New York Jets: Dawan Landry

Training camp preview: Secondary

July, 21, 2014
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Breaking down the New York Jets' roster, unit by unit, in preparation for training camp, July 23:

Position: Secondary

Patterson
Projected starters: Dee Milliner (CB), Dimitri Patterson (CB), Kyle Wilson (slot), Dawan Landry (S), Calvin Pryor (S).

Projected reserves: Antonio Allen, Jaiquawn Jarrett, Dexter McDougle, Darrin Walls, Ellis Lankster.

Notables on the bubble: Josh Bush, Ras-I Dowling, Rontez Miles, Brandon Dixon (sixth-round pick).

Player to watch: Pryor. He was drafted 18th overall for a reason, and the reason is because the Jets believe he can be a great safety. Rex Ryan calls him an enforcer, comparing him to the late Jack Tatum. Ryan meant well, but he may have put a target on Pryor's back by putting him in the same sentence as one of the most notorious hitters in NFL history. He'll bring a physical, tough-guy element to the secondary, but what the secondary really needs is big plays -- interceptions, forced fumbles, anything. The secondary frightened no one last season.

Milliner
Top storyline: Did general manager John Idzik leave Ryan short at cornerback? It was one of the greatest cornerback classes in free-agent history and the Jets ended up with ... Patterson, a journeyman. Patterson, 31, with his sixth team, has natural ball skills, but he's never on the field long enough to use them. He has missed 33 of his last 48 games due to injuries. Ryan needs corners for his defense the way humans need water to survive. Milliner holds the key. If he becomes a legitimate No. 1 corner -- dare we say shutdown corner? -- it changes the face of the secondary. For the first time since 2006, the Jets don't have someone named Darrelle Revis or Antonio Cromartie at corner. They need Milliner to ascend to that status.

Training camp will be a success if ... : Pryor is in the Week 1 lineup. The coaches say he's a smart cookie, but we'll see how he adapts when the pads go on and the playbook installation intensifies. It would be a major disappointment if he's not an immediate starter, considering his draft position and the relatively tame competition at safety.

Wild card: Landry's role. He played 98 percent of the defensive snaps last season, but he could lose his starting job if the Pryor-Allen tandem flourishes. Landry, known as "The Mentor," has value because of his smarts. But at what point does intelligence get trumped by youth and speed? It'll be a delicate balancing act in camp. The coaches have to get Landry ready while giving the Pryor-Allen duo a chance to develop chemistry.

By the numbers: The Jets' pass defense wasn't bad last season against three- and four-receiver groupings -- a 77.1 passer rating, according to ESPN Stats & Information. They struggled when it was only two receivers -- 103.9 rating.

Jets' rebuilt secondary goes green

June, 26, 2014
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Two of the MICs (most important coaches) in training camp will be defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman and secondary coach Tim McDonald. They're charged with the responsibility of guiding a young group through its formative stage, trying to minimize the growing pains along the way.

This won't be easy. In the post-Darrelle Revis/post-Antonio Cromartie era, the secondary is in transition. In fact, there are five players -- all of whom have a good chance of making the team -- who are new to the Rex Ryan defensive system: veterans Dimitri Patterson, Ras-I Dowling and Johnny Patrick, and rookies Calvin Pryor and Dexter McDougle.

It'll be summer school in Cortland, N.Y.

[+] EnlargeDimitri Patterson
Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY SportsDimitri Patterson has impressed in his brief time with the Jets.
"(The) lack of experience that shows up at times, but the talent is there," Thurman said. "We know that we have guys that can play. We just have to make sure that we communicate the things that we are supposed to do. If we do that, I think we’ll be fine."

Ryan's system isn't easy because it's predicated on communication, players communicating with teammates before the snap. The beauty of the system is that it's not rigid; it gives players the flexibility to make pre-snap adjustments. But the players have to know what the heck they're doing before the defense can perform a graduate-level curriculum, as Ryan might say.

One of the reasons why his defense has thrived with older players, vets thought to be on the downside of their careers, is because he can tap into their vast experience, providing game plans that younger players can't handle. Who knows? Maybe Patterson, 31, becomes one of those guys.

"A guy who knows how to play," Thurman said of Patterson. "(He) brings knowledge and depth to our secondary. He can play nickel as well, so right now we are very pleased with Dimitri."

The oldest member of the secondary is Dawan Landry, 31, whose background in Ryan's system will make him a proverbial coach on the field. Thing is, he might not be on the field as much as last season because of the young talent at safety. Pryor, drafted 18th overall, is a virtual lock as an opening-day starter.

