Recapping Jets GM Press Conference & Other Updates

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First a few updates:

1. Chad Johnson still refuses to give Darrelle Revis credit as you can read here (http://espn.go.com/blog/afceast/post/_/id/9859/ochocinco-on-revis-child-please), this guy is crazier than I already thought.

2. Another reminder to follow Turn On The Jets on facebook. I have a page up there that includes extra commentary and links to all the Jets coverage from other sources that you should be reading on a daily basis. We are at 171 fans right now, and I want that number doubled by the time the 2010 season starts.

3. Isn’t it great that Mark Sanchez already has more playoff wins than Tony Romo in his career? I am just saying since nobody likes those Maganelli Cowboys fans that are here in the area.

4. One of the main things I will be working on in the off-season is putting together a TOJ Podcast for the 2010 season, more details to follow.

5. Next week, I will be doing our usual updates and stuff if anything Jets related occurs. However, I will be focusing on the 2009 Season 1st Annual Turn On The Jets Awards. The best players, best moments, best games, best coaches and of course the worst players, worst moments, worst games, and wort coaches will all be recognized…so let’s hand out some hardware.

Recapping Jets GM Press Conference & Other Updates

Mike Tannenbaum (who we are a big fan of here at TOJ) took the podium today to discuss the Jets off-season, here are some highlights and analysis:

Mark Sanchez – Sanchez saw Dr. James Andrew yesterday to have his knee checked out. It sounds like he is going to have minor surgery to clean it up. The Jets haven’t made a final decision yet but Tannenbaum basically said he wanted to see Sanchez take part in some rehab and strengthen the knee, and that he would be back well before training camp if they decide to have him get surgery. Hopefully, he won’t have to miss any OTAs or mini-camp.

– Kellen Clemens  – Tannenbaum said the Jets are going to tender Kellen Clemens as a restricted free agent. I don’t know at what level he will be tendered but I would imagine it would be a very low pick (6 or 7) at the highest or maybe even without a pick. He also said just because they are going to tender him, doesn’t mean the Jets won’t look at a veteran quarterback.

Erik Ainge/Kevin O’ConnellTannenbaum said he likes both of them moving forward but the Jets would be crazy to proceed with them as the top two backups.

Thomas Jones – It certainly sounded like TJ will be back next year. The Jets are going to pay him his bonus and I am sure Jones will recognize he isn’t going to get big money anywhere else. Tannenbaum continually emphasized the importance of depth, especially at the running back position.

Leon Washington – The Jets are going to tender Leon as a restricted free agent. I would guess with a mid-round pick (2 or 3). It is hard to see any team making a big money offer to him for the Jets to match since he is coming off major knee surgery.

Braylon Edwards – Edwards will be back next year with a likely 1st and 3rd round pick tender. Tannenbaum pointed out how he was a big help in the Jets rushing game and has been a good fit in the locker room.

Kerry Rhodes – Many people have been speculating that the ongoing difference between Rhodes and the Jets is that they want him to take a pay cut. However, Tannenbaum made it clear there are no contractual issues between the two and that the key is they want Rhodes to commit to the Jets off-season program. It sounds like the organization wants more of Rhodes in the team facility and less of Rhodes posing for magazines and acting.

Vernon Gholston – Gholston is going to be back in 2010, although Tannenbaum is obviously not happy with his lack of production, they are going to give him another off-season to improve.

Secondary – Secondary was mentioned more than a few times as a key focus for the Jets off-season. Tannenbaum made it clear that Ryan loves defensive backs and he wants to give him as much depth as possible at the position. He didn’t say anything about Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland, although I’d be shocked to see either back next season.

– Thank you to reader Ret2ski, who pointed out the Jets do in fact have a 5th round pick. So to my knowledge they have a 1,2,5,6,7. Another thing about the Jets this off-season, if a player is cut by a team before his contract expires the Jets are free to sign him without restriction. Overall, I would still guess the Jets will be relatively quiet in free agency, focus on acquiring more draft picks and actively work on adding depth to the defense, especially at the defensive back position.

Nice Highlight Tape Of TJ and Shonn Greene

Quick Thoughts/Updates On Jets Off-Season

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1. Mike Tannenbaum is holding a press conference at 2 PM tomorrow. He has a rare talent for avoiding giving answers to questions and giving out no useful information but that is fine with me as long as keeps doing things like trading up for Darrelle Revis, David Harris, Shonn Greene, Mark Sanchez etc…regardless, we’ll have coverage if he does let anything interesting slip.

2. Really good article here about how the new free-agency rules affect the Jets (http://www.nyjetscap.com/2010finaleight.html), fortunately I think Tannenbaum is really built for this type of thing and will be smart enough to navigate the Jets through this off-season with some improvements at necessary areas.

