NFL Nation: Dawan Landry

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.
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.
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 was in jeopardy. Ryan put that to rest -- he called him a "vital member" of th 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.
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.
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)

Rapid Reaction: Jets 18, Buccaneers 17

September, 8, 2013
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Quick takeaways on the New York Jets' 18-17 season-opening win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at MetLife Stadium:

What it means: The Jets lost the game and they won it, all in the final 76 seconds. Capitalizing on a stupid late-hit penalty on Bucs LB Lavonte David in the final seconds, the Jets stole the game with a 48-yard field goal by Nick Folk with two seconds left. David's penalty, hitting Geno Smith out of bounds, put Folk in field goal range. Moments earlier, a missed tackle by Jets S Dawan Landry set up a go-ahead field goal by the Bucs. Yes, the Jets got lucky. But lucky ain't bad in the NFL. Get ready: There will be a lot of close games this season because the Jets' defense will keep them competitive.

Stock watch: Smith was up. And down. And up. You get the picture. It was a typical rookie performance. Smith committed two turnovers in the first half (a fumble and an interception), but he kept his composure and finished 24-of-38 for 256 yards and a touchdown. He gave the Jets a 15-14 lead in the fourth quarter, executing a nice drive that included a few big screen passes, and his late scramble set up Folk's game-winning field goal. The moment wasn't too big for the rookie, who gave the Jets hope and something to build around.

No ground-and-pound: New offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg has instilled a pass-first mentality; that has to change. The Jets won't win many games by rushing for 90 yards on 29 carries, hardly the ideal way to support a rookie quarterback. Chris Ivory was a nonfactor in his Jets debut, and he lived down to his reputation as a poor receiver with a key drop. They tried to mix it up, using Bilal Powell and Jeremy Kerley in the Wildcat, but they couldn't establish much against the Bucs, who owned the league's top-ranked rush defense last season.

Defense owns Freeman, Martin: Rex Ryan predicted a top-five defense this season. If the Jets could face the Bucs every week, he'd probably turn out to be correct. Other than Landry's missed tackle, they confused QB Josh Freeman by changing fronts, showing some 4-3 looks, and they contained RB Doug Martin better than anyone could've imagined. They held Martin to 64 total yards, keeping him off the edges as a runner and receiver. The Bucs' only success came on blitz-beating slants to Mike Williams and Vincent Jackson, who beat Antonio Cromartie for a couple of big plays. Rookie CB Dee Milliner settled down after a shaky start, which included a 17-yard touchdown catch by Williams. The Jets could've used ... uh, Darrelle Revis.

What's next: The Jets have a quick turnaround, as they face the Patriots on Thursday night in Foxborough. The Jets have dropped four straight in the series, including a 49-19 laugher last Thanksgiving -- the night of the Butt Fumble.

Rapid Reaction: Lions 26, Jets 17

August, 9, 2013
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DETROIT -- The New York Jets opened the preseason Friday night with a 26-17 loss to the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Despite a killer interception, Mark Sanchez won the night over Geno Smith in the ballyhooed quarterback competition. Smith left in the third quarter after rolling his ankle. It doesn't appear serious, but he can't afford to miss any practice time.

What it means: As it stands now, Sanchez will be the opening-day starter. He gave as many points to the Lions as he produced for the Jets -- 7-7 -- but he showed greater command than Smith, who delivered a non-descript performance in his NFL debut. Smith is doomed if he misses any practice time; it's almost impossible for a rookie to play catch-up in training camp.

Sanchez's night: It was the worst possible start for Sanchez, who threw a pick-six on the Jets' first series. Under pressure on a screen pass, he didn't put enough air under the pass and it was intercepted by rookie defensive end Ziggy Ansah, who returned it 14 yards for a touchdown. Sanchez has a maddening tendency to turn a safe pass into a calamity. In fact, he almost had another screen intercepted.

To Sanchez's credit, he responded to the disastrous start, finishing 10-for-13 for 125 yards with a 26-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Jeff Cumberland. It culminated a seven-play, 80-yard drive, much of which came in the hurry-up. It was typical Sanchez -- some good, some ugly. Some things don't change.

