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EA Q&A: Why No O-Lineman Early in the Draft?

"Fan Friday" is only a few days out, but we are still accepting your matchup/prediction columns for Week 1.  I will select one to publish, so this is your opportunity to run the show.

Also we'll return with another "EA Q&A" on Thursday.  You know the drill — the form is on the site of the page for your questions.   (Paul Marsh, our technical expert, is trying to make that form available to mobile users). 

Thanks as always for your participation.  The Jets 2012 regular season kicks off on Sunday!

AndrewBergenfield, NJQ: Let's go Gang Green! I only have one simple question.  With the lack of depth at WR, why are the Jets not considering re-signing Plax? Its baffling to me!

EA: Burress was a valuable contributor in his lone season with the Jets, tying for the team-lead with 8 TDs as New York's AFC representative led the NFL in red zone efficiency.  But the offense had huge identity issues last year and teams stacked the box last winter and dared the Jets to beat them deep.  It didn't happen often enough, so a number of changes were made.

Stephen Hill is not as polished as Burress, but he is appreciably faster (on the clock and on the field) and he immediately gives you three things — a vertical threat, a red zone target and a run blocker.  Chaz Schilens also has good size at 6'4", 225 pounds, but the former Raider was banged up for most of camp. Santonio Holmes and Jeremy Kerley will be the No. 1 and the slot respectively and we also didn't see them much in the summer. 

Everyone is expected to play Sunday vs. Buffalo and let's see the WR corps in live action.  I will get into the matchup later in the week, but the Bills have some legitimate questions at cornerback.

JetFanJayLas Vegas, NY

Q: Hey what's up with the new Miami North? Why all the retreads from Miami? I can't believe that we are doing this to our Jets.   Come on Man!

EA: The Jets claimed both DT Isaako Aaitui and WR Clyde Gates on Saturday after they were waived by the Dolphins.  This is a fantastic defensive line rotation and the 6'4", 315-pound Aaitui will provide depth at defense tackle and the nose. 

As far as Gates is concerned, it's ironic that a lot of folks who thought the Jets needed more chunk plays last year are wondering why the team is adding more speed.  The 5'11, 190-pound Gates, a former basketball player, is tough enough to go underneath /over the middle and he has the speed to break it.  Throw in the fact that Jets OC Tony Sparano knows what this guy is capable of and what his potential is.

JBJupiter, FL

Q: Why is it so difficult for people to see, understand or even embrace the apparent ideology that this franchise has adopted since Robert Wood Johnson IV took ownership? Or am I wrong in what I see? What I see is younger players learning on the field, gaining valuable live experience and working through growing pains. I think the franchise's future is bright.

EA: If I'm a fan, I can't ask more of Woody Johnson.  He has shown time and time again that he's willing to open his pockets to improve his team.  He wants to win and he has a GM in Mike Tannenbaum who's committed to having a perennial contender.  

Since Mr. Johnson purchased the Jets in January of 2000, the team has qualified for the postseason six times and captured six playoff contests.  But the Lombardi Trophy has proved elusive as both the team's primary rival — the New England Patriots — and the franchise it shares a stadium with — the NY Giants — have each claimed multiple championships since 2000.  Johnson won't rest until he brings a championship to Jets Nation.

Troy Vestal, NY

Q: Can we expect Aaron Maybin to become a three-down contributor this season?

EA: Maybin, who led the Jets with 6 sacks last season, will be on the field quite a bit.  I wouldn't get caught up with phrases such as "three-down contributor".   I was talking to Mike Pettine the other day and the Jets DC told me the club's base attack inside the division will basically be nickel because all those teams operate out of a spread attack. 

The Jets will dial up the pressure, so quarterbacks are going to game plan to get that ball out quickly.  Maybin broke out last year and he'll again play a pivotal pass-rushing role in 2012.  Calvin Pace is one of the top OLBs against the run in the NFL and savvy vet Bryan Thomas is back healthy, so "Mayhem" will continue to work in.  Maybin has earned more playing time and he will receive just that in 2012.  He will play and he will have an impact.

NickBrooklyn, NY

Q: I am still trying to understand the rational of Coach not making any effort for an O-linemen in the draft.  Why?

EA: The Jets actually selected Baylor OL Robert Griffin late, but he was waived over the weekend.  I assume you mean early in the draft, so let's attack that angle. The Jets didn't need a starter at C, LT, RG or LG because they had Nick Mangold, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Brandon Moore and Matt Slauson all set to return.

So that limits things to right tackle.  They obviously had UNC DE Quinton Coples (4.5 sacks in the preseason) rated higher than Iowa T Riley Reiff.  Did you see that Reiff hasn't cracked the starting lineup for the Lions yet?  There were two tackles taking in the first round as USC T Matt Kalil went to the Minnesota Vikings at No. 4. 

A string of tackles went early in the second round and the Jets were delighted about it since Georgia Tech wideout Stephen Hill (D2, No. 43 overall) became available via a trade-up.  It will be interesting to see how Cordy Glenn (D2, No. 41 overall) performs at LT for the Bills this week against this elite defense. Baptism by fire Jets style.

EddieBrooklyn, NY

Q: What's up Bro? We are thin at TE with Baker out. I love Keller and Cumberland, but what about adding Chris Cooley from the 'Skins?

EA: I do think Cooley would be a good fit — actually viewed Josh Baker as a poor man's Cooley.  But the problem here probably would be money.  Cooley will not come cheap as he was reportedly set to count $6 million against the salary cap this season if he had remained in DC.  Dustin Keller is clearly the No. 1 tight end and the Jets just claimed Konrad Reuland off of waivers from San Francisco.  Jeff Cumberland is the team's No. 2 tight end and he'll be counted on to add some punch in the blocking department. 

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