EA Q&A: Potential There for a Better Pass Rush

Goal line action today!  Hell I wish every practice had goal line.  As you'll read everywhere and beyond, the offense got the better of the action as they scored on five of their eight opportunities.  Mark Sanchez (1) and Tim Tebow (2) combined for 3 rush TDs, Shonn Greene powered in from two yards out and Tebow hit TE Josh Baker for a score.  So folks, the black jerseys are going to Tony Sparano's gang for the first time.

"That was a Manny Pacquiao decision," safety Yeremiah Bell told me in a comical reference to the Pac-Man's controversial "loss" to Tim Bradley.  (By the way, can Pac-Man and Floyd Mayweather please just fight each other?  Can we do something here to help that out?)

In any event, let's get this baby started.  The form is at the side of the page and your questions are appreciated.

ColinSan Diego, CA

Q: What's up, EA? I heard Rex during OTAs talk about how he loved Josh Bush's intelligence and his man coverage. He also said that he wanted to see how physical he could be once he got the pads on.   Has he shown that he can be physical enough to play in this league?

EA: Colin, it's always good to hear from the 619.  I have family in El Cajon and it's one of my favorite places to visit.  Oh my, La Jolla is beautiful.

Thursday was the Jets' sixth practice and fourth in pads, so we'll have to see more.  Bush, who is listed at 5'11", 208 pounds, has some thickness to him.  The Wake product can bring physicality to the game, but he is never going to be considered a thumper.

The Jets drafted Bush because he's a good athlete and he's a heady ball player.  You are right on about his man coverage skills — he just has to start making some plays and that will help his confidence.  (Don't sleep on Antonio Allen either.  AA picked off Tebow WED and that's a trifecta for the 7th Rounder from South Carolina.  Not a poor start for a guy who was asked to play near the line for Steve Spurrier's South Carolina Gamecocks.)

Since SheaColts Neck

Q: Read your first EA Q&A with interest. Some nice insight Eric but, of all the questions about the defense and best looking rookies, not one mention was made of Coples! Is he OK?

EA: I plan on catching up with Q here soon, but yes it's been a quiet start for him here at camp.  He had a fantastic spring, but he's got to be more consistent and finish.  Sometimes he gets in the backfield and stops, gets blocked and stops. 

Don't press the panic button just yet!  I love that defensive line and Quinton is surrounded by guys with great work ethics like Muhammad Wilkerson, Sione Pouha, Mike DeVito, Marcus Dixon and even Kenrick Ellis.  Quinton has a good head on his shoulders and he is immensely talented.

RubinBrooklyn, NY

Q: How is that rugby player — Hayden Smith — doing at the camp?  Any chance he can make any contribution?

EA:Just the fact that Smith is on the field is astounding.  Here is a 27-year-old man who never put on football pads until May!  The 6'6", 252-pounder, an Australian who played college basketball at Metropolitan State in Denver and starred as a professional rugby player in England, is a project.  It's all new for him, but he's determined and don't be surprised if he winds up on the practice squad.   Smith did have a couple of drops this morning and he'll need some work on the JUGS machine.

The tight end position is interesting.  We know what DK can do, but what are the Jets going to get out of Jeff Cumberland and Josh Baker?  Tony Sparano likes to employ multi-tight end sets and Cumberland, a former WR at Illinois, and Baker, a hybrid type player who made a sweet reception Wednesday, will get their opportunities.  Blocking is a must for all the TEs.

RJ OrtizAlpharetta, GA

Q: What should fans expect from one of the Jets weakest links — their pass rush?   Do we believe that we can intimidate offenses with our pass rush to allow our linebackers and safeties an opportunity to excel?

EA: These guys are professionals, so I don't know if you can intimidate offenses.  But the Jets certainly have the potential to put more pressure on opposition quarterbacks.  Sometimes people act like sacks are the only numbers that matter and the Jets tied for 17th last year with 35.

But turnovers are created by pressure.  The Jets have been getting in the backfield early in camp and they think Muhammad Wilkerson can be a dominant player.  So who are you going to double team?  Sione Pouha can occupy two guys himself and sometimes "Big Mo" is going to force a double.   If Landry stays healthy, he can be effective as a blitzer.  It seems like every time Aaron Maybin is on the field, No. 51 is setting up a tent in the opposition backfield. 

This defense should have high expectations.  Former NFL Executive/current NFL Analyst Charley Casserly told me Coples and Landry are "X" factors.  I tend to agree. If Coples is sound in Year 1 and Landry is healthy, oh boy this could be fun.

Someone do a little homework and find me a 1-2-3-4 at corner better than Revis, Cromartie, Kyle Wilson and Ellis Lankster.  The point here is the Jets can cover and that's going to make quarterbacks hold onto the ball longer.

KyleMassapequa Park

Q: I'm a little concerned about the WR depth.  After Holmes and Kerley, who's next?   Is it a possibility they could trade for a WR or give Burress another chance?   It seems like he has changed.

EA: Give Plax his due.  He came here and helped the Jets lead the NFL in red zone efficiency as he tied for the team-lead with 8 TDs.  But I don't think he's on their radar at the moment. 

Stephen Hill is slated to line up across from Tone on the outside and the rook has the tools to stretch the field.  Coach Ryan has put the heat on Jeremy Kerley, disappointed in the work the latter did this offseason picking up the new system.  Kerley (29 catches as a rookie) hasn't practiced since Day 1 because of a hamstring injury and he has to get back in the Rex's good graces.  But I love his feet and let's see how Kerley responds to the challenge.

The Jets also could move Tone inside to the slot and go big on the outside with Stephen Hill (6'4", 215) and Chaz Schilens (6'4", 225).  These practice reps are beneficial for the wideouts because they won't face any better corners on gamedays than they're seeing right now.

I don't envision a trade just yet, but Mike Tannenbaum will continue to look under every rock, every day.  Coach Ryan is not happy with the rash of minor injuries this unit has encountered, so the WRs have to bounce back.

AlexTopeka, KSQ: Will you be in Canton Saturday for Curtis Martin's Enshrinement or at the Green&White Scrimmage?
A: Great question.  I'm supposed to fly out Friday and visit with Curtis after the Enshrinees' Gold Jacket Dinner.  I was originally supposed to return SUN, but I may be back for the Scrimmage.

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