somewhat surprising. The NFL is all about size and speed, and Hill is a size-speed player, sans the production. Evidently, the other 31 teams saw what the Jets saw.
Four wide receivers were claimed: T.J. Graham (Tennessee Titans), a former third-round pick of the Buffalo Bills; Kris Durham (Titans), a former third-round pick of the Seattle Seahawks; Damaris Johnson (Houston Texans), a former undrafted free agent; and LaRon Byrd (Cleveland Browns), a former undrafted free agent.
Browns coach Mike Pettine knows Hill from his days with the Jets, and his Buffalo defense was torched last season by Hill -- and he still took a pass.
Hill is a free agent, eligible to sign with any team. On Saturday, his agent, Alan Herman, indicated Hill would prefer a team with an established quarterback situation.
Analysis: For the first time in the Rex Ryan era, the Jets have a proven backup that can win games if called upon. The bigger question is the starter: Is Smith ready to take the next step? Re-signing Matt Simms to the practice squad was a smart move.
RUNNING BACK (4)
Tommy Bohanon (FB)
Analysis: Diverse, deep and talented. The offense will lean on this group, especially early in the season when they have to play ball-control against all those high-scoring passing attacks. The only question is how they divide the carries.
WIDE RECEIVER (7)
Analysis: Through most of camp, I had them keeping seven receivers, but that was before the Stephen Hill flameout and the Shaq Evans injury. The landscape has changed. It's hard to justify seven, especially since they're not stacked with Pro Bowlers. Saunders and Hakim are return specialists, restricting the team's flexibility for the game-day 46. Still can't believe Enunwa made it. John Idzik loves his draft picks.
TIGHT END (3)
Analysis: There's a lot riding on Amaro, who will be asked at times to line up as a traditional tight end -- something he didn't do in college. Cumberland is way behind after missing three weeks with an Achilles' injury. They're missing a hard-nosed blocker at the point of attack.
Analysis: You didn't hear much about Giacomini in the preseason -- and that's a good thing for an offensive lineman. Ferguson needs to be better than last season. Ijalana is left-tackle insurance even though he's never played in a game. Go figure.
Analysis: They'd better hope Colon stays healthy or there could be trouble. The organization still has questions about Winters, who remains inconsistent. He'll be pushed by Aboushi, who also can play right guard and right tackle.
Analysis: Mangold is the glue to the entire operation. Freeman, a former undrafted free agent, beat out Caleb Schlauderaff, who former GM Mike Tannenbaum once referred to as the Jets' version of Victor Cruz.
DEFENSIVE END (3)
Analysis: Wilkerson and Richardson -- aka D-Roy, the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year -- are the pillars on defense. In Year 2, Richardson needs to step up as a pass rusher. Douzable provides good depth.
DEFENSIVE TACKLE (3)
Analysis: We're talking about almost 1,100 pounds of run-stuffing fury. Harrison and Ellis are players on the ascent, while Barnes made the team after dropping more than 20 pounds in the offseason -- and he's still 360.
OUTSIDE LINEBACKER (5)
Analysis: It's Year 3 for Coples; time to play like a first-round pick. Babin was a good pick up. He'll help as a nickel pass rusher and he can spell Coples in the base. They will miss Garrett McIntyre, a useful backup. This will be a developmental year for Enemkpali and Reilly. Antwan Barnes (PUP) will rejoin this group after six weeks.
INSIDE LINEBACKER (4)
Analysis: Davis is primed for a breakout year. This is a contract year for Harris. Presumably, Bellore (calf) is okay. If not, their depth is a major concern. George made the team because he was a fifth-round pick.
Analysis: Landry and Pryor figure to be every-down players. The Jets are counting on Pryor, their first-round pick, to make an immediate impact. He'll probably get more deep-middle assignments than Landry, who really is a "box" safety.
Analysis: If you need an explanation, you haven't been paying attention the last three weeks. The addition of McFadden, acquired Sunday on waivers, is strictly for depth. This is one of the worst cornerback situations in the league.
Nick Folk (PK)
Ryan Quigley (P)
Tanner Purdum (LS)
Analysis: Quigley survives (for now) after an inconsistent preseason.
McFadden, a third-round pick of the Browns in 2013, played every game last season and started the final two preseason games due to injuries in the Browns' secondary.
The Jets had to do something after a tumultuous preseason.
Top corner Dee Milliner suffered a high-ankle sprain on Aug. 10, and is highly questionable for the season opener against the Oakland Raiders. The other projected starter, Dimitri Patterson, was suspended and released Saturday after an unexcused absence last weekend. They also lost rookie Dexter McDougle to a season-ending knee injury in early August.
The quarterback-needy Houston Texans considered a waiver claim on Simms, but they addressed their quarterback issue by trading for Ryan Mallett of the New England Patriots, according to reports.
The Jets wanted to carry only two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster, so they took a calculated risk by exposing Simms to waivers. The coaches talked with Simms on Saturday, assuring him they wanted him back. Just last week, quarterbacks coach David Lee told reporters that Simms had improved as much as any player he's ever coached.
