TOJ Mid-Season Awards

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Here we are half way through the 2010 regular season already. The Jets sit at 6-2 and are on pace for the 12-4 record that many predicted for them. It hasn’t always been pretty but overall it is hard to complain at this point. Out of the final 8 games, only 3 are against teams who are currently under .500, so the Jets still have plenty of work to do. However, here is what our awards are looking like heading into week 10 –

Offense

MVP – Mark Sanchez – Yes, you can make a strong case for LaDainian Tomlinson but I am going with our quarterback who has taken major strides in the right direction so far in year two. At this time last year, the Jets were 4-4 and Sanchez had 8 touchdowns to 10 interceptions, currently the Jets are 6-2 and he has 10 touchdowns to 5 interceptions. Beyond that, he has led the team to two late comeback victories, something he never did in 2009.

Make TOJ Look Like An Idiot – LaDainian Tomlinson – I predicted before the season that Tomlinson would only have 900-1,000 yards of total offense for the Jets and be a clear cut #2 to Shonn Greene…whoops. Tomlinson already has 790 yards of total offense, 5 touchdowns, and is clearly the Jets #1 back. However, he has slowed the previous few weeks and I still believe Greene needs a bigger role in the offense.

C’mon Man – Shonn Greene, Jerricho Cotchery, Brian Schottenheimer – Shonn Greene got off to a slow start but has looked better as of late. Yet, he still isn’t being given enough touches by offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer who has been inconsistent at best with his playcalling this year and downright infuriating at worst. Jerricho Cotchery leads the team in drops and really who could have saw that coming. He is also only averaging 10.5 yards per catch, en route to a weak 272 receiving yards.

Make TOJ Look Smart – Braylon Edwards- I did predict Braylon Edwards would lead the team in receiving yards and put together a better than expected year and so far he is making me look good with a team leading 453 yards, along with 5 touchdowns.

Pleasant Surprise – Matt Slauson – Slauson has been very good so far at left guard and made sure none of us miss Alan Faneca all that much.

Pro-Bowl CaliberBrandon Moore, Dustin Keller (447 yards, 5 TD’s), D’Brickashaw Ferguson, and Nick Mangold are all putting together excellent years so far.

Getting The Job Done – Ben Hartsock and Tony Richardson aren’t pro-bowl caliber but they are getting the job done also at their respective positions. Brad Smith remains a valuable, versatile weapon for the Jets.

Defense

PhotobucketMVP – David Harris – Most people have been saying Antonio Cromartie, but I am going with the Jets middle linebacker who never gets any respect. Harris has been rock solid in the middle and is a huge part of why the Jets are 4th in rushing yards allowed. He leads the team in tackles and is tied for the lead in tackles for a loss, along with recording a sack and having 2 passes defensed.

Make TOJ Look Like An Idiot – Brodney Pool – I spent plenty of time in the off-season hyping up Pool as quietly being the Jets best addition this off-season…um, what? After missing week one, Pool has been average at best for the Jets alongside Jim Leonhard at safety. So far through 8 games he has recorded 19 tackles, 0 sacks, 5 passes defensed, and 1 INT.

C’mon Man – Jim Leonhard, Jason Taylor, Darrelle Revis, Kyle Wilson – I know the Island is back now but you can’t let him off the hook for contributing nothing the first 6 weeks of the season. Jim Leonhard has been a liability in pass coverage and hasn’t made any impact plays yet. Jason Taylor had a pretty good start but has been invisible the past few weeks. Kyle Wilson apparently doesn’t know how to find the football in the air or when to turn around, which isn’t good for a first round draft pick. He doesn’t even play on defense anymore, as the immortal Drew Coleman and Dwight Lowery jumped him on the depth chart.

Make TOJ Look Smart – Sione Pouha – I have always loved the big fella and he is putting together a great all-around season. He is 4th on the team with 32 tackles, recorded a sack, and somehow has 3 passes defensed.

Pleasant Surprise – Mike DeVito – DeVito has shown that without question he is capable of being a full time starting defensive end. He has also racked up 32 tackles, along with 3 tackles for a loss and is a huge reason the Jets are 4th in rushing yards allowed.

Pro-Bowl Caliber – David Harris and Antonio Cromartie have both played at a Pro-Bowl level to this point of the season, although Cromartie’s lack of big plays could keep him from getting the national respect.

Getting The Job Done – I don’t know if he will ever be a pro-bowler but Pouha has been terrific this year. Shaun Ellis, Bart Scott and Bryan Thomas have been steady as usual. Dwight Lowery has been good in his role so far in 2010.

