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EA Q&A: Jets WRs Fly out of the Gate

It was 11 years ago that our world changed forever. 

Just like today — it was an absolutely beautiful Tuesday and I arrived at the Jets Weeb Ewbank Hall offices on the campus of Hofstra University early in the morning.   Shortly after 8:46 AM, I heard our former Public Relations Vice President Frank Ramos yell, "Turn on the television.  A plane just hit the World Trade Center."

And nothing ever has been the same.  Nearly 3,000 people died in the terrorist attacks and more than 2,700 had their lives end right here in New York.  My thoughts and prayers continue to go out to a lot of people because I know having a loved one taken from you in unnatural way causes unspeakable pain.

But each night when I drive home, I am heartened by the New York City Skyline.  The rebuilding is something to behold and 1 WTC will be the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere come 2014. 

RobertLiberty, South CarolinaQ: Eric, how good does Rex's decision to put Howard at right tackle look?

EA: Fifteen regular season games remain, but Austin Howard is off to one hell of a start.  Here is a player who had four games of NFL experience and his opening day assignment was Bills DE Mario Williams.  The Jets helped Howard at times with slide protections and chips, but he clearly got the better of Williams when they were matched up 1-on-1.  "Super" Mario had one hit on Mark Sanchez, but the NFL's highest paid defender was a non-factor. 

Let's see how Howard progresses, but you have to credit the personnel department for signing the 6'7", 333-pounder off of the Ravens practice squad last November. Howard couldn't be in a better place because D'Brickashaw Ferguson continues to serve as a mentor and the Jets have talented coaches with impressive backgrounds in coordinator Tony Sparano and OL coach Dave Dueguglielmo.  

The Steelers will try to bring the heat Sunday in Pittsburgh and you know Dick LeBeau will have some creative blitzing schemes in store.

JerryBaltimore, MD

Q: It is now official. The Jets is leading the NFL in points for after week one. When was the last time the Jets led the NFL after any week?

EA: Great question Jerry.  Our editor-in-chief Randy Lange, who is a stats guru, tells me the Green & White led the NFL in scoring after Week 2 of the 2004 season.  He will expand on that in his Tuesday blog, but the Jets topped the Bengals 31-24 on Sep. 12, 2004, and then defeated the Chargers 34-28 on Sept. 19, 2004.  That '04 team won its first five games and advanced to the divisional playoffs. 

DavidHaifa, IsraelQ: In light of Revis' performance on the INT, would it be safe to say that if Cromartie is the #2 WR might he play the position, then Revis would be the #1 WR?

EA: Interesting take David.  The Revis interception was critical because it halted any momentum the Bills had to start the game.  That is what you want from a prime time performer and No. 24 made a great break on the ball.  With that being said, I have no idea what Ryan Fitzpatrick was doing, throwing across the field like that on one of the most gifted defensive players perhaps ever.  The Jets totaled four takeaways in all and they cashed in with 24 points.

I like this set of Jets wideouts.  The offensive line gave Sanchez ample amount of time to throw and the receivers were turning the Bills overmatched DBs around with double moves.  They also blocked down the field and played a physical brand of football. 

While the Bills placed their third round pick — speedy WR T.J. Graham — on the inactive list, Jets second rounder Stephen Hill caught five balls for 89 yards with 2 TDs. And Jeremy Kerley, a fifth round pick of the Jets in 2011, became the first Jet to record a receiving TD and return a punt for a TD in the same game.  Santonio Holmes appeared spry, catching four balls for 68 yards while being targeted a team-high eight times.

Q: Do you know if Hayden Smith is considered an International Player by definition of the NFL?  I ask because if he is considered an International Player, the Jets can add an additional player to their Practice Squad. Also another NFL team would be prohibited from negotiating and signing him to their 53-man roster. So in essence, he can complete the season on the Jets practice squad without the risk of being signed to another team's 53-man roster.

What is the status of Dennis Landolt? I find it interesting that the Jets have kept him on their 53-man roster with his injury that will prevent him from playing for another month or so.  Why not IR him under the new IR rule?

EA:  When NFL Europe was in existence, teams were able to use an International Player exemption for the Practice Squad.   But under the current rules, all eight players are treated equally with no additional exemptions. 

The Jets expect Dennis Landolt to be healthy prior to the 6 week minimum and did not want to use a new transaction on him.

PatHoward Beach, NYQ: I think Jets should activate Antonio Allen and Ricky Sapp to add more speed and pass rush. What do you think?

EA: Both Allen and Sapp are members of the practice squad.  Once Eric Smith returns to the lineup, the Jets will be four-deep at safety.  LaRon Landry upgraded the speed at the position and he has been a "hit" thus far.  While Bell isn't a burner, he is a savvy vet who can cover ground and he has the ability to anticipate routes. 

The pass rush is fine.  Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick unloads the ball fast and he isn't going to get sacked much.  Sapp suffered a high ankle sprain in camp and he really missed some valuable reps during preseason action.

RobertBrooklyn, NY

Q: It seems that receivers were always wide open.  How come nobody is talking about that?

EA: There were so many superlatives from Sunday's rout that sometimes things do get overlooked.  The passing game was terrific and that's because the offense worked well as a unit — the offensive line provided tremendous protection, Mark Sanchez read well and delivered with great accuracy and the WRs toyed with the Bills DBs.  Add it all up and you get a spectacular Sunday for Jets Nation.

JonScarsdale, NY

Q: I have been a diehard Jets fan since 1982 when Mark Gastineau used to do his famous dances…  This year the Jets are being ridiculed like no other year that I can remember.  Am I one of the few that actually sees a minimum 10-6 and an exciting playoff run from this year's team?

EA: For a variety of reasons, the Jets have become a polarizing ballclub.  I was surprised to see a number of pundits suggest that the Jets will struggle to reach .500 in 2012.  What I've said all along — on TV, on radio and here on — is this is an elite defense and an ascending quarterback.   This is also an excellent coaching staff and if the Jets stay healthy at key spots,  I see a playoff spot come January.  But we're only through Week 1.

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