Geno's night: Unlike Sanchez, Smithi didn't make any horrible mistakes, but he also didn't bring any spark to the offense. The former West Virginia star, who got two series behind the starting offensive line, generated only one first down on his first three drives -- a 15-yard pass to Clyde Gates on his first play. Simply put, Smith didn't look ready to take over the team. He finished 6-for-7 for 47 yards. Smith came out on the first series of the third quarter, when he turned his right ankle on an open-field scramble.

Greg McElroy came in and did a nice job against the Lions' third-stringers, going 11-for-19 for 145 yards and an 11-yard TD pass to Zach Rogers.

Big-play tight ends: Dustin Keller is gone, but Cumberland and Kellen Winslow displayed playmaking ability. Winslow made a nice catch-and-run for 24 yards. Cumberland scored his touchdown on a deep seam, showing his ability to get vertical. It's too soon to say the Jets have two weapons at tight end, but it was a good start.

Another injured running back: John Griffin was carted off with a lower-leg injury. It didn't look good. Already down Chris Ivory, Mike Goodson and Joe McKnight, the Jets can't afford another injury in the backfield. Ivory (hamstring) is expected to return Sunday.

New-look defense: The Jets opened with seven new starters in the post-Darrelle Revis era. All things considered, the defense held up fairly well. Most of the starters played most of the first half, an unusually long stint for the first game, and allowed 10 points. Cornerback Darrin Walls, an early substitution for starter Antonio Cromartie, got beat on a 15-yard scoring pass. One player who jumped out was nose tackle Kenrick Ellis, who deflected a pass and held the point of attack. Safety Dawan Landry got beat once in coverage. Keep in mind that Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford played only two series.

The rookies: It was a so-so debut for top pick Dee Milliner, who started at corner in the base defense. He didn't have to cover all-world receiver Calvin Johnson -- Cromartie drew that assignment -- so that made life easier for Milliner. He had a nice pass break-up in the end zone, but he missed an open-field tackle and allowed a 27-yard reception. Milliner gets some slack, though, because he missed a lot of time and has to be rusty. It was a relatively quiet night for defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson.

The Q report: Former first-round pick Quinton Coples, making the transition to outside linebacker, flashed good and bad on his first two plays. He deflected a pass on an outside rush, but he failed to set the edge on an outside run by Reggie Bush. Coples didn't move well in space. This will be an interesting position change.

What's ahead: The Jets return to Cortland for four days of practice. They break camp Thursday and return to Florham Park, where they will prepare for next Saturday's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
NFC Eight in the Box: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Who is one highly drafted or highly paid player from each AFC South team who needs to show something during the remainder of the offseason?

Houston Texans: I can’t find a highly paid or highly drafted player who could be in jeopardy. Shiloh Keo was a fifth-round draft pick in 2011 and ranked as a Wade Phillips favorite. Keo played in every game last year, even seeing time as the often-used third safety when Quintin Demps fell out of favor. But Keo is limited, primarily because he’s slow. The Texans replaced Glover Quin with Ed Reed, which doesn’t really affect the bottom of the safety depth chart. Demps is an unsigned free agent who won’t be back. Second-round pick D.J. Swearinger will be the third safety. Keo and Eddie Pleasant are the fourth and fifth safeties now, and the team had five on the roster at the end of last season. But a good player at the back end of another position could prompt them to keep just four, which could put the limited Keo in jeopardy if he doesn’t perform well in camp.

Indianapolis Colts: A team that didn’t have a true nose tackle option last season because of injuries and personnel deficiencies will have a glut this summer if everyone remains healthy. Now they have Aubrayo Franklin and 2012 fifth-rounder Josh Chapman, who’s back from the knee injury that kept him out last year. They also have new fifth-round draft pick Montori Hughes as well as Ricky Jean Francois, a versatile lineman who can man the middle on occasion. I don’t expect Martin Tevaseu to stick, and if the rest of that pack remains healthy, one player who will need to have a solid camp to make his case to stay is Brandon McKinney, who’s due $1 million this year. Brought in as a free agent from Baltimore last year, he too is coming off a serious knee injury. He’s expected to be ready for camp but could have already lost some ground in organized team activities and minicamp.

