Jets vs. Saints: Key Match-Ups

First a few updates:

1. Lito Sheppard, Donald Strickland, Jim Leonhard, Wayne Hunter and Larry Izzo sat out practice today. Darrelle Revis and Kerry Rhodes were also limited. Despite the endless list of defensive backs on this list, Rex Ryan expressed confidence that all of them would be available on Sunday, withthe possible exception of Strickland. He didn’t rule out bringing in free agent Corey Ivy by the end of the week, if it looks like both Sheppard and Strickland won’t be able to go on Sunday. Ivy is familiar with Ryan’s system from his time in Baltimore, and would be able in step in right away.

2. Congratulations to linebacker Jason Trusnik for winning the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week Award.

3. Rex Ryan singled out Vernon Gholston for praise in his press conference, saying he was awarded a game ball for putting together an all around solid game, including saving a touchdown on a hustle play during one of Chris Johnson’s big runs.

Jets vs. Saints: Key Match-Ups

Tomorrow check back for an excessively comprehensive breakdown of the Jets/Saints game and then again on Friday for my prediction, today I am going to focus on the key individual match-ups for this Sunday’s game.

The Jets Banged Up Secondary vs. Marques Colston/Devery Henderson/Robert Meachem/Jeremy Shockey: With our without Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland, the Jets will have their hands full against the wide variety of weapons the Saints have on offense. Darrelle Revis should be able to handle Marques Colston, but there will pressure on the rest of the Jets secondary to keep the speedsters Henderson and Meachem in check. If the Jets are without Sheppard and Strickland, Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman will again need to respond with big time efforts off the bench. Jeremy Shockey is becoming a bigger part of the Saints offense, so expect to see Eric Smith shadowing him on passing downs. Smith did an excellent job against Owen Daniels in week one and continues to develop as a playmaker in the Jets defense.

Thomas Jones/Leon Washington/Jets Offensive Line vs. Saints Front Seven: The Jets have stuck to their running game through the first three weeks but haven’t had anywhere near the success they did last season. Thomas Jones is under 4 yards per carry and is a couple of big runs against Houston from being under 3 yards per carry. Leon Washington is right at 4 yards per carry but hasn’t ripped off any big ones yet this season. The Jets must run the ball successfully to keep the Saints offense off the field for as long as possible. Don’t be surprised to see Shonn Greene get a few reps if the Jones has another slow start. However, all the focus can’t be on Jones and Washington. The offensive line needs to do a better job of opening up holes for their pro-bowl running backs.

Bart Scott vs. Reggie Bush: Don’t forget a few seasons ago, when Scott had this to say about Bush after the Ravens put a beatdown on New Orleans, “The media darling, aka the golden boy of the NFL, tried to take a cheap shot at me, so I told him I was going to put some extra on it. He can do all those shakes he wants, but I wasn’t going anywhere. I put a little hot sauce on that ankle.This was after a play in the 4th quarter, where Bush left with a sore ankle after Scott tackled him. In subsequent interviews, Scott said he wasn’t trying to imply that he intentionally hurt Bush, but rather was referencing the spicy food in New Orleans and was joking around. I haven’t seen footage of hit but from clicking around the Internet, it appears most people don’t think it was anywhere near a dirty play by Scott. One of our most frequent readers, my good friend Dan is a big Reggie Bush lover and correctly pointed out he is second in offensive yards on the team, so the pressure will be on Scott, David Harris and the rest of the Jets linebackers to contain him on his receptions out of the backfield. Bush has struggled running the ball (111 yards, with a 3.7 per carry average) but been a big factor in the passing game (164 yards, 11 yards per reception).

Mark Sanchez vs. Tracy Porter/Roman Harper/Darren Sharper/Jabari Greer: The Saints secondary is tied for the league lead in passes defensed and interceptions. There will be pressure on Mark Sanchez in this game to put up some points through the air, so the rookie must do a better job of protecting the ball than he did a week ago. Sanchez has looked good when throwing the ball down the field so far this season so let’s see if he takes some shots to Jerricho Cotchery, Dustin Keller, or maybe even David Clowney, fresh off his Twitter suspension.

Marques Colston Almost Has Hands As Good As Mine

NFL Week 3 Recap/Jets vs. Saints First Look

First a few updates:

1. The Jets have now moved up to #6 in ESPN’s Power Rankings, one spot behind this week’s opponent, the New Orleans Saints.

2. The status of Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland remains up in the air for this weekend. I get the impression that Sheppard is further along than Strickland. It would be a huge boost to have at least one of them back against the Saints lethal passing attack. I am guessing the Jets aren’t going to sign a free agent corner like Corey Ivy, since they probably would have made the move already to have him in as early as possible to study the game-plan for New Orleans.

3. Rex Ryan admitted David Clowney was inactive for the Titans game because of some comments he made on Twitter about being disappointed with his lack of playing time. Clowney responded with a strong week in practice as a look squad receiver. Hopefully, this will be the type of thing that motivates Clowney for the rest of the season and he will eventually find a role in the offense.

Wrapping Up Jets/Titans

Defensive Player of the Game: Eric Smith – I never thought I’d be typing Smith’s name in this category but the fourth year safety has found a home in Rex Ryan’s scheme as a do everything defensive back. Smith has been used to shadow specific tight ends and running backs, along with frequently being sent at the quarterback as a blitzer. In the Tennessee game, Smith had 6 tackles, 2 passes defensed, and an interception. He is currently third on the team in tackles, despite not being a starter.

Offensive Player of the Game: Jerricho Cotchery – For the second week in a row, I am giving this award to Cotchery who carried the Jets passing attack with 8 catches for 108 yards and a touchdown. Right now, Cotchery is on pace to be a 1500 yard receiver and is proving all the critics wrong who thought he didn’t have the skill set to be a number one receiver.

Honorable Mentions: Drew Coleman for stepping in and playing a great game as the team’s nickel back…Kris Jenkins for continuing to dominate up front…David Harris for racking up another sack and his first interception of the season…Bart Scott for having his best game so far this season…Jim Leonhard for ripping off a big 36 yard punt return…Shaun Ellis for quickly getting Leonhard’s back when he was cheap shotted by one of the Titans lineman.