"We'll answer that after training camp, but he’s a talented kid, we drafted him No. 1," Thurman said. "We feel like he can bring a lot to our secondary, so we’ll see."

By the end of the season, perhaps sooner, McDougle could have a prominent role. The Jets are high on their third-round pick, who impressed during the final two weeks of the offseason program. He missed most of the offseason, still recovering from shoulder surgery last fall.

"I think he is everything we thought he was going to be," Thurman said. "He's a young, talented kid, he is very serious (and) he loves football. There are some guys that you look at them and you say, 'All right, he was built to play this position.' He was built to play corner."

Jets offseason recap: Risers and fallers

June, 23, 2014
Jun 23
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With the offseason in the books, let's take a step back to analyze some of the players who helped themselves the most in the offseason -- and some who didn't.

THREE RISERS

1. Oday Aboushi, left guard: The former fifth-round pick, coming off what amounted to a "redshirt" rookie year, played his way into the conversation as a possible starter. He finished minicamp as the starting left guard, replacing Brian Winters, who moved to right guard to replace the injured Willie Colon. Aboushi, who struggled last year at tackle, may benefit from the move inside because it could hide his shortcomings in pass protection. Colon expects to be ready for training camp, so there will be three players vying for two starting jobs. We'll see how Aboushi responds when the pads go on.

[+] EnlargeDexter McDougle
Rich Schultz /Getty ImagesThird-round pick Dexter McDougle worked his way up to second team by the end of minicamp.
2. Dexter McDougle, cornerback: Rex Ryan admitted his concerns about drafting McDougle in the third round -- injury-related worries -- but he's a believer now. After sitting out for most of the offseason to protect his surgically repaired shoulder, McDougle returned for the final two weeks, working his way up the depth chart to second team. He's smart and aggressive, not afraid to mix it up with receivers at the line of scrimmage. The coaches now believe he could push for serious playing time.

3. Ras-I Dowling, cornerback: When the Jets were striking out in free agency, failing to land a big-time corner, Ryan kept insisting he was happy with his current personnel. He named names, always mentioning Dowling. Cynics (including me) wondered the same thing: Ras-I Dowling? He spent last season on the Jets' practice squad after being dumped by the New England Patriots, but the talent is there. He was the 33rd pick in the 2011 draft, only three spots behind Muhammad Wilkerson. It was an impressive spring for Dowling, who now has a legitimate chance to make the team.

THREE FALLERS

1. Caleb Schlauderaff, center: Only a couple of years ago, former general manager Mike Tannenbaum touted Schlauderaff as the Jets' version of Victor Cruz -- a super sleeper. He's almost asleep, all right. Schlauderaff, the Jets' only reserve lineman with regular-season experience (all of 14 snaps), was relegated to third-team duty in minicamp, falling behind Dalton Freeman as Nick Mangold's backup. Schlauderaff will have a tough time making the team if Freeman, an impressive former undrafted free agent, continues to develop.

2. Matt Simms, quarterback: Last year's feel-good story got off to a hot start in organized team activities, but he cooled off toward the end of the offseason, including minicamp. Simms didn't get as many reps as the coaches would've liked, and reps will be hard to come by in training camp as well. Looking ahead, coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said he's "looking for (Simms) to make one more big step" -- an indication he's still in the team's plans. But rookie Tajh Boyd is lurking and will provide competition. Simms needs a strong camp if he wants to claim the No. 3 job.

3. Dawan Landry, safety: From all indications, Landry enjoyed a terrific offseason, receiving effusive praise from Ryan and earning recognition for his work in the conditioning program. But, at the same time, Landry lost ground. How is that possible? They drafted Calvin Pryor in the first round and paired him with third-year safety Antonio Allen in the starting lineup, allowing the young tandem to learn and develop chemistry. Ryan insisted that Landry still will have an important role, but things won't be the same. You can bet he won't play 98 percent of the defensive snaps, as he did last season.
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The New York Jets wrapped up minicamp -- and the offseason -- with a 90-minute practice Thursday in a light rain. A few takeaways:

Smith
1. Quarterback hiccups: One day after his coaches lavished praise upon him for a terrific offseason, Geno Smith ended on a down note, throwing two interceptions in team drills. One was an ill-advised throw, a pass into double coverage. He was looking for Eric Decker, who was covered by CB Dee Milliner, and it was picked off by rookie S Calvin Pryor. Later, Smith (2-for-6 in team drills) was intercepted by Milliner on a deep ball that went off the hands of Decker. It's important to keep this in perspective. Two turnovers on the final day of minicamp doesn't change anything. As Marty Mornhinweg indicated Wednesday, it's Smith's job to lose. Michael Vick was 2-for-7, with a couple of overthrows.