Jacksonville Jaguars: While the Texans don’t have a highly paid or highly drafted veteran who could be in trouble because they have drafted well and their roster is solid, the Jaguars don’t really have one because they are young and largely unproven. They already parted with an expensive guy who wasn’t worth his contract in strong safety Dawan Landry. Tight and Marcedes Lewis ($4.2 million base this year) and defensive tackle Tyson Alualu ($1.8 million) are overpaid based on recent production, but the Jaguars have money and don’t have promising replacements for either.

Tennessee Titans: I don’t think right tackle David Stewart is in jeopardy. But he’s coming off a down year when he committed too many penalties, is recovering from a broken leg, has an ankle that seems to be a lingering concern and is due a $5 million base salary. I’m not sure Mike Otto or Byron Stingily, the team’s two primary backup tackles, are starting-caliber guys. But the team did visit with free agent Eric Winston, who worked with offensive line coach Bruce Matthews in Houston. If Winston remains on the market and Stewart doesn’t look ready to bounce back, perhaps the Titans would still consider adding Winston and allowing him to slug it out with Stewart. That could be an epic battle.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have gone from Dawan Landry to Johnathan Cyprien at string safety, and the move could wind up being an immediate upgrade for the new regime.

Cyprien
It certainly will be more cost effective. Landry, signed to a monster deal by the fired brass, was overpriced. Cyprien will get the contract commensurate with the first pick of the second round, which is where the Jaguars picked him.

Here’s Scouts Inc. in the Jaguars’ new safety, who should start beside Dwight Lowery: “Cyprien may have the best combination of size, range and athleticism in the safety class. He can play near the box and handle middle-of-the-field responsibilities. Cyprien plays fast, and with a physical edge. His instincts are adequate, but he could improve his angles as a tackle.

If he doesn’t beat out Chris Prosinski, it won’t bode well for him. I expect it won’t be difficult for Cyprien to vault Prosinski.
I’m pleased to hear the Jaguars aren’t leaning toward a quarterback with the first pick of the NFL draft's second round tonight.

I’m wishy-washy on the guy reportedly in line to be drafted 33rd overall.

Gil Brandt of NFL.com tweeted that Mississippi State corner Johnthan Banks looks like he’ll be the choice.

Banks fits one thing the Jaguars want in their corners -- he’s big at 6-foot-2, 185 pounds. He’s got a lot of experience playing against top-level competition in the SEC. His 4.61 40 time at the combine dropped his stock.

I’m intrigued by Johnathan Cyprien, the strong safety from Florida International.

The Jaguars cut overpayed Dawan Landry and have a blank spot at the position, just as they do at cornerback beyond Mike Harris.

The Eagles and Jets are reportedly looking to move up for a quarterback, and ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio has a strong feeling the Jets' target is Geno Smith.

I don’t know how much of a game-player GM David Caldwell wants to be. But if he could convince the Jets that the Jaguars want Smith at No. 33, he might collect a nice haul of picks and still be able to get Banks or Cyprien.

Numbers show Jags' needs at DE, CB

April, 23, 2013
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We’ve been looking at some statistical evidence that shows off team needs, and the numbers ESPN Stats and Info shared on the Jaguars are very telling.

While they have needs all over the place as they rebuild, they really need help with their pass rush and pass coverage.

On 80 percent of opponent dropbacks in 2012, the Jaguars used four or fewer pass-rushers. That was the fifth-highest in the NFL. But the Jaguars weren’t using standard pressure because it was working. They averaged a sack once every 32.9 dropbacks, worst in the NFL. The Raiders were second at 29.3.

Even as they added Jason Babin near the end of the season, they need a dynamic pass-rusher.

The reason they didn’t blitz more was because of the shaky personnel in the secondary. And since the new regime took over, they’ve parted with or declined to have back cornerbacks Derek Cox, Rashean Mathis and Aaron Ross as well as strong safety Dawan Landry.

Even with those players, Jacksonville’s defense struggled to defend passes along the sidelines. No team had fewer interceptions outside the painted field numbers than the Jaguars’ two. In the same territory, the team was tied for 30th in completion percentage (61.3), tied for 30th in total QBR allowed (82.9) and tied for 26th in yards per attempt (7.4).

So cornerback is a huge priority too.

If the Jaguars don’t find quality help in the pass rush as the coverage and improve only one area, the other may still not be strong enough even with the help at the other end.

A new scheme should help. But the opinion here is players make schemes far more than schemes make player.
The New York Jets could not afford keep Pro Bowl safety LaRon Landry, who signed a multi-year contract with the Indianapolis Colts. In response, New York signed his older brother.