AFC East Observations

New England Patriots – The Patriots had a nice bounce back win against the Falcons at home. Their offense was led by a strong game from Fred Taylor, while Tom Brady continued to be somewhat out of sync. There was some horrible officiating in this game, that of course benefited the Patriots. I am very interested to see how New England handles the Ravens, who are considered by most to be the best team in the NFL, this upcoming Sunday.

Miami Dolphins – I feel terrible for Chad Pennington who suffered another season ending injury to his shoulder. However, I will enjoy watching the Dolphins suffer the rest of the season to a 4-12 record. Isn’t it funny how Jason Taylor left because they were 1-15, they went 11-5 without him, and now he comes back and they are going to be right back among of the NFL’s worst? haha. I am really hoping the Bills handle the Dolphins this weekend, so we could send Jason, Channing “The Jets are paper champs” Crowder and the rest of Miami to a 0-5 record.

Buffalo Bills – The Bills played the Saints tough for three quarters but fell apart in the fourth. I don’t like TO, but it is ridiculous how bad of a job Buffalo’s offense is doing getting the ball to him and Lee Evans. Regardless, Buffalo has the look of a team that could be around .500 this year.

TOJ Top 5

  1. Baltimore Ravens – Their offense continues to develop to compliment their already elite defense. I am hoping they put a beatdown on New England this week.
  2. New York Giants – Very business like victory over the hapless Bucs. They are an extremely well rounded team.
  3. Indianapolis Colts – Peyton Manning is in the zone right now, but then again I guess he always is.
  4. New York Jets – They have a chance to make a statement with a win in New Orleans this week.
  5. New Orleans Saints – First big test comes for them against the Jets defense.

TOJ Bottom 5

  1. Detroit Lions – Not in the bottom spot, which is progress for them.
  2. Washington Redskins – Their offense is a-w-f-u-l.
  3. Kansas City Chiefs – It is going to be an ugly re-building process.
  4. St. Louis Rams – Another historically bad year is on the way for the Rams.
  5. Cleveland Browns – The situation is getting real ugly for Eric Mangini.

Jets vs. Saints First Look

The Opponent: The Saints come in at 3-0 with the league’s best offense. After scoring 45 and 48 points the first two weeks, they were held to “only” 27 points last week against Buffalo. Drew Brees leads the Saints attack by spreading the ball around to a variety of receivers in the passing game, while New Orleans rushing attack has been coming on lately led by Pierre Thomas and Mike Bell. The Saints defense is coming off a strong effort against Buffalo and is generally considered to have improved from last year. Former Jets rookie of the year, Jonathan Vilma leads the unit at middle linebacker.

New Orleans Starters/Key Reserves

OFFENSE

  • Quarterback: Drew Brees – 67/97, 841 yards, 9 TD’s, 2 INT’s
  • Running Back: Mike Bell – 45 carries, 229 yards, 1 TD
  • Running Back: Pierre Thomas – 14 carries, 126 yards, 2 TD’s
  • Running Back: Reggie Bush – 30 carries, 111 yards, 1 TD, 11 receptions, 114 yards
  • Fullback: Heath Evans – 6 receptions, 51 yards, 2 TD’s
  • Wide Receiver: Marques Colston – 15 receptions, 195 yards, 3 TD’s
  • Wide Receiver: Robert Meachem – 3 receptions, 62 yards,  1 TD
  • Wide Receiver: Devery Henderson – 11 receptions, 214 yards, 1 TD
  • Tight End: Jeremy Shockey – 14 receptions, 128 yards, 2 TD’s
  • Left Tackle: Jammal Brown
  • Left Guard: Carl Nicks
  • Center: Jonathan Goodwin
  • Right Guard: Jahri Evans
  • Right Tackle: Jonathan Stinchcomb

DEFENSE

  • Defensive End: Charles Grant – 5 tackles, 1.5 sacks
  • Defensive Tackle: Sedrick Ellis – 10 tackles, 1 sack
  • Defensive Tackle: Kendrick Clancy – 1 tackle
  • Defensive End: Will Smith – 9 tackles, 1 sack
  • Outside Linebacker: Scott Shanle – 22 tackles, 2 INT’s
  • Middle Linebacker: Jonathan Vilma – 16 tackles, 1 sack
  • Outside Linebacker: Scott Fujita – 17 tackles
  • Corner: Jabari Greer – 15 tackles, 3 passes defensed
  • Corer: Tracy Porter – 10 tackles, 1 INT
  • Safety: Roman Harper – 23 tackles, 3 TFL’s
  • Safety: Darren Sharper – 6 tackles, 3 INT’s

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • Kicker: John Carney
  • Punter: Thomas Morstead
  • Punt Returner: Reggie Bush
  • Kick Returner: Courtney Roby

Key Players: Drew Brees is one of the league’s best quarterbacks and can carve any defense up if given enough time in the pocket. Marques Colston is his favorite target, especially near the end-zone. Jeremy Shockey is becoming more of a factor. Devery Henderson is a legit deep threat. On defense, Darren Sharper and Roman Harper have been playmakers for the Saints. Will Smith and Charles Grant are quality defensive ends, who can apply pressure and Jonathan Vilma and Scott Shanle are solid linebackers.

Injuries: Mike Bell isn’t likely to play at running back and either is Jammal Brown on the offensive line. For the Jets, Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland remain question marks for this Sunday. Beyond that, the Jets appear to be healthy.

Early Story Lines: Battle of an undefeated teams…Top defense versus top offense…Jonathan Vilma against his former team…Jets attempt to get their running game going.

Saints/Bill Highlights

Grading Out the Jets/Titans Game

First a few updates:

1. Your 2009 AL East Champs…The New York Yankees.

2. I review the weekend for the AFC East and entire NFL tomorrow, but just as a preface: The Jets aren’t looking so stupid for trading Chad Pennington anymore are they? It didn’t take a genius to see what was coming this year for the Dolphins who are well on their way to a 4-12 season. Pennington has never put together back to back healthy seasons in his career. Their schedule is substantially harder and they generally lack talent (especially in an overhyped, overrated linebacker core). Enjoy beginning to play out the string in October Jason Taylor, Channing Crowder, and the rest of Dolphins nation. I do feel bad for Chad, who I always liked and I hope he gets healthy soon but how can I not enjoy the Dolphins being 0-3?

