What Did We Learn from New York Jets Roster Cuts?

Erik Frenz@ErikFrenzSenior Writer IAugust 31, 2012

The Terminator has not been terminated...yet.
The Terminator has not been terminated...yet.Rick Stewart/Getty Images

The Jets were among the very first teams to open up shop on cut-down day, announcing the release of 15 players before most people had shown up to work in the morning.

The following players have been waived: receiver Joseph Collins, linebacker Marcus Dowtin, tackle Robert Griffin, guard Frederick Koloto, center Matt Kroul, punter Spencer Lanning, defensive back LeQuan Lewis, tight end Tarren Lloyd, safety D'Anton Lynn, defensive back Julian Posey, defensive end Jay Richardson, receiver Eron Riley, linebacker Brett Roy, quarterback Matt Simms, nose tackle Martin Tevaseu.

With that, they had just seven names left to cut. Per the team's press release on August 31, those names are running back Terrance Ganaway, tackle Paul Cornick, cornerback Donnie Fletcher, receiver Royce Pollard, linebacker Ricky Sapp, tight end Hayden Smith and receiver Jordan White.

Save for Ganaway, none of the cuts were all that surprising, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't stop to take stock of what went down and what it means to the team.


Not Giving Up on John Conner

Fullback John Conner has built a cult following among Jets fans for his catchy nickname "The Terminator" as well as a good deal of camera time on Hard Knocks

But the Jets haven't been so fond of Conner. They have done everything in their power to find a replacement, from moving tight end Josh Baker to fullback and even trying out linebacker Nick Bellore at the position. But, when Baker got injured and when Bellore was unable to assimilate the fullback position, Conner's spot appeared to be a lock.

It still isn't.

The team could easily bring in fullback Ovie Mughelli for a workout, if only to see what he has left after being released by the St. Louis Rams (via the Washington Post). Mughelli was one of the better fullbacks in the league in 2010, but an injury hampered and shortened his 2011 season.

There are many reasons for not sticking with Conner. The first and foremost is that there's no versatility to his game. If he is on the field, it's a dead giveaway that the Jets are running the ball. That's a huge advantage for an opposing defense.

Beyond that, he's not executing very well even when he's out there. Pro Football Focus graded him out just barely above average in 2011 and well below average the year before that. 

If the Jets want to get back to the ground-and-pound—and do so effectively—they'll need to look beyond their attachment to Conner and to the success of the team.


Bring Out Your Running Backs and Wide Receivers

The Jets release three of their 2012 draft picks today: Ganaway (sixth round), Griffin (sixth round) and White (seventh round).

Picks in those rounds are oftentimes a crapshoot—as with picks in just about any round—so their failure to crack the 53-man roster isn't a huge shock nor should it be considered a letdown. 

Still, the Jets might have liked to see Ganaway or White develop into contributing players on offense, since the team has bombed out on running backs and wide receivers in recent drafts. Since 2009, they have used eight of their 21 picks on those two positions alone, and only five of those players remain on the roster.

The others—Shonn Greene, Joe McKnight, Bilal Powell, Jeremy Kerley and Stephen Hill—remain largely questionable in their ability to contribute on offense in 2012.

The Jets will likely be combing the waiver wire tonight and tomorrow for skill position players who can bolster their offense. They may have some trouble finding any names that stick out, although the Washington Redskins released running back Tim Hightower, so he could warrant a look. For a complete list of players who were released, check out Pro Football Talk's 53-man roster tracker.

Take a look if you want, but you won't find many names jumping off the page at you as guys with promise to contribute to this offense. Granted, Ganaway and White don't fall into those groups either, but it's not likely the Jets will find too many players available that give them a lot more confidence than either of those two.


Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless specified otherwise, all quotes are obtained firsthand.