2. Young ball hawks: Turnovers are always a good news-bad news story in practice. The good news is that the secondary, which produced very few big plays last season, came up big. In addition to Pryor and Milliner, rookie CB Dexter McDougle made a big play, intercepting Vick in a 7-on-7 drill. (Vick seemed upset; there might have been a miscommunication with WR Jeremy Kerley). Afterward, Rex Ryan praised McDougle as one of the standouts in minicamp. This will be the youngest secondary of the Ryan era. The upside is the improved team speed on the back end; the downside is the lack of experience, which will inevitably lead to mental errors.

3. Another Hill to climb: WR Stephen Hill, who could be fighting for his roster spot, finished with a terrific practice. This was a positive offseason for Hill, who needed a jolt after a second straight disappointing season. He worked with the starting base offense, with David Nelson replacing him in some three-receiver packages. Nelson, too, looked sharp, hauling in two completions from Smith. Unlike past years, the Jets actually have some depth at receiver. It'll be interesting to see which players separate from the pack in training camp.

4. Dawan is da man: Veteran S Dawan Landry became the forgotten man in recent weeks, especially with Pryor and Antonio Allen working exclusively with the first team. After practice, Ryan tossed a bouquet to Landry, mentioning him as one of the standouts in minicamp. Ryan also revealed that Landry won an "Iron Jet" award for his exploits in the conditioning program, noting that he reported to the offseason program in superior condition. Funny how that works; they draft a safety in the first round and the aging incumbent shows up looking better than ever.

5. Attendance report: LB David Harris (hamstring tightness) and TE Jeff Cumberland (undisclosed) sat out. As expected, RB Chris Ivory (ankle) didn't participate. With Chris Johnson (knee) also out, Bilal Powell and Alex Green had busy days.

6. Have a nice summer: The offseason program is over. The team won't be together again until training camp. Reporting day is July 23 in Cortland, New York.

Practice report: Chris Ivory rolls ankle

June, 18, 2014
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Running back Chris Ivory didn’t make it all the way through the New York Jets' practice, stopping after he rolled his ankle. Jets coach Rex Ryan said the team would likely hold Ivory out of Thursday’s practice, the last day of the team’s mandatory minicamp.

Ivory
“It’s not severe or anything, but if you noticed he never finished today, that was the reason,” Ryan said.

Last season, a hamstring pulled late in the offseason kept Ivory, then a new arrival with the Jets, from participating for the first week in training camp. Ivory played in 15 games for the Jets last season, with 182 carries for 833 yards and three touchdowns.

Last season, the Jets were down a few running backs as Mike Goodson failed to report and Ivory dealt with his hamstring. At one point, Ryan was concerned that they were running Powell into the ground, but there weren’t a lot of other backs to turn to.

Chris Johnson, who had knee surgery, said he expects to be ready for training camp, but it’s unlikely he’ll get a full slate of reps after his injury.

Offense rebounds: Ryan wasn’t happy after the first day of the minicamp, when errors on offense led to 7 sets of 10 push-ups for all of the staff on the field. There weren’t as many pushups on Wednesday, but Woody Johnson was on the sideline for a flag and the billionaire owner dropped to the grass and did a set of 10.

Johnson had good form, but should probably keep his day job. It’s more lucrative anyway.

High points: Quarterback Geno Smith connected with receiver David Nelson twice on both sides of the end zone. The two seem to be developing their chemistry. Greg Salas also looked good, making several catches including a high ball over the defense that would likely have been a touchdown in a game.
  • Mike Vick was intercepted by Jaiquawn Jarrett late in practice, although it didn’t look like there was a receiver in the vicinity.

    “He had the interception,” quarterbacks coach David Lee said. “Other than that, shoot, he played lights out. He threw about five touchdown passes.”
  • Rookie tight end Jace Amaro also rebounded from a tough practice two weeks ago. He caught a nice pass from Vick in traffic.

    “I’ve been please with him,” Ryan said. “...The thing I’m impressed with [is] he’ll block in space, and that’s one of the hardest things to do, to get a big guy to be able to handle that, so that would lead me to think he can be a decent inline blocker as well.”

    Ryan noted the turnaround and said the bad practice was a good chance to show a rookie the difference between college and the pros.

    “Every time a rook does something like that, gives you an opportunity to get on him, I think you should take it,” Ryan said.
Landry list: Safety Dawan Landry continues to play with the second team as Antonio Allen and Calvin Pryor get first-team reps. Ryan has said he’s experimenting with different pieces and seeing how they play together. Something to watch for during training camp.
  • Rookie linebacker Ikemefuna Enemkpali has been getting quite a few reps with the second team as well. A few other Jets noted that he’s been developing.
  • The Jets' final practice of minicamp will be tomorrow morning.