3. Alot of people have been talking about moving Dwight Lowery to safety as a potential replacement for Kerry Rhodes, if he is traded. It is not an easy transition to go from corner to safety because it is a completely different mentality and type of game you have to play. Beyond that, I don’t think Lowery is the physical replacement Ryan would be looking for if Rhodes isn’t around. Speaking of Rhodes, he is supposed to make an announcement about his future tonight on SNY, so we’ll see what he has to say. Regardless, I still think the Jets are better off with Rhodes in 2010 unless they get a trade offer that blows them away. There is no need to create another hole in the secondary.

4. I am all for the Jets cutting ties with Vernon Gholston. There is an article in the Daily News today about the Jets considering it, which also quotes one of his teammates saying Gholston has shown no passion for the game. This isn’t the first time somebody has questioned his love of football, which is a bad sign. Gholston was also on record saying he is perfectly happy being a special teams player, even though he is a below average one at best. Has anybody ever noticed him get excited about anything on the field, even in pre-season games? It was clearly a huge mistake to draft him and it is now time to cut your losses.

5. With the limits on the Jets in free agency, they better hit on their 1st and 2nd round picks. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Tannenbaum trade down and try to end up with three 2nd round picks, or maybe pick up a third-rounder. The Jets need to add some young bodies to their offensive and defensive lines, which they won’t be able to do if they are concentrating on improving their secondary with their top picks (remember the Jets don’t have a 3, 4, or 5 as of right now).

6. Mel Kiper Jr. currently has the Jets taking Notre Dame wide receiver Golden Tate with their first roundpick. With Braylon, Cotchery, Keller, and Leon coming back, getting a slot receiver isn’t a top need for the Jets. Yes, it would be nice to have a productive #3 WR but Keller andhopefully Leon could fill that role if the Jets don’t add anybody. There is no need to spend a first round pick for one. Jason Avant is a free agent and could be an interesting option especially considering Assistant GM Scott Cohen’s ties to the Eagles.

7. Final list of the Jets in the Pro-Bowl: Darrelle Revis, Shaun Ellis, Nick Mangold, Alan Faneca, D’Brickashaw Ferguson…will anyone be watching? They are down to the 5th alternate at most positions because of injuries andpeople on the Colts/Saints not being able to play. Revis and Mangold obviously deserved to go as All-Pro players. Faneca had a very good year but is there on name recognition. Even though D’Brick got in as an alternate, I think he has a legit claim as a Pro-Bowl caliber player. Ellis is a bit of stretch but the guy has been productive for a such long time, I am glad he made it back this year.

8. I am keeping my fingers crossed that Tony Richardson comes back for another year. It is not easy to find a quality fullback like T-Rich. The Jets rushing game would take a serious hit without him.

Darrelle Revis Making A Sick Interception In Last Year’s Pro-Bowl

Preliminary Look At Jets Off-Season

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First a few updates:

1. Rex Ryan ruffled some feathers yesterday by saying the Jets were going to be the best show in town next season. I listened to the press conference and think most people are taking it the wrong way as some big time shot at the Giants. Basically, Ryan said when the Jets were playing at home it was going to be Jets Stadium and when they were playing at home, they were going to be the biggest show in town. Giants fans really got their panties in a bunch yesterday on the local radio shows after hearing the press conference, which was pretty laughable. If they are so confident they are still the number one team in town (which they are until the Jets win or at least get to a Super Bowl) why are they so insecure about what a Jets coach says in a press conference? Maybe it is because their team quit on them the last two weeks of the year, has one of the NFL’s worst defenses, and is heading into 2010 as the third best team in their own division.

2. I am surprised the line is so high on the Super Bowl…the last I saw it was at 5.5 in favor of the Colts. I would imagine the Saints will be able to exploit the Colts secondary. However, I guess Peyton Manning is playing so well right now that nobody wants to bet against them. I will be pulling for the Saints, not out of bitterness but because they have never won one before and the Colts just got one in 2006.

3. I am still trying to find out where all the Jets draft picks are for April. Unless what I have read online is wrong (which is a definite possibility) the Jets only have a 1st round (#29 overall), 2nd, round, 6th round, and 7th round pick. They lost their 3, 4, and 5 from the Braylon Edwards and Lito Sheppard trades. This might be a year to trade down and stockpile some more picks.

4. Non-Jets Related Off-Season Talk – LOST premieres in a week and yes i am very excited about that, you want to fill your free time in the off-season go rent the DVDs and catch up…I was watching the Knicks before the AFC Championship Game and not only were they wearing ridiculously ugly orange socks, they also lost by 50 freakin’ points, it was like watching Marist play Syracuse, I mean c’mon now, we aren’t convincing LeBron to come play for a team that bad…Has anybody had a worse off-season in baseball than the Mets? Even though the Yankees won the World Series, they still did much more to improve their team. Have you seen their line-up and pitching rotation for 2010? Wow.