Special Teams

Just a paragraph to offer high praise to this entire unit. Nick Folk has been unbelievably consistent this year, especially considering how he played in 2009. Steve Weatheford, fake punt aside, has been booming the football and great at pinning teams inside their 20. Brad Smith has developed into a quality kick returner. Eric Smith, Lance Laury, and Marquice Cole have led the way on the coverage units.

First Half Highlights

TOJ NFL Power Rankings: Week 10

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Ranking teams in the NFL is becoming a more difficult process with each passing week, especially since my top two teams (Patriots and Colts) lost last week. Regardless, here is what TOJ is thinking heading into week 10…feel free to express your feelings about my stupidity:

1. Baltimore Ravens (6-2) – An impressive win over the Miami Dolphins can’t be enjoyed long as they travel to Atlanta on Thursday night to face arguably the NFC’s best team.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2) – They have a nice chance to flex their muscle as an elite team by taking down the New England Patriots at home this Sunday night.

3. New York Giants (6-2) – They are rolling right now but before we crown them, keep in mind some of the quarterbacks they have beaten this year (Matt Moore, Charlie Whitehurst, Shaun Hill).

4. Green Bay Packers (6-3) – Despite all of the injuries, they are heading into the bye week right around where we expected them to be.

5. New York Jets (6-2) – This team (and their quarterback) knows how to win close games…something you can’t frequently say about the Jets. However, they still haven’t played a complete game since week 4.

6. New Orleans Saints (6-3) – They could hit their stride out of the bye week, especially when Reggie Bush gets back in action.

7. Atlanta Falcons (6-2) – If Atlanta wants to show they are an elite team in the NFL, they can start by beating the Ravens at home in two days…who else is pumped about Thursday Night Football?

8. New England Patriots (6-2) – Well we can pump the brakes on the Patriots love fest for now.

9. Tennessee Titans (5-3) – Welcome to town Randy Moss…the Titans can bury another wild-card contender by beating the Dolphins on the road this week.

10. Philadelphia Eagles (5-3) – The Eagles still have two games against the Giants to grab control of the NFC East and with Mike Vick straight balling right now, it is certainly possible.

11. Indianapolis Peyton Mannings (5-3) – They just might be a little too beat up this year. Fortunately for them, they get to play Cincinnati this week.

12. Oakland Raiders (5-4) – The atmosphere for the Raiders overtime win ovet the Chiefs was simply awesome. They get a bye week to prep for a huge test against the Steelers.

13. Kansas City Chiefs (5-3) – Tough way to lose in Oakland but their second half schedule still makes them the favorite in win the AFC West.

14. Tampa Bay Buccanners (5-3) – The Bucs are going to be around the rest of the season as a legitimate playoff contender.

15. San Diego Chargers (4-5) – Phillip Rivers has been the MVP so far in 2010.

16. Cleveland Browns (3-5) – I can’t remember the last time I have been more worried about the Jets playing a team with a record 3 games worse than them.

17. Washington Redskins (4-4) – They need a victory at home against the Eagles this week to show they will remain a contender in the NFC.

18. Houston Texans (4-4) – 8-8 here we come…yet again.

19. Miami Dolphins (4-4) – 7-9 here we come. Sorry, I will still take Mark Sanchez over Chad Henne any day of the week for the next 10 years. Henne comes up small in every big spot he has been given.

20. Chicago Bears (5-3) – I’d be stunned if they finish .500 or better.

21. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-4) – See directly above.

22. St. Louis Rams (4-4) – Ladies and gentleman, your first place team in the NFC West. They can put a nail in the 49ers coffin this week.

23. Minnesota Vikings (3-5) – If they beat Chicago this week, which they should, they are very much alive in the second half of the season.

24. Detroit Lions (2-6) – Thanks for throwing that pass on third down with the immortal Drew Stanton.

25. Seattle Seahawks (4-4) – Just about as terrible as a .500 team can get.

26. Arizona Cardinals (3-5) – A brutal loss to the Vikings but they are still one game out of first place.

27. Cincinnati Bengals (2-6) – Well at least, Terrell Owens is happy.

28. San Francisco 49ers (2-6) – Somehow they can pull within a game of first place with a win this week.

29. Denver Broncos (2-6) – Renaldo Hill’s pass interference will be remembered as what started them towards a 4-12 season.

