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EA Q and A: Jets Could be Nasty at Safety

Good afternoon Jets Nation.  Today we make history with our first "EA Q&A".  Keep sending the questions in (simply fill out the form on the side of this page) because we are going to make this our Tuesday and Thursday tradition from this point forward.

Tom Cassio South Plainfield

Q: I'm concerned about our safeties covering the NE tight ends downfield. They're good run stoppers, but poor in pass coverage. Do you feel our offseason pickups have really improved the team from that standpoint?

EA: Yes I do.  In fact when I sat with Rex Ryan for this morning's installment of "Jets Talk Live", he told me that the safety position could be an area of strength for this team. 

Yeremiah Bell is 6'0", 205 pounds and LaRon Landry is listed as 6'0", 220 pounds.   These are well put together dudes and if I'm a receiver — the middle of the field doesn't look that tempting. 

Bell, who is a natural leader, has superior intelligence and he's always around the ball.  Although not a burner, Bell can anticipate routes.  Maybe Aaron Hernandez is more athletic, but Bell might know where he's going before the former makes his break.  This was a great signing.

The key question in regards to Landry is health after appearing in 17 games the past two seasons.   He told me yesterday he feels great as he works his way back from an Achilles/heel injury.  The guy is flat out built like a rock, but he's not stiff.  Landry has great movement skills, he's athletic and he's an effective blitzer.

And please don't forget about Eric Smith.  The versatile performer is one of the smartest players in all of football.  If Landry gives you a full 16, this trio can be nasty. 

Philip Rasmussen Meriden, CT

Q: I've read a lot about the QBs and WRs on offense, but how is the O-line looking so far at camp?

EA: Let's start with the three Pro Bowlers.  C Nick Mangold, LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson and RG Brandon Moore are all solid and steady.  You have Vladimir Ducasse pushing Matt Slauson for time at LG.  The Jets will run more "power" this year under Tony Sparano and Ducasse has good athleticism to get out and pull to the right.  He had a very good spring and can only benefit from reps with the 1s.  Slauson, who had offseason shoulder surgery, is big, strong and nasty.  The Jets had nothing to lose with the Jeff Otah trade (which was nullified because Otah didn't meet the terms of the deal), but RT Wayne Hunter is having a good camp.  Hunter knows he was inconsistent last season and he has come to Cortland focused.   

Let's see how Austin Howard continues to develop.  He has flashed, but the Jets will need to see consistency from him day-in and day-out.

Joey Brooklyn, New York

Q: How has Stephen Hill looked so far and how fast has he run the 40 yards?

EA: Hill has had his moments, but the transition will take time.  I like that he faces press-man coverage from Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie and he doesn't seem the least bit intimidated.  Hill, who was timed at 4.30 in the 40-yard dash at the Indy Combine, has world class speed and was excellent in the spring.  It will take time to master the pro routes and read the defenses, but you can't teach his skills.  Expect Hill to line up as a starter in Week 1 vs. the Buffalo Bills at the Met.

Eitan Richter
Teaneck, NJ

Q: First off, let's go JETS!!! Second, do you think the jets will be able to have above 11 wins and possibly host a playoff game?

EA: Way too early for regular season predictions.  This is a league known for its parity and 11 is a big number.  Just get to the dance and get hot in January.  But the Jets will be competing for a playoff spot once again.

Maurice Montreal

Q: Who is the most impressive rookie so far?

EA: Tough to say after only two pads practices.  Hill is intriguing.  The young safeties have stepped up.   Josh Bush, a sixth rounder from Wake Forest, has man coverage skills and Antonio Allen, a seventh rounder from South Carolina, had two INTs Sunday.   D'Anton Lynn, an undrafted rookie out of Penn State who is making the transition from CB to S, ran through Joe McKnight in a blitz drill, and mixed it up a bit with Shonn Greene.  That was interesting.

Jim McLoughlin
Sayreville, NJ

Q: Will Tebow be used as a short yardage running back, also goal line?

EA: Sure Tebow could be used as a short yardage back, but the Jets aren't about to give away any state secrets.  Mark Sanchez is the starter and Tebow will have a role on offense.   That role will change week-to-week.  Nothing is off the table.  I do want to remind folks that the Jets were the No. 1 offense in the red zone last year and Sanchez accounted for 32 TDs (26 Pass & 6 Run).

James Bond
Spring Hill

Q: Yo yo bro, like the photo, but the hairdo ain't that puffy…  Just tell me, are Pace and BT just too old? They have been talking about speed and last year they couldn't keep up.   Dump Bart in there too.   These guys are the starters! Tell me it ain't so EA.   Please, tell me it ain't so.... out

EA: Always good to hear from 007!  Bryan Thomas — the longest tenured Jet — is coming off an Achilles injury and he appears rejuvenated to be back on the field.  You won't hear this often, but Calvin Pace is one of the best outside 'backers in the league against the run as far as setting the edge.  You are definitely going to see a lot more of Aaron Maybin because he's earned more reps.    Maybin had six sacks and 24 QB hurries last season.  Love that first step and  he plays with such passion.

Everyone is going to benefit from the defensive line depth because the Jets have the ability to play more 4-3 and then the 'backers would probably be Hitman Harris in the middle flanked by Pace and Scott.  There are going to be times when Muhammad Wilkerson is going to be doubled, so that frees folks up.   Bart Scott has lost weight and he looks terrific.  The Madbacker brings a physical presence on the field and he's a leader.

(As far as the EA avatar, I got to credit my man Mike Scott back in Florham Park.  He played D-1 hoops at Rider and can sink the J, but the kid got skills on the Mac as well.)

Adam Bartolo St. Charles IL

Q: Today is my 31st birthday. Rex, we know you love your CBs? How do you feel about Kyle's Wilson's development (seems like many fans have mixed opinions of him)? Also, how is the depth at CB behind Revis, Cro and Kyle? EA: Happy Birthday Adam!  Sorry I didn't have time to ask Rex this today, but I will tackle it here.  When Revis was out Sunday with a tight hammy, Kyle Wilson had a hell of a day on the outside as Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow combined for 2 of 14.  Playing the slot is one of the toughest positions in all of football.  The Jets love what they're getting out of Ellis Lankster, an athletic, real tough player.  He is their No. 4 while Isaiah Trufant is a speed demon and has excelled as a special teamer.  Can Julian Posey make a push for a roster spot as you know Rex Ryan loves his DBs?

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