This is a smart move by the Jets. Even though Simms doesn't factor into the short-term plans, he could be a possible No. 2 in 2015, when Michael Vick is gone.
Under the old rules, Simms wouldn't have been eligible for the practice squad, but the rules were changed recently, allowing players of Simms' standing (one accrued season) to be eligible.
Some of the "name" players available:
Brandon Harris, Houston Texans (waivers): He was a second-round pick in 2011, but he failed to win the hearts of the new coaching staff.
Kelvin Hayden, Chicago Bears (free agent): He's been around for a long time, but he's a cover-2 corner, not an ideal fit in Rex Ryan's system.
Phillip Adams, Seattle Seahawks (free agent): His first stint in Seattle came at the end of the 2011 season, when Jets GM John Idzik was a Seahawks executive. Adams is a solid journeyman who has played with a handful of teams.
Derek Cox, Baltimore Ravens (free agent): A free-agent signing that didn't work out for the Ravens. Cox, who has played with the Jacksonville Jaguars and San Diego Chargers, has appeared in 63 games, with 13 interceptions.
Dominique Franks, Ravens (free agent): Like Cox, Franks didn't stick in his first season in Baltimore. Franks, formerly of the Atlanta Falcons, has three interceptions in 48 games.
Leon McFadden, Cleveland Browns (waivers): Like Ryan, Mike Pettine loves to have plenty of corners. He just didn't love this one. McFadden was a third-round pick last year and played in every game.
No. 8: Jets 40, Dolphins 37, OT | Oct. 23, 2000
The Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets each entered the game at 5-1 overall, with the AFC East lead up for grabs.
The Dolphins looked to be in control of the game, as they took a 23-7 lead into halftime and extended it to 30-7 through the third quarter on Lamar Smith's second rushing touchdown.
Vinny Testaverde, who had thrown three interceptions to that point, rallied the Jets to a 30-point fourth quarter, threw for 235 yards in the process and led four touchdown drives. A diving touchdown grab by Wayne Chrebet with 3:55 remaining in the fourth quarter pulled the Jets even, but the Dolphins scored a touchdown 22 seconds later to regain the lead.
With 42 seconds remaining in regulation, the unlikeliest of players would tie the game for the Jets. Offensive tackle Jumbo Elliott reported as eligible on second-and-goal from the 3. He initially bobbled Testaverde's pass before hauling it in for six points.
In overtime, Jets cornerback Marcus Coleman recorded his second interception off Jay Fiedler to set up John Hall's game-winning, 40-yard field goal and cap off one of the more improbable comebacks in NFL history.
1. Swinging and missing: The release of wide receiver Stephen Hill underscored a shortcoming of the Rex Ryan regime -- the inability to develop offensive draft picks. In the first five drafts under Ryan, the Jets picked 19 players on offense, none of whom have developed into anything close to a Pro Bowl player. In fact, three of the four highest-drafted players are gone -- quarterback Mark Sanchez (first round, 2009), lineman Vladimir Ducasse (second, 2010) and Hill (second, 2012). The last hope from those drafts is quarterback Geno Smith (second, 2013). Running back Bilal Powell (fourth, 2011) and wide receiver Jeremy Kerley (fifth, 2011) are nice role players, but they're not game changers.
There are a few reasons for the drought, namely: Instability (three offensive coordinators), a defensive-minded culture created by Ryan and, of course, questionable drafting. Hill was a big, big miss. He was actually the No. 14 player on their draft board, well ahead of fellow receiver Alshon Jeffery, who was picked by the Chicago Bears two spots after Hill (43rd overall). To be fair, many of the scouting services rated Hill over Jeffery. The Jets' mistake was trading two draft picks to move up and rushing him into the lineup with no fallback option. Hill never was the same after his killer drop as a rookie in New England.
3. Cornering the market on mistakes: General manager John Idzik deserves to be criticized for his handling of the cornerback situation, especially now that Dimitri (Don't Call Me AWOL) Patterson is a goner, but this whole Darrelle Revis angle is tired. That bridge was burned by both sides, and the Jets weren't interested in repairing it. I didn't criticize Idzik at the time, so I certainly won't second-guess him now. My problem is that his non-Revis plan wasn't any good. In free agency, he identified Patterson as a starting-caliber player even though he had only 20 career starts and had played with six teams in 10 years, wearing out his welcome in most places. (From what I understand, he was considered a diva around the Jets even before he went AWOL.) Instead of doubling down in the draft, Idzik didn't draft a corner until the third round -- the injury-prone Dexter McDougle, who is out for the season. How's it all working out?
4. Money for nothing: Unless they somehow recoup part of the signing bonus, the Jets wasted $1 million on Patterson, the same amount they wasted on Mike Goodson. Here's another way to look at it: For doing nothing, Patterson gets almost as much money as Muhammad Wilkerson gets this year for being the best player on the team -- $1.2 million. That's twisted.