30. Buffalo Bills (0-8) – They are still a tough team to play every week.

31. Carolina Panthers (1-7) – It is hard to see them winning another game in 2010.

32. Dallas Cowboys (1-7) – Their whole team deserves to be fired along with Wade Phillips.

Grading Out Jets/Lions

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Quarterbacks (B) – Mark Sanchez’s completion percentage still isn’t high enough and he was inconsistent for 3 and 1/2 quarters, yet continuing to demonstrate a positive trend, he stepped up when it mattered the most. He looked excellent in the two minute drill and led the Jets to another come from behind victory. It is hard to question his arm strength after the beautiful 74 yard touchdown pass to Braylon Edwards and the more chemistry he develops with Santonio Holmes, the more passing yards he will rack up. Hopefully, this will be the first of many 300 yard games.

Running Backs (B) – LaDainian Tomlinson’s yards per carry has been creeping lower and lower each week, while Shonn Greene’s have been steady or rising when given the chance. However, LT was clutch on the two minute drill and contributed 47 yards receiving. I would really like to see Greene be getting more than 10 carries though.

Wide Receivers (B+) – They demonstrated their big play capability on Edwards long touchdown reception and Holmes 52 yard reception in overtime. Yet, there were still struggles with ball security. Jerricho Cotchery is in a serious funk right now and has lost his starting job. Edwards has to protect the football when running with it.

Tight Ends (B+) – Dustin Keller made a few clutch receptions and provided a big play down the seam late in the fourth quarter.

Offensive Line (B+) – The running game has been disappointing the past few weeks but the pass protection was very good. Brandon Moore did a great job on Ndamukong Suh, furthering his case for a trip to Hawaii this year.

Defensive Line (B) – A quiet day for the guys up front but they were solid against the run. Where has Shaun Ellis been the past few weeks? Vernon Gholston didn’t take advantage of being given the start, as he recorded no stats.

Linebackers (C) – There were some flaws in pass coverage, missed tackles, and a stupid personal foul on Bart Scott, who did record his first sack of the season. Calvin Pace and Jason Taylor remained in the missing persons program, in terms of getting to the quarterback.

Secondary (B) – Revis Island is back in business. Drew Coleman had a brutal day trying to cover Nate Burleson. It could be time for Dwight Lowery or Marquice Cole to get more of a shot in the slot. Is it me or has Jim Leonhard been a huge liability in pass coverage this year? Beyond that, is Brodney Pool even out there? Seriously, the guy is playing starter’s reps and can barely even record a tackle.

Special Teams (A) – Nick Folk continued his strong season with the game tying and game winning kick. Kyle Wilson finally had a good looking punt return but of course he fumbled at the end of it.

Coaching (D) – The Jets are way too undisciplined right now on both sides of the football and there were more clock management issues. Rex Ryan needs to wake his team up out of the funk they have been in the past few weeks.

Highlights of Jets Win

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Initial Reaction: This Is Why We Watch…Jets Escape 23-20

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Disgusted. Just disgusted. It was hard not to feel that way as you watched the New York Jets, the team who likes to talk about being the best team in the NFL and is overloaded with talent, do everything possible to embarrass themselves against a feisty (dirty) 2-5 Detroit Lions team. Penalties? Every single one you could imagine at the worst possible time. Turnovers? Two more from the Jets. Drops? Yes, there were still plenty of those. Clock management? Of course, the Jets only had one timeout left heading into the final 5 minutes of the game.

It felt like there was no way in the world the Jets could surmount a comeback down 20-10 with 4:26 on the clock and one timeout. It might as well have been 30 points considering the way their passing offense looked. You can already read the headlines about the Jets sliding into another meltdown. Mark Sanchez was well on his way to another sub 50 percent completion percentage and more questions about his status as our franchise quarterback.

Then something happened. Unlike teams in the past, the 2010 New York Jets find ways to win football games. It doesn’t matter how ugly the game has been. It doesn’t matter how poorly they have been playing. This team has confidence they can always find a way to win and today, yet again, they did.

Say what you want about Sanchez but he stepped up again late to lead the Jets to a victory. He made two big time throws to Dustin Keller on their touchdown drive to cut the lead to 3 and then fortunately the Lions are the Lions and inexplicably threw the ball on third down, leaving Sanchez enough time to get the Jets into field goal position (big ups to Julian Peterson for that late hit on LaDainian Tomlinson…thanks). In overtime, he hit Santonio Holmes in stride on an in route, which Holmes rolled into a 52 yard gain.

The story of the day? Led by their quarterback, the Jets made plays when they had to. If you want an example of a young quarterback who can’t do that, look to our divisional rival Miami. Sanchez comes up big in big spots. Tomlinson, Holmes, and Keller all stepped up to support him when it counted. Nick Folk was money on special teams and is truly having a Pro-Bowl season.