Preliminary Look At Jets Off-Season

There is nothing like the dead period from when your team is eliminated from the playoffs until the start of free agency (March 5th, my birthday by the way), plenty of time to enjoy mid-season NBA and NHL, and college basketball and off course look at all the potential things the Jets could do to improve in 2010. Make no mistake, the Jets have work to do this off-season. The playoff run was terrific. They found their identity. The future is bright. However, they only won nine games in the regular season. It is time to take the next step, which means becoming a 11-12 win division winner who is hosting playoff games and hopefully getting a bye. What are the issues facing the Jets this off-season and where could they improve? Let’s take a look:

Defense

PhotobucketThe early reports coming from the organization is that the Jets will be looking to revamp their secondary after it was torn to shreds by Peyton Manning. Rex Ryan didn’t sound too confident in Kerry Rhodes coming back in his press conference yesterday. Basically, he said he wasn’t going to beg anybody to come back who didn’t really want to be here and that he wants committed players on his defense. Ryan refused to give details about a discussion him and Rhodes had considering his future with the team. Personally, I think Rhodes improved after his benching and would be crazy to want to leave New York. I am not sure if a guy like him wants to move out of the biggest market in the country and what defensive player wouldn’t want to play for Rex Ryan? The Jets owe Rhodes a roster bonus in March and will likely explore trade options but I am not sure how big the market is going to be for him. Obviously, the Jets minor league team (Cleveland) will be interested but unless the Jets are getting good value back and have plan to replace him, I don’t want to see Rhodes go. The secondary isn’t improving by trading Rhodes for a 5th round pick and then having James Ihedigbo and Eric Smith split reps at safety.

Lito Sheppard is a goner. There is no way the Jets are paying him a roster bonus in March. It is also being reported that Jets are likely going to part ways with nickel back Donald Strickland, who was productive when healthy this past year but always seemed to be banged up. I’d also be shocked to see Drew Coleman back next year.

Remember the Jets are limited in free agency because of the rules under the old CBA. They can only sign the same number of free agents that they lose. Regardless, Mike Tannenbaum is a creative guy with trades and with Strickland, Sheppard, and potentially Rhodes all likely ending up with new teams the Jets will have some room to operate.

Remember the Jets spent all three draft picks on offense last year, so you can bet Rex Ryan will be pushing for defensive help in the first two rounds of the draft. The Jets need a corner to pair with Darrelle Revis and a guy to compete for nickel reps. You have to expect at least one of their draft picks to be on a defensive back and trade options to be explored. The cornerback market isn’t loaded with talent although there are some quality guys (Richard Marshall, Carlos Rogers, Fabian Washington). If the Jets get rid of Rhodes, Roman Harper, Nick Collins, and Antoine Bethea are all free agents.

Outside of the secondary, the Jets need a pass rusher. Everybody knows this but finding a big time pass rusher isn’t exactly the easiest thing to do. If the Jets don’t spend their first round pick on a corner, it will be on on outside linebacker/defensive end pass rushing prospect. Vernon Gholston will likely be cut this year and even if he isn’t, he has proven to be a bust. The Jets are pretty old along the defensive front, so don’t be surprised to see more than one new face added through the draft, free agency, or a trade.

Offense

PhotobucketDespite the defense carrying the Jets this past season, it needs more help than the offense does. The Jets are young at key positions and have a talented core to build around (Sanchez, Greene, Washington, Edwards, Keller, Mangold, Ferguson, Cotchery, Smith). Braylon Edwards is going to be given the highest tender as a restricted free agent, so he will be back. Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, and Dustin Keller are a pretty good trio of targets for Sanchez to grow with. However, the Jets could still use a slot receiver. Brad Smith is a valuable offensive weapon but isn’t a wide receiver and David Clowney is no better than a number 4/5. Chansi Stuckey would really be the perfect guy to fill this role but unfortunately the Jets had to give him up to acquire Edwards. The Jets could also use a better #2 tight end. Ben Hartsock is a good blocker but is no threat as a receiver and has too many costly penalties called on him.

On the offensive line, the Jets need to start thinking about their long term replacements for Alan Faneca and Damien Woody. I am confident the Jets will pay Faneca his roster bonus in February because he has started every game since signing his contract and maintained a high level of play. Yet, the Jets could really only bank on one or maybe if they are lucky two more seasons from the Faneca/Woody combination before they break down or their level of play falls off. Hopefully, guys like Matt Slauson, Robert Turner, and Wayne Hunter are developing into potential starters but it wouldn’t hurt to spend another late round pick on an offensive lineman.

Running back will be an interesting thing to keep an eye on. Will Tony Richardson want to come back for another year? If not, the Jets will have a big hole to fill at fullback. I think it is the right call to bring Thomas Jones back for the final year of his contract. You don’t know how Leon Washington is going to respond from his injury and Shonn Greene was banged up alot this year. With the way the Jets run their offense, there is no problem with having three backs getting carries. Hopefully, Jones can accept becoming option 1B, since Greene should clearly be the Jets 1A option at running back next year. Despite having a great regular season, there won’t be a huge market for Jones because of his age and because of how his production fell off in the playoffs so it makes sense for both sides to have Jones return.

