How To Start Your Summer: 50 Things For Jets Fans To Smile About

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Memorial Day Weekend is about to kickoff and what is a better way to start off your summer than by reading 50 things to be happy about if you are a Jets fan. I hear some occasional criticism for being too positive about the team this season, even when a simple click through the archives will show I have written plenty of articles about potential problems the entire team, certain players, and certain positions will have in 2010. Regardless, today is a day to enjoy the optimism that every Jets fan should rightfully have heading into this year, so without further delay here 50 things for Jets to smile (or brag) about heading into this season:

(By the way, that’s my man JetBo from Section 313 in the old stadium)

1. Our 23 year old quarterback has already won two road playoff games.

2. Our 23 year old quarterback has more playoff wins in one season than Tony Romo has in seven. (For all those Maganelli Dallas fans in the area).

3. Our number three receiver was the 2009 Super Bowl MVP.

4. Fine, you say he isn’t our number three receiver than our number three receiver had 1130 receiving yards in 2007.

5. You say he isn’t our number three receiver either, than our number three receiver had 17 touchdowns in 2007.

6. If you moved our starting tight end to wide receiver, he’d be better at it than anybody Buffalo is trying to start opposite Lee Evans.

7 . Our second year running back already has two career playoff 100 yard rushing games.

8. We have the best center in the NFL.

9. We have the best corner in the NFL.

10. We had the number one defense in the NFL last season, without one of the best defensive lineman in the NFL who is now returning from injury.

11. We have a Pro-Bowl left tackle.

12. Our defense is good enough that our first round corner from the 2010 NFL Draft comes off the bench.

13. We have two corners who have been All-Pros. They are 26 and 24 years old.

14. A player with 127.5 career sacks is our #3 outside linebacker.

15. A player with 138 career touchdowns is our backup running back.

16. We have one of the best fullbacks in the NFL.

17. We drafted the best fullback in the 2010 NFL Draft to back him up.

18. Our third and fourth best offensive lineman are better than most team’s first and second best offensive lineman.

19. The New England Patriots lost 33-14 in their home building in the first round of the playoffs last year. Their biggest off-season acquisitions were Torry Holt, David Patten, and Alge Crumpler.

20. New England’s top three running backs are Laurence Maroney, Fred Taylor, and Sammy Morris.

21. Miami is relying on this guy to improve their offense:

22. We have this guy to cover him:

23. We have an All-Pro inside linebacker who is 26 years old.

24. We are going to be featured HBO’s Hard Knocks this summer.

25. We don’t play in Giants Stadium anymore.

26. Our stadium is hosting the 2014 Super Bowl.

27. We have the most aggressive GM in the NFL.

28. We have the funniest head coach in the NFL.

29. Our head coach is one the best defensive minds in the NFL.

30. Our defensive blitzes more than any team in the NFL.

31. Our players love playing for our head coach and players now actually want to join the New York Jets.

32. Despite winning a Super Bowl in 2007, the Giants are frustrated by all the attention the Jets receive from the local media.

33. We have five games in primetime this season.

34. We host the first Monday Night Football game of the season.

35. We get to boo our lungs off at Brett Favre at a home Monday Night game.

36. We are playing on Thanksgiving this year for the second time in 4 years.

37. Our quarterback threw 8 more interceptions than touchdowns last year and we still made the AFC Championship Game.

38. Our number four receiver can do things like this:

39. Our top outside linebacker only played in 12 games last season but still had 8 sacks.

40. The Patriots are either going to be starting a rookie, Darius Butler, Jonathan Wilhite, or Terrence Wheatley at corner. We could go four wide with Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, Santonio Holmes, and Dustin Keller.

41. Those White Titans throwback jerseys are pretty slick looking.

42. We had a complete bust with the #6 overall pick in the 2008 draft and still had the league’s #1 overall defense last season.

43. Everybody thinks Chad Henne is a franchise quarterback and the biggest game he ever won in the NFL was beating the Jets in a week 5 game.

44. Our starting right guard is one of the most underrated players in the NFL and is hysterical on twitter. (@ShitMeatSays)

44. Bill Belichick is clearly starting to lose his mind:

45. The Jets piss off everybody in the NFL.

46. Our owner called out the NFL Commissioner for holding a fake coin toss to give the Giants the first home game in the new stadium.

47. A Rex Ryan press conference is more entertaining than 3/4 of the shows on TV right now.

48. Randy Moss doesn’t even bother to try against us anymore.

49. You could say “I expect the Jets to win the Super Bowl this season” and people won’t look at you like you have three heads.

50. The Empire State Building is going to spend plenty of time looking like this over the next few years.

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Jets OTA Thoughts: Safety, Rookies, Rex, Receivers

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First a few updates:

1. Nothing would make me happier than to watch the Bruins and Celtics both choke away 3-0 leads within weeks of each other…that would have to be a sign of bad things to come for the Patriots this NFL season, right?

2. I know you are wondering when TOJ: The Podcast is coming back with episode 2, well we are recording it tomorrow and hopefully it will be posted by Sunday night.

3. I want everybody to Facebook message “James Corbett” and bother him to make some free time to record a new episode of TOJ TV.

4. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets).