3. I actually felt bad for Eric Mangini watching his press conference yesterday. The Browns actually might go 0-16. It sounds like there isn’t a more hated coach in the league right now, since at least five of his players are filing grievances with the NFL about his fines. I thought Favre was more to blame than Mangini last year but I don’t understand why it appears that he didn’t learn anything from the mistakes he made with the Jets.

4. Speaking of those 3-0 Jets, I saw on ESPN that they are early 6.5 point underdogs to the Saints. This will be the third time in four games the Jets are underdogs.

5. Peter King ranked the Jets #4 is his weekly Power Rankings and put Darrelle Revis #5 on his MVP watch list.

6. Site Updates – The new episode of TOJ TV has been uploaded to the “TOJ TV” page and Jets/Titans highlights have been added to the “Game Highlights” section. The stats have also been updated.

Grading Out the Jets/Titans Game

Quarterbacks: (B-) Sanchez came out of the gate on fire, then turned into the rookie he is supposed to be, and then finished strong enough for the Jets to get a win. It was an up and down for “The Sanchise,” who finished 17/30 for 171 yards, with 2 touchdowns and an interception. The positives? He showed his toughness by barreling over Michael Griffin in the end-zone, had a beautiful play fake on his touchdown pass to Ben Hartsock, and showed his arm strength/accuracy on a picture perfect 46 yard connection down the side-line to Jerricho Cotchery. The negatives? He needs to work on his ball handling. The rain led to the ball slipping out of his hands a few times, and he was also stripped because he kept the ball too low. Also, don’t pile all the interception blame on Chansi Stuckey because Sanchez sailed that pass.

Running Backs: (D) Not a pretty day for Thomas Jones, who finished with 20 yards on 14 carries. Leon Washington had slightly better luck (12 carries, 46 yards) but still averaged less than 4 yards per carry. We are still waiting for Leon to rip off his first big run of the season and Jones looked a step slow to the hole, even though he wasn’t aided by the offensive line, who struggled. Don’t be surprised if Shonn Greene slowly begins to be worked into the offense next week. The Jets didn’t draft him to sit on the bench all season.

Wide Receivers: (A) Jerricho Cotchery played a terrific game and is turning me into a believer that he could be a legit number one receiver. He is catching every thing that comes near him and showed his speed on his 46 yard over the shoulder grab and his toughness on his touchdown catch. Brad Smith finally registered a couple of catches, including an impressive 16 yard grab as he a took a huge hit. Chansi Stuckey was quiet and David Clowney was inactive, which wasn’t surprising considering the conditions.

Tight Ends: (B) How great was Ben Hartsock’s prototypical white guy who has never scored a touchdown celebration? It consisted of him jumping straight up and down while holding up the #1 sign and then having an awkward timed jump into D’Brickashaw Ferguson. Dustin Keller had a leaping 18 yard catch on the first drive but was quiet after. I’d like to see the Jets get him more involved (probably because I have him on my fantasy football team).

Offensive Line: (D) You have to expect better than 83 rushing yards and three allowed sacks from an offensive line with this much talent. They also need to cut back on the penalties.

Defensive Line: (B) Great games by Kris Jenkins (2 TFL’s) and Shaun Ellis (.5 sack, 1 TFL). Sione Pouha and Marques Douglas were also active up front. The unit did a good job keeping Chris Johnson under 100 yards and was constantly pushing the pocket on Kerry Collins.

Linebackers: (A) Bart Scott was all over the field and David Harris keeps making big plays. Bryan Thomas has quietly put together a strong three games to start the season. Vernon Gholston looks like he is actually improving. I was somewhat surprised to Jamaal Westerman end up being inactive.

Secondary: (B) They were defintley some breakdowns and Kerry Collins threaded the needle on them a few times. However, Drew Coleman stepped up and had a great game as the nickel back. I still can’t believe this is the same Eric Smith from the past three years. He is all over the field and has turned into one of the Jets top playmakers on defense (6 tackles, 2 passes defensed, and an interception). Jim Leonhard always seems to be around the ball. Darrelle Revis and Kerry Rhodes didn’t have their best days. Dwight Lowery was okay as a replacement for Lito Sheppard.

Special Teams (A+) Forced two key turnovers that were the reason the Jets won on Sunday. Great all around play by Jason Trusnik on fumble during the kick return. Brad Smith made a smart play by wrapping up Ryan Mouton to prevent him from recovering his muffed punt and Larry Izzo hustled down to make the recovery. Jay Feely has now made 19 straight field goals. Steve Weatherford had one bad shank but beyond that had a decent day.

Coaching: (B) It was a good decision to come out with the no-huddle, passing attack which caught the Titans off guard. Rex Ryan started out with a less aggressive scheme but with the game on his line, went back to what the Jets do best, blitz the hell out of the quarterback. The bottom line is that the Jets avoided a natural let-down game and found a way to win without having their “A” game.

Jets/Titans Game Highlights

Undefeated: Jets Move to 3-0, Instant Reaction

As I sit here watching the Dolphins fall to 0-3 (cause Chad Henne is awful) and the Bills fall to 1-2, I can’t help but have a big smile on my face because our New York Jets are now 3-0 which isn’t an easy thing to do in the NFL (unless you are Denver and have played three crappy teams). It wasn’t pretty and they were greatly assisted by a rookie returner with butter fingers, but the Jets found a way to win. We’ll take them anyway we can get them, and now it is on to New Orleans to battle the 3-0 Saints. Super Bowl Preview? Just kidding…

Special Teams Love…Jason Trusnik came up with a huge play by knocking Ryan Mouton off his block and then recovering the fumble, which set up a first quarter touchdown. Brad Smith did a great job holding Mouton down when he muffed a punt in the second half, allowing Larry Izzo to recover it, which switched the momentum of the game back in the Jets favor. Jay Feely also remained perfect on field goals for the season and I believe has hit his last 19.

New Attitude…Bart Scott led the Jets with 9 tackles and made sure to fire back at Ahmad Hall in the post game press conference by telling reporters to go look at the tape to see his dominance of the match-up. He also pointed out, “For anybody out there who thinks that this is a gimmick defense and can’t play smashmouth, how dare you.” The Jets defense looked a little sluggish in the second/third quarter, but stepped up with the game on the line. One little thing from the game I loved, one of the Titans lineman took a cheap shot on Jim Leonhard and Shaun Ellis jumped right to his defense, getting in the lineman’s face. Leonhard then responded with a huge punt return and Ellis and the rest of the defense were going crazy on the sideline for him.

In The Negative Corner…Where is the running game? 14 carries for 20 yards by Thomas Jones isn’t going to cut it, it was also a quiet day for Leon Washington (12 carries 46 yards). Sanchez also was sacked three times and struggled a little bit with the wet ball. There were some breakdowns in coverage and the Jets were aided by a few dropped passes from Tennessee.

But Let’s End With Some Positives…David Harris with a huge 4th quarter interception and sack. Eric Smith is now turning into a playmaker on the Jets defense and had 6 tackles, 2 passes defensed, and an interception. Drew Coleman stepped up in the nickel role. Jerricho Cotchery is becoming a legitimate number one receiver and had a great game. The Jets scored touchdowns on three of their four red-zone trips. Kris Jenkins was a straight beast today, as usual. Vernon Gholston put together a strong all-around effort. I need to add Ben Hartsock to my fantasy roster.

Jets vs. Titans: Talking to the Opponent

Jets vs. Titans: Talking to the Opponent

I exchanged questions with Titans writer Drexel Perry from (http://mvn.com/totaltitans/) here is our conversation about the Jets/Titans match-up:

DP: Do the Jets fans expect a letdown of sorts after an impressive two weeks, from the dismantling of Houston to the emotionally charged victory over the Brady bunch? Or is Ryan the type of coach to keep his team…ahem….humble?

JC: I think most people are anticipating some type of let down this week. It was a very emotional win last week for the franchise and the Jets have all of a sudden become the national media’s favorite team. The Titans need this game more than the Jets, so it is a dangerous match-up for them. This will be a big test for Ryan and the Jets early on, because a great team would take care of business at home this week and be able to match the Titans intensity.

DP: Mark Sanchezhas looked “Matt Ryan-esque” in his first two NFL starts. What are your thoughts regarding the rookie signal-caller’s performance and do you expect him to continue his solid play as the season goes on?
  
JC: You could tell from the beginning of pre-season that the Jets made the right decision by trading up for Sanchez. Whatever “it” is at the quarterback position, this guy has “it.” He has surprisingly good arm strength and is very mobile in the pocket. Also, he has brought a new energy to the Jets offense. He is probably due for a couple of rough outings, but I think the sky is the limit for him in the long run.
 
DP: The Jets 3-4 defense is FAST, and will be keying on stopping Chris Johnson. Will they drop 8 or 9 into the box and dare us to throw it? (knowing Revis is a stud DB).

JC: The Jets are going to attack and be aggressive every week, regardless of who they are playing. They will come after the quarterback and come after Johnson and try to get him down in the backfield before he builds up a head of steam. We will likely be without our #2 and #3 corner this week (Sheppard and Strickland) so it will be interesting to see how often Ryan leaves Dwight Lowery on an island.

DP:  Tell us a little bit about Vernon Gholston…What impact has he had in first two games this year and will he keep his starting job when Pace returns?
  
JC: Gholston was pretty good week one against Houston but didn’t play that much last week against New England. Pace will be the starter as soon as he returns, he is one of the Jets best all around defenders and they are very anxious to get him back.

DP: Last but not least, look into your crystal ball and tell us who will win this Sunday’s Titans/Jets matchup?

JC: I think the Jets win a tight one, 21-20.

JC: How does a secondary with Cortland Finnegan and Michael Griffin struggle so much against the pass early in the season?

DP: That’s the million dollar question that’s been floating around all this week after the debacle against the Texans. In a recent article taking a look at new defensive coordinator Chuck Cecil struggles, I attributed the Titans’ atrocious pass defense to a lack of execution.

JC: Do you detect a real sense of desperation around this team, since another loss and another Colts win would put them 3 games back before September even ends?

DP: I’ll stop short of calling it desperation in respect to the head coach of this football team, Jeff Fisher. He’s been in this hole before, starting 1-4 in 2002 before rallying to finish 11-5 while making the AFC Title Game that year.

JC: Have the Titans referenced the beating the Jets handed them last often when talking about getting ready for this game?

DP: I haven’t heard too much talk centering around last year’s matchup. However, there’s a locker room full of Titans who remember how the Jets ended their undefeated season last year at LP Field. The focus of this week’s game is obviously avoiding an 0-3 start but in the back of their minds, I’m sure the Titans will use last year’s outcome as an extra source of motivation this Sunday.

JC: How excited are you guys about Kenny Britt?

DP: He got off to a slow start due to a hamstring injury, but since then, has displayed the potential to be a more than adequate downfield threat for the Titans. I’m excited about watching this guy develop in the years to come.

JC: How firm is Kerry Collins grip on the starting quarterback job? A few more losses and do you think we’ll see Vince Young?

DP: Kerry Collins is the quarterback of this football team and barring injury or perhaps if the Titans were mathematically eliminated for playoff contention, KC is going to be the guy in the huddle.

Jets vs. Titans: Prediction, TOJ TV Episode III

First a few updates:

1. Another week, another round of trash talk. Here is what Titans fullback Ahmad Hall had to say about Bart Scott, “I don’t like Bart; Bart don’t like me. He knows that. We had a good battle last year and he knows what he is going to get from me and I know what I am going to get from him. So it is what it is. You’re going to see us fighting all day. It is serious to me. I wouldn’t fight the guy or nothing like that – unless he wanted to fight. I don’t like the guy. He just runs his mouth all the time, even when he is not doing anything in the play. He is a talker and I just like guys that go out there and get their job done. Bart Scott is talking to everybody – he is talking to fans, he is talking to whoever listens to him. I think he runs his mouth a little too much and needs to just come out there and play. I went out there on a lead play (last year) and knocked his helmet off and he is still talking mess.” Keith Bulluck also said the Titans plan on rattling Mark Sanchez and leaving New York with their first win of the season. Alot of yapping from a team who is 0-2 and lost to the Jets by 21 in their own building last year.

