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Jets Leaving no Stone Unturned in Search for Pass Rusher


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When the Jets rolled out their starting defense during the Green & White Scrimmage the other night at Rutgers University, one thing that stood out was seeing little-known linebackers Frankie Luvu and Brandon Copeland lining up opposite each other as the team’s two starting outside linebackers.  Again today at Florham Park, it was the same story when team periods kicked off.

Clearly Jordan Jenkins is entrenched as the team’s SAM ‘backer in Todd Bowles defense, but the Jets are still looking for an edge rusher on the other side, and it looks like they’re doing all they can to see what they have in terms of their in-house candidates.

Luvu, an undrafted free agent out of Washington State, has managed to catch the attention of outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene, who has been heard several times during camp, screaming encouragement in Luvu’s direction, praising the rookie’s game.  After a collegiate career that saw Luvu pick up 8 sacks and nineteen tackles for loss over the past two seasons, he wasn’t selected in the 2018 draft, and the Jets hope they may have something in the 253 lb edge defender.

Meanwhile, Copleland has had seen a bit of action in the NFL as a member of the Detroit Lions where he was a special teamer and back-up linebacker.

While Luvu and Copeland have been getting some first-team reps, it’s another outside linebacker, Obum Gwacham who has found him self in the offensive backfield on a fairly consistent basis.  A little-known player, Gwacham has never started an NFL contest, but he did pick up 2.5 sacks as a reserve player with the New Orleans Saints back in 2015.

What makes Gwacham intriguing is that he seems to have the explosive traits you look for in an edge rusher that many other Jets linebackers lack.  In looking at his pre-draft numbers, Gwacham would actually have posted an explosion score of 68, just 2 points below the target of 70 which tends to be the number that scouts and GM’s look for when trying to gauge just how quick a player will get off the ball and in to the backfield.

With no established pass rusher on the roster and the likes of Lorenzo Mauldin and Dylan Donahue to compete with, keep an eye on this trio as one hopes to emerge as a factor for Gang Green in 2018.

The post Jets Leaving no Stone Unturned in Search for Pass Rusher appeared first on JetNation.com (NY Jets Blog & Forum).

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With all those bodies they have at OLB, you'd think they'd find someone ready to step up and prove that they are the guy that can get to the QB on a consistent basis.

Have a feeling, though, that David Bass is gonna win the "starting" job, simply be being the most accomplished sack "leader" that's still on our roster from last season. Not that that is an impressive statistic.

I expect heavy rotation with Bass, Martin, and maybe even Donauhe all seeing significant reps throughout the season opposite of Jenkins. After being high on Mauldin at the start of his career, I don't have much hope for him in our future. This is probably his last chance. Copeland and Gwachum, while apparently getting a lot of attention in TC so far, will have to really impress during the pre-season to either earn playing time or a roster spot. Luvu will--and most certainly should--be kept around (and hopefully earn some playing time towards the end of the season) being an obvious favorite of Kevin Greene, and being the only rookie LB we have on our roster that's getting a lot of attention for his play.

We do seem to have pretty decent depth at the OLB, as I could envision any of these guys sticking on the 53--or the PS, at the very least. We just really need one of them to step up, or this defense is gonna struggle to pressure the QB.

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3 minutes ago, jetstream23 said:

My guess is that during TC and preseason these guys will get lots of reps and development opportunities and likely lots of preseason game snaps.  Once the season starts Bowles may revert to veterans that he knows and trusts....but who we all know will be subpar and won't be difference makers.  At that point, if we're simply not getting the results then Bowles would HAVE to give these younger guys a shot if they showed some flashes this summer.  The real question is how much slack Bowles give the Mauldins and Skrines and Josh Martins.  If he rides them despite their lack of production then it's over....and so will be his coaching tenure here with the NYJ.