Eight takeaways on Jets' OTA practices

June, 13, 2014
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The New York Jets wrapped up their organized team activity practices Thursday with a team trip to a local bowling alley. Thoughts and observations on the OTA phase of the offseason, which consisted of nine practices:

1. Growing up Smith: Quarterback Geno Smith, the likely opening-day starter, drew praise from teammates on two fronts: He was decisive in the huddle, communicating plays quickly and confidently -- a far cry from last season. They also said he was more assertive than his rookie year, demonstrating more vocal leadership. These are the progressions you'd like to see from a second-year quarterback. As for his actual play, it's hard to gauge in OTAs, but there was an obvious reduction in turnovers and sacks. Clearly, it's Smith's job to lose, even if Rex Ryan is reluctant to put it in those words.

2. Strength in numbers: Ryan likes to brag about the team's backfield depth, but depth is meaningless if half the unit is hurt. Chris Johnson (knee), Daryl Richardson (toe) and Mike Goodson (knee/no-show) didn't participate in the voluntary practices, leaving plenty of work for Bilal Powell, Chris Ivory and Alex Green, who thought he was a goner at one point. Johnson and Richardson should be ready by training camp, but given the amount of durability concerns (let's not forget about Ivory, who has a history of nagging injuries), the Jets should take a better-safe-than-sorry approach when they construct the final roster. In other words, load up on running backs.

3. The battle for No. 2: Since there's no competition at quarterback (in the words of Michael Vick), the most compelling battle is unfolding at wide receiver. Who's the 2? Don't be surprised if Stephen Hill (yeah, him) emerges as the starter opposite Eric Decker. Right now, I'd say the top candidates are Hill and David Nelson, figuring Jeremy Kerley will be in the slot. Clearly, this is a make-or-break year for Hill, who has yet to transfer his elite measureables into production. Hill did fine in the OTAs. but, remember, there was no press coverage (not allowed under CBA rules). Diminutive rookie Jalen Saunders got a lot of quality reps and demonstrated impressive short-area quickness, but again ... no press coverage. The wild card is Jacoby Ford, probably the fastest player on the team. He blew away teammates with his speed, but there are durability and consistency concerns.

4. Mr. Jessie James: Decker made headlines by skipping two days of practice to attend the CMT Awards with his wife, country singer Jessie James, which overshadowed his impressive work on the field. He's learning a new offense and getting comfortable in new surroundings, but their prized free agent appeared right at home. He's big and smooth, as advertised. You could tell he puts a lot of effort into his route running. A couple of times, he was off to the side, working on his footwork with receivers coach Sanjay Lal. Cynics will say Decker looked so good because there isn't much around him. There's an element of truth to that, but you don't catch 24 touchdowns over two years by accident.

5. Youth is served: Ryan put first-round pick Calvin Pryor on the fast track, giving him plenty of first-team reps at safety with Antonio Allen. Is the handwriting on the wall for Dawan Landry? The dean of the secondary was relegated to second- and third-team duty, but that was because the coaches wanted to give Pryor and Allen as much on-the-job training as possible. They still need Landry because of his leadership and knowledge of the defense, but Ryan, who recognizes the need for playmakers in the secondary, is intrigued by the speed and athleticism of the Pryor-Allen tandem. No doubt, Pryor will be a Week 1 starter. The only question is how they divide the other spot.

6. Musical linemen: Willie Colon's injuries allowed them to try different combinations at guard, with Brian Winters and Oday Aboushi working in both spots. Ryan said Aboushi looks better at left guard, meaning Winters could slide to right guard if something happens to Colon down the road. There's nothing wrong with experimenting, especially in June, but it doesn't mask the fact that the Jets have no experienced backups on the offensive line. And we're not counting Caleb Schlauderaff, whose experience consists of 14 regular-season snaps. They need to pick up a veteran at some point before the season.

7. Dee's cranky hamstring: It's probably nothing, but maybe it's something. Cornerback Dee Milliner was limited in recent practices because of what the team is calling "tightness" in his hamstring. Yeah, it's only June, but considering all the buildup surrounding Milliner -- coaches saying how much he'd benefit from his first injury-free offseason -- it was disappointing not to see him build on the momentum of last season's strong finish. This could be a moot point by training camp, but it's worth noting, especially since Milliner was beset with nagging injuries last season and played hurt throughout college with various ailments.

