With free agency and the NFL draft in the rearview mirror and the 2014 New York Jets having begun their organized team activities (OTAs), it's time to being discussing what the final depth chart could look like.

First up, the Jets safeties:

Starters: Calvin Pryor (Rookie - 1st round), Antonio Allen (3rd season - 7th round 2012)

Depth: (3) Dawan Landry , (4) Jaiquawn Jarrett, (5) Josh Bush, (6) Rontez Miles, (7) Brandon Hardin

Historically, the Jets have kept as many as five players on their roster at the safety position, but also as few as three at the outset of seasons like they did in 2012 when Antonio Allen started the year on the practice squad because they had such a veteran group at safety and cornerback.  This year, I would expect a rather normal four players to make the roster at the safety spot with a player held in reserve on practice squad.

It's no secret that Rex Ryan has put an emphasis on the cornerback position during his tenure with the New York Jets.  Has that changed?  Maybe, but the trend seems to be modifying to all defensive backs.  The Jets might feel good about second year corner Dee Milliner, but there was a lot of emphasis on the Jets not bringing in a top free agent cornerback to play opposite Milliner like Alterraun Verner, Vontae Davis and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.  While many expected the Jets to draft a receiver in the first round, the team addressed the concerns in the secondary by drafting Calvin Pryor 18th overall.

Why Pryor?  With the defensive front under control for the foreseeable future, and the Jets feeling like they have tolerable depth at the cornerback spot, the idea of the Big Nickel -- and specifically flexible safeties -- has to be considered.

Last year, Pat Kirwan of CBS Sports spoke to a number of coaches about the proliferation of the Big Nickel package around the NFL was a way to fight two tight end sets.  Coaches spoke of needing flexible safeties who can play man if required to prevent tipping off the coverage scheme to the opposing quarterback.

I asked a number of defensive coaches about Big Nickel, when an extra safety is brought in to the game for a front seven player. The first thing I always hear is, "You gotta have the right kind of hybrid safety to do it right." The Big Nickel safety has to be able to play as a linebacker when the offense condenses the set, and of course, he has to match up on a flexed tight end when they spread out the formation.

As one coach said. "The Big Nickel is a hybrid defensive package that changes as the offense changes. The problem with not having a Big Nickel package is it can reduce the base defense to zone coverage calls, and the quarterback knows right away that there are a limited number of ways a team can play an offense like New England or San Francisco."

Calvin Pryor might be better suited near the line, but can play up and back if required and will fit the Jets need for flexible, physical safeties perfectly.  Idzik related after the fact, the draft room "erupted" when the Ravens let him slide to them at the 18th pick.  One can safely assume that Pryor is going to be the leader in the safety group for years to come and the team wants to get as much out of the talented player as they can as soon as possible.  To that end, Pryor will also likely be the teams signal caller of the secondary getting players positioned properly in the pre-snap alignments much as David Harris does with the defensive front.

Paired with Calvin Pryor will be third-year Jet Antonio Allen.  Allen played well in his first season as a starter, but saw his time marginalized with the addition of Ed Reed to the team.  Allen seems to be best deployed at or near the line of scrimmage and generally on the strong side of the formation.   In college, Alan saw time as an additional linebacker/safety hybrid in the "Spur" in the South Carolina Gamecock defense; a position comparable to Rex Ryan's "46" in his scheme.  Allen is still young and has athleticism and speed to run in coverage, so should the Jets deploy a big nickel package he might be the one who slides into more of a coverage role.

As far as the third part of a Big Nickel package?  Rex Ryan has spoken about how he fully expects that 2013 starter Dawan Landry, who will now work in more of a reserve role, will still be a major component of the Jets defense.  Landry saw more than 1,100 defensive snaps in 2013, more than any other Jet player at safety combined.  Landry could provide the team excellent depth, a coach's eyes from the sidelines (and field).

Behind Landry, the team has Jaiquawn Jarrett who saw more snaps than Josh Bush.  Jarrett seems best suited as a run-stopping safety, while Bush might be better employed in coverage.  The problem for Bush is that with good depth at cornerback already, it might be hard for him to see nickel / dime defense work with as many other competent coverage players on the team.

After Bush come Rontez Miles and Brandon Hardin.  Miles showed promise last summer during training camp and is a big hitting safety, but both he and Hardin will need to demonstrate their worth as special teamers first to make this team's September roster.

Tags: avsny, brianbassett, NYJets, Brian Bassett

New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles watches his team play during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus) (Adrian Kraus/AP)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles watches his team play during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus) (Adrian Kraus/AP)

Former Jets LB Erin Henderson is suing the team for wrongful termination and disability discrimination, according to ESPN's Rich Cimini and NJ Advanced Media.