My position is this....  We're significantly into a rebuild and we're going to play a QB in Darnold (at some point) who will take his lumps and make his mistakes.  I don't know if these Jets are a 5 win team, a 7 win team or a possible 9 win team (in a division with Buffalo and Miami).  But we're clearly not a playoff team yet.  So, if we're going to take our lumps and experience the growing pains of a rookie QB then why not do the same thing on Defense?  Start Nathan Shepherd.  Start Parry Nickerson as the Slot Nickel instead of Skrine.  Rotate Luvu and Gwacham into 3rd down pass-rushing opportunities rather than Mauldin, etc.  We've heard that there's no "playoff mandate" on Bowles and Maccagnan so rather than trying to eek out a meaningless December win to get to 7 victories instead of 6, Bowles should continue to develop the team and support the rebuild.  JMHO.

Because Skrine and Co. gives the team the best chance to lose by less than 10. 

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Guys I understand it’s the Jets, but this is the most excited I’ve been about our team since we went to back to back AFC championships.  Don’t you feel a change coming?   Darnold talent is undeniable and he is going nowhere for a long time.   If he starts it’s because he has earned it and is at least as good as McCown.   With the speed that Darnold is progressing at, I see him continuing to improve and grow.  Before the season, I would have said we were a 6-7 win team, but I’m feeling more like 9 wins if Darnold plays all year, and that puts you in playoff contention

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11 hours ago, T0mShane said:

I will give Bowles credit for giving guys like Luvu, Copeland, and Gwacham a shot, but I have to see it continue when the actual game start. Does Bowles go back into his shell and run the same handful of JAGs like Skrine and Maudlin at the expense of younger, more physically gifted players who need some experience? Likely. OR, do we look at the fact that Luvu and Gwacham are getting this much run as a sign that there’s an organizational shift wherein the personnel department is exerting more influence over the lineup? 

Bowles is not unwilling to give young guys a shot.  He started two rookies at safety last year and practically begged Hackenberg to win the starting QB job by starting him in preseason games 2 & 3 and giving him the lions share of snaps in game 1.  Unfortunately both Hackenberg and Petty (as we saw in the regular season) sucked so by default he stuck with McCown. I think if those young player show capability as an outside pass rusher they will get their shot.

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12 hours ago, JetNation said:

Luvu, an undrafted free agent out of Washington State, has managed to catch the attention of outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene, who has been heard several times during camp, screaming encouragement in Luvu’s direction, praising the rookie’s game. 

We were hearing this same stuff last year with Donahue, but now he seems to be the forgotten man. I expect to see quite the rotation at edge in the preseason as they try somebody -anybody!- who might be able to register a sack. 

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41 minutes ago, JetsFanatic said:

Bowles is not unwilling to give young guys a shot.  He started two rookies at safety last year and practically begged Hackenberg to win the starting QB job by starting him in preseason games 2 & 3 and giving him the lions share of snaps in game 1.  Unfortunately both Hackenberg and Petty (as we saw in the regular season) sucked so by default he stuck with McCown. I think if those young player show capability as an outside pass rusher they will get their shot.

Good examples.  Of course the glass is always half empty with some posters on here.

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FWIW, I think Gwacham was on the active roster for most of 2017.  They played him the last 1/4 of the season or so on specials and fairly heavily on D against the Pats week 17.  He seems like a decent candidate for DPR, and like Jones and Clark, a guy they were bringing along in 2017 with hopes for 2018 based on playing time. 

Another further OLB candidate that I will submit is John Simon from the Colts.  He was an "ascending player" with the Texans and signed a decent sized deal to play OLB with the Colts.  They are transitioning to 4-3 and he seems like a poor fit at DE.  That is why they gave us 3-4 DE Anderson for a 7th.  They save $3M by cutting Simon and he seems at minimum a legit rotational OLB.  

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9 hours ago, Fantasy Island said:

Mac can't pick and Bowles can't coach, and we wonder why we need a pass rusher.

 

 

I agree with Bowles, but we should cut Macc some slack, especially if Darnold turns out to be great. We're only beginning year two of the rebuild. This offseason he'll focus on OL and pass rusher 

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2 hours ago, JetsFanatic said:

Bowles is not unwilling to give young guys a shot.  He started two rookies at safety last year and practically begged Hackenberg to win the starting QB job by starting him in preseason games 2 & 3 and giving him the lions share of snaps in game 1.  Unfortunately both Hackenberg and Petty (as we saw in the regular season) sucked so by default he stuck with McCown. I think if those young player show capability as an outside pass rusher they will get their shot.

Yes and no.

