A heaping helping . . . Dan Leberfeld

Phoenix – Time for a heaping helping of Jets notes from the desert where the NFL Owners’ Meeting wrapped today . . .


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The signing of DE Stephen Bowen is yet another example of what we have been talking about – the Jets are looking to get bigger and longer at the 3-4 end spots. He is 6-5, 300.

That is what led to the signing of Kevin Vickerson, and now Bowen.

Remember Todd Bowles is a Bill Parcells’ disciple. Bill liked these kind of 3-4 ends, and so does Bowles.

And it’s interesting to note that Bowens came into the league as an undrafted free agent in 2006 with the Dallas Cowboys, when Parcells was the coach.
Vickerson and Bowen are built like quintessential 3-4 ends . . .

A few more takeaways from Todd Bowles breakfast meeting yesterday with the media in Phoenix.

Bowles has this reputation as a riverboat gambler, based on how often he sent myriad blitzers at quarterbacks last season.

Is this description accurate?

To a certain degree.

Bowles describes himself as “an educated risk-taker.”

He’s not just going to send the kitchen sink at quarterbacks in an irresponsible fashion.

There is a discernable reason why he blitzed more last year, than in 2013.

Last year, the Cardinals had a ton of injuries in their front seven, which hurt their natural pass rush, so they had to overcompensate with more blitzes. And having two good man-to-man corners last year, who you could leave on an island – Patrick Peterson and Antonio Cromartie – allowed him to take more chances.

So this equation led him to blitz more in 2014 . . .

One of the reasons the Jets made a bee-line to Buster Skrine in free agency, and give him $13 million guaranteed, is because of how valuable Bowles views the nickel back position.

Bowles says the nickel back is on the field 75 percent of the time in his defense. Bowles said so many teams are in three WR sets these days, and feels the days of the “old-school” sets that featured two backs, one tight end and two receivers, isn’t seen as much.

Playing nickel back in the NFL is very challenging. Bowles described it as a combination of “quasi-linebacker, safety, nickel and corner.”

“You need to be a jack of all trades and have great awareness,” Bowles said.

The Jets former nickel back is a smart guy, and worked hard, but his instincts and awareness were a little shaky, and issues with false steps led him to play catch-up with receivers too often.

Skrine is an upgrade over the Jets former nickel. The one concern with Skrine is he’s penalty-prone.

Bowles is going to work with him on cutting down on penalties, but doesn’t want to take away his top-shelf aggressiveness and feistiness.

So its a matter of finding a balance – don’t take away his tenacity and aggressiveness, but improve his technique to cut down on flags . . .

Bowles is going to be heavily-involved in the defensive game-planning and play-calling. As time goes by, as they get more into a groove, Kacy Rodgers will probably take over more play-calling. They will work hand-in-hand on game day. They haven’t decided yet whether Rodgers will be on the sidelines or in the press box . . .

March 25, 2015

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