5. 'Snacks' time is over: As of Saturday night, the Jets' 53-man roster had no undrafted rookies. They're one of only four teams with no UDFAs, according to Brian McIntyre, a contract and analytics expert. It's not all that surprising, considering the Jets didn't spend much in this area. Teams were allocated to spend up to $80,362 in signing bonuses, but the Jets doled out only $4,000, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Defensive end Anthony Grady ($2,500) and fullback Chad Young ($1,500) were the only UDFAs to receive a signing bonus; the other five UDFAs got nothing. Hey, a Damon (Snacks) Harrison doesn't come around every year.
6. Ex-Champ: The Jets need a cornerback and one of the best corners in recent memory is available, future Hall of Famer Champ Bailey, who was cut by the New Orleans Saints. It brings back memories of a mega trade that never happened. In 2004, former GM Terry Bradway spent a good amount of time at the scouting combine trying to deal for Bailey, whom the Washington Redskins eventually traded to the Denver Broncos. Bailey, 36, has slipped the past two years and probably wouldn't cure the Jets' problem.
7. No road trips for Rex: Remember last year, when Ryan created a firestorm by taking a trip on cutdown day to visit his son at Clemson? The coach took a lot of unwarranted criticism for that decision, and I think he was taken aback by the fallout. On Friday, he was asked if he was planning to travel to see Clemson at Georgia on Saturday.
"It’s safe to say if my son was playing in the game, I probably would have been there again," Ryan said.
Seth Ryan, a wide receiver, is out with a broken collarbone.
8. Middle-aged Jets: Philly.com did a study of all 32 rosters, as of Saturday night, ranking them based on age. Turns out the Jets are the 13th-youngest team in the league. The average age is 25.85 years, slightly older than last year (25.6, seventh youngest). That's exactly what you'd expect for a team in Year 2 of a rebuilding project.
9. Milliner on the shelf?: The early rumblings are that cornerback Dee Milliner (high-ankle sprain) won't be ready for the season opener.
10. Start the countdown: It's seven days to the season opener. Hey, Oakland, do you know who your quarterback is?
Adios, Dimitri: The Jets' decision to release cornerback Dimitri Patterson came as no surprise. Something had to be done, as he had lost the trust of people in the organization and players in the locker room. Here's the part no one is talking about: The Jets were willing to give him a second chance in the aftermath of AWOLGate. They wanted to see how he responded to the suspension. If he had accepted his punishment instead of kicking and screaming, he'd probably still be on the team. But he sealed his fate by dropping his bombshell of a statement, accusing the Jets of lying about the reason for his absence. Basically, he forced his way out. Good riddance.
Survival of the draft picks: Few jobs in America offer as much security as being a John Idzik draft pick. Surprisingly, 10 of the 12 picks remain, including two on injured reserve (wide receiver Shaq Evans and cornerback Dexter McDougle). In upsets, linebackers Jeremiah George, IK Enemkpali and Trevor Reilly survived the final cut, as did wide receiver Quincy Enunwa. This smacks of Idzik trying to protect his drafting record, but it also shows he's trying to develop the bottom of the roster. George, Enemkpali, Reilly and Enunwa will be this year's version of the Idzik Red Shirts (inactive on game day). The downside to this philosophy is that it eliminates useful veteran backups. Linebackers Garrett McIntyre and A.J. Edds lost their jobs because of the youth movement.
Surprise cut: Quarterback Matt Simms. The Jets are taking a calculated risk, hoping no one claims him on waivers. If not, he's likely to return on the practice squad. Under the new rules, Simms is eligible.
What's next: The Jets should send up an "S.O.S." flare regarding their cornerback position. After cutting Johnny Patrick and others, they're down to six corners, only two of whom have significant starting experience -- slot corner Kyle Wilson and Dee Milliner, who might miss the opener because of a high-ankle sprain. The starters on the outside could be Darrin Walls and converted safety Antonio Allen, assuming he recovers from a concussion. The backups are Ellis Lankster and LeQuan Lewis. LeQuan Lewis? Yes, the Jets are desperate. Look for Idzik to import a functional veteran by the end of the weekend. Some folks are clamoring for Champ Bailey because he's a big name, but he's 36 years old and was cut by Ryan's brother, Rob, the New Orleans' Saints defensive coordinator. In other words, Rex has plenty of intel on what went wrong.
Jets' moves: Placed LB Antwan Barnes on the PUP list; Released Hill, Patterson, Simms, Edds, McIntyre, Patrick, WR Clyde Gates, RB Daryl Richardson, RB Alex Green, TE Chris Pantale, DE Zach Thompson, QB Tajh Boyd, DL Tevita Finau, S Rontez Miles, OT Brent Qvale, G Caleb Schlauderaff, DT Kerry Hyder, LB Troy Davis, CB Jeremy Reeves, G Will Campbell and CB Brandon Dixon.