Jets OTA Thoughts: Safety, Rookies, Rex, Receivers

Yes, I wasn’t at OTAs today but that doesn’t mean I didn’t read every single word written by every single person who was there today, which I will use as writing prompts:

PhotobucketRex RyanI tell you I can never get tired of listening to Rex Ryan’s press conferences. Since LOST is off the air, it is basically my new favorite TV show. I love Rex’s optimism and the confidence he has with the organization but it is hysterical to listen him discuss any coach or player on the team. According to him everybody is the best in the NFL at what they do. Bill Callahan is the best offensive assistant in the league. Brian Schottenheimer is the best young offensive mind in the league. Mike Westhoff is the best special teams coach in the league. Mike Pettine is the best young defensive mind in the league. Dennis Thurman is the best secondary coach to ever step on a field. Kris Jenkins? Nick Mangold? Darrelle Revis? Best players at their respective positions. The best part about this is that Rex isn’t too far off when discussing most of these guys.

He is already talking about LaDainian Tomlinson like he is Chris Johnson in OTAs and Jason Taylor like he is Mario Williams. I give him a few months before he says Kyle Wilson is one of the best corners in the league, Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards are battling for the title of the NFL’s best receiver, and Mark Sanchez is the AFC’s best quarterback.

Braylon – It was very encouraging to hear Rex Ryan cite Braylon Edwards as the most impressive offensive player for the Jets in OTAs. Edwards has been expanding his knowledge of the playbook and doing some work at the Z receiver (flanker), which is different from where he usually plays (X aka split end aka where I was a first down converting beast for Muhlenberg). The more versatile he is in their offense, the more it will help him get open. Edwards has the talent to be a legit number one receiver and is the most physically gifted offensive player on the team. If he has his head on straight and has the proper work ethic, watch out because he is capable of putting up some scary numbers.

Eric Smith – Reiterating what he said in his video conference with fans on Wednesday, Rex Ryan said the goal is for Brodney Pool to be the opening day starter, while Eric Smith keeps his role coming off the bench and playing in a variety of defensive packages. Smith is a versatile player who is a core special teams guy, so Ryan does have a good point. Pool is athletically more gifted than Smith and will hopefully be able to make the plays Kerry Rhodes didn’t last season.

Rookies – Kyle Wilson apparently had a welcome to the NFL rookie type of day by receiving an education from Jerricho Cotchery in the slot. Wilson will eventually come around but the thing to be excited about is how good of a slot receiver Cotchery is going to be for this team. He is going to kill teams on third downs this season. Vladimir Ducasse continued to run with the first team and it basically sounds like unless he forgets how to walk, he will end up the opening day starter at guard. I am happy to hear that Joe McKnight didn’t vomit today. This is a step in the right direction.

Angry Rex

New York Jets Special Teams Questions

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First a few updates:

1. The NBA Playoffs is finally coming around a little bit. How can you not enjoy watching the Phoenix Suns play? They are like a #15 seed in the NCAA Tournament going for a upset with the amount of energy they play with. I just hope the Magic can overcome the corpse of Vince Carter dragging himself around the court to get another win tonight.

2. Some highlights from Rex Ryan’s video chat with fans today:

  • He was adamant that Nick Mangold isn’t going anywhere and that the organization will do what it takes to keep him a Jet for a long time.
  • He talked up Brandon Moore as one of the best guards in the NFL.
  • When discussing the running backs, he deflected a question about there being a battle for the starting running back job but said there would be weeks when Shonn Greene will have more carries and weeks when LaDainian Tomlinson will have more carries and that Tomlinson would also be the third-down back while Joe McKnight gets up to speed. He also raved about John Conner and discussed how he pushed for Mike Tannenbaum to draft him.
  • Ryan shot down the chemistry concerns and joked that nobody on the team but Eric Smith could pass a chemistry class.
  • He again penciled in Kyle Wilson as the starting nickel but said Dwight Lowery would still be used frequently at both corner and safety.
  • If the season started today Eric Smith would start at safety because of his knowledge of the defense but he expects Brodney Pool to be the opening day starter.
  • He talked up Brad Smith and the Jets use of the “Tiger” formation this year.
  • The player who has made the biggest improvements since he arrived is Mark Sanchez.
  • The biggest surprise and guy who has jumped out the most at OTAs has been Kenwin Cummings at inside linebacker and as of today he is the team’s #3 inside linebacker.

3. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets), I need all the ammunition I can when I talk with the Jets media relations guy in the coming weeks about getting a press pass for training camp and the pre-season games.

New York Jets Special Teams Questions

Hey, it is one-third of the game. No Jets fans can sleep on the importance of special teams after watching the negatives of Ted Ginn Jr. take two kicks back for a touchdown in a single game last season and Jay Feely miss three kicks versus Atlanta along with the positives of Brad Smith taking a kick back to the house in Indy and the Jets executing four successful fake punts in 2009. The Jets were up and down last season despite having one of the best special teams coaches in the business with Mike Westhoff and they still have plenty of questions heading into this year.

Kicker – The Jets got a problem here. Jay Feely was a reliable kicker the past two seasons and the Jets decided not to bring him back and replace him with Dallas castoff Nick Folk, who was an ugly 18/28 last season before being cut. Apparently Folk had an ugly start to his Jets career last week by missing just about every kick he took during OTAs. I know I don’t feel confident in Folk lining up for a big kick this season and if he continues to struggle this off-season look for Matt Stover to be added to the roster sooner rather than later. Stover might not have the greatest leg strength at this stage of his career but he is reliable in the 40-45 yard range and you can’t say the same for Folk right now.

Punter – Steve Weatherford managed to keep his job throughout the entire 2009 season and did an okay job. It looks like he will be the Jets guy going forward and hey the guy averaged 21 yards per carry last season. Hopefully a full off-season of working with Westhoff will improve Weatherford’s consistency in 2010.