The Jets also need a veteran backup at quarterback. Kellen Clemens is gone and they would be crazy to go into the year with Erik Ainge and Kevin O’Connell as their top backups. How about Chad Pennington? Seriously, who would be a better mentor for Sanchez and be better equipped to manage the Jets ground and pound if Sanchez was hurt?

Overall

If I had to list the Jets off-season needs as right of now it would look something like this:

  1. Secondary (#2 and #3 corner, potentially safety to replace Rhodes)
  2. Defensive Line/Outside Linebacker (Pass Rusher, Youth on defensive line)
  3. Veteran Backup Quarterback
  4. Offensive Line (Eventual replacements for Faneca/Woody)
  5. #3 Receiver
  6. #2 Tight End

Grading Out The AFC Championship Game

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First a few updates:

1. Of course it is raining today…when I reflect about yesterday’s game, you can’t get around the fact the Jets lost to a better team and that there was no stopping Peyton Manning yesterday, especially withDwight Lowery and Drew Coleman playing major reps at defensive back. You can look at different points of the games and different decisions, but the bottom line is that the Jets weren’t stopping Indy, period. Even if the Jets made both field goals, Shonn Greene stayed in the game, and on and on…the Colts still would have scored enough points to win.

2. There will be a few tweaks in the site for the off-season, the final stats and game highlights for the 2009 season have been put up. I switched out the 2009 schedule with the Jets 2010 opponents, and there will likely be a few other changes here and there. We are done with our in-season schedule, so there won’t be 6-7 articles a week here. I will be laying out an off-season schedule in an article in the next day or two as I finish up Jets/Colts coverage. Obviously, we will have free agency/draft coverage, reflections on the past season, individual articles grading out each player’s performance this season, and plenty of other things that I will figure out later.

3. Since a new Collective Bargaining Agreement hasn’t been figured out yet, the Jets will be under specific free agency rules. Tim Graham breaks them down here (http://espn.go.com/blog/afceast/post/_/id/9749/jets-have-29th-pick-ufa-limitations) Basically, the Jets won’t be able to sign a free agent, unless one of their free agents signs with somebody else. However, this won’t impact their ability to make trades which we all know Mike Tannenbaum loves to do. In terms of the draft, the Jets will have the 29th overall pick in the first round.  I don’t know the rest of their picks as of right now, but I am pretty sure they don’t have a 3 or 4 because of the Braylon Edwards/Lito Sheppard trades…if anybody knows exactly, please post it.

4. Shaun Ellis will be replacing Robert Mathis in the Pro-Bowl.

5. Nobody chokes in a big spot like Brett Favre…last pass as a Packer was a brutal interception in the NFC Championship Game that cost his team the game. He choked down the stretch for the Jets and now his likely last pass as a Viking was a brutal interception in the NFC Championship Game that cost his team the game. Good article by Mike Florio and Favre being delusional and thinking he went out on top: (http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/01/25/favre-cant-walk-away-yet/).

Grading Out The AFC Championship Game

Quarterback (A) – Mark Sanchez played arguably his best game of the season in the biggest spot of the year, which is a good sign for the future. He stood in the pocket, took huge hits, and delivered accurate passes especially on the touchdown to Dustin Keller. Sanchez is only going to get better with another off-season in the offense and even more time to work with Braylon Edwards, Dustin Keller, and Jerricho Cotchery. I really believe the Jets made the right choice trading up for this guy and that their offense is on the way to catching up with their defense with Sanchez under center.

Running Back (C) – Shonn Greene is going to be the Jets feature back next season and they missed him badly after he left. However, Greene had injuries throughout his rookie season and he is going to have to find a way to stay healthy next year. Thomas Jones was clearly worn down or his knee injury was worse than the team was letting on. It will be very interesting to see if he is back next season. 

Wide Receiver (A) – Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery both stepped up with 100 yards games. They are a good duo of starting receivers for Sanchez to grow with. However, the Jets need better depth behind them. Brad Smith isn’t really a receiver. He is a more of gadget/special teams player. They need to find a quality slot guy.

Tight End (A) – Dustin Keller stepped up in the playoffs, with a touchdown reception in each game. It is good to see him and Sanchez on the same page because he has the talent to be a pro-bowl caliber type player.

 Offensive Line (B) – They were excellent in pass protection but didn’t have their best game against the run. How about this unit starting the past 35 games together?

Defensive Line (C) – Not a great overall day for this group. Ellis was clearly limited because of his hand injury and they couldn’t generate a pass rush or slow down the Colts running the ball.