2. Mark Sanchez is being listed on the injury report as a full participant in practice with tendinitis in his knee. Let’s not panic here, the Jets were just fined for not listing Brett Favre on the injury report last season and I think the Jets will go out of their way to list any type of ailment the rest of the season. Sanchez is going to start on Sunday and should be fine.

3. Donald Strickland and Lito Sheppard are both out this Sunday, meaning Dwight Lowery will start, with Drew Coleman sliding into the nickel role. Ahmad Carroll and Marquice Cole will be the backups. The Jets brought in free agents Corey Ivy and Justin Miller for a visit today, which could mean Strickland or Sheppard will be out for more than a week…not good with the Saints coming up next week.

Jets vs. Titans: Prediction, TOJ TV Episode III

Enjoy some footage from inside the stadium during the Jets victory over the Patriots, including the raucous celebration by the fans after the game, and some anti-New England chants.

The Song: Empire State of Mind – Jay-Z f/ Alicia Keys

Jets vs. Titans: Game Breakdown

First a few updates:

1. Rex Ryan doesn’t think corner Donald Strickland is going to play this week, while Lito Sheppard will probably end up being a game-time decision. Expect to see Dwight Lowery start opposite Darrelle Revis and Drew Coleman as the nickel, also keep an eye out for Ahmad Caroll or Marquice Cole to potentially get some reps off the bench.

2. The Jets added recently released tight end Mattthew Mulligan to their practice squad.

3. Bart Scott took a stand for Darrelle Revis, who received no respect from Randy Moss after being shut down by him last Sunday. Here is what Scott had to say, “I hear the easy cop-out by Moss that anyone can play cornerback. Sometimes, you got to give the man his credit, that [Revis] was the better man that day. It doesn’t take away from the fact that Moss is a great receiver in this league. But [Revis] shut him down. Randy was coming across the middle real slow. Tell him to man up and come across the middle like a man if he wants to be a complete receiver in this league.” Whooo, well said Bart.

4. Make sure you check in tomorrow for episode III of Turn On the Jets TV. I got some great footage from the Jets/Pats game from inside the stadium, along with a prediction for the Jets/Titans game, some smack talk for the rest of the AFC East and plenty more.

5. Jerricho Cotchery’s foundation will be hosting their second annual “Tailgate with the Pros” at the ESPN Zone in New York City on Monday, October 19th from 7:30-10:30 PM. The event will feature Jets players, great food, a comedian, and the Monday night game. All proceeds from the event go to the Pride Academy Charter School in East Orange, NJ and six Citizen schools in Newark, Brooklyn, and Harlem, helping create more educational opportunities for the children.

Jets vs. Patriots: Game Breakdown

Jets Offensive Game Plan: The Titans have been stingy against the run so far this season but have struggled heavily against the pass. Regardless, the Jets shouldn’t forget who they are on offense and turn away from Thomas Jones and Leon Washington. Yes, they should open it up a little more than they did last week and use some spread looks, along with a few more vertical passes but there is no reason Jones and Washington shouldn’t remain in the 35-40 touches range. The Titans have allowed three different receivers to go for over 100 yards on them in only two games so Jerricho Cotchery should be licking his chops. I think he has looked the part of a #1 receiver so far, and the potential is there for a big game on Sunday.

It will be interesting to see if the Jets attempt to get a few other players involved in the offensive game plan this Sunday. David Clowney and Brad Smith are yet to record a reception this season. Shonn Greene is also yet to receive a carry. Sanchez has only taken two shots down the field so far, once he hit Chansi Stuckey for a touchdown and he overshot Jerricho Cotchery last week. I really do think this will be the week where the Jets go play action and attempt to air one out to Clowney.

Don’t forget about Dustin Keller, who pulled in 6 catches against the Titans last year. He was only involved in the short passing game last week, so look for the Jets to try to hit him down the seam. I was disappointed to see the Jets only attempt one screen last week (it went to Thomas Jones for a 1 yard gain). Leon Washington and Keller are both big threats on a well executed screen, and the Jets hurt the Titans with a few last season. Rex Ryan got on his offensive line a little bit last week, so they’ll be playing with something to prove, particularly in the running game.

Jets Defensive Game Plan: All eyes will be on Chris Johnson, who is coming off one of the better games a running has put together in recent history. Johnson is a burner, who can score any time he touches the football so the Jets need to swarm him and wrap him up before he builds up a head of steam. Don’t expect Rex Ryan to scale back his aggressive style because of Johnson’s big play ability. He will put his faith in his defenders to make open field tackles and not allow Johnson to break free.

Kerry Collins isn’t very mobile and prone to fumbling the football, so the Jets will looking to hit him early and often. They didn’t record a single sack last week, despite spending the entire game in Tom Brady’s face. I am sure Ryan will be reminding his defenders about being sack-less in his pre-game speech. The Jets could be short handed in the secondary with injuries to Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland, which will put pressure on Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman to step up. Tennessee has some speed at receiver and will take their shots down the field, likely on Lowery since it makes no sense to throw the ball at Darrelle Revis.

Special Teams Breakdown: Reggie Hodges will be looking for punting revenge against the Jets, as he was signed to replace the injured Craig Hentrich. Leon Washington had a big game returning kicks last week, although the Titans usually are very solid all the way around on special teams.

The Jets Will Win If…They come out with the proper mindset and haven’t been reading too many of their press clippings this week. Mark Sanchez is able to hit a few big throws down the field to soften up their defense, allowing Thomas Jones and Leon Washington to get going. The Jets force Kerry Collins into a couple of turnovers with their constant pressure and Chris Johnson isn’t able to rip off any monster runs or receptions to give the Titans quick points.

