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We have a signing to talk about and it could prove to be a significant one.
The Jets were also back at practice today and we’re going to get straight into it.
In the battle of the trenches, the defensive line drew first blood. Zach Wilson had himself a good day, but according to reports, he was scrambling a lot. Huff, JJ, Martin, and JFM were all singled out for praise, and “interior pressure” was quoted more than once. Defensive linemen tend to have a head start without pads in training camp.
Corey Davis, Garrett Wilson, and Elijah Moore each had special mentions on certain catches. There is no position group I’m more excited to see this year than the wide receivers. This group when paired with the tight ends have the chance to be special. Elijah Moore in particular was universally praised for the session he had.
George Fant was kept out of practice while he ramps up following injury and while some people commented on Becton taking a little break during the early portion of the session, he played every single snap of team drills…which is the more important part. It’ll take time to get up to 100% football shape and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
It was the session of the RB as the Jets had a heavy run practice. Breece Hall made several nice grabs out of the backfield according to multiple reports and looks like a natural pass catcher out of the backfield. Hall is a complete back and when you add his pass-catching to his vision, burst, strength, and explosiveness you have something special.
Corey Davis is down to 205lbs and said that his joints were thanking him. He feels faster with better conditioning. May have been around 215-220lbs last year, never know what contributes to injuries but Davis is looking to have a bounceback year with the Jets this year.
Another name that popped up yesterday was Solomon Thomas, apparently, he was getting good inside pressure. Thomas signed a one-year deal worth $2,250,000 this off-season and while he doesn’t offer much against the run he does have real value against the pass. His 30 pressures and 4 sacks last year for Las Vegas is evidence of that and if I were Sheldon Rankins, I’d be watching over my shoulder, especially as he carried a cap hit of $6,191,176 with $0 guaranteed.
Back in May former Saints and San Francisco 49er linebacker Kwon Alexander made a visit to Florham park, since that day he’s been hotly tipped to join Gang Green and the Joe Douglas/Robert Saleh project, last night it was finally confirmed…2 months later.
Alexander will be reunited with Robert Saleh who was his defensive coordinator in San Francisco in 2019 and 2020, he represents the 4th former 49er to join the Jets after playing with Saleh (Reed, Harris & Thomas).
How the Jet use Alexander will be interesting, he’s capable of playing both as a strongside and weakside linebacker and instantly becomes the best coverage linebacker on the Jets roster. He’s coming off a good year for New Orleans where he managed 12 games, recording 50 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 7 TFL, and 1 INT while allowing 0 touchdowns into his coverage on 42 targets.
His play in 2021 is even more impressive when you consider he tore his Achilles in week 16 of the 2020 season. He may have only started 8 games for the Saints last year but 6 of those starts came over the final 8 games, showing he got stronger and better as the season went on, something you’d expect from someone recovering from a significant injury.
The Jets love the combination of CJ Mosley and Quincy Williams and they truly believe in the long-term future of Williams, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see CJ and Kwon on the field in key third-down situations when the Jets move into their sub packages, based purely on Kwon’s coverage ability.
According to PFF, Kwon had 7 games last year where his coverage grade was 70 or above (58%), Quincy have just 2 games last year over 70 and that is based on 16 games (12.5%).
Heading into the season I was concerned about not only the depth at linebacker but our ability to cover from the position. I’ve written about it several times, so the addition of Alexander builds confidence for me in our ability to match up against modern NFL offenses. We ignored the position in free agency and we ignored it in the draft, but having someone capable of covering the middle of the field is imperative.
His best coverage year came in 2019 (81.3 grade) where he appeared in 8 games under Robert Saleh in San Francisco. A lot is being made of him having played for our head coach, but let’s not forget that the 49’ers chose to trade him to the Saints midway through the 2021 season.
We don’t have the details of the contract just yet, but we do know it’s a one-year deal. I imagine it won’t be too far removed from the one-year $1,127,500 contract he signed with the Saints last off-season, but it almost certainly will be higher considering he’s not recovering from a serious injury and he’s just put an impressive season on his stat sheet.
One thing that is worth noting is his injury history. He’s made 78 regular season appearances out of a possible 113, which is 69%. 2016 is the only year where he played in all 16 games. The Jets don’t have a great history in terms of injuries, so this is going to be something worth monitoring.
The Jets now have four linebackers who are pretty much guaranteed to make the final 53 in Mosley, Williams, Alexander, and Sherwood, how many will the Jets carry in total? Certainly no more than five, which means Nasrildeen, Harris, White, and DQ Thomas are likely battling for one spot.
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