PhotobucketKick Return – It will be very interesting to see what the Jets do here. Brad Smith did a pretty gob job in this role last season. Antonio Cromartie got some reps in OTAs and was impressive. Rookies Kyle Wilson and Joe McKnight will likely get some opportunities in training camp and the pre-season. David Clowney could get a shot. Aundrae Allison was impressive last pre-season and is probably the fastest guy on the team. Dwight Lowery took some reps last year before Smith locked the job down. If I had to guess today, Smith and McKnight will be the primary guys with Cromartie getting occasional reps. However, keep an eye on Allison during training camp as a dark horse.

Punt Return – This will be Kyle Wilson’s job to lose, although I could see Jim Leonhard or Jerricho Cotchery getting some reps in a big spot or when a team is kicking from around mid-field, when it would be better to have an experienced veteran back there.

Coverage – The Jets lost valuable special teams players like Wallace Wright, Larry Izzo, and Ryan Fowler this off-season but did sign Lance Laury who was a stand out special teams player in Seattle. They will also look to guys like Kenwin Cummings, Jamaal Westerman, and Marquice Cole to fill the void. Eric Smith, Brad Smith, and John Conner should all also be core special teams players.

Maybe the play that saved the Jets season in 2009

Reaction To Super Bowl Announcement, And Speaking Of The Super Bowl…

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First a few updates:

1. The Jets have hired former Appalachian State receiver coach Lance Taylor as an offensive assistant.

2. The Jets have the day off from OTAs tomorrow but we will back on Thursday with full media availability. There was some released statements from players on the team, Mike Tannenbaum, and Rex Ryan on the Super Bowl announcement and obviously everybody was excited. It is a nice moment for the organization.

Reaction To Super Bowl Announcement, And Speaking Of Super Bowl…

As expected, the new Meadowlands Stadium was awarded the Super Bowl in 2014. Over the last few days it had become relatively apparent this was going to happen and the announcement didn’t take anyone by surprise. Personally as a North Jersey native, I am very pumped about the Super Bowl taking place 20 minutes from my house. I know everybody refers to it as the New York Super Bowl but keep in mind it is beautiful East Rutherford, New Jersey that will be hosting the game. It is being estimated the game, being held in 2014, will generate approximately $550 million for the local economy.

PhotobucketI could only hope that gives the state enough money to either knock down Xanadu or actually some functioning stores in it. We are all getting tired of looking at that empty, bizarrely colored building which is an ugly sign of recent economic problems in the area. The announcement should help sell the naming rights to the stadium, which is currently just being called The New Meadowlands Stadium.

I think the concern over cold weather is overrated. Is there anything better than a good snow game? If you disagree…stop being so soft, football is supposed to be played in the elements. However, if the Jets happen to make the 2014 Super Bowl and the weather negatively impacts them, then I reserve the right to change my mind. Seriously though, I hope this starts a trend of occasionally having the game in cold weather locations and by that I mean I hope this isn’t the only time it ends up in this stadium. The only other cold weather stadium that could have a shot would be New England but let’s be real it is no New York up there so that probably won’t happen.

PhotobucketAnyway since we are talking about the Super Bowl, what are your expectations for the Jets in 2010? Is anything short of a Super Bowl appearance considered a disappointment? You would think when a team is winning in the second half of the AFC Championship Game the previous season, the logical next step and expectation should be a Super Bowl appearance. While it is bizarre to expect a team who hasn’t won a AFC Championship since 1969 to do it this season, that is the reality for the Jets in 2010. Nobody is going to be happy with a divisional title. Nobody is going to be satisfied with a couple of playoff wins. We saw that last year. The talent is in place and the Jets have talked the talk since the season ended, so now it is time to walk the walk.

There are no certainties in the NFL. There may not even be a season in 2011. If there is, the Jets are going to have to make some difficult roster decisions. No, it isn’t as bad as some writers make it out to be. There isn’t going to be a need to blow up the team. Darrelle Revis, David Harris, Nick Mangold, and D’Brickashaw Ferguson will get their money from the Jets but some of the recent additions could be moving on (Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes, Antonio Cromartie, LaDainian Tomlinson) along with certain veterans like Shaun Ellis and Damien Woody.

The point is that while the Jets should still be a good team past this season, they are in the best position they have been in a long time to reach a Super Bowl. The roster is loaded on both sides of the ball. The Patriots are down. The Dolphins have plenty of question marks. The Jets showed they can handle the Chargers and we’ll see how they match-up with the Ravens in week one. Obviously the top team in the conference is still the Colts but the Jets have spent the entire off-season building themselves to beat them, by adding Cromartie, Jason Taylor, Kyle Wilson, and Brondey Pool.

A successful season for the Jets in 2010 equals an appearance in the Super Bowl and in reality nobody is satisfied with a loss in the big game, so yes it is championship or bust in 2010 for the New York Jets.

Go Shonn, Go

Expectations For Jets New Additions

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First a few updates:

1. The Jets had OTAs today but it has been a quiet day of news, most of the focus is on the vote tomorrow for the New York Super Bowl in 2014. From all indications, it looks like it is something that is going to happen.

2. I honestly wish the Jets would stop wasting time and sign Matt Stover right now. Let him and Folk compete throughout the summer and then if Folk keeps shanking every ball he puts his foot on, then you could at least feel somewhat comfortable with a reliable kicker like Stover on the roster.