The Jets Will Lose If…They can’t match the intensity of a 0-2 Titans team playing for their lives. Chris Johnson has another monster day. Mark Sanchez finally looks like a rookie and has a few turnovers. The Jets running game never gets going, forcing Sanchez into too many obvious passing situations where their pass rush gets to him.

Every Mark Sanchez Pass From Last Week

Jets vs. Titans: Key Match-Ups

First a few updates:

1. The Jets signed corner Marquice Cole from their practice squad to the active roster, and released tight end Matthew Mulligan. Lito Sheppard (quad) and Donald Strickland (ankle) both didn’t practice today and Rex Ryan didn’t sound that confident when discussing either of them playing this Sunday. If both those guys don’t play, expect to see Dwight Lowery start opposite Darrelle Revis and Drew Coleman move into the nickle spot.

2. Michael Ventre of NBC Sports doesn’t seem to like the Jets or their fans too much, as expressed here: (http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/32975810/ns/sports-nfl//) . He made alot of less than flattering generalizations about Jets fans and seems to have us all pegged as overweight, stupid, and unable to put sentences together without a profanity. He also doesn’t have much faith in the Jets sustaining their success. I don’t know Michael Ventre, but it sounds like his girlfriend cheated on him with a guy from New York or something.

3. The Jets are ranked #4 in USA Today’s Power Rankings, let’s not read the press clippings like last year.

4. Jets are currently ranked #1 in yards allowed and still are yet to allow a touchdown. If you take away the Sanchez interception and the field goal from Leon Washington’s fumble, and they have allowed 6 points.

5. Good to have the Yankees back in the playoffs, where they belong. However, I am not getting too excited until they lock up the AL East crown.

Jets vs. Titans: Key Match-Ups

Tomorrow check back for an excessively comprehensive breakdown of the Jets/Titans game and then again on Friday for my prediction, today I am going to focus on the key individual match-ups for this Sunday’s game.

Bart Scott/David Harris vs. Chris Johnson: Johnson is coming off a game where he had 197 yards rushing and 87 yards receiving, no that isn’t a misprint. He has tremendous speed and game-breaking ability that likely keeps many defensive coordinators up at night. It will be on the Jets linebackers, led by Scott and Harris to get Johnson in the backfield before he can explode through the hole and to wrap him when they get a chance. A missed tackle against this guy could lead to a 70 yard touchdown. The Jets are going to have to commit a corner or safety to him in coverage when he splits out, but if he is catching passes out of the backfield, Harris or Scott have to recognize the play and react before he builds up a head of steam.

Jerricho Cotchery/Chansi Stuckey/David Clowney/Dustin Keller vs. Cortland Finnegan/Nick Harper/Michael Griffin/Chris Hope: The Titans pass defense has been awful through the first two weeks of the regular season. Santonio Holmes, Hines Ward, and Andre Johnson all went for over 100 yards on them. Despite having a rookie quarterback, this might be the game for Brian Schottenheimer to turn the spread/passing offense a little bit loose. Jerricho Cotchery had the best statistical game of his career against the Titans two years ago (8 receptions, 152 yards, 1 TD) and also had a nice day against them last year with 6 catches for 55 yards. Dustin Keller had 6 catches last year against the Titans, converting multiple key third downs. It will be interesting to see if Sanchez can air a few out this Sunday and maybe hit a guy like David Clowney or Cotchery on a few big plays. Nobody is saying the Jets should abandon their running game, but if there are opportunities for big plays in the passing game, the Jets need to take advantage of them.

Jets Offensive Line vs. Titans Defensive Line: The Jets ran all over Tennesee last year en route to a 34-13 victory. Rex Ryan has expressed some mild disappointment with the Jets production on the ground so far and both Thomas Jones and Leon Washington are coming off quiet games running the ball. The Titans have one of the NFL’s best run defenses, so it would make a statement if the Jets could have the type of success they did last year.

Rex Ryan vs. The Let Down Game: The Jets are coming off an emotional victory and are suddenly becoming the national media’s darlings. Tennessee is a team that is much better than their 0-2 record indicates and is facing a desperation game, because coming back from 0-3 in the AFC South would be near impossible. All in the ingredients are in place for the Jets to have a major let down performance/reality check. Can Rex have his team ready to go with the same intensity he did last week?

Leon Delivers the Knockout Punch to Tennessee Last Year

NFL Week 2 Recap/Jets vs. Titans First Look

First a few updates:

1. The Jets hopped up to #8 in ESPN’s Power Rankings. Generally, more and more people seem to be jumping on the team’s bandwagon now after their victory over the Pats. It is funny listening people talk about guys like Darrelle Revis and Leon Washington like they just appeared out of thin air. The Jets have had talent, it just seems that now they have the right quarterback and head coach. However, let’s not get crazy…it is only week 2. It is easy to feel unbeatable right now, but a loss will come at some point and how this team responds to adversity will be interesting to see.

2. Apparently Lito Sheppard only had a severe cramp in his quad and is expected to play this week despite potentially being limited in practice. Donald Strickland’s status is a little more up in the air.

Wrapping Up Jets/Patriots

Defensive Player of the Game: Darrelle Revis – He won the award last week with David Harris, and this week he gets it by himself. Don’t let the lack of respect shown by Randy Moss fool you, Revis is a legit lock down corner. Outside of Ed Reed, I wouldn’t trade this guy for another defensive back in football. Remember the Andre Johnson who had no impact in the Jets/Texans game? Yea, well that same guy went for 130 yards and 2 touchdowns last week against a quality Titans defense

Offensive Player of the Game: Jerricho Cotchery – The Jets number wide-out kick started the second half with a 45 yard catch, which led to their go ahead touchdown. Cotchery continues to be excellent after the catch and is a sure-handed, reliable target for Mark Sanchez.

Honorable Mentions: Donald Strickland for being all over the field…Dwight Lowery for stepping up when Lito Sheppard was hurt…Dustin Keller for being the red-zone target the Jets need him to be…Shaun Ellis for a consistent, quality effort in his first game of the season…Kerry Rhodes for leading the team in tackles…The Jets fans for creating a serious home field advantage.