I think safety in 2017 isn't the best example because we really didn't have any veterans on the roster, plus they were both high picks in a planned tank season. Same thing with Mauldin's rookie year, when he got a decent amount of playing time eventually; especially after Coples was demoted for being Coples for an extra few weeks, who else was there?). Ditto Jordan Jenkins. It's not like these guys leapfrogged higher-priced veterans or 1st/2nd round draft picks. 

The best example is Anderson, though I wonder how much of that chance he got is because he's likely more hands-off with the offense than the defense, and wonder further how much less playing time he'd have received if Decker stayed healthy instead of missing the last 13 games. Probably a lot, as he went from 5-10 snaps on offense to 50+ after Decker was out.

Next-best example is probably Burris, whom Bowles gave very chance to have the CB2 job handed to him on a platter for his 2nd season, bumping Skrine inside as a NB starter with so many teams having 3 WRs as their base offense. Unfortunately he was terrible despite praise from the blindly optimistic. Also as a rookie all his potential playing time went to Marcus Williams, so that puts a further dent in the assessment. 

IMO most of Bowles's reputation in this regard stems from keeping Petty and especially Hackenberg on the bench. Meanwhile those guys were seriously terrible, so it's a bit unfair. Easy to complain about keeping McCown in there last year, but everyone here would have done the same in his shoes as a HC on the hot seat. No one here would put his career on the line just so fans could see firsthand how terrible Christian Hackenberg was; Gruden didn't even want to waste the expanded roster spot on him as a potential 3rd stringer. 

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21 hours ago, T0mShane said:

I will give Bowles credit for giving guys like Luvu, Copeland, and Gwacham a shot, but I have to see it continue when the actual game start. Does Bowles go back into his shell and run the same handful of JAGs like Skrine and Maudlin at the expense of younger, more physically gifted players who need some experience? Likely. OR, do we look at the fact that Luvu and Gwacham are getting this much run as a sign that there’s an organizational shift wherein the personnel department is exerting more influence over the lineup? 

If when the games start for real the D moves Williams around to try to get him a mismatch,  you will know that the personnel/analytics guys have more of a say than before. if it's still the same line them up the same way every down dolt Bowles defense, well...

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19 minutes ago, Bugg said:

If when the games start for real the D moves Williams around to try to get him a mismatch,  you will know that the personnel/analytics guys have more of a say than before. if it's still the same line them up the same way every down dolt Bowles defense, well...

So the analytics dept is now the GM and Coach?

Is there any factual basis on Leanord Williams not moving around? How much do D Lineman move around in general? In a 3-4 you either line up as a nose or an end. Flipping left to right? Are we talking nickel? I assume this another narrative created on JetNation that somehow turned into fact. 

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18 minutes ago, RESNewYork said:

So the analytics dept is now the GM and Coach?

Is there any factual basis on Leanord Williams not moving around? How much do D Lineman move around in general? In a 3-4 you either line up as a nose or an end. Flipping left to right? Are we talking nickel? I assume this another narrative created on JetNation that somehow turned into fact. 

Nickle/dime besides obviously, my eyeballs, Mike Westhoff and Willie Colon every postgame show (until Westhoff took a job with the Saints). Also, the complete lack of any applied quality control and self scouting going back to Ryan.Idea of analytics is you take in the data and apply it. Are you happy with a coach that quits at halftime of the Denver game, and punts down 2 scores late in 2 other games? That's ignoring analytics. 

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2 hours ago, Bugg said:

Nickle/dime besides obviously, my eyeballs, Mike Westhoff and Willie Colon every postgame show (until Westhoff took a job with the Saints). Also, the complete lack of any applied quality control and self scouting going back to Ryan.Idea of analytics is you take in the data and apply it. Are you happy with a coach that quits at halftime of the Denver game, and punts down 2 scores late in 2 other games? That's ignoring analytics. 

Even the most ardent Bowles hater would agree. Bowles knows more about defense than Colon and Westoff combined. I am confident that Leonard Willams was not stunted because he didnt play enough end in nickel last season. 

Not really quoting you but just throwing all my thoughts into one reply. 

