New York Jets: 3 Players Who Will Be Toughest to Cut
This Monday, the Jets made several cuts to bring their player count down to 75, but the least wonderful time of the year isn't over for their coaching staff. As the team continues to narrow down to the 53-man active roster, Rex Ryan and the Jets coaches will have some difficult decisions ahead of them.
Some of these cuts will be undrafted rookie free agents, while others may be players who saw time last season for gang green. Either way, the decisions aren't easy.
Here are several cases where a players talent, stature, or personal relationships make the choices that much more challenging.
Chaz Schilens, WR
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It may seem strange for a player that earned playing time for another team in the regular season last year to be on this list, but Chaz Schilens wasn't exactly a key contributor for the Raiders last season. His 2011 stat line: 23 receptions for 271 yards and two touchdowns.
Over his four years with the Raiders, Schilens is still below 1,000 career receiving yards, and only has seven touchdowns.
With the departure of Plaxico Burress, Schilens figured to be more involved in the passing game in 2012, but injuries have kept him off the field in the preseason. A high ankle sprain caused the receiver to miss the Jets third preseason game against the Panthers.
Schilens' biggest asset is his 6'4" 225 lb. frame. Prior to the draft, it appeared he would be battling fellow giant Patrick Turner for downfield looks and red zone targets. The Jets gambled in the draft, selecting raw talent in 6'4" receiver Stephen Hill. Hill's early productivity (five receptions for 68 yards vs. Carolina) might be enough for the Jets to confidently enter 2012 without the injury prone Schilens.
While conventional wisdom might seem to argue for keeping Schilens, cutting him creates space for an exciting rookie like Jordan White.
D'Anton Lynn, DB
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D'Anton Lynn isn't on this list because of his on-field exploits. Lynn has not been a standout for the Jets in their preseason efforts.
As a matter of fact, the biggest news he made this preseason came after initiating a brawl at a team workout. For most undrafted rookies, that would damper his favor among the coaching staff.
Interestingly enough, D'Anton Lynn is the son of Jets running backs coach Anthony Lynn.
The rookie is a good-not-great corner or safety, offering flexibility, but not the refined skill at either position necessary to play in the NFL. In a crowded Jets secondary with Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Kyle Wilson and Ellis Lankster at corner and LaRon Landry, Yeremiah Bell, Eric Smith and impressive rookies Antonio Allen and Josh Bush at safety, there simply isn't space for Lynn.
While roster decisions are always made based on performance, the personal connection to the team will make Lynn a tough cut for Rex Ryan.
Greg McElroy/Matt Simms, QB
Simms (#9) and McElroy discussing the offense with Mark Sanchez and Tony Sparano
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With the starters resting when the Jets travel to Philadelphia for the fourth preseason game, the battle for the third quarterback spot will be the main attraction Thursday night.
Though he spent most of last season on injured reserve, Greg McElroy is the incumbent backup, and it appears to be his spot to lose. The pro-McElroy argument is the team spent a draft pick on him (albeit a 7th rounder) and that having been a member of the team for a year, he is more familiar with the offense than Simms.
McElroy saw time in the Jets first preseason game, completing four of six attempts for 49 yards, but also took three sacks.
The Jets signed Matt Simms after bringing him in for a tryout in May. Simms has the arm of a pro quarterback and the NFL pedigree with his father, Giants QB Phil Simms, but he faces an uphill battle in securing a roster spot.
Whoever has the more impressive showing against the Eagles will likely land the third quarterback slot and send the other one packing.