AFC East Observations

New England Patriots – What do you call a team with a quarterback who can’t complete passes under pressure, no consistent running game, a suspect defense, and a difficult schedule? You call them the 2009 New England Patriots. The Pats are going to have their hands full the next two weeks against the Falcons and Ravens. 1-3 is not out of the question.

Buffalo Bills – They have been impressive through the first two weeks of the regular season and if it weren’t for Leodis McKlevin, they’d be 2-0 right now. Fred Jackson is playing out of his mind right now and Trent Edwards is spreading the ball around well. However, their inexperienced offensive line and entire defense are serious questions for this team.

Miami Dolphins – I loved watching Channing Crowder, Joey Porter, and Jason Taylor get shredded up by Peyton Manning last night. It was like he was playing a high school defense. Chad actually played pretty well  but when he is your quarterback, you can’t manage any come from behind victories since every touchdown drive needs to be 19 plays. The Wildcat looked good last night, but that stuff isn’t working on a Rex Ryan defense. 6-10 Miami, 6-10. I can’t wait to play there on Monday Night in a few weeks.

Five Teams That Impressed Me

  1. New York Giants – Even as a Jets fan, I enjoyed watching the G-Men ruin the Cowboys home opener.  Mario Manningham is a player.
  2. Baltimore Ravens – Joe Flacco looks like an all-pro right now, which is scary to combine with Baltimore’s defense.
  3. New Orleans Saints – Saints offense versus Jets defense is going to be fun week 4.
  4. Cincinnati Bengals – Hard Knocks, baby! Nice win for the Bengals against the favored Packers.
  5. Indianapolis Colts – Peyton is surgical with that offense, even throwing to division 3 receivers. I am available right now, if the Colts are looking.

Five Teams That Looked Like Garbage

  1. Cleveland Browns – There is nothing like a combination of Eric Mangini’s paranoia and blowout losses.
  2. Dallas Cowboys – Protect the ball Tony, protect the ball.
  3. Kansas City Chiefs – You lost in Oakland in your building? Ut-oh.
  4. Carolina Panthers – Could be a long season for a team with playoff aspirations coming into the year.
  5. St. Louis Rams – 2-14 sounds about right.

Other Observations

I can’t believe how anemic the Redskins offense has become. They barely edged out the St. Louis Rams, who are like a college team at this point. Everybody in the stadium was pulling for the Lions to get their first win in 19 games against Favre and the Vikings, unfortunately AP saved the day for #4. The Falcons are looking like the real deal this season. The battle between them and the Saints for the NFC South should be fun to watch. I was very surprised by the bounce-back performance from the Texans against the Titans. Maybe the Jets are just that good…

Jets vs. Titans First Look

The Opponent: Coming off a 13-3 2008 season, the Titans were considered serious contenders in the AFC this season. After a tough opening night loss to the defending champs, where they played very well, Tennessee had a big let down loss to the Houston Texans at home last week. They now sit at 0-2 and are facing a desperation game against the Jets. I am sure the Titans remember the beatdown the Jets handed them in their building last year to end their bid for a perfect season. Running back Chris Johnson is coming off a monster game is one of the top playmakers in the league, and the Titans always have a stingy defense. The schedule makers weren’t kind to the Jets, as they face another tough opponent this week.

Tennessee Titans Starters/Key Reserves

OFFENSE

  • Quarterback: Kerry Collins – 43/68, 460 yards, 3 TD’s, 2 INT’s
  • Running Back: Chris Johnson – 31 carries, 254 yards, 2 TD’s, 98 yards receiving, 1 TD
  • Running Back: LenDale White – 14 carries, 53 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Kenny Britt – 6 receptions, 107 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Justin Gage – 9 receptions, 105 yards, 1 TD
  • Wide Receiver: Nate Washington – 5 receptions, 44 yards, 1 TD
  • Tight End: Bo Scaife – 5 receptions, 48 yards
  • Tight End: Alge Crumpler – 6 receptions, 49 yards
  • Left Tackle: Michael Roos
  • Left Guard: Eugene Amano
  • Center: Kevin Mawae
  • Right Guard: Jake Scott
  • Right Tackle: David Stewart

DEFENSE

  • Defensive End: Jevon Kearse – 2 tackles, 1 sack
  • Defensive Tackle: Tony Brown – 4 tackles, 1 sack
  • Defensive Tackle: Jason Jones – 4 tackles, 1 sack
  • Defensive End: Kyle Vanden Bosch – 6 tackles
  • Outside Linebacker: Keith Bulluck – 15 tackles
  • Middle Linebacker: Stephen Tulloch – 19 tackles, 1 TFL
  • Outside Linebacker: David Thorton – 9 tackles, 1 TFL
  • Corner: Nick Harper – 18 tackles
  • Corner: Cortland Finnegan – 14 tackles, 1 INT
  • Safety: Chris Hope – 16 tackles, 1 PD, 1 TFL
  • Safety: Michael Griffin – 11 tackles, 1 FF

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • Kicker: Rob Bironas
  • Punter: Craig Hentrich
  • Returner: Ryan Mouton

Key Players: Chris Johnson is the Titans most explosive player and can score from anywhere on the field. Kenny Britt and Nate Washington are both big play receivers, with good speed. Kyle Vaden Bosch and Jason Jones lead a very strong front four, while Keith Bulluck is consistently one of the better linebackers in the league. Cortland Finnegan is a pro-bowl quality corner, who had an interception against the Jets last year.

Injuries: Donald Strickland and Lito Sheppard will both likely be limited all week in practice, but should be able to go by Sunday. David Thorton and Nate Washington both returned from injury last week for the Titans.

Early Story Lines: Titans are desperate at 0-2…Jets guarding against let down game after emotional win over Pats…Jets embarrassed Titans last season…Kevin Mawae returns to the Meadowlands.