8. Jace not an ace -- yet: Rookie tight end Jace Amaro struggled with dropped passes, probably because his brain was overloaded with new terminology. This is a big transition for the second-round pick, who didn't play in a pro-style offense at Texas Tech. He came from a simple, no-huddle system that didn't require a lot of thinking on your feet. Clearly, he has talent, but his development will be dictated by how quickly he assimilates into Marty Mornhinweg's offense. Don't expect it to happen overnight.

Doing the safety dance with Pryor & Co.

June, 3, 2014
Jun 3
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With first-round pick Calvin Pryor now officially official, having signed his four-year, $8.56 million contract, this is a good time to analyze how the New York Jets might deploy their safeties. It's an interesting question because they have three players they consider starting-caliber safeties -- Pryor, Dawan Landry and Antonio Allen.

Pryor
Obviously, we're not talking about the Seattle Seahawks' safety group here, so it shouldn't take long for Pryor to find a place in the starting lineup.

Like Landry and Allen, Pryor is a natural "box" safety, but scouts say his coverage skills are good enough to where he can be used in zone coverage -- i.e. the deep middle -- although no one is calling him a young Ed Reed. Landry, whose coverage skills are extremely limited, offers value in a quarterback-type role -- a heady player who can make sure everyone is lined up properly. Allen is unusal because he has the athleticism to play man-to-man coverage against top tight ends (ask Rob Gronkowski), yet he's a bit shaky in zones because his instincts and reaction skills need work.

So you have three strong-safety types with different strengths and weaknesses. Don't be surprised if Rex Ryan goes back to a three-safety package on certain passing downs, which he did quite often last season. There were many times in which the Jets preferred a third safety (Jaiquawn Jarrett) over a fourth corner in dime situations. Unfortunately, we don't have a breakdown of how often they used a three-safety package, but the snap distribution over the first nine games (before Reed signed) illustrates how much they relied on three safeties as part of the weekly game plan:

Landry -- 620 snaps/99 percent

Allen -- 397/64 percent

Jarrett -- 234/37 percent

When Reed signed, Ryan dropped Allen like a bad habit, using a Reed-Landry tandem for a few games. Finally realizing Reed, 35, no longer was the impact player he remembered from Baltimore, Ryan scaled back Reed's playing time, opting for a late-season platoon system that included Allen. It occurred too late to dramatically change the snap distribution over the final seven games, which clearly shows a reliance on two safeties:

Landry -- 461/97 percent

Reed -- 368/78 percent

Allen -- 137/29 percent

Jarrett -- 43/9 percent

Looking ahead, Ryan and defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman probably will do a lot of mixing and matching, letting personnel and game situations dictate the lineup. For instance, when the Jets face an athletic, pass-catching tight end, Allen probably will have a greater role in the game plan. Landry's role could shrink as Pryor gets comfortable with the defense from a cerebral standpoint. In the end, you will see a lot of Pryor and a playing-time breakdown that resembles the first nine games from 2013, with three players in contributing roles.

Five burning questions as OTAs begin

May, 27, 2014
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The next phase of the New York Jets' offseason begins Tuesday -- organized team activities. Or, as we like to call them in the biz, OTAs. Five questions facing the Jets as they start three weeks of practices before the mandatory minicamp:

Smith
1. Can Geno Smith hold off Michael Vick? We already know how Vick feels about the subject, as he stated his belief that Smith will be the opening-day quarterback. Vick probably is right, but Smith needs to eliminate any doubts. He can start by building off his promising finish to last season, which means taking control of the offense in OTAs. Smith has impressed teammates with his improved command of the offense, but it's one thing to be that way in a walk-through and quite another to demonstrate it against a live defense.

2. Is Eric Decker worth the money? The Jets, no longer big spenders in free agency, made an exception for Decker, giving him a five-year, $36 million contract. For that kind of loot, they expect him to be more than a nice No. 2 wide receiver. This could be culture shock for Decker, who goes from Peyton Manning to Smith/Vick. Then again, he caught passes from Tim Tebow in 2011, so he should be prepared for anything.

Amaro
3. Can Jace Amaro find an immediate niche? The Jets didn't use a lot of two-tight-end packages last season, but that could change with Amaro joining incumbent Jeff Cumberland at the position. The second-round pick is a big dude (6-foot-5, 265 pounds) with the ability to basically line up as a wide receiver. It will be interesting to see how coordinator Marty Mornhinweg incorporates Amaro into the passing attack.

4. Is Calvin Pryor as good as Rex Ryan thinks? Ryan always gushes about his rookies, but he's positively smitten with his first-round pick. He already has compared Pryor to one of the most notorious safeties in history, the hard-hitting Jack Tatum. It will be interesting to see how Ryan juggles Pryor, Dawan Landry and Antonio Allen in the safety rotation -- if there is a rotation. We're talking about three players with similar skill sets -- i.e. strong safety-types.