On defense, the bad news is that Drew Coleman is back to being Drew Coleman. The good news is that Darrelle Revis is back to being Darrelle Revis. 1 catch for 13 yards for Calvin Johnson…nice work and welcome to the 2010 season, Darrelle. Revis Island is back. The defense played relatively well but there isn’t enough big plays being created. Not enough sacks and forced turnovers.

The Jets are a flawed team…accept it, but they are a 6-2 and on pace for a 12-4 season. In case you didn’t notice the NFL is filled with flawed teams this year. The consensus best team heading into this week lost to the 2-5 Cleveland Browns by 20 points. You take the wins when you can get them.

Run Santonio Run

Final Thoughts On Jets/Lions

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– I am very pumped to see exactly how healthy Darrelle Revis actually is when he battles against Calvin Johnson. This is a nice chance for him to show he is truly back in 2010 or to show that he still isn’t shape despite it being week 9.

– Despite not getting as much publicity, Brandon Moore and the rest of the Jets interior lineman going against Ndamukong Suh will also a great battle. Moore has an opportunity to demonstrate to the rest of the league that he really is a Pro-Bowl caliber player, which most Jets fans who watch him every week already know.

– Mark Sanchez could really use a strong performance this week or else the talk of him entering a slump and the questions about whether he is ready to lead the Jets to a Super Bowl will intensify to the point where we may be back to the color-code system.

– If I say it one more time, hopefully it come true…LaDainian Tomlinson 20+ carries…Shonn Greene 15+ carries.

– Antonio Cromartie, aren’t we due for an interception?

– Jason Taylor, aren’t we due for a sack?

– Dustin Keller, aren’t we due for a touchdown?

Finally, let’s just get a win in Detroit City

Jets vs. Lions: 12 Pack Of Predictions

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After a bit of a hiatus, the 12 pack is back…

1. There is no way that Rex Ryan didn’t get the message across to Brian Schottenheimer to start running the football more. Maybe it is just wishful thinking but LaDainian Tomlinson will get 20+ carries and Shonn Greene will get 14+ carries. If this prediction is wrong than be mad at Schotty for his ignorance, not me.

2. Darrelle Revis is going to man up Calvin Johnson at least 80% of the time this week. Megatron is going to make a few plays but Revis will keep him under 100 yards and out of the end-zone. The first signs of the Island resurfacing will be in place.

3. Mark Sanchez is going to complete 60 percent of his passes. I predict this because I don’t think the Jets will throw the ball frequently and when they do, I think there will be a good amount of high percentage throws.

4. Jerricho Cotchery isn’t going to drop a pass this week. This guy has been too consistent for too long to let one game throw him into a funk that carries across multiple games.

5. I am feeling a big week for the Jets special teams after their weak performance last week. Nick Folk won’t be shanking any kicks. Steve Weatherford will be punting and not running and Brad Smith will break off at least one big return.

6. The Lions tight ends, Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler are going to have big days. The Jets did a poor job against Todd Heap, Anthony Hernandez, Anthony Fasano, and David Nelson earlier in the year and I am sure the Lions noticed that and will be looking to their tight ends often.

7. The Jets are going to be more aggressive on defense than they have been in previous weeks. This will lead to a few more sacks and maybe a turnover or two but will also allow Lions to create a few big plays of their own.

8. Less of a prediction and more of a general comment – This is the kind of the game where you want to jump out to a quick 10-0 lead and take the crowd out of it. If you let the Lions get off to a fast start they are going to build confidence and that place will be rocking.

9. Inactives – Joe (I can’t believe we spent a 4th round pick on this guy) McKnight, Vladimir (I can’t believe we spent a 2nd round pick on this guy) Ducasse, Kellen Clemens, Jamaal Westerman, Jeff Cumberland, Marcus Dixon, Josh Mauga, Jarron Gilbert.

10. I don’t think we will be seeing much of the Tiger formation this week.

11. Brandon Moore will do a great job on Ndamukong Suh, continuing his All-Pro caliber campaign.

12. The Lions are going to make their share of plays and I don’t think Mark Sanchez is playing well enough right now for this to be a blowout. Detroit will be in this game into the fourth quarter but the Jets will ultimately prevail in a tight one 27-21.

