A couple of programming notes before we get underway. We will post our next "EA Q&A" on Thursday and then we move to the regular season format next week.
The "EA Q&A" feature will continue to run on Tuesday and Thursday. Then it's "Fan Friday" as I will select one person to break down the upcoming Jets' matchup and give me a prediction. So in addition to the weekly questions, I want you folks to submit entries for "Fan Friday". We aren't looking for novels — just well-written, entertaining pieces under 500 words. The Jets host the Bills in Week 1 and all you have do is fill out the form on the side of the page to submit now.
In addition to those three staples, I'll submit more blog entries throughout each week. I think "On the Inside" is off to a great start and I sincerely appreciate your participation.
Q: What's up EA? I was at the game on Sunday vs. the Panthers and from what I saw up close — the Jets will be coming into the season as a very underrated team. Howard held the line effectively and Sanchez was on point. The pass rush is as good as it's been under Coach Ryan. How do you handle the return of Sione Pouha considering the great performance of Kenrick Ellis this preseason? I wish we could somehow get them both out there on the field at the same time.
EA: Lots of towns called Chestnut Ridge TJ. Hook us up with the state because we want to make sure we represent.
You can never have enough good football players. Ellis had an excellent offseason and he has followed that up with a strong summer. Pouha, who has missed extended time with a back injury, is expected to be back in the starting lineup when the regular season commences. The Jets love their DL rotation and they have the ability to go really big on the interior in a four man-front by lining up Pouha and Ellis at defensive tackle.
Options galore up there. Defensive linemen are unique. Those big guys go in and out a lot. You want to keep everyone fresh and Ellis is going to give everything he has on every single rep.
YanBrooklyn, NYWith the absence of Plaxico, are the Jets looking at some big red zone threats to replace him? Maybe TO?
EA: I don't envision the Jets making a play for Plaxico Burress, Terrell Owens or Chad Johnson. They have a big red zone threat — Stephen Hill. His continued development will be critical for the Jets in 2012. He was open in the end zone Sunday night, but Sanchez threw high and the timing seemed just a bit off.
TE Jeff Cumberland and WR Chaz Schilens are big targets and don't forget about No. 15. He could be used in the red zone.
Q: I honestly feel the same way you do — I think the offense will be just fine come Week 1. And for all the haters of Mark Sanchez — he will have a good season. My only question is why don't the Jets try more jump ball type plays for Stephen Hill? I mean the man has blazing speed, he is 6'4" and he has a great vertical. Why not take advantage of undersized CBs?
EA: The Jets are going to take their shots down the field in the regular season. I liked those chunk plays against the Panthers and Sanchez is stronger than ever. We all know Hill can run the go route and he will fight for the football. Both of the Bills' starting corners — Aaron Williams and rookie Stephon Gilmore — are 6'0", Terrence McGee is 5'9" and Ledois McKelvin is 5'10. It wouldn't shock me to see the Jets go up top in game one.
Jersey JoeRockaway, NJQ: Kyle Wilson just looks lost covering the slot receiver. Is there any chance the Jets trade him for decent TE or wideout? Detroit needs a corner and seems loaded at the receiver position. What's your take on Wilson?
EA: Who is the Jets slot corner if you trade Wilson? That wouldn't make any sense because you would create a void in the defensive backfield. Wilson had a good camp, but he struggled a bit Sunday night against the Panthers Brandon LaFell.
On a 3rd-and-3 play in the first quarter, LaFell got free on a short crossing route and you'd like Wilson to be a little bit more aware of the sticks there and perhaps inch up a bit closer to the line. Then on a 3rd-and-9 at the end of the opening stanza, the speedy LaFell got behind Wilson in a hurry and got to the outside for a 22-yard gain. The Jets DB seemed to be chasing right away and never was able to turn LaFell to the inside. But to be fair — you don't know what the safety's responsibilities were in that situation.
Wilson can do the job. He just has to improve his consistency. We watched him in Cortland every day and he really put in some nice work. He is playing one of the toughest spots on the team and both Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie are elite. Wilson accepts the challenges and he'll be a key contributor.
Q: Much has been made of Tebow's apparently severe QB flaws or his unorthodox manner. Have there ever been any QBs with similar issues or is Tebow the first to make it this far on what his detractors say is virtually no ability? Is it just guts and drive that got him this far and the NFL has no experience with his lack of uniformity?
EA: Anyone who says Tebow has "no ability" is foolish. He is inarguably one of the greatest players who ever played college football. Tebow was 8-4 as a starter with the Broncos and helped guided Denver to the divisional round of the playoffs last season.
It is more than just guts and drive. Sure hard work plays a part in all of this, but Tebow is a dual threat. The 6'3", 250-pounder has averaged 5.4 yards a carry and scored 12 TDs on the ground in two seasons. His vision on the move is unique. Tebow also has a good arm, displaying the ability to zip it in there and get the ball downfield. But accuracy is not his strong suit as he's completed just 47% of his passes in regular season play and 36% this preseason. Often times he appears uncomfortable in the pocket and his instincts are to get on the move. You haven't seen it much in game play yet, but I thought Tebow got better in the pocket and more decisive while watching him in Cortland, NY.
The Jets acquired Tebow because he is a good football player. He also happens to be a polarizing figure, but I don't get that at all. He is a nice kid, a good ball player and he uses his platform to help others.
Q: What do you think our rookie safeties chances of making the team are? We know Rex loves to stock up on corners. Will he do the same with safeties this year?
EA: I think both Josh Bush, a sixth round selection from Wake Forest, and Antonio Allen, a seventh rounder from South Carolina, have excellent chances to make this team. The Jets say they have three starters at safety, but Eric Smith (knee/hip) is questionable for the opener. A third rookie — safety D'Anton Lynn — has made a case for himself too.
Bush got the start against the Panthers with Yeremiah Bell down and the rook stepped up. Allen's tremendous production has been noteworthy and he has ideal skills for special teams too. Lynn played well last week and don't sleep on Donnie Fletcher.
Q: Eric why are the jets so hesitant to move (Matt) Slauson to right tackle? He has better movement skills then either Hunter or Howard and played the position in college. And where is Leonard Davis? He might even help.
EA: Slau played RT at Nebraska as both a freshman and sophomore in 2005 and '06. Then he made eight starts at three different positions as a junior before finding a home at guard in 2008. That's where he flourished as he became a first and second-team All-Big 12 by multiple outlets.
Slauson is a straight-up mauler who is going to give his all at the point of attack. His versatility is an asset because he is the backup center and if the Jets ever did use him at RT — he is strong, long and smart.
The Jets were pleased with Howard's performance against both Cincinnati and Carolina. Jason Smith, who is the new new backup LT and RT and blocking TE, might play a couple of snaps against the Eagles.
Leonard Davis is a San Francisco 49er and he'll be coming to MetLife Stadium as a visitor on Sep. 30. Good game by the way!
Q: The only linemen I have any confidence in are Brick and Nick. Is Brandon Moore regressing or is it in my head?
EA: I don't think Moore is regressing. Listen the guy is 32 and he is not in his athletic prime anymore, but Moore is a technician and I don't see much drop-off. Give me a team of B. Moore's and we winning us some ballgames.