Linebackers (C) – David Harris played a terrific game, racking up 11 tackles and 2 sacks. Calvin Pace made a huge play by forcing that fumble but beyond that he didn’t get to the quarterback. Bart Scott and Bryan Thomas barely played because the Jets were using so many defensive backs.

Secondary (F) – I think it is illegal in most states what Peyton Manning and Pierre Garcon did to Dwight Lowery. I don’t think you will be seeing Lowery, Drew Coleman, and Lito Sheppard in a Jets jersey next season.

Special Teams (C) – You need as many points as you can get against the Colts so the misses by Jay Feely hurt.

Coaching (C) – The Jets had no answer for Peyton Manning on defense. People have been criticizing Brian Schottenheimer but I thought overall he called a good game. The double move to Braylon was well-timed and he finally broke out the pass play for Brad Smith.

Jets/Colts Highlights

And So It Ends: Colts – 30 Jets – 17

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Similar to 1998, the Jets were 30 minutes away from the Super Bowl and similar to 1998 they ended up losing by 13 points. The Colts proved to be the better team today as a locked in Peyton Manning targeted and abused Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman. It wasn’t about Dallas Clark or Reggie Wayne who the Jets did a good job on, it was about Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie abusing the Jets secondary. After an early two sacks, the Jets pass rush disappeared and with no pressure in his face, Manning beat up on the Jets defense.

On offense, the Jets moved the ball well throughout the day but were victimized by two missed field goals and a 3rd quarter injury to Shonn Greene. I love Thomas Jones but he looks like he just might be about done. The major positive from the day? Our rookie quarterback going on the road and having one hell of a performance. Mark Sanchez racked up 257 passing yards and two touchdowns. He stood in the pocket all day, avoided getting sacked (major credit to the Jets offensive line) and completed an array of difficult passes. I don’t think anybody with half a brain will be comparing him to JaMarcus Russell anytime soon.

Is the future bright for this team? Absolutely. However, that doesn’t really mean much today. Beyond that, you never know what could happen in the NFL to prevent bright futures from occurring. Remember 1999?

In the end, this team put together a great year and has given us plenty to be optimistic about for the upcoming years. Let all Jets haters get their shots in the next few days because they are bitter their teams didn’t accomplish as much as the Jets this year or their futures aren’t looking as bright (unless they are Colts, Saints, or Vikings fans…well at this point, maybe not Vikings fans). The Jets will regroup, get Kris Jenkins and Leon Washington back (remember them?) improve their cornerback position, add a pass rusher, and be ready to compete for a AFC East title next year…so maybe we could be the home team in AFC Championship Game next year.

It has been a great time covering the Jets this seaon and after a few more days of Jets/Colts coverage (and a brief vacation) we will be in off-season mode.

Final Thoughts On Jets/Colts

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1. I hope everybody has really taken the time to sit back and enjoy this playoff run…the extra media coverage, the bandwagon fans, and everything this else that comes with success. However, let’s not be satisfied with making it to the AFC Championship Game. I am not buying a AFC Championship t-shirt, I want a Super Bowl t-shirt. We are past the point of everything being “gravy” or playing with house money. The Jets need to seize this opportunity by the throat tomorrow. If you think this past month has been fun, imagine what the next two weeks would be like.

2. You have to love Mayor Bloomberg renaming Manhattan, “Revis Island.” You also have to love how the Empire State Building has been green the past month. I was only 10 years old in 1998, so my memories aren’t great but I don’t think the Jets have ever had such a hold on this town before.

3. I referenced the bandwagon fans before. I am in my second semester of taking classes at Lehigh and working at Muhlenberg and I can promise you I was the only person on either campus wearing any Jets stuff first semester. Yet, the past week all of a sudden I saw about 25 Sanchez jerseys, and I am pretty sure I could see the tags hanging out the back of them. Beyond that, I keep hearing all these casual/new Jets fans talking about the team when they clearly haven’t followed them all year…if they had been, they wouldn’t be wearing a Sanchez jersey, they would be wearing a Revis/Greene/or Mangold jersey haha.

4. I am getting up bright and early tomorrow and heading down to South Jersey for a full day of tailgating before watching the game with my cousins, Uncle, and Dad. I am telling you right now, I got some butterflies but overall I feel confident. For all the bandwagon fans out there, even more haters exist who refuse to give the Jets credit.

5. I am sorry this is a little late but check out http://davissportsdeli.com/podcasts/?p=325 for the DavisSportsDeli Podcast, which I made an appearance on yesterday. Aaron Fischman does a great job with the show, so it is something worth checking out over the next few months.

6. I think the Jets receivers are going to have big games tomorrow and by big, I don’t mean necessarily huge statistical days but both Braylon and Cotchery are going to haul in a few catches each in big sports. I like how they match up with the Colts cornerbacks. I also think Kerry Rhodes is going to step up again.

