Jets’ Calvin Pace suspended four games

According Dan Leberfeld of NY Jets Confidential, linebacker Calvin Pace has been suspended without pay for the team’s first four regular-season games of the 2009 season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

Pace’s suspension begins on Saturday, September 5. He is eligible to return to the Jets’ active roster on Monday, October 5 following the team’s October 4 game against the New Orleans Saints.

Pace is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games.

And like almost all suspended players, Pace had no idea he was taking a banned substance.

“This is a situation that resulted from an over-the-counter dietary supplement that contained a substance that I did not know violated the League’s policy,” said Pace. “I am responsible for what I put into my body and I should have paid closer attention to the League’s guidelines.”

Tough break for a Jets defense that has been building excitement since the hire of new head coach Rex Ryan. Pace was outstanding last year for the Jets coming over from the Cardinals, quickly establishing himself as the team’s top pass rusher.

Although this is a huge blow for the Jets, this is a big opportunity for second-year player Vernon Gholston, who was an utter disaster as a rookie last year. If Ryan can get Gholston to understand pro schemes like Eric Mangini attempted and failed to do last year, then maybe the former Ohio State product can make a splash this season. Ryan sees Gholston as a potential Terrell Suggs in his defense, but Gholston has to learn the playbook first.

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Which position is the safest bet in the first round?

I was watching one of the many Mel Kiper and Todd McShay arguments on ESPN the other day [video], and Kiper was arguing that if McShay has Matthew Stafford ranked so high (McShay currently has Stafford ranked #8), then he should almost be a no-brainer for the Detroit Lions, who have the #1 overall pick and need a quarterback. McShay isn’t convinced that he’s a so-called “franchise” quarterback, so he says he would go another direction. (For the record, at the time Kiper called McShay “crazy” for having Stafford that high, but now he has the QB ranked #3 on his big board. It’s clear that Kiper’s pure hatred for McShay is causing him to slowly lose his mind.)

Anyway, the debate piqued my interest and got me wondering – when it comes to the first round of the NFL Draft, is one position safer than another? For example, if the Lions have three holes to fill (they have more, but bear with me) – quarterback, linebacker and tackle – and they can’t decide amongst the three players, is one position a safer pick than the other two?

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NFL Draft analysis: “The 3-4 Tweener”

Below is an interesting article by Hunter Ashley of on NFL draft prospects who are defensive ends, but are viewed as 3-4 outside linebackers at the next level because of their size.

There comes a time in many players’ careers when the coach calls them in, sits them down, and “asks” them to switch positions for the good of the team, and often for the good of the player. Sometimes a change in spots is a savvy career move. I recently interviewed UNLV running back Frank Summers who was asked to play fullback in the Texas vs. the Nation all-star game. He was receptive to the change. In fact, he was so receptive that he hauled in four passes for 54 yards and a touchdown. Brian Toal of Boston College took that a step further and worked out as a fullback and a safety at his pro day after realizing that he lacked the size to remain at linebacker in the pros. Voila, Toal is now a draftable player.

Of course, it is a gamble, and it doesn’t always work out so well. Just take a gander at Vernon Gholston. Perceived as an athletic freak and a near lock to transition smoothly from collegiate defensive end to professional rush linebacker, Gholston took the F train to Bust City in his first year as a pro.

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Jets sign underrated free agent LB Bart Scott

One of the small notions when it comes to the NFL offseason is never to sign a free agent defender from the Baltimore Ravens. Because usually once they get out of the Ravens’ 3-4 defensive scheme, they never live up to their high free agent billing. (See Ed Hartwell for just one example.)

But considering the man that ran the Ravens’ defense for the better part of a decade is now the head coach for the New York Jets, it was probably safe to take the chance on Baltimore free agent linebacker Bart Scott.

Read the rest after the jump...

Report: Rex Ryan becomes Jets’ next head coach

ESPN is reporting that Rex Ryan will become the next head coach of the Jets.

Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan has agreed to a four-year contract to become coach of the New York Jets, according to multiple sources.

Lawyers are reviewing contract language before an official announcement is made. A news conference introducing Ryan is scheduled for Wednesday.

The Jets made a formal offer to Ryan “about an hour” after the Ravens lost 23-14 to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship Game, the sources said.

Ryan’s four-year contract is in line with other first-year head coaches that have been recently hired, but a Jets source said it was almost identical to the $11.5 million deal that the Rams gave New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo on Saturday.

“Any coach who believes in himself wants the opportunity, and it’s a great franchise,” Ryan told ESPN reporter Rachel Nichols on Sunday night.

Ryan was hired by the Ravens in 1999 as a defensive assistant and took on the coordinator’s role in 2005. The title of assistant head coach was added before this season.

I’ve been dying to see what this guy can do as a head coach. Hopefully he hires a sound offensive coordinator and someone he’s already worked with to coach defense so that his system and schemes stay in tact. It’ll also be interesting to see what Ryan can do with former top 10 pick Vernon Gholston, who Eric Mangini sat for most of 2008 because he wanted the former Buckeye to become a complete linebacker. Maybe Ryan will make him the next Terrell Suggs and just allow him to get after the passer and use his physical talents above all else.

Other than him not having any head coaching experience, I think Ryan was a sound hire.

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