Week 9 Picks (Lines From BetUS)

  • Buffalo (+3) vs. Chicago
  • San Diego (-3) vs. Houston
  • New Orleans (-7.5) vs. Carolina
  • Minnesota (-8) vs. Arizona
  • Tamp Bay (+8) vs. Atlanta
  • Miami (+5) vs. Baltimore
  • Cleveland(+5.5) vs. New England
  • Giants (-7) vs. Seattle
  • Oakland (-2) vs. Kansas City
  • Philadelphia (-2.5) vs. Peyton Manning
  • Green Bay (-7.5) vs. Dallas
  • Pittsburgh (-6) vs. Cincinnati

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Jets vs. Lions: Game Breakdown

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Offense: Hey Brian Schottenheimer, you see those two guys…#21 and #23? They are your running backs. This football team is built around their running game and defense. You have a terrific offensive line, so how about you run the game plan through them? By the way, Detroit is 27th in the NFL at stopping the run. LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene need to combine for 35-45 carries this Sunday, as the Jets get back to their formula for success since the beginning of the Rex Ryan era.

When they do throw the football, Braylon Edwards and Dustin Keller need to get involved early, especially Edwards. He has been their best receiver so far this year so throw him a quick screen or hitch in the first series to make sure he is in the flow of the game. Keller wasn’t utilized enough last week and is always a threat off play action.

If the Jets are going to only run two plays out of the Tiger formation, they need to can it. It is time to expand the package of plays and come up with a few new wrinkles in it.

I don’t doubt that Jerricho Cotchery will bounce back with a strong performance this week, same with Santonio Holmes. It would be nice to see the Jets throw Holmes something besides a quick slant or an under route though.

Defense: Darrelle Revis vs. Calvin Johnson is just going to be fun to watch. I would expect Revis on him the overwhelming majority of the time, or at least he should be if he is actually 100 percent healthy. Antonio Cromartie should be able to handle Nate Burleson. However, the Lions tight ends should be a cause for concern. The Jets have struggled to defend the tight this season at times and Detroit has two good ones in Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler. Brodney Pool, Jim Leonhard, Dwight Lowery, and Eric Smith are going to need to step up their coverage to protect the middle of the field.

The Lions don’t have much of a running game (ranked 30th in the NFL) yet Jahvid Best is dangerous as a receiver out of the backfield with 36 receptions. There isn’t much speed for the Jets at linebacker so it will be interesting to see if the Jets shadow him with either Eric Smith, James Ihedigbo, or maybe Dwight Lowery.

I would like to see the Jets pass rush from their outside linebackers wake up a little bit this week. It has been a very quiet couple of weeks from Calvin Pace, Jason Taylor, and Bryan Thomas. The Jets only have 15 sacks in 7 games, which isn’t enough for a team as aggressive as they are.

Special Teams: You think Steve Weatherford will think twice about taking off for a fake punt this week? The Jets should be wary of Stefan Logan in the return game. The Redskins ran a kick back for a touchdown on the Lions last week and Brad Smith has been very good as a returner this year, so the Jets might be able to pop one.

Turn On The Jets Public Service Announcement

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A few words on the direction Turn On The Jets will be taking in the coming days…

The blogging network that http://turnonthejets.com was originally part of (Fanball) will cease to exist in the coming days. Fortunately, thanks to the good people associated with the company Turn On The Jets will live on, as they passed the URL to me and I will continue to be an Associate Editor for their Owner’s Edge product (http://www.fanball.com/).

Beyond that, Turn On The Jets (me, Joe Caporoso) will begin working for SB Nation in the coming days for their regional New York page (http://www.newyork.sbnation.com/), along with continuing my work at Pro Football NYC (www.profootballnyc.com) where we have an excellent radio program hosted at Blog Talk Radio (www.blogtalkradio.com) every Wednesday at 8 PM.

So, what does all this mean?

– My weekly articles that are more in the game preview/game recap mode (First Look, Grade Report, Game Breakdown) will be hosted at SB Nation and not at this URL. However, I will post links to them here for easy access.

– My more opinionated rants, initial reaction to games, power rankings, and 12 pack will continue to be posted here, along with a few new features.

– I will continue re-posting article to Pro Football NYC and appearing on the radio program.

– Finally as always, follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook (www.facebook.com/turnonthejets) for easy access to everything I write, my daily link dump and commentary of Jets articles across the web, and plenty more. Also follow on Twitter (@TurnOnTheJets) for running commentary throughout the day and during games.

– Also, Turn On The Jets will be partnering up/assisting TOJ TV Producer James Corbett (yes, new episodes are coming eventually) to sell NY sports apparel, including plenty of Jets stuff. The web site isn’t up and running yet but it will be shortly and I can promise what Corbett is putting together has more swag than anything you currently own.

So that is all, keep reading, commenting, and following…it is all greatly appreciated.

J-E-T-S…Let’s get a win this Sunday.

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