Nice Jets Video Posted Over on Youtube that I Saw Linked At Barstool Sports

TOJ TV

And Of Course…Al

Jets vs. Colts: AFC Championship Game Prediction

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First a few updates:

1. Watch the new episode of TOJ TV at the top and bottom of the article.

2. Kerry Rhodes and Shaun Ellis both practiced today and will be in the starting line-ups on Sunday.

3. www.thejetsblog.com has good coverage of the pep rally in Times Square yesterday, with video and photos from the event.

Jets vs. Colts: AFC Championship Game Prediction

I think the entire “NFL is a passing league and you win by throwing the ball” argument is complete BS. There is a reason Ben Rothlisberger has won more Super Bowls than Peyton Manning and Trent Dilfer, Brad Johnson, and Eli Manning have won the same amount. Look at the past ten 10 Super Bowl Champs: The Patriots won three when they were built on a strong defense and their running game, instead of their passing game. Do you remember the Patriots receiving core during their Super Bowl victories? Exactly. When they became a team built around a prolific passing offense, they  lost in the Super Bowl to a Giants team with a big time defense and a big time running game. The Ravens, Bucs, Steelers, and Giants all won because of their defense and running game, not because of their ability to throw the ball. Even when the Rams were the Greatest Show On Turf, they ran the ball well with Marshall Faulk.

Yes, I know the Colts did a win Super Bowl in 2006. They deserve credit, yet they took advantage of a weak AFC Playoff field (including a below average 10-6 Jets team and a weak 9-7 Chiefs team), an overachieving New England team, and a choke artist San Diego team and beat a not so memorable Chicago team in the Super Bowl. However, do you remember how poorly Peyton Manning played in those first two playoff games? He threw 5 INT’s and 1 TD and continued his crappy play into the first half of the AFC Championship Game before locking into a scary zone, playing an awesome second half and leading the Colts pass the Patriots. How did the Colts win the Super Bowl that year? They won because their defense and running game stepped up. They won because they allowed a combined 14 points in their first two playoff games and they had success running the football. They won in the Super Bowl because their top two backs combined for 190 yards.

This Colts team is carried by one thing: the excellence of Peyton Manning. Yes, they have great defensive ends and fast linebackers but overall their defense is only average (18th overall in total defense, 24th in rushing defense, and 14th in pass defense). They have the worst rushing game in the NFL. Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark are great players but Wayne is going to meet his match this weekend and Clark…well I hope Rex Ryan has something schemed up for Clark. The Colts are 15-0 this year when they play all their starters the full game, which is impressive as hell. Yet, this isn’t the 2007 Patriots who blew out everyone in every game (and remember how their season ended when they faced a team who could hit them in the mouth on both sides of the ball), this is a team who won 8 games that were decided by one possession or less, which is why you are crazy if you took the 7.5 points they are favored this week.

I think their magic in close games runs out this week. I think the team who runs the football and plays defense is going to the Super Bowl. I think there is something going on with this Jets team. The football gods are smiling on the smash mouth team who plays old school football and not the team who spit in the face of history by pulling their starters the final two weeks but then decided to throw a bunch of screen passes to make sure their top two receivers finished with 100 catches each. The Colts created a monster when they pulled their starters in week 16 and this week that monster is going into their building and killing their season.

Jets – 23 Colts – 20

New TOJ TV

Jets vs. Colts: AFC Championship Game Breakdown

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First a few updates:

1. The Jets practiced outside today for whatever reason. Shaun Ellis, Kerry Rhodes, David Harris, and Bart Scott were all limited in practice, while everybody else was full.

2. New episode of TOJ TV is on the way tonight and yes we went real big for the AFC Championship Game.

3. Herman Edwards and Tedy Bruschi both picked the Jets on ESPN…obviously, I am not surprised about Herm but Bruschi? I don’t know, maybe he is trying to jinx us. Speaking of Herm, how could I not throw this clip in?

4. The NFL Network is replaying Super Bowl III on Saturday night if you are looking for some historic confidence in the Jets upsetting the Colts.

5. How I have used my time so far this week: 40% Reading/Listening to Jets Coverage, 40% Working on Site, 15% Sleep/Re-watch old episodes of LOST to get ready for the new season, 5% School/Work…it has been a good week. This around the clock Jets work is messing with my dreams. Last night I had a lucid dream I was in the slot with Braylon out wide, we were running double slants, Sanchez threw it out to him, Braylon caught it, broke a tackle andwas off to the races…good sign, or am I just delusional? We will find out Sunday.

Jets vs. Colts: AFC Championship Game Breakdown

PhotobucketOffense: North and South is the key this week. The Jets have to go right up the middle at the Colts defense. Brian Schottenheimer, throw out the reverses, tosses, and stretch plays because you aren’t beating this defense going sideline to sideline. It is time to work that inside running game. The Jets must repeatedlysend Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene right at the Colts defensive tackles and the defensive ends. Hopefully, the Jets can wear down Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis which will make them less effective as pass rushers. There is no need for the Tiger Formation or any option plays this week either. Teams have scouted it out and it hasn’t been effective in recent weeks so let’s not throw away yards.