The now-retired linebacker is seeking $3.3 million plus in damages.

According to Henderson, he was placed on the Jets' non-football injury list unjustly. He suffers from bipolar disorder and says that the team didn't give him the proper care. 

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 (Kyle Terada)
(Kyle Terada)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Todd Bowles and the Jets made their statement about President Donald Trump and what's happening in this country when they locked arms on the sidelines during the national anthem on Sunday afternoon. Now the Jets coach wants the world's focus to be on the issues and solutions, not on all the inflammatory Tweets and words.

That was his message on Monday when asked for his feelings about the president's remarks, when he said that players who kneel during the anthem should be fired and labeled them a "son of a bitch."

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September 24, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) passes the football against the Miami Dolphins during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)
September 24, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) passes the football against the Miami Dolphins during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)

Jets QB Josh McCown led the offense in the team's first win of the season over the Dolphins, 20-6, on Sunday. 

It was his first home game as a Jet, and McCown didn't disappoint. He was accurate, moved the ball around his receiving corps, and most importantly, he impressed head coach Todd Bowles.

"I thought he was very effecient," Bowles told Jets.com's Eric Allen. "Josh has been playing good for about three weeks in a row now. He controls the offense and he sees things. He's playing smart football."

Tags: Josh McCown
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Schwartz, Vacchiano on Jets win 00:02:17
SNY's Jonas Schwartz and Ralph Vacchiano discuss the media and team's reaction to the Jets' win over Miami.

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

The Jets got in the win column with a surprisingly easy 20-6 victory over the Dolphins in their home opener, riding a disciplined and efficient defensive performance.

We'll therefore start this week by focusing on the defense...

Tags: Buster Skrine, Darron Lee, Demario Davis, Dylan Donahue, Jamal Adams, Jordan Jenkins, Juston Burris, Leonard Williams, Marcus Maye, Morris Claiborne, Muhammad Wilkerson
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FNNY: Anthem protests in NFL 00:03:05
Taylor Rooks, Marc Malusis and Sal Licata react to NFL teams protesting the national anthem and discuss what players and owners had to say.

From players on the field to acting owner Christopher Johnson and GM Mike Maccagnan, the New York Jets all locked arms during the national anthem before Sunday's 20-6 win over the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium in protest of President Donald Trump's comments from a few days ago.

The Jets had a team meeting Saturday and decided they would lock arms and stand for the anthem as a team. Groups of players from each team around the league on Sunday either locked arms or knelt during the anthem after Trump referred to NFL players who protested the national anthem as a "son of a bitch" and said they should be fired.

Johnson, who is the team's acting owner while his brother, Jets owner Woody Johnson, serves as the United States ambassador to the United Kingdom in the Trump administration, released a statement saying it was an "honor and a privilege" to join the players on the field on Sunday.

Tags: Miami Dolphins, Kelvin Beachum, Leonard Williams
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Jets Post Game Overtime: 9/24 00:10:22
The Jets Post Game crew keeps the analysis going, handing out report cards from the Jets' 20-6 win over Miami in their home opener.

 

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Bowles, McCown discuss win 00:02:17
Todd Bowles and Josh McCown reflect on the Jets' first win of the season, a resounding 20-6 victory over Miami.

All that dismal 0-16 talk is over. And, the New York Jets ended it early with a stunningly dominant performance.

Josh McCown threw a 69-yard touchdown pass to Robby Anderson, Bilal Powell ran for a score, and the Jets' defense frustrated Jay Cutler and the Miami Dolphins in a 20-6 victory Sunday in New York's home opener.

"Oh, man, it was awesome," McCown said. "It was special."

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September 24, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets players lock arms during the national anthem before the game against the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)
September 24, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets players lock arms during the national anthem before the game against the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)

Jets players locked arms during the national anthem on Sunday ahead of their game against the Dolphins.

Acting owner Christopher Johnson and general manager Mike Maccagnan joined the players by locking arms with them on the field.

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New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) celebrates with teammates during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus) (Adrian Kraus/AP)
New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) celebrates with teammates during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus) (Adrian Kraus/AP)

DE Muhammad Wilkerson and TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins will suit up for the Jets' Week 3 game against the Dolphins

Wilkerson missed practices during the week with a shoulder injury after suffering a shoulder injury during the team's Week 2 loss to the Raiders. TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins will return following his two-game suspension at the beginning of the season.