Expectations For New Jets Additions

I have already went over what should be fair expectations for the Jets rookie class in 2010 but how about their new acquisitions via trade and free agency, here is a look:

PhotobucketSantonio Holmes – It is hard to project Holmes production since he won’t be joining the Jets offense until week 5. Yet, the most important thing the team needs him to be is a consistent big play threat. In the Jets offense, he isn’t going to average 5 catches for 100 yards each week but he needs to continue doing what he did in a Steelers uniform. Holmes has to turn those quick smoke screens into 15-20 yard gains and get down the field to pull in a few deep balls. The most important thing for Holmes will be to learn all the receiver positions in the Jets offense, so he has the ability to move all over the formation and get himself into one on one coverage situations. It is hard for me to pinpoint stats for him in 12 games, especially when it could take a couple of games for him to integrate into the offense, but how about 40-45 catches for 650 yards with 4-6 touchdowns?

LaDainian Tomlinson – When Leon Washington was traded to Seattle, the expectations for what Tomlinson would bring to the Jets offense rose substantially higher. The Jets need him to spell Shonn Greene for a series or two each half, be the full time third down back until Joe McKnight is ready to consistently contribute and be the team’s goal-line and short yardage back. Tomlinson’s yards per carry has to be way up from the 3.3 it was last year and get it closer to 4.o. If the Jets could get 700-900 total yards and 5-8 touchdowns, I think they’d be very happy.

Antonio Cromartie – The Jets need the consistency opposite Darrelle Revis at corner in 2010 that Lito Sheppard and Dwight Lowery couldn’t give them. Cromartie is now playing in a defense that plays to his strengths, with a strong emphasis on man to man coverage. He will have plenty of balls coming his way as teams attempt to avoid Revis Island and he needs to not only provide steady coverage but also bring the big play element that made him an All-Pro a few years ago.

Jason Taylor – The Jets brought Taylor in to improve their pass rush and considering the way Rex Ryan is likely to use him in his style of defense, the team is expecting 9-12 sacks out of him. If Calvin Pace could get 8 sacks in 12 games last season, than Taylor who is a better pure pass rusher should be able to hit double digits in a full season of work.

Brodney Pool – The Jets need Pool to be everything Kerry Rhodes wasn’t for them last season. They want a player who will be aggressive in the running game and wrap-up when he makes tackles. Nobody wants to see anymore of the Rhodes “turn my back to the runner and jump into him” tackle attempts or their starting safety being steamrolled by a scrub like Laurence Maroney. Pool was having a very good season in 2009 before he was hurt so hopefully he can pick up where he left off in 2010.

Oh wait…you thought I wouldn’t have thoughts on the LOST finale?

From everything I have read, it seems the finale was relatively polarizing. Personally, I liked it. I thought the first 2 hours and 20 minutes were terrific and was LOST at its absolute best. I was surprised the Jack/Locke conflict was so early in the episode, along with Desmond heading down into the “source” so early. However, they all filled their purpose. Desmond was able to live through pulling the cork out, which gave Jack the chance to kill Locke (well Kate technically did it) and then Jack sacrificed himself to place the cork back in and save the island, leaving Hurley behind in the “Jacob” role. I am just waiting for the spin off of the years when Hurley and Ben ruled the island, when ABC realizes all their other Lost spin offs like Flashforward and V are failures.

PhotobucketThe last scene? The sideways world basically being a purgatory? Yes, I can understand complaints about it but in the end, I liked the explanation of it and how all the characters crossed over and had their “realization” moment. I think the ending was relatively straightforward…almost too straightforward. The final shot of Jack’s eye closing was well done, along with the shot of Locke/Jack looking down the cave mirroring the shot of them looking down the hatch in season 1. Also what does everybody think that wreckage at the end during the credits was? Did the Ajira plane crash? Was it another plane that crashed after Jack died?

In the end, I am sorry for the people who watched it and couldn’t be satisfied unless one of the creators sat there for 3 hours and read answers to every minuet question. It was a great show and the real question is what I am going to watch now? I think I am heading to Blockbuster to rent season 1 of “The Wire.”

Saturday Afternoon Thoughts On Jets Rivals

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Another beautiful overcast day here in Whitehall, Pennsylvania and since I am looking for an excuse to procrastinate on filling out job applications, let’s get to some Saturday afternoon thoughts on the Jets rivals.

Patriots – Could this be the year the Patriots finally fall off? I amazed when people talk up the off-season they had and discuss them as a top 5 or 6 team in the league. I am pretty sure I saw a team that was falling off as the 2009 season ended, capped with a blowout loss in their building in the wild-card round of the playoffs. Yes, they still have Brady and Belichick which means they are going to be competitive week in and week out but beyond that, what else has New England done this off-season to make you think they are improving on their 10-6 record from last year, instead of getting worse?

Don’t underestimate how much the Patriots will miss Wes Welker on offense. Any Jets fan saw the difference between New England’s offense with Welker and without him when comparing week 2 to week 11 last year. The Patriots still don’t have a number one running back but have instead decided to collect aging, injury-proned players and stay with perpetual disappointment Laurence Maroney. On defense, New England struggled heavily in 2009 and outside of drafting Devin McCourty in the first round, what have they done to improve? The Patriots look like an 8-8 team to me this season.

PhotobucketDolphinsAfter acquiring Brandon Marshall, I am starting to think the Dolphins will be the Jets main competition for an AFC East title in 2010. Yes, they still have some questions on their defense but Karlos Dansby and Jared Odrick will help them, and you know they can run the football. Marshall finally gives them a legitimate weapon in the passing game and Brian Hartline should develop into a decent number two receiver. The whole world seems ready to pronounce Chad Henne a franchise quarterback but let’s wait and see if he can win a big game first. I am pretty sure when the Dolphins had a chance to make the playoffs last season, he went 0-3.