I know most people would like to see Shonn Greene simply start the game, get 30 carries, andjust forget about Thomas Jones. However, Jones is the guy who wears on the defense andsoftens it up for Greene with his 15 carries. Beyondthat, it is important to keep Greene in the 20-25 range which will keep him fresh. You need a 1-2 punch in the NFL, especially with how often the Jets run the ball. Also, despite it not being a major factor in the Jets offense, Jones is a better receiver out of the backfield.

The Jets must get yards on first down to help set up manageable third downs for Mark Sanchez. There is no reason the Jets can’t successfully throw the ball in third and 4-6 situations. If the Jets can have Sanchez take short drops and get rid of the ball quickly, they have favorable match-ups on the outside and should be able to have a high conversion rate. Look for Jerricho Cotchery working that short option and intermediate comeback route often when the Jets need to throw, while Braylon Edwards has been effective on deep in routes and slants. One tendency the Jets must find a way to break is when they decide to take their deep shot to Edwards on the post route. Every game the Jets throw the ball to Edwards deep when they are around the 50 yard  line and it is 1st and 10 or 2nd and short. Teams are starting to expect it. The Jets have to mix it up when they take a shot because if they can get Edwards one on one and he decides to catch the football, they could be in great shape.

Defense: Similar to last week, the Colts are going to get their yards but it is key for the Jets to make them kick field goals instead of letting them score touchdowns. Everytime the Colts settle for 3, it will be a huge victory for the Jets. They also can’t let them get that classic touchdown before the half, which the Colts always score to take the momentum. The Jets must do a better job against the run than they did in week 16. Indy will try to counter the Jets blitz with draw plays and quick screens, which they always find a way to burn teams with. Regardless of how efficient the Colts passing game is, if the Jets can stop the run like they did against San Diego they will be in good shape by making them one-dimensional.

It has been well documented how difficult it is to sack Peyton Manning. However, the Jets must at least put some pressure on him, hit him and force him to rush a few throws. Manning does throw interceptions (he only threw 4 less than Sanchez this year, and we all know how many he threw)…and the Jets cannot, I repeat cannot, drop balls that could be intercepted. They need to take advantage if Manning throws a ball to them and run it back to set up easy points for their offense. Another key for the Jets is they need to be physical with the Colts receivers. Austin Collie, Pierre Garcon, and even Donald Brown out of the backfield are all young guys and there is no reason they can’t be rattled in a big game by a few big shots over the middle.

Dallas Clark is obviously an extremely difficult match-up and the Jets did a poor job against him in week 16. I still think the Jets should occasionally slide Darrelle Revis over to Clark and then double Reggie Wayne. I am not worried about Wayne when he is one on one with Revis but you can’t be stupid enough to leave him one on one with anybody else. Kerry Rhodes is going to need to step up with another big game both in coverage and when he is sent at the quarterback. The Jets defense moves to another level when Rhodes is playing up to his potential.

Special Teams: I really think the Jets could swing the game here. I don’t know if it is going to be a fake punt, a big kick return or punt return, a blocked punt but if the Jets can steal some points here, they will be in great shape to pull off the upset.

Believe In The Upset

Jets vs. Colts Position By Position Comparison

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First a few updates:

1. The recent surge of comments has been a nice positive for the site. I knew I would be hearing plenty from “Coach” this week since he is a die-hard Colts fan who is convinced Super Bowl III was rigged. Also, I just received a breakdown of the site traffic which has been very strong over the past month…a special shout out to our international readers, including people from Denmark, France, Japan, Philippines, and Mexico.

2. Why do I have time to write back to back articles this afternoon? I have a big space between my 11 AM class and 4 PM class, what else would I do? This is Championship week, c’mon now.

3. Darrelle Revis, Bart Scott, and Mark Sanchez are talking to the media at 3:45 today.

Jets vs. Colts Position By Position Comparison

Quarterback – Peyton Manning (4500 yards, 33 TDs, 16 INTs) vs. Mark Sanchez (2444 yards, 12 TDs, 20 INTs) – Well then…at least admit you were surprised by how many interceptions Manning has thrown this year. Sanchez needs to manage the game, make a couple of plays and avoid turnovers while Manning is the single person that turns the Colts from a 6-10 team to a 14-12 team. Advantage: Colts

Running Back – Joseph Addai (828 yards, 10 TDs, 336 receiving yards), Donald Brown (281 yards, 3 TDs) vs. Thomas Jones (1402 yards, 14 TDs), Shonn Greene (540 yards, 2 TDs) – Greene is playing better than any running back in football right now. The guy is averaging 6 freaking yards per carry. Jones has been slightly phased out but still remains valuable, especially in short yardage situations and goal-line situations. Joseph Addai averaged less than 4 yards per carry this year and Brown is a talented rookie, who adds some size to the Colts offense. Advantage: Jets