QB Christian Hackenberg, WR Chad Hansen, CB Derrick Jones, S Rontez Miles, OL Brian Winters, TE Eric Tomlinson, and TE Jordan Leggett are inactive.

 

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Muhammad Wilkerson
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Bowles stresses execution, tempo 00:01:10
Todd Bowles tells Jeane Coakley what he's expecting to see from his team in its home opener at MetLife Stadium.

 

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NFL's response to Trump 00:03:00
Mike Westhoff, Ray Lucas and Willie Colon weigh in on the national conversation regarding athletes' right to protest.

Jets RB Matt Forte and T Kelvin Beachum were among NFL players who retweeted posts criticizing President Trump's comments on Friday about NFL players who kneel for the national anthem.

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Can Jets rally home crowd? 00:03:12
Jets Pre Game Live breaks down what role emotions will play in the Jets' home opener against Miami.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

THE GAME

The Miami Dolphins (1-0) at the Jets (0-2) at the Meadowlands on Sunday, Sept. 24, at 1 p.m. ET.


Coverage on SNY:

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Bilal Powell, Christian Hackenberg, Miami Dolphins, Elijah McGuire, Josh McCown, Matt Forte, Muhammad Wilkerson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Vacchiano's 3 Keys to a Jets win 00:01:11
SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano discusses his three keys to a Jets' victory vs. the Miami Dolphins in Week 3.

SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano discusses his three keys to a Jets victory over the Miami Dolphins in Week 3.

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In the latest episode of The Jet Stream, Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon look back at the Week 2 loss in Oakland, and discuss what the Jets need to do to secure their first win of the season. Later, Jonas and Willie debut two of the show's newest segments, "Willie's Story Time" and "How being an NFL player is better than being you."

Click below to listen!

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 (Stan Szeto)
(Stan Szeto)

Jets CB Buster Skrine was fined $24,309 after being penalized for a helmet-to-helmet hit against the Raiders. 

In the third quarter, Skrine picked up on a short pass to RB DeAndre Washington, but he caught Washington with his helmet first resulting in a penalty that set up a 43-yard touchdown for the Raiders. 

The Raiders had four personal fouls in the game, but none were fined. 

Tags: Buster Skrine
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Seferian-Jenkins returns to Jets 00:01:16
Jeane Coakley and Jets' tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins discuss playing for the first time since December and how he can help the team.

 

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins
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 (Rick Scuteri/AP)
(Rick Scuteri/AP)

G Brian Winters and TE Eric Tomlinson (knee) are out for Sunday's game against the Dolphins, the Jets announced Friday.

Either Dakota Dozier or Brent Qvale will start at RG for Winters, Jets head coach Todd Bowles told reporters.

TE Jordan Leggett (knee) and S Rontez Miles (eye) are doubtful.

Tags: Brent Qvale, Brian Winters, Dakota Dozier, Jordan Leggett, Muhammad Wilkerson, Rontez Miles, Will Tye
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

The Jets re-signed KR/WR Kalif Raymond to their practice squad after cutting him earlier in the week.

Raymond muffing a punt during the Jets' loss to the raiders in Oakland.

"He's got some tools to develop," coach Todd Bowles said on Thursday. "There are some things we like about him with his speed and catch radius as a receiver, so he's worth bringing back."

Bowles indicated Raymond would likely remain on the practice squad but added that there's still a chance he could make the active roster.

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GEICO SportsNite: Jets' RBs 00:00:47
According to offensive coordinator John Morton and Matt Forte, the Jets are looking to utilize all three running backs in their home opener.

 

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Jets Game Plan: Moving forward 00:03:58
The panel breaks down the positives and negatives from Sunday's game and how the Jets can learn from that loss and work towards a win.

 

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

The Jets have signed DE David Bass and cut LB Freddie Bishop to make room on the roster.

Bass, who was selected 233rd by the Raiders in the 2013 NFL Draft, had been released by the Seahawks on Tuesday.

Bishop had been signed from the practice squad to the active roster last week.

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GEICO SportsNite: Jets 00:02:02
Jeane Coakley talks with quarterback Josh McCown about the Jets' home opener and with CEO Christopher Johnson about Todd Bowles' future.

 

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 (Stan Szeto)
(Stan Szeto)

It's been a tough two weeks of the season for Jets linebacker Darron Lee, and head coach Todd Bowles wants to see more out of the second-year player. 

Standing at 6-foot-1 and 231 pounds, Lee has looked overmatched at times during the Jets' first two games this year. So far Lee has 12 tackles and one sack. 