Giants – Brandon Jacobs recently grabbed some headlines by claiming New York is still the Giants city because they won a Super Bowl recently. First off, Jacobs might want to worry about improving that ugly stat line from last season before he gets shipped out of New York, but second you can’t say that he doesn’t have a point. If I was a Giants fan or player, I would tire of reading about the Jets every single day considering they haven’t won a Super Bowl since 1969 or a division title since 2002. Yet, the NFL and the mainstream media is a what have you done for me lately business and the last thing in everybody’s memory is the Giants quitting and being embarrassed the last 2 games of the 2009 season, while the Jets had a run to the AFC Championship Game, followed by the Jets having a better off-season. Personally, I don’t root against the Giants the way I used to when I was younger and outside of annoying my friends who are all Giants friends, I don’t really concern myself with what they do. The two teams don’t impact each other this year, unless they are going to meet in a Super Bowl, which would be terrific.

Other TOJ Updates

– Keep the Facebook fans coming…we are at 356 right now and I’d like to hit 500 by week 1 of the pre-season. Unlike a site like The Jets Blog, TOJ is a one man show so I basically use the Facebook page as my version of The Jets Blog. I use it to aggregate everything a Jets fan should be reading on a daily basis, along with quick commentary on each links. I will also throw up some non-Jets related things occasionally, if the situation calls for it. Keep in mind I am also a Yankees and Knicks fan, and watch massive amounts of television and movies….because you know, I am an unemployed college student (at least for a few more months). You can also follow TOJ on Twitter (Turn On The Jets) and on the ESPN Jets Message Boards (WR09CB), Digg, and Ballhype (all the account information is in the “About The Author” section of the web site).

– Remember the other links at the top of the page…Turn On The Jets TV, 2009 Highlights, 2010 Schedule, 2010 Depth Chart, 2009 Stats, The Podcast which can be accessed here (http://web.me.com/turnonthejets/Site/Podcast/Podcast.html).

– We should have a new Podcast up in the next week or two.

– As we head into the Lost finale tomorrow, which means you will never have to deal with reading about the show at TOJ again, I leave you with my favorite scene from each season:

Season 1 – The Opening

Season 2 – Down The Hatch

Season 3 – We Have To Go Back

Season 4 – I Always Have A Plan

Season 5 – Jacob?

Season 6 – The Timelines Merge

Wrapping Up Jets Week Of OTAs and Other Thoughts

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First a few updates:

1. I’d annoy everybody about following Turn On The Jets on Facebook but we jumped from 315 fans to 348 fans in the last 24 hours…well done. You can also follow TOJ on Twitter (TurnOnTheJets).

2. The Jets have the same schedule next week for OTAs, with a practice on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, with Thursday being the only day with media access. They then have OTAs on June 2-3, June 8th, and June 10th.

3. Jason Taylor is practicing with #95 for now but in a recent interview it sounded like Bryan Thomas would be willing to sell #99 to him.

4. Darrelle Revis has refuted reports he is asking for 20 million dollars a year but he has stated he wants to be the highest paid corner in football. Currently, Nnamdi Asmougha is and he makes about 15.2 million a year, so look for Revis to end up with something in the 16-18 million dollars a year range. Pay. The. Man.

5. It looks like we are headed to Lakers vs. Celtics in the NBA Finals. Can I buy a competitive series in this NBA Playoffs?

6. I can’t get enough Mikhail Prokhorov…I may have to become a Nets fan soon especially if the Knicks don’t come through with LeBron.

Wrapping Up Jets Week Of OTAs and Other Thoughts

New Additions – Antonio Cromartie has been doing some work as a kick returner. I think most people assumed the Jets would have Brad Smith, Kyle Wilson, and Joe McKnight battle for that job but Cromartie is obviously an explosive player with the ball in his hands. I doubt he would have the job full time but I could see them throwing him back there a few times a game.

Santonio Holmes probably didn’t make many people in the organization happy when he said he didn’t want a Super Bowl to be played at the Meadowlands. Regardless, outside of being knocked over by Darrelle Revis in a blocking drill, Holmes seems to be blending in well with his teammates according to people reporting from practice and his fellow teammates. Holmes best asset for the Jets is his versatility to line up all over the formation, which will help him integrate into the offense quicker when he returns in week 5.

PhotobucketVladimir Ducasse was running with the first team offense and made a good impression on Rex Ryan. It will be interesting to see how much of a shot Matt Slauson really has at winning the job. If Ducasse can hold his own in his rookie year as the starting left guard, it will speak well for the Jets front office who took a chance on him as a small school prospect in the 2nd round.

In my mind, the most concerning news of the week was that Nick Folk missed about every kick he took. You can’t be a team built around running the ball and playing defense and have a kicker who can’t make a 40 yard field goal…actually no team can afford to have a guy like that. It looks the Jets may have to wait and see who loses the kicking battle in Houston or take somebody else off the scrap heap. Mike Nugent? John Hall? Is he still around?

Second Year Players – It was good to hear Sanchez was participating in some drills this week…any time spent with the offense is valuable. There is no need to push him too far during OTAs, the key is that he is 100 percent for training camp and the pre-season. Apparently, neither Kellen Clemens or Erik Ainge was impressive during OTAs. Also, Rich Cimini reported Shonn Greene looked like he put on some weight and not the good kind of weight. I am a little worried about the Jets running back situation this year, I hope #23 can prove me wrong and show he is capable of being a full time number one back.

Other Thoughts/Questions

1. Who will be the Jets main competition for the AFC East title, Miami or New England? It is easy to assume New England but I could see the Dolphins being better than them this season. New England’s offense just doesn’t scare me without Wes Welker out there and they still have question marks on their defense.

2. If the Jets could do five things before the regular season starts, I would want to see them add a new kicker, lock down Revis long term, lock down Mangold long term, sign Mark Brunell, and sign Adalius Thomas.

3. What prime time game are you looking forward to the most this year? Personally, I can’t help but get the most pumped about hosting the Vikings (if they have Favre) on Monday Night Football. I also badly want a win on Sunday Night Football over the Dolphins in their building.

The Jets Journey To Relevancy

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The Jets Journey To Relevancy

Today I was talking to a friend from Philadelphia about how big of a following the Flyers have in the city with their recent Cinderella run in the playoffs. He assured me the Flyers were a big deal within the city and had a rabid following that didn’t trail the Eagles or Phillies by as much as you’d expect. I thought about the New York sports market, where the Rangers, Devils, and Islanders are irrelevant topics on the back pages of newspapers, sports talk radio, and mainstream websites. The only buzz around the Knicks and Nets is associated with the prayer’s chance of recruiting LeBron James. Football and baseball dominate the town. The Yankees are the number one story and you would normally put the Giants and Mets right behind them with the Jets a distant fourth.

PhotobucketI remember December 30th, 2007 sitting in the pouring rain at a half empty stadium watching the 3-12 Jets play the 4-11 Chiefs. It was an ugly and depressing game as I watched Kellen Clemens struggle through a 13/25, 115 yard performance. The Giants were headed to the playoffs. The Patriots had just completed an undefeated regular season. Little did I know that both were headed for an epic Super Bowl, which had one of the best fourth quarters and plays in league history. There you had it, the team the Jets shared the city with and their biggest rival battling on the world’s biggest stage while the Jets couldn’t be any more irrelevant. It was just another low point in the difficult life of being a New York Jets fan.

Yet today, when I was talking with my friend I had to put the Jets as the number two story in the New York sports market behind the defending champion Yankees. The Mets are slowly fading into their usual oblivion and somehow the Jets have become a better, more entertaining team and a bigger story than the New York Giants, a team who won arguably the greatest Super Bowl game ever played a little over 2 years ago.

How did this happen?

It started with an uncharacteristically aggressive off-season headed into the 2008 regular season. General Manager Mike Tannenbaum learned from his mistake heading into the 2007 season, when he incorrectly believed his 10-6 team was only a few minor tweaks away from being a Super Bowl contender. The Jets were a fun story in 2006 but they caught the league off-guard with a wild-card appearance thanks to a soft schedule, a surprisingly productive season from Chad Pennington, and career years from journeyman players like Victor Hobson, Cedric Houston, Anthony Clement, Chris Baker, Bryan Thomas, Hank Poteat, Erik Coleman, Justin Miller, and Andre Dyson.

The Jets did add Thomas Jones but thought they could get by another year with Clement on the line and Adrien Clarke stepping in for Pete Kendall at guard and made no major free agent additions to their defense. However, Tannenbaum did strike gold in the draft by trading up for future All-Pro defenders Darrelle Revis and David Harris. Regardless, Pennington succumbed to another injury and Kellen Clemens struggled heavily behind a terrible offensive line and the Jets disappointed with a 4-12 season.

With owner Woody Johnson’s blessing the Jets began a trend of recruiting and landing big time free agents. They broke the bank for perennial pro-bowler Alan Faneca and brought in veteran Damien Woody to complement him at tackle. They outbid Miami for Calvin Pace and swung a trade for Kris Jenkins. They also solidified their running game by adding fullback Tony Richardson and blocking tight end Bubba Franks. Despite Eric Mangini’s stringent ways and the organization operating under the New England state of mind, they were still able to recruit big name players to rebuild the roster.

PhotobucketTannenbaum didn’t finish his off-season until he shocked the football world by swinging a trade for Brett Favre. I know in the end, the Favre experiment didn’t work out considering the Jets failed to make the playoffs and his struggles down the stretch. However, the fact that Favre joined the Jets demonstrated to the rest of the league that the team was moving in the right direction. The pieces were being put into place to build a contender on both sides of the ball and they had a GM and owner who would aggressively pursue putting together a winner regardless of the cost.

The Jets could have faded back into irrelevancy into 2009 when they decided to cut ties with Favre and head coach Eric Mangini. Breaking with his personal characteristics and the Bill Parcells mindset he was groomed with, Mike Tannenbaum went for the boisterous, confident Rex Ryan. Mangini was a good football mind but had suffocated the life out of the organization. Ryan provided the shot of energy necessary to overcome the hangover from the disastrous end to the 2009 season and Favre’s departure. The bold moves from the previous off-season carried over into the months heading into 2009, starting with Ryan and his recruitment of former Baltimore Ravens, Bart Scott, Jim Leonhard, and Marques Douglas.

Yet, the most important decision came during the 2009 NFL Draft. The Jets weren’t making the playoffs with Kellen Clemens or Brett Ratliff at quarterback and everybody knew it. They needed a franchise quarterback to wash the bad taste out of everybody’s mouth that Favre had left. Working with their former head coach Mangini, they moved up to acquire USC’s Mark Sanchez.

The team had successfully moved out of the Mangini/Favre era with an exciting new head coach and quarterback. However, they retained the quality players acquired during Mangini’s two winning seasons in three years. The pieces were in place for a team with cautiously high expectations heading into the 2009 season.

In a rare occurrence, the football gods smiled on the ugly stepchild of New York City. A 7-7 team that appeared to be out of the playoffs was handed the backups of the best team in the league and took advantage. The victory positioned them to close out the stadium they had embarrassingly been tenants in, with a playoff berth in front of the whole country on Sunday Night Football. The Big Brother New York Giants had packed up their bags a few weeks too early and left with an ugly loss to the Carolina Panthers, leaving the Jets to fill the void as the team the New York sports market could get behind. Regardless of who the Bengals played or didn’t play, the Jets thrived for their fans and the city with a 37-0 victory.

PhotobucketAny questions about the Jets validity as a playoff team were answered with subsequent road victories over the Bengals and heavily favored San Diego Chargers. The momentum carried right into the second quarter of the AFC Championship Game, when the Jets were up 17-6. Unfortunately, an immortal quarterback rose to the top of his game and ended their run.

Despite the loss, the Jets had arrived. Their head coach whose ability to entertain and grab headlines was matched by his ability to design an elite defense and motivate his players, had claimed the Jets would be the number one show in town when the new Meadowlands began hosting NFL games and it was hard not to believe him. Tannenbaum didn’t back off. He must have remembered the off-season heading into 2007 again because he added Antonio Cromartie, LaDainian Tomlinson, Jason Taylor, and Santonio Holmes to a team that was 28 minutes away from a Super Bowl.

Here we are today, with HBO knocking down the Jets door to feature them on Hard Knocks. Relevancy doesn’t equal success but any Jets fan will tell you it is refreshing to be the most hyped up team in the area. Giants fans will say they enjoy flying under the radar and I don’t blame them. They shouldn’t concern themselves with the attention being paid to a team who hasn’t won a Super Bowl since 1969, when they have won 3 since then. However, the Jets don’t have to ignore the spotlight being shined on them. Yes, they bring the attention to themselves with the boasting of their head coach, big name acquisitions, and posturing of their owner but there is substance behind the hype around the team.

There is a system of playing defense and running the football, which is a familiar formula for playoff teams. The Jets have the ability to run the ball because they have assembled one of the best offensive lines in football and found a running back by trading up to get a guy that inexplicably slipped through the cracks to the third round. They have the ability to play defense because they drafted the best corner in the NFL, an All-Pro inside linebacker, and surrounded them with quality free agent additions. Yet, if you follow the NFL these days you know it takes more than running the ball and defense to win a championship, which is why the Jets have surrounded their franchise quarterback with one of the best three wide sets in the NFL, a pass-catching tight end, and one of better receiving running backs in NFL history.

Somehow, someway the Jets have navigated themselves into relevancy. The owner, GM, coach, and roster is finally in place to turn that relevancy into success. By success, I mean the one thing that could actually put the Jets on the same level of the Giants as a NFL organization and make sure the new stadium doesn’t turn into “Giants Stadium Part 2,” and that is win a Super Bowl.

Now Some Other Updates:

1. We have been locked at 315 fans on Facebook for 2 days now and that is getting me a little anxious. I need as many fans as possible to throw at the Jets media relations guy when I working on getting a press pass…so follow it on Facebook, tell you friends to follow it on Facebook and do the same for the Twitter account (TurnOnTheJets).

2. Remember we have other tabs on this site beyond the home page…we also have just added a tab for the Podcast, which links you to the site with the TOJ Podcasts.

3. (http://www.youhaveiwant.com/home.html) – Worth checking out, especially if you are looking to get your hands on New York area sports tickets.

4. Jets minor roster moves…they added offensive tackle Aaron Kia and released receiver S.J. Green and offensive tackle Matt Stommes. The depth chart has been updated accordingly.

5. Tough break for the New Jersey Nets last night. I can’t say that I wasn’t happy since I am a Knicks fan first and a Wizards fan second…yes I have a second favorite basketall team. How can I justify that? First off, the Knicks have been god awful the past decade, second I lived in DC for 6 months, attended some games at the Phone Booth when the Wizards were pretty good and became a big Agent Zero fan…before he decided to start bringing guns into the locker room. So, yea I broke out the John Wall dance in my Arenas shirt last night after they got the number one pick.

6. Thoughts On Lost Final Season, Episode 16 “What They Died For” –We ended our one episode break in 23 A.D. with glowing caves and terrible kid actors by getting back to our main characters with a very, very good episode. Everybody kind of saw it coming with Jack replacing Jacob, but it almost seemed like it happened too easy. I have a feeling when it is all said and done, Jack won’t be taking the job as island protector. I liked the sideways action…Desmond is well on his way to putting together the greatest reunion concert ever. Instead of breaking down all the details of last night’s episode, here are my predictions for the finale and you can trust I have avoided all spoilers this season:

  • Richard and Lapidus aren’t dead yet.
  • Sawyer will die on the island.
  • Juliet is Jack’s ex-wife in the sideways timeline.
  • Jack will cure Locke in the sideways but find a way to kill him on the island.
  • Ben is pulling a long con on Locke and will end up being a good guy at the end…and the new island protector.
  • Desmond is going into the yellow cave…and I don’t know what happens from there.
  • I still have no idea how they merge both timelines.
  • Rose and Bernard helped Desmond out of the well.
  • Final scene? It was all the dog’s dream.

The Not So Big Name Jets Starters

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First a few updates:

1. Jason Taylor practiced with the team today and was wearing #95. I guess he hasn’t been able to pay off Bryan Thomas yet for a number switch to #99 or Thomas has decided to hang on to his number.

2. The Jets will have the day off tomorrow and then be back at practice on Thursday with full media availability. They will have the same schedule next week.

3. How about those Yankees last night?

4. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets).

