The Jets came up one game short of a trip to the Super Bowl once again in 2010 and it appears that they'll be making a few key roster changes for 2011. One familiar face will be returning in 2011.
According to league sources, future Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson will be back to play out the final year of his two-year deal he inked with the Jets in 2009 after being cut from the San Diego Chargers. Tomlinson, who turns 32 in June of this year, will be reloaded in 2011 with last year's other committee running backs, Shonn Green and Joe McKnight.
|LaDainian Tomlinson, at age 31, rushed for 914 yards and 6 TD's and added 52 receptions in his first year with the New York Jets|
Ending their tenure with the Jets organization are six-time pro-bowl player and former defensive MVP Jason Taylor, long time veteran offensive tackle Damien Woody who has been a part of the Jets league leading rushing attack in recent seasons and defensive tackle Kris Jenkins, who was a dominating run stopper with the Carolina Panthers early in his career, but only started 7 games in the last two of his three seasons with the Jets due to injuries.
LaDainian Tomlinson may have salvaged his future with the Jets in this past year's playoffs. Some thought Tomlinson to be at risk of being cut by the team after a promising and productive start to the 2010 season ended with a gradual decline in production. After rushing for 599 yards and five scores in his first eight games of the season, he rushed for only 287 and one score in his last seven games(did not play in week 17). His numbers in the receiving game took a quick dive as well catching 43 passes in the first ten games but finishing with only 9 in his final five contests, two receptions or less in each.
It was thought that the 31 year old Tomlinson may have been showing his age in the second half of the season, but he revved it back up in the playoffs, rushing for 125 yards in two wins versus the Colts and Patriots before being stymied for just 16 yards and a 1.8 yards per carry average against the vaunted Steelers defense in the AFC Championship.
Though Tomlinson's big mid-season dip in production had critics calling his days of being a productive back over, the Jets feel like there's enough miles left on his legs to help get them to the promise land in 2011. The Jets should be, and will be wary of his high mileage odometer though.
The Jets cut of stars Jason Taylor, Damien Woody and Kris Jenkins were not much of a surprise. In his first year with the Jets, Taylor played in a substitute package as a passing down specialist and recorded 5.0 sacks and 36 tackles in limited time. His age continues to be the issue for him going forward and is a good reason why he's played for three teams in the last three years and will be on his fourth in four years if he signs with someone for 2011.
|Jason Taylor had 5.0 sacks in a backup role with the 2010 New York Jets|
Damien Woody's departure came from a lack of consistent play and an apparent achilles injury he suffered in last year's playoff game against the Patriots that landed him on Injured Reserve. The gaps in the run-blocking game he used to create aren't opening up and developing the way they used to in years past and he seems to labor in pass-blocking much more so than he did when he had younger and fresher legs. The Jets decided that coupled with the recent achilles injury that ended his 2010 season, made him expendable to 2011's roster. The Jets will likely look for a replacement for him via the 2011 draft this April.
|Damien Woody has been a solid force in the Jets league leading rushing attack of recent seasons. An achilles injury ended his 2010 season in the playoffs|
The release of Kris Jenkins was the least of surprising news as he played in only one game last season and six games the season before, recording not a single sack and only 14 tackles in those games. Jenkins 2009 season ended due to a severe knee injury to his left leg and then six plays into the 2010 season, repeated the same injury to the same knee. It looks unlikely that any team will take a chance on him considering his experience and recent injury history. The Jets will likely also look to a defensive tackle in the 2011 draft to replace him as well.
|Kris Jenkins was a force on the interior line when healthy. Two major knee injuries in the last two seasons may have ended his career after being released by the Jets|
Fantasy Football Impact: With Tomlinson coming back after a down season, look for his workload to be reduced even more than it was in 2010. Tomlinson and Green split carries pretty evenly in 2010 with Green handling 185 carries to Tomlinson's 219, but with Tomlinson another year older and his ineffectiveness towards the end of the season last year, look for Green and even second year back, Joe McKnight, who had 39 carries and a solid 4.8 yards per carry average in his rookie year, to increase their workloads to help save Tomlinson's legs over the duration of the season.