The Jets agreed to terms with safety Dawan Landry, the team announced Tuesday. Dawan does not have the same athleticism and range as his younger brother, but Dawan was more affordable and has plenty of starting experience. He played all 16 games with the Jacksonville Jaguars last season, and recorded 100 tackles and one interception.

This move also reunites Dawan with Jets head coach Rex Ryan, who coached the safety with the Baltimore Ravens from 2006-2008. New York lost two starting safeties -- LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell -- in free agency this offseason. Dawan Landry knows Ryan’s defense well and should be able to fill one of those roles.

New York doesn't have a lot of flexibility to sign free agents this year. But to get a potential starter this late in the process is a fairly solid move. The Jets have a lot of needs remaining and will look to the NFL draft to fill a majority of them.
If you're hoping your NFC North teams adds a cornerback and/or safety, you'll want to review ESPN.com's redesigned and now updated Free Agent Tracker for some context on a series of moves Friday that added significantly to a marketplace that in essence opens in a matter of hours.

Our guys at Scouts Inc. now rate Chris Gamble, released by the Carolina Panthers, as the top cornerback available in free agency. Another veteran cornerback without a team is Aaron Ross, who was let go by the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Meanwhile, two starting-caliber safeties were released Friday as well: The Arizona Cardinals' Adrian Wilson and the Jaguars' Dawan Landry.

With Louis Delmas set to test free agency, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, the Lions would seem to be in the market for a safety. The same could be said at cornerback if they do not re-sign Chris Houston. A safety wouldn't be a bad idea for the Minnesota Vikings or Chicago Bears, either.

Remember, teams can start negotiating with pending free agents (or, at least their agents) after midnight tonight. No deals can be official until Tuesday. We'll keep you updated.
My plan for the Jacksonville Jaguars as we approach the start of the 2013 NFL calendar year:

Finances: The Jaguars have about $24 million in salary-cap room, so they don’t have a huge issue. But they are carrying several contracts that are too hefty. Laurent Robinson is overpaid, but a year into his deal they are unlikely to bail. Tight end Marcedes Lewis and guard Uche Nwaneri are too costly, both due base salaries of more than $4 million this season. Linebacker Paul Posluszny ($6.5 million base), Dawan Landry ($5.4 million) and cornerback Aaron Ross ($3.75 million) are also costly. I’d make no money moves until my coaches have time with the team on the field for a thorough assessment and see some of the alternatives brought in.

Continuity: Re-sign outside linebacker Daryl Smith. He’s been a very solid player for the franchise, and because he was hurt for 14 games last year, his price is going to be discounted. Re-sign cornerback Derek Cox, ideally to an incentive-laden deal tied to his availability. Hope he’ll give you a chance to match if someone else gives him a better offer. He’s a great player but it’s hard to invest in a guy who misses so much time.

Turnover: Allow the rest of the free-agent class to hit the market and wish it well. If a player like defensive tackle Terrance Knighton or fullback Greg Jones doesn’t find what he wants out there and remains available later, consider an offer down the road.

Additions: I’d shop more aggressively than I expect the Jaguars will based on how they’ve spoken about free agency, but I will try to stick to their parameters here. Seattle defensive tackle Alan Branch was a key piece of the defense Gus Bradley ran for the Seahawks, and new coaches typically like bringing in a guy or two who know how they will operate. I want to make at least one statement signing that addresses a big area of concern. If Sebastian Vollmer’s back checks out, he’d be my guy. He’s a top right tackle who’s been part of a successful franchise in New England. From there, I’d pursue a few more affordable types: one of two cornerbacks, Greg Toler from Arizona or Bradley Fletcher of St. Louis and a defensive end who’s still young and has some versatility, St. Louis’ William Hayes.

Draft: The No. 2 spot is a toughie, because clear choices at the top of this draft have not emerged. There is defensive line talent, however, and the pass rush is a longstanding issue the new regime is inheriting. That first pick needs to be able to rush the passer or be a long-term fixture on the offensive line. Needs are so wide ranging, there are few spots the Jaguars need to avoid. Although I'm not happy with the quarterback situation, I would not feel I had to have one unless I felt I saw a real value in the second or third round.

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