In what was essentially "The Defensive Line Show" at Jets camp today, Shaun Ellis and Bryan Thomas were the stars. It appears as though the media has lost more confidence in the incumbent third year starter Ellis than the coaching staff…
Q. What will Shaun Ellis's role be?
TED COTTRELL: "We are going to move Shaun on third down, for sure. He's going inside at the tackles position, the left tackle. So third down, we are already set that way. First and second down, Shaun will start at left end, and that's his job and it's up to him to keep it, to perform. We want to get to the position where we're rotating two deep across the board on our defensive line, so we get A-quality players playing really good. So we can rotate them through, keep them fresh especially in the game and early in the season…"
Q. Ted, obviously you drafted Bryan because he's the best player there for you, but do you believe at all in sending messages? Should Shaun be taking this as any kind of a message at all in terms of stepping his play up?
TED COTTRELL: "No. We did not draft Bryan to send a message to Shaun. We drafted Bryan because he's a good football player who can help us and that's the same reason we signed Steve [White]. We did not do that with the intention of trying to motivate Shaun Ellis…that's going to be his own motivation on what he wants to do with his career…Anybody that is on our team, our defense, we talked about this, and you've got to be self motivated and want to play yourself. If you don't, we've got to show you the exit door."
Carter and Cottrell had glowing remarks about the Jets' #1 pick. The Jets know that with Abraham and Thomas rushing off the edges, the other team will not have much time to get rid of the ball in passing situations. Let's check on the status of our latest potential star…
Q. Rubin or Ted, just your comments on the first day of watching him, first day observations?
RUBIN CARTER: "Well, he's the same type of player that I saw on tape. I thought he went through the agility work today…He went through and he was very fluid, showed tremendous burst and especially for Bryan's size -- 270 pounds, 6'4 and a half -- tremendous burst and speed that he showed coming off the corner. He really showed that today as he was going through his drill work…He really was concentrating on using his hands well out in practice. Certainly he has a lot to learn, but he's absorbing what we have to do defensively with the scheme and he understands where he fits and he'll be a tremendous asset to our football team."
TED COTTRELL: "I'm excited. Third down and long situations you could see his speed off the corner and like you said, he and John Abraham are the two fastest ends as a combination, I believe, in the league. So that's going to really help us, especially if we get a push from the guys inside. I'm excited about what he's going to bring to the team, especially on the third down in the nickel and passing situations."
RUBIN CARTER: "I think it really helps because now they can't focus and key in on John Abraham on one side. In the past, teams have really set their protections and tried to take away John Abraham's effectiveness on getting up the field, sometimes using [running backs] to be able to chip and stop his rush from the outside on the tackle. Now you have two players with equal speed on both sides. I think it gives offense problems as far as protection is concerned."
In an era where speed is valued so highly, Thomas is a tremendous asset. In the AFC East, the Jets will be facing Tom Brady, Drew Bledsoe, and Jay Fiedler. Not a group of QBs that will be confused with Donovan McNabb or Daunte Culpepper anytime soon. With John Abraham on one side, Shaun Ellis inside, and Bryan Thomas on the other side, the Green and White won't be required to blitz to put pressure on the QB. The bottom line is that Thomas has a load of potential, he has the right motor, and he has the right ethics. It's just a question of how raw he is and how long it will take to develop his tools…..Perhaps now you still have not made your judgment, and neither have I, but for the irrational naysayer….I present you with this, courtesy of Rich Cimini, reporting for the Daily News…
*IMPORTANT - JETS FANS*
Get this in your heads...and don't let it get out…be sure to get this message to your AFC East Rival fans…a quote from Bryan Thomas' head coach at UAB…"I heard the New York fans say, 'We want a cornerback.' Well, you got a 265 lbs. guy who runs like a cornerback and eats quarterbacks for lunch."
The man has the physical ability of Randy Moss as a defensive end...and his work ethic is almost unmatched...Bryan Thomas has all the tools to be a great, we're just waiting to see him in the pads in front of our own eyes. And he's just waiting for the chance to keep his promise, "Don't worry Coach...I'll sack the quarterback for you."
NewYorkJets.com is reporting that the Jets have signed the following undrafted free agents (some previously reported): QB Kyle McCann (Iowa), OTs Chris Smith (Cal-Davis), Cory Hannen (Iowa State), Jay Kulaga (Illinois) and Matt Knutson (North Dakota), C Lance Clelland (Northwestern), RBs John Reese and Little John Flowers (Michigan State), FB Chad Kuhns (Wisconsin), WRs Kory Bailey (North Carolina), Brian Scott (South Carolina), Ataveus Cash (Hampton) and Tavon Mason (Virginia), DT Brandon Moore (Illinois), LBs Joe Cooper (Ohio State), Jamie Burrow (Nebraska), Jerimiah Janssen (St. Norbert College), Idris Price (New Haven) and Scott Bradley (Boston College), SS Bobby Jackson (Illinois), and CBs Andrew Davison (Kansas) and Jay Brooks (Texas A&M).