5. Is it Milliner time? Taking Smith out of the equation, the most improved player on the team has to be cornerback Dee Milliner. If not, the defense will have problems because it's counting on him as the No. 1 cornerback. Milliner has to be the rock in the post-Cromartie/post-Revis era. Last year's top pick, who missed the 2013 off-season because of a shoulder injury, saved a poor rookie year with a strong finish. Now he needs to build on that. Just being on the field, as opposed to rehabbing an injury, will help immensely.
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Calvin Pryor doesn't wear a mouthpiece because he doesn't want anything to restrict his yap. The New York Jets' No. 1 pick was a self-proclaimed trash talker in college, and he's not planning to hit the mute button now that he's in the NFL. The hard-hitting safety said Saturday he won't back down against the top receivers, not even against, say, Larry Fitzgerald.

"He's human, right?" Pryor said. "I would have no problem with it at all. ... With me being a rookie, that doesn't mean anything. I am who I am. I'm going to talk trash. If people don't like it, they're going to have to get used to it."

[+] EnlargeCalvin Pryor
AP Photo/Bill KostrounRookie Calvin Pryor has already earned praise for his smarts at Jets rookie minicamp.
Pryor is off to a fast start in rookie camp. Rex Ryan praised his mental aptitude, his ability to digest information and take it to the field. Ryan called Pryor the most impressive player in camp, which is what you'd expect from the 18th overall pick.

The cerebral aspect to the game is important, but Pryor made his name in college based on intimidation -- verbal and physical. He talked smack, and smacked opponents with bone-jarring hits.

"When you're out there and you can talk trash and get into a guy's head, it affects their game a little bit," he said. "That's the main reason why I do it. It's nothing personal against them. It's who I am as a football player.

"You talk trash and you go out there and play crazy and hit guys hard, it's an intimidation factor," Pryor continued. "It's like, 'This guy means what he says.'"

Presumably, Pryor will start at one safety spot, with Dawan Landry or Antonio Allen at the other position. Many have assumed that it'll be Pryor and Landry, the most experienced returning player in the secondary, but it sounds as if Landry could be headed to a reserve role. There had been some speculation after the draft that Landry's roster spot is in jeopardy. Ryan put that to rest -- he called him a "vital member" of the defense -- but he didn't commit to Landry as a starter.

"Landry is going to play a ton, whether it's a clear-cut starter or whatever you want to say ... he'll play," Ryan said. "He'll play in some capacity, and he might end up playing more than any of the other safeties."

One thing is clear: Pryor is the new top dog.

"There will be a lot of jerseys sold with Pryor's name on the back, because I have a feeling he'll become one of the more popular Jets," Ryan said.

Cutting Landry would be a mistake

May, 12, 2014
May 12
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Is Dawan Landry in trouble?

The addition of safety Calvin Pryor, drafted 18th overall, has fueled speculation about Landry's future with the New York Jets. The website overthecap.com, which does great work on contract and cap-related trends in the NFL, includes Landry on a list of 10 veteran players that could be impacted by the draft -- a kind of way of mentioning players whose jobs could be in jeopardy.

Landry
Frankly, I think it would be a mistake to cut Landry. His 2014 salary isn't outrageous ($1.5 million) and, even though he's 31 and doesn't make a lot of big plays, he still has value because of his intangibles. He's the quarterback of the secondary, responsible for making pre-snap checks and getting the players lined up properly. Pryor might have a bright future, but he's certainly not ready to have that on his plate. Neither is third-year safety Antonio Allen, still learning the nuances of the position after playing a quasi-linebacker role in college.

Could you imagine a starting secondary of Pryor, Allen, second-year cornerback Dee Milliner and veteran corner Dimitri Patterson, who is new to the Rex Ryan system? There would be communication breakdowns galore. If they were to cut Landry, they'd have to sign someone with a strong grasp of the system. Ed Reed, you ask? Actually, Reed's free-safety skill set would pair nicely with Pryor, and he obviously knows Ryan's defense. But the future Hall of Famer will be 36 in September and the Jets have been there, done that.

It certainly sounds as if Allen will have a role on defense, if not a starting role. He's at his best in man-to-man coverage, relying on his athletic ability instead of sitting back in a zone and trying to read offenses.

"Antonio Allen is doing a tremendous job and I think he’ll be ready to do some interesting things for us this year," Ryan said after picking Pryor. "His big thing was the position change from what he did in college to the NFL. We knew that would take a little time, and I think actually he’s sped that process up a little faster than maybe anticipated. I really look forward to seeing what he does."

New York Jets cap breakdown: Defense

February, 14, 2014
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A breakdown of the New York Jets' salary cap, position by position on defense:

Cornerback

Total cap charge: $20.8 million

Percentage of total cap: 16.0

Players under contract: 6

Highest cap charge: Antonio Cromartie, $14.98 million

Our take: The Jets won't have Cromartie at that number. He'll either take a pay cut or get cut, perhaps re-signing later at a lower number. ... Imagine what the overall number would look like if Darrelle Revis were still on the roster.

Linebacker

Total cap charge: $12.16 million

Percentage of total cap: 9.4

Players under contract: 6

Highest cap charge: David Harris, $7.0 million

Our take: Only three starters are under contract, which means the total will grow when they re-sign Calvin Pace or a veteran replacement. ... The front office finally got this position under control after years of bloated cap numbers.

Defensive line:

Total cap charge: $7.41

Percentage of total cap: 5.7

Players under contract: 7

Highest cap charge: Sheldon Richardson, $2.29 million

Our take: They're all young pups, but one of these days -- 2015 or 2016 -- this will be the high-rent district on the team. Maybe it will start this year if Muhammad Wilkerson gets a long-term extension.

Safety:

Total cap charge: $3.56 million

Percentage of total cap: 2.7

Players under contract: 6

Highest cap charge: Dawan Landry, $1.83 million

Our take: Welcome to the discount aisle. The Jets take the thrifty approach when it comes to building the safety position.

Roster evaluation: Top 25 players, 16 to 20

February, 5, 2014
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It's early February, post-Super Bowl, which means every team not named the Seattle Seahawks is doing the same thing -- planning for 2014. The Seahawks are busy celebrating, but you can bet they'll be returning to the grind real soon.

Part of planning is evaluating what you have. Toward that end, we've ranked the top 25 players on the New York Jets' roster -- based on performance, potential, positional value and salary-cap status. Here's 16 to 20:

16. Dawan Landry, safety, (cap charge: $1.8 million): If Landry were a pitcher in baseball, he'd be described as an innings eater. He played a lot of football last season (98 percent of the defensive snaps), but he didn't make many big plays. Still, he has value because of his intangibles, namely his ability to quarterback the secondary.

17. Calvin Pace, outside linebacker, (cap charge: Free agent): This will be an interesting negotiation. Pace is coming off a 10-sack season, a career high, but he's 33 years old. You can bet he'll be looking for a lot more than the $1 million he made last season on a one-year deal. The Jets are thin at the position, helping Pace's leverage.

18. Bilal Powell, running back, (cap charge: $1.5 million): He qualified for an esclator, increasing his cap number in the final year of his rookie contract. Powell doesn't have star potential, but he proved last season he can be a solid complementary back. He finished with 969 yards from scrimmage.

19. Jeff Cumberland, tight end, (cap charge: Free agent): He has made considerable improvement since breaking into the league as an undrafted wide receiver. The question is, what is Cumberland's ceiling? If another team sees him as a legitimate No. 1 tight end, the Jets probably will lose him.

20. Santonio Holmes, wide receiver, (cap charge: $10.75 million): You can't be the 20th-best player on the team and have a huge cap number, which is why his days with the Jets are numbered. After two disappointing, injury-plagued seasons, Holmes is a certain cap casualty. He was terrific in 2010, but it has been all downhill since then.

Previously:

21. Mark Sanchez, quarterback

22. Antonio Allen, safety

23. Nick Folk, placekicker

24. Willie Colon, guard

25. Stephen Hill, wide receiver

Jets' D is good, but not near Seattle's best

February, 3, 2014
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Good news for the New York Jets: The Seattle Seahawks delivered an emphatic reminder that great defense still matters in the offensive-minded NFL.

Bad news for the Jets: Their defense, the foundation of the team, isn’t close to that of the Seahawks.

While the Jets have the potential to be dominant on the defensive line, they don’t have enough playmakers on the second and third levels to accomplish what the Seahawks did in Super Bowl XLVIII.

[+] EnlargeDemario Davis
AP Photo/Damian StrohmeyerDemario Davis is one of the young players the Jets can build around on defense.
They can stop the run with anyone, and they have the power rushers to generate a decent-to-occasionally-strong pass rush, but there are no proven difference-makers at linebacker or in the secondary -- not yet, anyway. The Jets produced only 15 takeaways last season, continuing a trend under Rex Ryan. For all their defensive success in recent years, they've created only 130 turnovers since 2009, 15th in the league.