So last season, Bowles is accused of being a selfish coach. Only caring about victories to get an extension. Sacrificing the development of young players, playing vets because he wants to win, ruining the Jets draft position. BUT at the same time, he gives up. Because that's the best way to get an extension. Does that make sense?

Morton gave up. He's the only one who ever said anything about giving up. Maybe that's why he's not here, and unemployed. Maybe. 

I'm not one to believe everything you read about sports teams. Most of it feels made up to create a story. But let me add this. After last season, Bowles did more for Mac to get that extension. Not the other way around.

 

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1 hour ago, RESNewYork said:

Even the most ardent Bowles hater would agree. Bowles knows more about defense than Colon and Westoff combined. I am confident that Leonard Willams was not stunted because he didnt play enough end in nickel last season. 

Not really quoting you but just throwing all my thoughts into one reply. 

So last season, Bowles is accused of being a selfish coach. Only caring about victories to get an extension. Sacrificing the development of young players, playing vets because he wants to win, ruining the Jets draft position. BUT at the same time, he gives up. Because that's the best way to get an extension. Does that make sense?

Morton gave up. He's the only one who ever said anything about giving up. Maybe that's why he's not here, and unemployed. Maybe. 

I'm not one to believe everything you read about sports teams. Most of it feels made up to create a story. But let me add this. After last season, Bowles did more for Mac to get that extension. Not the other way around.

 

Look, to me and a lot of people Bowles looks like an perfect example of the Peter Principle. He's had the right friends like Arians, Parcells and Caserly, and  he's been kicked up jobs until it came time to see if he could do an HC job. And based on results, he cannot. Saying "Morton gave up"; again Bowles the head coach.I'm tired of that; would Belichick or Parcells or any HC with a pair and a brain allow that or get away with that?  If he cannot scream into the headset to get the offense in gear, why is he here at all?Or why he doesn't play young guys when this team was not going to the playoffs?  What does he add? And I'm supposed to make sense of the illogic and stupidity punting down 2 scores late twice or quitting? Why is that on me or any critic of this guy to explain?

Westhoff does in fact forgotten more NFL football that Bowles will ever know. had Westhoff gotten the HC job here, would not have bothered many of us. And Colon at least has been around serious NFL success and knows how  that works. 

Has there been even one instance where Bowles did something that made you think he has a clue?   

And as to Leo, lots of NFL defenses try to move around their best pass rusher to get a mismatch. It's not some crazy idea; it's how Strahan and LT got a lot of sacks. Which makes it even more obvious that Bowles adds nothing of value. 

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44 minutes ago, Bugg said:

Look, to me and a lot of people Bowles looks like an perfect example of the Peter Principle. He's had the right friends like Arians, Parcells and Caserly, and  he's been kicked up jobs until it came time to see if he could do an HC job. And based on results, he cannot. Saying "Morton gave up"; again Bowles the head coach.I'm tired of that; would Belichick or Parcells or any HC with a pair and a brain allow that or get away with that?  If he cannot scream into the headset to get the offense in gear, why is he here at all?Or why he doesn't play young guys when this team was not going to the playoffs?  What does he add? And I'm supposed to make sense of the illogic and stupidity punting down 2 scores late twice or quitting? Why is that on me or any critic of this guy to explain?

Westhoff does in fact forgotten more NFL football that Bowles will ever know. had Westhoff gotten the HC job here, would not have bothered many of us. And Colon at least has been around serious NFL success and knows how  that works. 

Has there been even one instance where Bowles did something that made you think he has a clue?   

And as to Leo, lots of NFL defenses try to move around their best pass rusher to get a mismatch. It's not some crazy idea; it's how Strahan and LT got a lot of sacks. Which makes it even more obvious that Bowles adds nothing of value. 

Agree to disagree that westoff would have been the better HC than Bowles. Maybe you're right. What I stated was Bowles knows more about defense than westoff. 

You're also correct in saying he's not belly or Parcells. But i feel Bowles has done plenty of good with the rosters and QBS he's had.

Again you're right, moving defensive players around for a favorable match up is something that would be beneficial. I was stating they do move Leo around or put him in situations to make plays. However the flip side is offenses are also going to do things to neutralize him in which case you would hope that opens it up for other players on D. It just seems like fans want to reinforce these sayings to argue what a horrible coach Bowles is without any proof. 