Wide Receiver – Reggie Wayne (1264 yards, 10 TDs), Pierre Garcon (765 yards, 4 TDs), Austin Collie (676 yards, 7 TDs) vs. Braylon Edwards (541 yards, 4 TDs), Jerricho Cotchery (821 yards, 4 TDs), Brad Smith (270 total yards, 1 TD) – Reggie Wayne is one of the best receivers in football. Garcon is a burner who didn’t play when the Colts faced the Jets back in week 16. Collie is a rookie who is very good in the slot. While I think Garcon and Collie are good players, I do think their stats are inflated because of their quarterback. I would love to see Jerricho Cotchery’s stats if he played a year in the Colts offense. Regardless, you can’t argue who has the advantage here. Advantage: Colts

Tight End – Dallas Clark (1106 yards, 10 TDs) vs. Dustin Keller (522 yards, 2 TDs) – Keller has caught a touchdown in each of the Jets playoff games and I hope one day he becomes the type of player Dallas Clark is right now. Advantage: Colts

Offensive Line – Charlie Johnson, Ryan Lilja, Jeff Saturday, Kyle DeVan, Ryan Diem vs. Damien Woody, Brandon Moore, Nick Mangold, Alan Faneca, D’Brickashaw Ferguson – The Jets have the best offensive line in the NFL. Advantage: Jets

Defensive Line – Dwight Freeney (13.5 sacks), Robert Mathis (9.5 sacks), Daniel Muir (52 tackles), Antonio Johnson (34 tackles, 1 sack), Raheem Brock (32 tackles, 3.5 sacks) vs. Shaun Ellis (53 tackles, 6.5 sacks), Marques Douglas (64 tackles, 1.5 sacks), Sione Pouha (45 tackles), Mike DeVito (28 tackles), Howard Green (23 tackles) – Freeney is the best pure pass rusher in the AFC (I am giving the NFL crown to Jared Allen right now) and Mathis is a pro-bowl caliber defensive end. Shaun Ellis will be playing with a broken hand, while Mike DeVito and Sione Pouha are coming off their best games of the season. Advantage: Colts

Linebacker – Phillip Wheeler (61 tackles, 1 sack), Gary Brackett (99 tackles, 1 sack), Clint Session (103 tackles, 2 INTs), Freddy Keiaho (38 tackles, 1 sack) vs. Calvin Pace (55 tackles, 8 sacks), David Harris (127 tackles, 5.5 sacks), Bart Scott (92 tackles, 1 sack), Bryan Thomas (53 tackles, 2 sacks) – The Colts linebackers have great speed and Gary Brackett is one hell of a player but David Harris will be the best linebacker on the field Sunday. Bart Scott and Bryan Thomas both played very well last week, while Calvin Pace is the Jets best pure pass rusher. Advantage: Jets

Corners – Jacob Lacey (85 tackles, 3 INTs), Jerraud Powers (66 tackles, 1 INT), Kelvin Hayden (50 tackles, 1 INT) vs. Darrelle Revis (54 tackles, 6 INTs), Lito Sheppard (31 tackles, 1 INT), Dwight Lowery (24 tackles, 3 INT), Donald Strickland (26 tackles, 2 sacks) – The Colts are fairly average here, meaning there will be chances for the Jets to make big plays down the field if they can pass protect. Darrelle Revis will do his thing but the pressure is on Sheppard, Strickland, and Lowery to have big games against Collie, Garcon, and Clark. Advantage: Jets

Safeties – Antoine Bethea (95 tackles, 4 INTs), Melvin Bullitt (77 tackles), Tim Jennings (57 tackles, 2 INTs) vs. Kerry Rhodes (63 tackles, 3 INTs), Jim Leonhard (76 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 1 INT), Eric Smith (48 tackles, 1 INT), James Ihedigbo (19 tackles, 2 sacks) – The Jets safeties came up huge last week against the Chargers and need another big game this week. They need to apply pressure when sent at the quarterback and find a way to contain Dallas Clark. The Colts safeties better be ready to hit or else Shonn Greene is going to make them pay (see Eric Weddle last week). Advantage: Jets

Special Teams – Matt Stover (9/11 FGs), Pat McAfee (44.3 yards per punt), TJ Rushing (5.7 per punt return), Chad Simpson (1 kick return TD) vs. Jay Feely (30/36 FGs), Steve Weatherford (42 yards per punt), Jerricho Cotchery (10.3 per punt return), Brad Smith (1 kick return TD) – I like the Jets here. Jay Feely has been money ever since the Atlanta game. Cotchery is a better punt returner than Rushing and Brad Smith already took one back 106 yards against the Colts coverage units. Advantage: Jets

Somebody Told Me The Jets Are In The AFC Championship Game, So I Should Be Working Around The Clock On The Site, This Is What I Told Them: