Monday, June 18, 2012
Take 5: Biggest trouble spots on roster
By Rich Cimini
This is our fourth "Take Five" list. From now until training camp, we'll have periodic lists -- some serious, some not-so-serious. Here, we examine potential trouble spots on the Jets' roster:
1. Blocking tight end. Honestly, did you ever think we'd be wondering how the Jets will replace Matthew Mulligan? Right now, they don't have a pure blocking tight end on the roster. The No. 2 is Jeff Cumberland, a former college wide receiver with limited blocking skills. Look for the Jets to add a veteran at some point. A silver lining: Contrary to popular belief, new OC Tony Sparano isn't married to two-tight end formations. The Dolphins used two-plus tight ends for only 267 plays last season, fewer than all but six teams, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
2. Backup center. Nick Mangold showed last season that he's not indestructible, so they can't take this for granted. In minicamp, LG Caleb Schlauderaff worked as the No. 2 center, but he has no game experience at the position. It would behoove the Jets to address this issue.
3. Veteran depth at wide receiver. Rex Ryan said last week he's comfortable with the current group; he also said they haven't reached out to Braylon Edwards. Clearly, the Jets want to give rookie Stephen Hill, slot man Jeremy Kerley and Chaz Schilens every opportunity to be the No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 receivers. They're putting a lot of faith in Schilens, an occasional starter in four injury-plagued seasons with the Raiders. It might not be a bad idea to bring in some insurance.
4. Punter. T.J. Conley was so-so last season, finishing 18th in net average. His competition is Travis Baltz, who has no regular-season experience. The top free-agent punters are Daniel Sepulveda, Brad Maynard and Mat McBriar. Conley will get the preseason, but the Jets will have an eye on the market.
5. Cornerback depth. With the growth of spread offenses, cornerback depth is vital. The nickelback probably will play about 50 percent of the snaps, making him a 12th starter, so to speak. The Jets' top three corners are as good as any team in the league, but there's a considerable drop-off. Right now, Ellis Lankster and Isaiah Trufant are the fourth and fifth corners, respectively. They could use another experienced hand. Did someone say Drew Coleman? He's available; the Jets should sign him back.