Highlights From the Titans Week 2 Loss to the Texans

Grading Out the Jets/Pats Game

First a few updates:

1. Apparently the 49ers are threatening the Jets with tampering charges for still unsigned receiver Michael Crabtree. I don’t know what the Jets could have done except maybe reach out to their agent for preliminary discussions about him for the 2010 draft, since it looks like that is where he is headed. The Broncos were threatening charges about Brandon Marshall and nothing came of it, so as of now I wouldn’t be too worried about this.

2. Some injury concerns from yesterday: Lito Sheppard has a quad injury, which could be trouble considering his history, Donald Strickland who has been sensational off the bench twisted his ankle, and Kris Jenkins had the wind knocked out of him late in the game (that’s alot of wind). In terms of Sheppard and Strickland you have to hope they will be back to 100 percent for the Saints game the week after next. I think Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman can hold the fort down against the Titans.

3. You have to love the excuses and lack of credit coming out of New England. First off, Randy Moss commenting that Darrelle Revis didn’t shut him down and that he always had help over the top, which is just laughable because anybody who watched the game knows Revis was one on one with Moss 90 percent of the time. Moss was held to 4 catches for 24 yards, was out jumped by Revis for an interception and appeared to give up on some of his routes because #24 gave him no room to breathe. Also, Boston talk radio today and the Patriots message board yesterday and today can’t seem to recognize the reality that the Jets out-played and out-coached them yesterday. If I was a New England player, fan, or media member I would stop crying about the Jets trash talk, mocking of them by making Kevin O’Connell, Larry Izzo, and Damien Woody captains and focus on upcoming games against Atlanta and Baltimore. How does 1-3 sound New England?

4. Peter King ranked the Jets #4 in his power rankings and put Darrelle Revis on his MVP watch list. I will say that it is nice to see some national media members (John Clayton also singled him out in his column) finally talking about Revis as arguably the best corner in the league.

5. Site Updates – I added the Jets/Pats highlights to the “Game Highlights” section, added the new episode of TOJ TV to the “TOJ TV” section, updated the stats and the depth chart.

6. The Yankees better take care of business against the Angles the next three games. I don’t want to be heading into the Boston series up 3 games or less.

7. Eric Mangini…yikes. How does 2-14 sound?

8. My fantasy team? Yikes…how does 2-11 sound? My top two quarterbacks (McNabb and Hassleback) are already down.

Grading Out the Jets/Pats Game

Quarterbacks: (B) It was a slow start for Mark Sanchez, who couldn’t move the offense in the first half and nearly had a disastrous fumble on his first play from scrimmage. Yet, the kid came out slinging in the second half. His two most impressive throws were the laser to Jerricho Cotchery to kick off the second half and the touch he displayed on his touchdown pass to Dustin Keller, just two plays later. 14/22 for 163 yards with a touchdown and zero interceptions is enough for the Jets to win with this season. How about the rookie doubling Tom Brady’s quarterback rating? The best part about Sanchez is that he is only going to get better as the season progresses.

Running Backs: (B-) Leon Washington had a killer fumble that directly led to three points for New England and a dropped pass but beyond that put together a strong, productive game on offense. His 19 yard run in the fourth quarter was something else and he had a huge third down conversion on a reception over the middle. Thomas Jones was steady but was never able to break through to the second level. Jones and Washington combined for 31 touches (14 carries each, Washington had 2 receptions, and Jones had 1). I’d like to see that number closer to 40 but Brian Schottenheimer is still doing a great job of balancing their touches and using Leon Washington more.

Wide Receivers: (B) After being invisible in the first half, Jerricho Cotchery looked like a legit number one receiver in the second half. He did a great job staying on his feet and turning a 15 yard catch into a 45 yard gain and went down to make two other tough catches for Mark Sanchez, including one that converted a big third down. Cotchery looks like a 1200 yard receiver right now. Chansi Stuckey was productive with 4 catches, including a gutsy grab when getting leveled by 2 Pats defenders. Brad Smith had his standard one reverse, this time picking up seven yards. David Clowney still hasn’t had a ball thrown his way.

Tight Ends (B+) Dustin Keller stepped up in the red-zone, which will be key for the Jets this season. He did have a holding penalty but overall did a solid job with his blocking. Ben Hartsock played less than he did last week.

Offensive Line (A-) Another strong effort by this unit, who only allowed Sanchez to be sacked twice and opened enough holes in the running game. Alan Faneca may have been beat for a sack but had a heads up play by covering up the ball after everybody else seemed to stop, thinking it was an incomplete pass.

Defensive Line (B) These guys must be exhausted, since only four of them were active. Sione Pouha provided quality reps off the bench. Kris Jenkins appeared to be himself in the middle and Shaun Ellis had a huge stop on a 3rd and 1. Overall, the Pats ran the ball a little better than I expected them to but like the rest of the unit, the defensive line bent but never broke.

Linebackers (A) Was there two David Harris’ and Bart Scotts on the field yesterday? The Jets inside linebackers were constantly in Tom Brady’s face. Scott had 2 tackles for a loss and Harris had 3 hits on the quarterback. Bryan Thomas was also very active with 4 tackles and a few near sacks. Vernon Gholston didn’t play that much and when he was on the field didn’t have an impact. Imagine this defense when Calvin Pace comes back? Wow.

Secondary (A) Rex Ryan was smart to have 10 defensive backs active since the Patriots spent the whole game in 3 and 4 wide sets. Darrelle Revis was Darrelle Revis, the best corner in the NFL right now. Kerry Rhodes backed his words up with 8 tackles, a QB hit, and a PD. Jim Leonhard is always around the football. Donald Strickland was having the game of his life before leaving with an ankle injury. Dwight Lowery was excellent off the bench and could be seeing more playing time the next couple of weeks with the injuries to Strickland and Lito Sheppard.

Special Teams (A) A great game of kick returning by Leon Washington. Another good coverage day for the Jets punt and kick units. Jay Feely was 3/3 on kicks.

Coaching (A+) Rex Ryan can do no wrong right now. You can say his voice message to fans was cheesy but it worked. I have never seen the stadium like that in my life. In only a few months he has completely changed the culture around this team. I love how the Jets defer when they win the coin toss. I love how he made the ex-Pats the game captains and I love how he out adjusted Bill Belichick at half-time.

Enjoy the Highlights One Last Time