Monday Mailbag: Camp Eve
We are 18 days away from seeing the Jets take the field. Sure it’s going to be a pre-season game against the Eagles, but it’s football nonetheless.
Today we’re going to do a little Monday mailbag, something we haven’t done for a long time. With the veterans reporting to camp tomorrow, the questions flowed in. I’ll get to as many as I can and if you don’t see yours below, it’ll be featured later this week in another mailbag.
Before we get started I wanted to share an article I wrote yesterday for Jets X-Factor. I took a look at all the QBs whose team made the playoffs last season and outlined an average stat line that Zach may have to achieve to lead the Jets to the promised land.
It’s a huge season for both players and one is in a much better position to fulfill their potential than the other.
It’s going to be interesting to see how Becton looks when he arrives for camp tomorrow, everything we’ve seen lately indicates he’s in great shape. For Becton, it’s about cleaning up his pass protection, his footwork, and his balance. Physically he’s able to dominate and he showed that dominance in the run game during his rookie season but he did allow 7 sacks.
Last year we didn’t have the opportunity to see how he had progressed due to the injury, so how he looks in pass protection will go a long way. He’s an outstanding prospect and I’m confident if he can stay healthy he’ll have a good season, although I do think he’ll be starting on the right rather than left.
Mims is in a tougher spot because unlike Becton his roster spot isn’t guaranteed and even if he sticks which I expect him to, he’ll be battling to get on the field and then battling to get his target share. Mims is in great shape heading to camp, finally healthy and finally having a full off-season of uninterrupted work. But, he is behind Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, Garrett Wilson, and Braxton Berrios on the depth chart, and battling with Jeff Smith for that 5th receiver role.
Injuries happen, so I expect he’ll get some chances this year and it’s up to him to make the most of them. The Jets structured Corey Davis’s contract in such a way that they can get out of it after this season, if Mims can show he’s that outside physical receiver that will save the Jets some much needed $$$’s.
DM from @RickyLo22067818 - In the case (knock on wood) of a Becton or Fant injury, rather than putting McDermott or Edoga at tackle could the Jets not theoretically slide AVT to tackle and replace him with Herbig at LG? Then wouldn’t our 5 best linemen be on the field? I know AVT has played all over in college right?
This is a really interesting question and something I hadn’t even considered. AVT did finish off his career at USC playing left tackle, it represented the third year in a row where he was asked to play a different position. In 2018 he played at right guard, in 2019 he played at left guard, but his best graded season according to PFF was as a left tackle.
2022 will represent the 5th year in a row he’s been asked to move positions, from a left tackle in college he moved to left guard for the Jets last year and will now shift over to right guard to accommodate the signing of Laken Tomlinson. I think there is an element of the Jets wanting to introduce some consistency for AVT now, allowing him to stick at right guard for the foreseeable future.
One of the reasons he was considered an NFL guard comes down to his arm length, most offensive tackles have a 33.0”+ length, AVT came in at just a touch above 32.0” which is considered very small for NFL tackles and actually smaller than ideal for a guard too. But could he play tackle at the pro level? I’m sure he could.
One thing I will say that from everything I hear, the Jets coaching staff has a higher opinion of guys like Connor McDermott and Chuma Edoga than fans do, part of the reason they’re still with the team. There is a logic to trying to get Herbig on the field if Fant'/Becton suffer a serious injury but I think the Jets would use their tackles first before entertaining the idea of moving AVT to another position.
The Jets weren’t a good punt coverage team in 2021, their 10.55 average yards allowed ranked them 28/32, which is strange considering how good they were on kick coverage (17.82 average yards allowed, 2nd best mark in the league).
I don’t think the Jets will even contemplate using Sauce in that situation, he’s far too valuable on defense. He did play 230 total special team snaps at Cincinnati but failed to register a single tackle, he did play 84 snaps on punt coverage over that time, but the Jets are paying someone to be the gunner in Justin Hardee.
Hardee had a bit of a down year last year for him in terms of his tackling ability, he had 5 missed tackles for the Jets last year and he had 4 total in the four years preceding 2021. There is reason to believe that he will have a bounceback season in 2022 because that’s his career norm.
You know I love a little kicker chat Gus. I think the problem we have is that even when we do have a half-decent kicker we don’t prioritize keeping them. Nick Folk left the Jets after hitting 87.1% of his field goals, and now he’s hitting 90%+ in New England, that’s painful to me. We’ve now used 7 kickers over the last couple of years in Eddy Piñeiro, Alex Kessman, Matt Ammendola, Sam Ficken, Sergio Castillo, Chase McLaughlin, and Kaare Vedvik…that’s even more painful.
The last time the Jets spent a draft pick on a kicker it was Mike Nugent in the 2nd round, now drafting a kicker in the 2nd round is just a little bit silly, but that came a year after Doug Brien cost us in the playoffs so it was an overcorrection. But there is something to be said for drafting a kicker in the later rounds considering how many 5-6th-7th round positional players actually make it in the NFL longterm.
Evan McPherson of the Bengals was a 5th-round pick and I’m sure they have no regrets about that decision. Jake Elliott was a 5th-round pick, as were Daniel Carlson and Matt Gay. Zane Gonzalez was a 7th-round pick as was Harrison Butker. All of those guys were graded inside the top 10 kickers in 2021. The Jets obviously aren’t very good at sorting through the UDFA kickers and bagging a good one, so maybe it’s time they try a different approach and draft one.
There are a far few players still looking for teams as we head to reporting day for the Jets and I’m sure Joe Douglas has had conversations with more than a couple of them. We’ve spoken about Kwon Alenxader before and I believe the Jets still have interest in adding him, but they have a price and they’re unwilling to budge. So for now, it’ll be whether he can get a better offer elsewhere, if he can’t then the Jets will be in play.
Riley Reiff is a guy who I know the Jets are interested in, but like Kwon it all comes down to cost, and Joe Douglas is happy to play the waiting game for now. Another guy who could interest the Jets is former Jet Sheldon Richardson, he’s not the player he was but he could offer some depth at defensive tackle and historically he’s been an above-average run defender which is something the Jets need. Saleh also preaches interior pass rush and his 382 career pressures would indicate that’s something he can bring to the table. Cleveland have been interested recently and I still expect him to land with the Browns.
Eric Fisher didn’t have a great season last year, but he could be a backup plan to Reiff in terms of adding a veteran offensive lineman, same with Duane Brown, although he did allow 8 sacks last season.
Thanks for reading The Jets Way! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.