Tags: Darron Lee
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New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) looks to the fans prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. (Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) looks to the fans prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. (Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)

Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (bruised shoulder) did not participate in Wednesday's practice, but he believes he'll be ready to play against the Dolphins on Sunday. 

Wilkerson suffered the injury during last week's matchup in Oakland, but does not think the bruise is too serious. Head coach Todd Bowles also said he doesn't believe the injury will keep Wilkerson out of action. 

Below is the rest of the Jets' injury report from Wednesday's practice: 

Tags: Muhammad Wilkerson
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Christopher Johnson, the Jets' acting owner as his brother Woody Johnson serves as Ambassador to the United Kingdom under President Donald Trump, says the team isn't tanking.

"It couldn't be further from the truth," Johnson told reporters on Wednesday. "I want to win every game. Every player in that locker room wants to win. What you're seeing, I think, are growing pains. These are young guys. There are some older guys on the team. Some of them, they're doing an extraordinary job. But I think you're going to see this team get better and better and better. That's what I'm looking for. And we are definitely not tanking."

The Jets, who have started the season 0-2 and are expected to have one ot the worst records in the NFL this season, trimmed the roster of the majority of their veterans during the offseason.

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Dec 11, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers defensive end Datone Jones (95) during the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field. Green Bay won 38-10. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports (Jeff Hanisch)
Dec 11, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers defensive end Datone Jones (95) during the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field. Green Bay won 38-10. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports (Jeff Hanisch)

The Jets held workouts with six players on Tuesday, reports NFL Insider Adam Caplan.

The team worked out wide receivers Corey "Philly" Brown, Josh Huff, and Paul Turner; defensive ends Datone Jones and Alex McCalister; and defensive tackle Stefan Charles.

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Sep 17, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back DeAndre Washington (33) picks up a first down before being tackled by New York Jets outside linebacker Darron Lee (58) in the first quarter at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports (Cary Edmondson)
Sep 17, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back DeAndre Washington (33) picks up a first down before being tackled by New York Jets outside linebacker Darron Lee (58) in the first quarter at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports (Cary Edmondson)

The Jets defense may have allowed 45 points to the Raiders this past Sunday, but they are not embarrassed as they believe the unit as taken positive steps forward. 

The Raiders racked up 410 total yards as they had both the run and pass game working in their home opener. Though it was a bad performance, LB Darron Lee spoke about why there were no heads hung in the locker room following the game. 

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter: The Jets surprisingly hung around for the better part of three quarters, but eventually the game slipped away from them and the Raiders came away with the anticipated blowout win. Aside from a couple of ill-timed turnovers, the run defense was the biggest issue in yesterday's game...

Tags: Darron Lee, Morris Claiborne, Muhammad Wilkerson
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 (Cary Edmondson)
(Cary Edmondson)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

The Jets surprisingly hung around for the better part of three quarters, but eventually the game slipped away from them and the Raiders came away with the anticipated blowout win. Aside from a couple of ill-timed turnovers, the run defense was the biggest issue in yesterday's game.

Let's break down the performances on the defensive side of the ball from the Jets' 45-20 loss to the Raiders in Week 2...

Tags: Buster Skrine, Darron Lee, Demario Davis, Dylan Donahue, Jamal Adams, Jordan Jenkins, Leonard Williams, Marcus Maye, Morris Claiborne, Muhammad Wilkerson, Steve McLendon
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Latest look at the next Jets QB 00:00:44
SNY.tv takes a look at how the top collegiate quarterbacks did on the field last weekend.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Another loss for the Jets, another step closer to the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft.

Of course, even if they don't land the top spot they seem sure to land something in the Top 10, where they'll have a shot at one of the many top college quarterbacks available. Here's a look at some of them, and how their stock has risen or fallen from last week...

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 (Stan Szeto)
(Stan Szeto)

Jets WR Jermaine Kearse notched his first touchdowns with the team in the loss to the Raiders on Sunday. 

Kearse and another Jets newcomer, QB Josh McCown, have found chemistry early this season. McCown found the 27-year-old seven times for 59 yards in the season opener against the Bills. 

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on TwitterKearse continued his strong start as a Jet by leading them with 64 yards on four catches, including two touchdowns. He showed some veteran smarts with a subtle push-off on the first touchdown and made a tough catch with a defender draped over him for his other score. However, his other three catches -- one of which was negated by a penalty -- were short of the first down marker. >> Read more about the receivers and the Jets' offensive performance in Bent's Game Analysis.

Tags: Jermaine Kearse, Charone Peake, Robby Anderson
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