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EA Q&A: Early Turbulence Has Jets Nation Worried

Posted Aug 21, 2012

Greetings.  Thanks to everyone who came over to MetLife Stadium tonight and I enjoyed speaking with a few members of Jets Nation.

Henrik
Gothenburg, Sweden

Q
: Thanks for doing an awesome job, Eric — keep it up. You sure make it a breeze for a Swede to keep a close eye on the JETS.  Has Donnie Fletcher turned any heads from the coaching staff this offseason? He appeared to have some qualities and solid instincts in some of those YouTube reels.  Also, if Wilson comes up big this season, do you think he could be competing for the No.2 job on the outside?

EA: Tack for noten (Thanks for the note).  Donnie Fletcher, a rookie out of Boston College, has been moved to safety.  You are right — Fletcher does have some natural ability and good instincts.  But the transition from corner to safety isn’t easy and he needs some time.  Fletcher had an impressive junior season as he tied for 11th nationally in interceptions with five.   He is a tough player who finished his career at BC with 121 tackles and 10 interceptions.  The Jets are very deep at safety right now, but this experience at camp will be beneficial for Fletcher moving forward.  He could be a practice squad candidate.

The Jets consider Wilson a starter and that’s not just nice talk.  It’s not very often that you are going to just line up two corners on the field and Wilson plays the all-important slot CB.  He could start on the outside somewhere else, but he’ll continue to see most of his snaps on the inside here.  Wilson also plays a lot on special teams and he is the team’s No. 2 punt returner when Jeremy Kerley is healthy.

Terry
Columbus, NJ

Q: How long before the Jets give up on Hunter?   He doesn't seem to be getting better? He is going to get Sanchez hurt.

EA: The team publicly has stated their belief in Hunter and the big RT said Saturday, “It is going to get better from here.” 

Hunter had a poor night and he was inconsistent last season.  It will be interesting to see how the team approaches the next couple of weeks because Bills DE Mario Williams lines up on the left side.  Did Sanchez hurry his throw on the Hosley pick because he was thinking that the pressure was coming or did No. 6 simply just throw behind Patrick Turner?

The Jets yielded seven sacks Saturday and that’s way too many no matter where and when you are playing.  With that being said, Jason Pierre-Paul is a beast.

Q: Wayne Hunter needs competition at RT. Is there any way this can be solved via Free Agency? From what I hear, former Jet Kareem McKenzie is still available.

EA:  The competition might be in-house because Austin Howard has had a good camp and he has rare tools.  The 6’7”, 333-pounder is a big man who can move his feet and he’s got good bend.  There is a lot of upside there and this might be his chance to make a move.

I have seen more than a few fans mention McKenzie’s name.  I wonder what kind of shape McKenzie is in because he's had no football activity since the Super Bowl.

Let’s see who is out there when teams have to trim their rosters down from 90 to 75 on Aug. 27. 

Scott
Palmdale, CA

Q: Do you think the Jets should try to sign another Wide Receiver and Running Back?

EA: The Jets are set at running back.  Shonn Greene will be the bellcow, Joe McKnight is an explosive player and Bilal Powell has stood out as a pass protector.  Rookie ‘back Terrance Ganaway, a sixth round pick out of Baylor, is an intriguing prospect and veteran FB John Conner is a very good blocker.

You could see a move at wide receiver.  The injuries have been an issue and Mark Sanchez needs to work with some of these guys before the season starts.  If Tone, Jeremy Kerley and Chaz Schilens come back soon, then let’s see where we are at.   I think Jordan White flashed against the Giants and it is important fellow rookie wideout Stephen Hill continues to get valuable reps.

John
Englewood, CO

Rex needs to stop talking about how great his players are. He needs to scare them. That’s what Tom Coughlin does and you see how they react. Sanchez needs to panic. That offensive line needs to panic. Wayne Hunter is done. Shonn Green needs to panic. But you’re getting paid to drink the Kool-Aid. Our offense looks horrendous. I think we’ll finish the season at 9-7 and Tim Tebow as our starting QB. That will be interesting.

EA: Kool-Aid is straight up sugar, so I stay away from the stuff.  But do I have an unquestioned belief in the football club without a fair examination?  I don’t think that is accurate. 

In Coach Ryan’s first year, the team ended up 9-7 and advanced to the AFC Championship Game.  New York’s NFL representative won nine regular season games a year ago and hoisted the Lombardi Trophy in February.  The Packers went 15-1 in the regular season and lost in the Divisional Playoffs.

It was tough sledding for Wayne Hunter against the Giants DEs and he acknowledged it.  I was down on the sideline for some of the action the other night and Greene was delivering punishment every time he touched the rock. 

The offense hasn’t game planned yet and three of their top four receivers have been sidelined most of summer.  

Jay
Merrick, NY

All this talk about not the time to panic is getting me a bit p-ssed! Yes, yes— it is time to panic. If we can’t score a TD during preseason, what can you say to me that suggests that we can score in a regular season game?  We need O-line help in a big way!  We need big-time help at wide receiver.  Why is Keller not more involved?   This is a copycat league!   While every other great team is using the tight end to score, we are letting ours waste away and into probably signing with another team at first chance!

EA: You forgot to mention that the Jets are averaging a league-worst 4.5 points and 160.5 yards a game.  Look Saints QB Chase Daniel has passed for more yards than anybody and some dude named William Powell is leading the NFL in rushing this preseason.   Damn did you know the Patriots have the 29th ranked passing offense, averaging a whopping 148.5 yards per game?  Dustin Keller, who has two catches in the preseason, established career-highs in receptions (65) and receiving yards (815) in 2011 and his five TDs matched a personal best.

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