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
- 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.
- New York Giants – Very business like victory over the hapless Bucs. They are an extremely well rounded team.
- Indianapolis Colts – Peyton Manning is in the zone right now, but then again I guess he always is.
- New York Jets - They have a chance to make a statement with a win in New Orleans this week.
- New Orleans Saints – First big test comes for them against the Jets defense.
TOJ Bottom 5
- Detroit Lions – Not in the bottom spot, which is progress for them.
- Washington Redskins – Their offense is a-w-f-u-l.
- Kansas City Chiefs – It is going to be an ugly re-building process.
- St. Louis Rams – Another historically bad year is on the way for the Rams.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.