NY Jets Check-in

The football world lifted their collective heads with a surprised double-take last weekend when the NY Jets beat the Buffalo Bills. What is going on? Despite being ravaged by injuries this season, the Jets are 6-3 and they are not going away. Beating one of the 3 elite teams in the NFL will get you some respect. Quickly. The Jets won last Sunday with Defense. But there is a bigger story developing here. It’s the rookies.

In the NFL of past generations, rookies were seen but not heard. In today’s NFL, cap dynamics force teams to get as much mileage out of cheap rookie contracts as they possibly can. This means that rookies see playing time because that is the best way to lever their value. Get those rookies snaps. Give them the opportunity to start games faster than otherwise. Winning with rookies is a Super Bowl recipe. Giants fans know that 2007 does not happen without that special draft class.

The Jets are not winning the Super Bowl this year. But their rookie class is special. It is supercharging their season. Readers of this NY Giants blog were given the first look into how good this Jets class could be immediately after the draft.

So who did well for the entire Draft, soup to nuts, Day 1, 2 and 3 together? The answer might shock you.

The NY Jets.

“As strange and unusual as it is for me to say this, my team, the lovable loser NY Jets, had the #1 Draft in the NFL this year.”

Wonder / UltimateNYG’s Draft Analyst/ APRIL 30, 2022

Wonder recaps the Jets Draft picks now through midseason. Get ready for hyperbole.

1) 1.03 CB Sauce Gardner– already All Pro, the best rookie CB I’ve ever seen, for sure. If Cromartie and Revis had a baby, and he was already mature, it would be Gardner. Speed and incredible length. Phenomenal hips, as smooth as silk. Already doing things as a rookie that veterans don’t do.

2) 1.10 WR Garrett Wilson– fast, polished, smooth. Catches everything. Adjusts body to throws. Already projected to Pro Bowl when Zach Wilson learns how to throw the ball deep.

3) 1.26 EDGE Jermaine Johnson– power and speed, back from injury, haven’t seen enough to give two thumbs up… yet. Flashing big time. Sweet sack of Josh Allen. That doesn’t happen to rookies.

4) 2.36 RB Breece Hall– omg what a loss to see the ACL tear, would’ve been OROY. Now his career is in jeopardy. Would have been the best Jets RB in history. If Breece Hall is healthy, this Jets draft is the second best draft ever next to the Steelers legendary 1974 draft. (While not technically a member of the ‘draft’ class, Donnie Shell was a UFA who was the 5th member of the Steelers 1974 class to go to the Hall of Fame.) How crazy would it have been for a single team to have both the OROY AND the DROY (Gardner) in the same class?!

5) 3.101 TE Jeremy Ruckert– willing blocker, great hands, runs good routes, we shall see.

6) 4.111 RT Max Mitchell – already a starting RT, thrown into the fire, held his own, very impressive. Hurt, but will be back after bye week.

7) 4.126 DT Michael Clemons – May be better than Jermaine Johnson. Unlimited potential. Speed. Size. Power. Needs refinement/learning curve. But already doing big things. When was the last time you saw a guy who’s 6’5” 270 come off the edge and block a punt?

Guest Blog: Offensive Line

Bruce comes to UltimateNYG to share his views on Offensive Line.

Marshall Newhouse, Mike Remmers, Nate Solder, Patrick Omameh, Kevin Zeitler, Billy Price.  If you’re a Giants fan, those names make your skin crawl.  All veteran guys that Dave Gettleman brought in (and overpaid for) to try to quick-fix the Giants’ offensive line.  None helped. Zeitler was good but expensive, and his play was swallowed up by bad linemate play. The NY Giants blog has been screaming for years about the need to invest in OL. Well, Joe Schoen apparently heard it.  Here’s the current list of O-lineman on the roster:

Jon Feliciano                                     Veteran FA signing from Buffalo in 2022

Jack Anderson                                   7.236 by Buffalo in 2021

Mark Glowinski                                Veteran FA signing from Indy in 2022

Joshua Ezeudu                                  3.67 by NYG in 2022

Nick Gates                                        UDFA 2018

Devry Hamilton                                UDFA 2021

Evan Neal                                         1.07 by NYG in 2022

Tyre Phillips                                     3.106  by Baltimore in 2020

Andrew Thomas                               1.04 by NYG in 2020

Solomon Kindley (practice)          4.111 by Miami in 2020

Korey Cunningham (practice)      7.254 by Arizona in 2018

Will Holden (practice)                    5.157 by Arizona in 2017

Ben Bredeson (IR)                           4.143 by Baltimore in 2020

Shane Lemieux (IR)                         5.150 by NYG in 2020

Marcus McKethan (IR)                   5.173 by NYG in 2022

Matt Peart (PUP)                              3.99 by NYG in 2020

What do we see?  Hope!!!