Bowles is a good coach. Hopefully as the roster improves he improves as well. It was smart to re-sign Bowles and Mac. The 47 years prior did not prove successful by hitting the reset button every three seasons. 

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On 8/6/2018 at 10:19 PM, jetstream23 said:

My guess is that during TC and preseason these guys will get lots of reps and development opportunities and likely lots of preseason game snaps.  Once the season starts Bowles may revert to veterans that he knows and trusts....but who we all know will be subpar and won't be difference makers.  

Pretty much completely different than how he has handed out playing time 

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Kevin Greene: Jets OLB Josh Martin Is My Best Pass Rusher Right Now

Ethan Greenberg TEAM REPORTER

Once primarily serving as a special teams ace, Jets outside linebacker Josh Martin is developing into one of the team’s better ‘backers.

“Right now he’s my best pass rusher in training camp,” OLBs coach Kevin Greene said earlier in camp. “He has power, he has finesse, he has some good spin. He’s a smart kid. He fits within the scheme. He’s one of the leaders on defense.

“He’s one of the better guys I have right now and can put out there and have the total confidence he’s going to be exactly where he needs to be within the scheme. He’s going to be there and play at a high, physical level.”

Greene may know a thing or two about pass rushing as he ranks third in NFL history with 160 sacks, something Martin is well aware of.

“You definitely have a sense of pride when someone like KG talks about you in that way,” he said smiling. “You try to wear that like a badge of honor and follow through with his high remarks.”

After not recording a tackle and just 0.5 sacks in 2016, Martin flourished with more opportunity last season. The Columbia product led the team with 12 tackles for loss and was second with 20 quarterback hits. In a game of inches and seconds, one of the main goals for Martin, and the rest of the OLBs, is to finish.

“Just building on what I was able to establish last season,” he said of his 2018 goals. “Obviously I had a lot of TFLs last year and this year I’m trying to turn those into more sacks and be more of a force and more of a presence on the defense.”

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On 8/6/2018 at 10:05 PM, T0mShane said:

I will give Bowles credit for giving guys like Luvu, Copeland, and Gwacham a shot, but I have to see it continue when the actual game start. Does Bowles go back into his shell and run the same handful of JAGs like Skrine and Maudlin at the expense of younger, more physically gifted players who need some experience? Likely. OR, do we look at the fact that Luvu and Gwacham are getting this much run as a sign that there’s an organizational shift wherein the personnel department is exerting more influence over the lineup? 

TOm....I think that is what is happening. The fact that Macc has started getting rid of guys he drafted that were flops indicates that this is the new direction. At least I hope so.

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On 8/6/2018 at 10:05 PM, T0mShane said:

I will give Bowles credit for giving guys like Luvu, Copeland, and Gwacham a shot, but I have to see it continue when the actual game start. Does Bowles go back into his shell and run the same handful of JAGs like Skrine and Maudlin at the expense of younger, more physically gifted players who need some experience? Likely. OR, do we look at the fact that Luvu and Gwacham are getting this much run as a sign that there’s an organizational shift wherein the personnel department is exerting more influence over the lineup? 

For what it's worth, it's not exactly like we've seen young guys the Jets didn't play move on to other organizations and start tearing it up. And Bowles - though he is far from perfect - has played young guys. I lean that the younger players who haven't gotten onto the field were so bad that it was impossible to justify playing them.

As noted by Mr. Edwards, I think there's a bias in fan opinions because of the Hackenberg/Petty stuff but I also think that those two are just not NFL caliber QB's and it's not the staff's fault that management drafted them. I also think Maccagnan underestimated the amount of attention throwing him rolling the dice at QB outside the first round was going to get.

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5 minutes ago, section314 said:

TOm....I think that is what is happening. The fact that Macc has started getting rid of guys he drafted that were flops indicates that this is the new direction. At least I hope so.

I wish some beat writer would do an article on just who decides who plays in the upcoming game?  Is it the position coach? Is it the coordinator?    I understand Bowles, as HC, has veto/final say but if a position coach is saying player xx is the best I have right now for what we want to do, is it typical for the coordinator and HC to go along w/the position coach. Obviously, injuries don't apply regarding this.

 

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