5 Smoldering Questions: The High Flying Edition


Jared Wickerham/AP Photo

First I should note that “High Flying” refers to the Jets rather than, say, to any substances we sincerely hope our players are completely eschewing, at least until they retire…

1. Vince Williams has played in 55 NFL games (excluding the preseason, which scarcely counts) as of today. But as a starter his career has been checkered. He started 11 games his rookie year (2013,) three games in 2014, none in 2015, and of course the past two games this season. Here are his stats as a starter:

  • 2013: 33 total tackles, 0 sacks in 11 games (avg. 3 tackles per game)
  • 2014: 13 total tackles, 0 sacks in three games (average 4.3 tackles per game)
  • 2016: 25 total tackles, two sacks in two games (average 12.5 tackles per game)

This is a remarkable difference. Just for completeness, his average number of tackles as a non-starter in 2015 was 2.9 per game. He had a half sack. Any theories on what happened?

2. One of the beat writers (I think it was Ed Bouchette) noted that after one of his many drops Mike Tomlin was seen calming Sammie Coates down. It makes me think of Limas Sweed, another large, gifted receiver who had trouble holding onto the ball. My impression back in the day was that Limas Sweed was in Tomlin’s doghouse, and of course he was eventually cut. Do you think the difference in the treatment the two guys received (or appear to have received) is because of a difference in the receivers or a difference in Mike Tomlin?

3. Speaking of receivers, if you were the offensive coordinator and you were forced by some unfortunate circumstance or other to cut either Darrius Heyward-Bey or Markus Wheaton, who would get the ax and why? And no, you can’t answer “Eli Rogers.”

4. The offensive line for last Sunday was composed of a still-developing left tackle (Alejandro Villanueva,) a left guard who is still recovering from a sternum injury (Ramon Foster,) Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, and a journeyman offensive lineman who has mainly played center or guard making his first NFL start at right tackle (Chris Hubbard.) Nothing we saw of Hubbard in the preseason would lead one to believe he was an even adequate right tackle. The Jets front four is very well-regarded. Considering all of the above, which option or options makes the most sense?

  1. The Jets’ defensive linemen are not as good as advertised.
  2. Mike Munchak is a genius
  3. Todd Haley is a genius.
  4. Other?

5. Be honest now. If the fake field goal had worked, would you have loved it or still been mad?

Don’t forget to show your work.


  • 1. Once has always had a high motor. He now has an understanding of the defense based on his early opportunities to play and frankly, he is just kicking ass.

    2. The difference may be Sammie Coates. I think this is one tough kid. That said, Coach T has learned to handle some of the psychological issues, as he has had to deal with quite a number of confidence issues while rebuilding this young team. I think Willie Gay, Cortez Allen, Marcus Gilbert, Landry Jones and others have all dealt with these issues and the coaching staff has handled them overall, very well. I do think Sammie has the inner toughness to fight through these issues and be great.

    3. DHB. Hands are stil suspect. Wheaton is and will be solid with great speed AND youth. If we were a little deeper, maybe I’d reverse it to save money, but this team is on a roll and has a good chance to go to the SB.

    4. Munchak is a genius, but Hubbard still has to block. The fact that BJ did beat the week before, Wallace replaced Pouncey well enough to get to the playoffs and AV did the same at LT indicates a superior level of coaching, but a pretty incredible level of finding coachable talent by the personnel people.

    5. I would have loved it.


  • 1. Experience maybe? Would be interesting to see what Vince Williams has to say on the subject. I wonder if anybody has asked him?
    2. Maybe a little of both, one or the other, or no difference at all:)
    3. I guess Wheaton because Bey can help you on SP teams and on top of that I think Wheaton is in a contract year
    4. Other; Hubbard played a good game. I think the Jets shut down our running game pretty well but our pass pro was awesome.
    5. Still been mad because there was an illegal formation and the Jets would have took the penalty wiping out the first down:/
    I just worry that our kickers/punters are gonna get hurt with the sneaky stuff. We finally got good boots man, let em be. haha


  • 1. He is probably starting to hit his stride as a player. He is now is his 4th year and has been developing the entire time. Also, the defensive scheme is different than it has been in previous years.

    2. I would say a little of both, but mostly receiver. Coates seems to have a better head on him and coped much better in game with the drops. I am confident he will get past that and continue to improve as a wide receiver.

    3. This is a tough one. Bey has been great as a receiver and on special teams, but is starting to get up there age wise (29 years old vs 25 for Wheaton). Wheaton has also been a good receiver and is still improving as a player. I guess i would keep Bey for his special teams contributions. Also, I am sure Wheaton would find a place on another team.

    4. Munchak is a Genius. Though it has been said that after the 7 sack first game of the season, the Jets have not looked anything like that the rest of the season.

    5. Would have loved it. And i think most of Steeler Nation would have felt the same way. A trick play seems to be viewed only based on the results of the play. Genius if it works, idiocy if it doesn’t.


  • 1. Biggest difference is the game is slowing down for him. Quicker recognition, quicker reaction. and better technique.

    2. Tomlin has become more flexible over time, and deals with players more as individuals. When he was a rookie coach, the rules were the same for everybody. Then, he gave the older vets days off to rest in the middle of the week. Once he established himself as the boss, he felt more comfortable in personalizing his player interactions. Also, Coates’ problem appears to be between his two hands, while Sweed had that, plus problems with confidence, depression, or whatever. So a more flexible coach was able to tailor his response differently to a very different player.

    3. Definitely keep DHB. Much better special teamer. Wheaton is in a contract year, and he’s gone next year anyway. Wheaton is a better long-term choice, but since it won’t be here, that makes it a clear choice to stick with DHB.

    4. All of the above, but especially Munch. Best free agent pickup in years.

    5. Would have loved it. Love the swagger. Play to win. But we’ve had too many kickers and punters hurt in past years, so it’s time to find other ways to show that swagger.


  • Question # 2; At first i didn’t think it was a comparison that really could be made but after looking at everyone’s excellent perspective’s I can see that there is some deep meaning to this question and it made me think a little more. Maybe Coate’s perspective is different than Sweed’s was. Maybe his mental focus is deeper than Sweed’s because change always starts first in the mind.
    Maybe he is more committed than Sweed was? Maybe Sweed was really committed too except that he couldn’t get past the thing in his mind that was stopping him and he just flat ran out of time.
    Maybe time has given coach a different perspective:)
    I love this quote from Rick Warren. It reminds me of something MT would say. Your commitments can develop you or they can destroy you, but either way, they will define you.


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