It’s all about the turnovers, as the Seahawks proved Sunday night -- and all season, really. They rattled the great Peyton Manning with an incredible amount of speed and intensity, relying on personnel over scheme. Their game plan was simple, but brilliant. It was them saying, “No tricks necessary; our guys are better than your guys.” They recorded only one sack (an overrated statistic), but they forced Manning to move in the pocket and they bashed his receivers when they caught the ball. The defense finished with four turnovers and a touchdown, a great day’s work.

It’s also all about pass defense in the current NFL, so you need a stable of pass-rushers and “space” players in the back seven -- exceptional athletes who can drop, cover and make plays on the ball against offenses that spread the field. The Jets finished 22nd in pass defense. The Seahawks are built for speed; it’s always been the Pete Carroll philosophy. That’s why he doesn’t carry linebackers north of 250 pounds.

In contrast, Ryan built his front seven based on strength and power, the necessary attributes of a 3-4 scheme, although he has tweaked his philosophy to adapt to the new NFL. That was apparent in 2012, when he used a third-round pick on Demario Davis, a run-and-hit linebacker. In the not-so-old days, a linebacker like Davis -- 239 pounds -- wouldn’t have been a scheme fit.

Davis didn’t wow anyone in his first season as a starter, but he’s an ascending player, one of their building blocks. He and cornerback Dee Milliner -- the December Milliner, not the early Milliner -- have the athleticism to thrive in a fast-flow defense. Cornerback Antonio Cromartie can do it, too, as long as his troublesome hip isn’t an issue.

Unlike the Seahawks, who have the best safety tandem in the league, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor, the Jets are suspect at the position. Dawan Landry is a good quarterback, orchestrating the back end, but he doesn’t make plays. There’s a lot to like about Antonio Allen, who has improved considerably, but he’s still not a finished product. What does it say that graybeard Ed Reed, a midseason pickup, tied for the team lead with three interceptions?

Look, this isn’t a hatchet job on the Jets' defense. Clearly, they're better on defense than they were a year ago at this time. Their foundation is better than two-thirds of the teams, but they're still a few players away from Seattle's best. General manager John Idzik's first draft was solid, but he needs to find some of those fourth- and fifth-round gems, like his former colleagues have done in Seattle.

But, hey, it took the Seahawks four years to get to this point. Rome wasn't built in one offseason.

Reed wants to play another year -- probably

December, 30, 2013
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Ed Reed didn't rule out retirement, but he gave every indication Monday that he'd like to play another season. He'd like it to be with the New York Jets.

"I know I'm going to be ready to play football next year," Reed said.

Reed
The future Hall-of-Fame safety, who underwent hip surgery last April while a free agent, said he expects to be better in 2014 after having a full offseason to rest and rehab his hip. He was scheduled for an MRI exam on Monday, which he termed as "total maintenance."

Reed, who played seven games with the Jets after being released by the Houston Texans, received heavy criticism for his play. Frankly, he looked old and too slow for an every-down role. In recent weeks, his playing time was reduced and he came more productive, finishing with three interceptions -- tied for the team lead.

Not shy at firing back at critics, Reed scoffed when asked if New York saw the "real" Reed this season.

"The real Ed Reed?" he asked, increduously. "I'm in my 12th year, I know how to play this game. I've played this game a certain way for a long time. The real Ed Reed was here. My expectations for myself are higher than y'all could ever be. The standard has been set high, but like I said, I said that standard."

Rex Ryan's affinity for Reed is well-documented, but it's hard to imagine them re-signing him. He will be 36 next season, and they have reliable veteran Dawan Landry, part-time starter Antonio Allen and other young safeties.

"I came close to retiring three, four years ago, so there's always that possibility," he said. "That's something I've always evaluated after every season since my first year. It's a violent sport. The sport is changing a lot and organizations are changing. It's just a different game."

Reed's potential impact on playing time

November, 15, 2013
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Newly signed safety Ed Reed will have a "defined role" Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, said New York Jets defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman, adding: "We’re going to use him in situations where we feel like he can help us be successful."

Reed
Presumably, that means passing situations where he can do what he does best -- play the deep middle in a single-high safety look. Of course, it wouldn't be at all surprising if Reed plays a significant amount of snaps. That would mean more bench time for Antonio Allen and Jaiquawn Jarrett, who have been sharing the No. 2 safety spot.

Here's a breakdown of how the Jets have divided the playing time at safety through nine games:

Dawan Landry -- 620/626 snaps (99 percent)

Antonio Allen -- 397/626 snaps (63 percent)

Jaiquawn Jarrett -- 234/626 snaps (37 percent)

Josh Bush -- 47/626 snaps (8 percent)

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