The Not So Big Name Jets Starters

When most people think about the New York Jets in 2010, they will refer to their number one ranked rushing attack and number one ranked defense. They have some big name lineman in Nick Mangold, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, and Damien Woody. Any NFL fan who watched the playoffs should know all about Shonn Greene. Despite not having a big time passing attack, Mark Sanchez, Braylon Edwards, and Dustin Keller are well known names. On defense, Darrelle Revis, Bart Scott, David Harris are the big names associated with the Jets, along with Kris Jenkins. Calvin Pace got a big contract and Shaun Ellis is a respected veteran. The Jets also added some big name backups this off-season in Jason Taylor and LaDainian Tomlinson. Santonio Holmes and Antonio Cromartie are also big name players who were added. However, lesser known starters on the Jets will be a major factor in determining whether or not the team can reach their goal of a Super Bowl this season. When looking at all the big names on the Jets roster, don’t forget about these players who will be running out of the tunnel as starters this season.

Brandon Moore – Moore quietly has been a very good player on the Jets offensive line at the right guard position. He has started 94 games for the team since 2004. After nearly letting him walk, the Jets smartly signed him to an extension before last season. Even though Alan Faneca made the Pro Bowl last year, it is arguable that Brandon Moore had a better year in 2009. He turns 30 this year and will hopefully be able to give the Jets 4-6 more seasons of his consistent play.

PhotobucketBryan ThomasThomas has put together an up and down career with the Jets since being a first round draft pick 9 years ago. He had a breakout season in 2006 with 8.5 sacks but hasn’t approached those numbers since. In year one of Rex Ryan’s defense, Thomas started 16 games and had 53 tackles, 2 sacks, and 1 forced fumble. However, he is constantly cited by defensive coordinator Mike Pettine for doing the little things that don’t show up in the stat sheet. Thomas is a versatile player who does a good job on run contain, coverage, and can occasionally get after the quarterback. He will lose some reps to Jason Taylor this year but is still the starter at outside linebacker and a big part of the defense.

Mike DeVito – The Jets are confident in DeVito’s ability to fill in for Marques Douglas at defensive end after he put together a strong year off the bench in 2009. DeVito won’t put up gaudy numbers but seems to have a good grasp on what Rex Ryan wants out of his ends and does a good job in the running game.

Brodney Pool – The Jets are talking up Pool as a big off-season acquisition that is being overlooked by everybody. It is worth pointing out that Pool did have more sacks and interceptions than Kerry Rhodes in six less games last season. The real question about Pool is whether he can stay healthy or not. He has a history of concussions and if he gets another one, that could be it for him. However, it looks like he will get the first crack at replacing Rhodes alongside Jim Leonhard.

April’s Fools Joke on The Jets D-Line

Ten Monday Thoughts On The Jets Defense

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First a few updates:

1. Mark Sanchez threw some passes during the Jets OTA practice today, which is obviously good news. The entire roster participated outside of Kris Jenkins and Jason Taylor. Jenkins was continuing to rehab his injury on the sideline and Taylor was finishing up charity work in Miami. There is a ton of pictures of today’s action on www.newyorkjets.com, including shots of Santonio and LaDainian in the green and white.

2. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets).

Ten Monday Thoughts On The Jets Defense

1. It will be very interesting to see how the reps are divided up in the Jets defensive backfield this season. Rex Ryan loves using packages that are overloaded with DBs but beyond Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Kyle Wilson, and Jim Leonhard, who else will be prominently featured in the Jets various sub, nickel, and dime packages? Brodney Pool, Eric Smith, Dwight Lowery, James Ihedigbo, and to a lesser extent Drew Coleman, Marquice Cole, and Donovan Warren will all be competing for a bigger role on the defense.

2. Most people are targeting Jason Taylor as the guy on the Jets who could come up with double digit sacks. Yet keep in mind, Calvin Pace had 8 sacks in only 12 games last season. How about the Jets get two guys in the double digit sack range?

3. Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has been talking about second year player Matt Kroul as a key piece of the Jets defensive line rotation this season. Players like Kroul and Ropait Pitoitua need to step up to give the Jets the necessary depth on the line and take pressure off Kris Jenkins up front, who will also have his reps limited by the presence of Sione Pouha.

Photobucket4. I know we are all excited about Kyle Wilson’s coverage skills but don’t sleep on his value as a blitzer in Rex Ryan’s defense. He loves sending defensive backs off the edge and Wilson is athletic and physical enough to get 3 or 4 sacks this season to complement his coverage skills.

5. Nobody is a bigger fan of Darrelle Revis than Turn On The Jets but 20 million dollars a year? The guy is the best corner in football but he wants to be the highest paid player in the league, which is hard to swing if you aren’t a quarterback. These negotiations aren’t going to be pretty.

6. What is the reason we can’t resign Marques Douglas? We can’t give him a one year deal to boost the depth on the defensive line? Maybe I am underestimating Mike DeVito, who for some reason is my cousin’s favorite player on the defense.

7. What are the odds that Vernon Gholston is even active for more than half of the Jets games in 2010? I just can’t see him making a successful transition to defensive end, especially in the 3-4. He isn’t going to play special teams over Lance Laury or Jamaal Westerman.

8. Unlike last year when the Jets defense dominated the offense throughout training camp, it should be a little more even this season. How about watching Revis, Cromartie, and Wilson battle against Edwards, Cotchery, and Holmes on a daily basis? That kind of competition is going to make everybody better…and yes, Dwight Lowery and David Clowney could make each other better also.

9. I want some more defensive touchdowns this season…I am looking at you Antonio Cromartie…and Revis, you really can’t get any better than you were last season but if you want 20 million dollars, let’s take a couple back to the house this year.

10. What defensive player jersey are you looking to buy this season? I got Revis but beyond that I am swamped with offensive jerseys…Harris? Wilson? Leonhard? Drew Coleman?