Feliciano is a one-year stop gap who Schoen and Daboll knew from Buffalo.  Gates is a wonderful story in the last year of his contract.  Maybe he comes back at a discounted price.  Glowinski is also a stop gap.  Probably overpaid for him, but after next season, his dead money cap number drops to $1,500,000.  Holden and Cunningham are practice meat.  Everyone else is on a rookie contract.  Six of them were picked in Round 5 or higher in 2020.  Three of them were picked this year by Schoen.  One was picked last year by Schoen at Buffalo.  THAT’s how you rebuild your line for the long haul.  The more swings you take, the more likely you are to hit. 

Keep reloading (especially at center).  Let Bobby Johnson coach them up.  Sign the right ones to long term deals.  That’s a formula for long-term success.

SEA 27 NYG 13

I’m going to keep this recap fairly short. I don’t want to spend 4 hours fact checking and spooling through the highlight film.

The season of injuries finally caught up to the Giants. They missed Daniel Bellinger IMMENSELY. Please do not misinterpret this- Myarick and Hudson have the grace of Gerald Ford on ice skates. The Giants came into this year with zero at Tight End. They hit gold, 24k solid gold, with Bellinger. As a rookie, he’s been terrific. He catches, he understands his route concepts, and he likes to block! Giants Nation got a huge gift this week when we got word that not only is Bellinger ok, he’ll be back in probably 4-6 weeks. That eye injury could have potentially ended his career. So let’s be grateful for his return to any football, let alone what could be a meaningful career in blue. But back to Seattle, without a credible TE, the wheels simply came off.

Wide Receiver has been a cosmic joke this season. Between injuries and the nightmares of Golladay plus Toney, Kafka made lemonade out of lemons by weaving in Bellinger and the TEs as receiving options. Without Bellinger it was just too much to shoulder. Seattle’s DC stopped Barkley and Jones from running, but there just wasn’t enough WR beyond Slayton.

The Giants called me earlier this week and asked me to suit up this weekend at WR. I have work on Monday morning so I had to decline. So they went to their next option and tapped WR Lawrence Cager. I honestly never even heard of Cager until his name was called on television. He was an undrafted Free Agent who is now on his fourth team in 3 seasons. The Giants added him to their practice squad 12 days ago. He was added to their roster yesterday. This is what 2022 looks like.

The Giants have been making gourmet meals out of spam all season, a testament to great coaching and inspired play from a ton of players who have stepped up. They were 6-1 because they played smart football and did not turn over the ball.

Today they turned over the ball twice on Special Teams. Did Richie James have a concussion on the second hit? That would be another huge gaffe for the Giants and NFL given the lack of protocol followed w Tua earlier this season.

Too many injuries. 2 awful turnovers. The Giants came back to earth. It was great, winning while rebuilding. Today the team had to rebuild with a loss. 6-2 is still awesome. Let’s get healthy. The Giants would really prefer not to have to call me again to suit up.

Kadarius Toney Traded

Another Round 1 Wide Receiver bites the dust. Don’t say we did not warn you. Round 1 Wide Receiver does not stick around your franchise.

Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll moved on. They jettisoned the jet WR. Toney was oft injured. In ~1.5 seasons, 24 games, Toney started 4 times, collected 420 yards but only suited up for 12 games. In 2022, Toney surfaced for 2 games, saw extremely limited snaps, got hurt again, and got traded.

Frustration.

Kadarius Toney’s start in blue began with the wrong-sized cleat in his first rookie OTA. There were questions about how much of the playbook he knew in both 2021 and 2022. He had hamstring injuries in both 2021 and 2022. There were questions about effort.

Listen to the second tweet below, the excerpt from Breaking Big Blue podcast…

More from Raanan today: “Have spoken w/former + current coaches about him over past few months. Talent undeniable. Previous coaching staff thought he was fine when in building. Problem was- could they trust him to put in work when not under their supervision.”

In trading lingo, the Giants took their losses. They gave up and moved on. They will get a Round 3 compensatory pick from KC along with (most likely) a Round 6 pick. Dave Gettleman’s legacy of screwing up on DeAndre Baker and Kadarius Toney, two Round 1 picks taken despite red flags, is now sealed. It is pretty stunning to watch a Round 1 asset fizzle in literally a year and a half.

Some argue that the Giants needed to keep Toney because they desperately needed WR and needed to patiently wait for his return. Apparently, Schoen’s and Daboll’s patience ran out. They were on the front lines. The Toney that Daboll cursed at in practice, the player who did not know the playbook, who was oft injured, and who could not be trusted, was not worth a future in NY.

So what of Toney’s future in KC? Or thereafter? It does not matter. Do not attempt to match his results on any team other than NY with his results had he remained with the Giants. We have told the story of Cris Carter, how his time in Philadelphia was never going to work out for him. That Carter went to the HOF via Minnesota does not mean he could have stayed in Philadelphia and achieved the same result. That ship sailed. And so too does that ship sail for Toney in blue. Do not look back. Move forward. Schoen and Daboll have moved forward. Onward. To Seattle.