First a few updates:
1. I am not one for bragging, but I am proud to announce that TurnOnTheJets.com was awarded the August Blog of the Month Award by the Fanball Network…and yes I am excited. A big thank you to anybody who takes the time to visit the site, all support is greatly appreciated.
2. I got front row tickets to the Jets pre-season game on Thursday…not exactly Jets at New England in the regular season (I got tickets to those too, but in my normal 313 seats which is just fine with me), needless to say I am excited to watch Erik Ainge throw passes to Britt Davis and Marcus Henry, while Danny Woodhead gets 15 carries. However, it should be fun to watch Michael Vick run around a little bit and see if the Jets linebackers can contain him.
3. 9 days until the NFL regular season opens…
Jets Receivers: Enough to Win With?
Despite the regular season starting a little over a week from today, many people are still expecting the Jets to add a veteran to their receiving core. I got news for you, the cavalry isn’t coming. The guys the Jets have right now is the guys they will attempt to win with in 2009, and I think they may just be enough. On offense, the Jets passing game will run through a variety of players, focused primarily on Jerricho Cotchery, Dustin Keller, and Leon Washington with a committee of receivers battling for reps across the formation from Cotchery. Here is how I see the Jets pass catchers breaking down this season.
1. Jerricho Cotchery – The Jets unquestioned number one receiver should lead the team in catches, hauling in somewhere between 70-80. Brian Schottenheimer will move him around the formation in attempt to get him in single coverage. Cotchery is the type of player who will mix in a few big games, with a few games where you barely notice him on the field. On average, J-Co can give you 4-5 catches for 60-65 yards. Hopefully he will find a way to become a better red-zone receiver in 2009.
2. Dustin Keller – Think of Keller as the Jets #2 receiver. The second year tight end should be in the 60-65 catch range this season. He is an extremely difficult match-up for opposing defenses and will be line up at the traditional tight end spot, H-Back, slot receiver, and split end. Keller should be the Jets primary red-zone target because of his size and leaping ability. A young quarterback’s best friend is a reliable, pass-catching tight end which is one of the many reasons I think Keller can have a pro-bowl caliber 2009 season.
3. Leon Washington – Last year #29 had 76 carries and 47 receptions, expect both those numbers to have an increase this season. While I expect to see Washington approach the 150 carry total, his reception number should be in the 55-60 range. He will frequently be targeted on screens and check downs. Occasionally, the Jets will send him down the field on a wheel route out of the backfield (see Ravens pre-season game) or split him out and throw him a screen pass on the outside.
4. Chansi Stuckey – Stuckey will be the first receiver on the field opposite Jerricho Cotchery but is still part of committee and lower on the pass-catching option list than Keller and Washington. I expect to see Stuckey catch around 50 passes in an expanded role this season, after finishing with 32 in 2008. He should be one the Jets primary targets on third downs throughout the entire season and is a threat to run after the catch.
5. Thomas Jones – Don’t forget that Jones caught 36 passes last year and should be around that number again this season. He has pretty good hands and is always a solid option on screens and check downs. If the Jets put Jones and Washington in the same backfield, they could use the extra attention given to Washington to catch the defense sleeping on Jones out of the backfield as a pass catcher.
6. David Clowney – I would love for him to be what Dedric Ward was for the Jets in 1998. In that season he only had 24 catches but they went for 477 yards and 4 touchdowns. Can Clowney be that type of deep threat for the Jets in 2009? I sure hope so.
Speaking of 1998, Were We Really This Close to the Super Bowl? Enjoy Blake Spence Blocking a Punt and a Curtis Martin Touchdown in the 1998 AFC Championship Game: