TOJ New York Jets Beat Writer Power Rankings – June 6th

Turn On The Jets weekly ranking of the beat writers who cover the New York Jets

Welcome to Turn On The Jets weekly ranking of the New York Jets beat writers, which will be compiled every Wednesday by myself, Chris Gross, and Mike Donnelly. These rankings are based on our composite votes and each of us will take two different writers to explain their position. As always feel free to agree or disagree here on the site, our Facebook Page or on Twitter

1. Jenny Vrentas, The Star LedgerVrentas was the consensus number one pick for all three of us. She puts out consistently high quality content, doesn’t look to sensationalize negative stories about specific players, and digs deeper for interesting angles the other writers ignore. A perfect example was from OTAs last week, Vrentas noted that Demario Davis was working with the first team sub defense, which was a great nugget of information gleamed over by the other beat writers. Her piece featuring Dustin Keller talking about the Jets offensive identity was another interesting angle from her recent work. Vrentas is a strong writer, although we’d like to see more interaction from her on Twitter with fans. The fact that she doesn’t use Sulia is also a big plus. – Joe Caporoso

2. Rich Cimini, ESPN – Cimini generally does a very good job of covering the New York Jets, and is personally one of my favorite beat writers. He consistently keeps his coverage on point, up to date, and relevant. He usually keeps his columns creative, particularly his “Sunday Notes,” and more recently his “Take Five.” Cimini does a good job of using the resources he has at ESPN to provide quality, well-researched analysis, and typically stays engaged with his Twitter followers and readers as displayed by the replies shown on his timeline, and particularly the Jets chat that he holds on ESPNNEWYORK.com.

What keeps Cimini from the top ranking for the inaugural week is his habit of sensationalizing any negative stories revolving around the Jets. If there is a rocky situation, Rich tends to blow it even more out of proportion. For instance, he repeatedly made note of Santonio Holmes’s absence from OTAs, while seemingly poking fun at the fact that he was visiting injured US Troops in Germany via twitter.

He also loves the Tebow drama, but he cannot be faulted for this in these rankings because so does just about every other Jets beat writer. Drama is what sells, and in Cimini’s defense, he usually doesn’t let that get in the way of his analysis, with some exceptions. – Chris Gross

3. Manish Mehta, The Daily News–  Manish took over the Daily News beat from Rich Cimini a little over two years ago, and has become one of the most prolific writers on the Jets beat, as evidenced by his over 30,000 Twitter followers. When Manish took over, he was like a breath of fresh air for Jets fans, and it seemed like he really connected with his audience. He churned out great articles and feature columns like they were going out of style (Which technically they kind of were, since he works for a newspaper and all.. maybe not the best choice of words there). He quickly earned himself many fans with his excellent writing and great information, and I was one of the biggest–until about 6 months ago.

Perhaps fueled by seeing fellow AFC East beat writers like Ian Rappaport and Jeff Darlington receive “promotions” to the national scene for NFL Network, it seemed as though our boy Manish wanted in on the action and decided the easiest way to do so would be to create controversy. And so shortly after the 2011 season ended, that’s what we got: We got harsh articles on players like Santonio Holmes and Mark Sanchez with sensationalistic headlines. We got anonymous quotes–A LOT of anonymous quotes–that always seemed a little too perfect and wrapped his controversial stories up in nice little bows. It got to the point I jokingly started referring to him as Scott Templeton, which you Wire fans out there will know is no compliment. More recently, he was one of the main conductors of the Tebow Hype Train, and seemingly couldn’t wait to force Mark Sanchez out of town. He even resorted to charting every single pass thrown by the two at OTA’s in MAY, four full months before the season. It was a far cry from the thoughtful and well-written articles I came to love reading two years ago.

Other random critiques of Manish that we’ve heard from many anonymous sources (see, I can do it, too) are that he doesn’t interact with his Jets fans enough on Twitter, unless of course he’s sending them condescending DM’s as seen below so nobody can see how salty he’s being. (Sorry, Manish, but you don’t need Jets credentials to write about the team.) Also, it’s worth mentioning that he’s gone way overboard with this annoying Sulia stuff on Twitter, which is something that should be outlawed. It may seem like I’m being hard on Manish or that I dislike him. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I actually like him and his work very much, and if I’m hard on him, it’s because I’ve seen what he can do on the Jets beat, and I wish we saw more of that guy. Come back, Manish. We’ve missed you. Your spot at #1 can be reclaimed. – Mike Donnelly

4. Jane McManus, ESPNMcManus covers both the Jets and Giants for ESPN and has been a strong writer in the New York market since she started out in 1998. It is hard to put her higher on the list because she simply doesn’t put out the same volume of content as others ahead of her, however she has a unique, engaging writing style and is an entertaining follow on Twitter. She doesn’t use Sulia, which we love and knows how to handle an angry Bart Scott. It would be nice to see less Tebow talk from her and more content on other aspects of the team.  – Joe Caporoso

5. Brian Costello, New York Post–  Brian Coz, as he’s known on Twitter, is a guy I’ve read in the Post for a while now, but only recently started following on Twitter. I’ve always enjoyed his writing and think his columns are enjoyable and good reading for Jets fans. He doesn’t try to create controversy or sensationalize headlines to get attention. He just reports on and writes what he sees.

That being said, Costello has a tendency to be a little bit bland with his columns. He seems to write on the same topics all the other reporters do on a given day and never really goes “outside the box”. By that, I mean I never really get the feeling something is MUST-SEE, to the point I feel like I have to go and post it on a Jets message board immediately to get the reaction of fellow Jets fans. It’s more like bathroom reading that’s used to kill a few minutes–not that there’s anything wrong with that. Also, his Twitter account leaves something to be desired. There are not that many tweets, there’s not much breaking news or info, and he doesn’t interact with fans much. Again, I like Brian Costello, and I’m going to be paying closer attention in the coming weeks, hoping we can move him up this list. – Mike Donnelly

6. Kimberly Martin, NewsdayMartin has certainly shown some promise in the early stages of her career as a Jets beat writer. According to her Newsday bio, the National Association of Black Journalists named Martin the 2011 Emerging Journalist of the Year. While she certainly has credentials, and has displayed some promising work, there is not quite enough of a sample of that work to rank her ahead of the first five. As the season unfolds, though, she could easily move up the rankings.

Since we don’t have enough material from Martin to give her a fair analysis yet, this week’s honorable mention for the absolute bottom of the barrel of Jets writers goes to ESPN AFC East Blogger James Walker. Although he certainly likes to bury the Jets every chance he gets, as he displayed by ranking Matt Moore above Mark Sanchez in his AFC East QB rankings last week, Walker earns a bit of a pass here for his most recent article defending Sanchez. If not for this article, which is the first coherent, intelligent analysis I’ve truly seen him give, I would have used this as a forum to bash Walker for his repeated use of minute points and incoherent analysis.

Take his AFC East QB rankings for example. Walker defers to the “Sanchez-Fitz-Moore Watch” as the measuring system used to determine who is the number two quarterback behind Tom Brady in the division. However, when digging deeper into this, Walker’s system goes back to week one of last season when it was initially the “Sanchez-Henne-Fitz Watch.” Walker explains that the column will be a scorecard held throughout the season to determine who deserves to be recognized as the East’s second best quarterback. What credentials does he use in his evaluation you ask? To answer, we have a quote from the first ever edition of the column:

“ Each week, the AFC East blog will keep an updated scorecard on the three quarterbacks, grade each performance on a variety of factors, and determine who’s better at the end of the season.” – James Walker, AFC East Blog, 9/14/11

That’s it. No explanation of what the “variety of factors” is, just simply a “variety of factors.” This leaves his analysis far too open ended, as these factors could vary week to week based on how Walker is feeling. By not clearly stating what he is using in his evaluation process, Walker is ultimately giving himself the ability to rank the quarterbacks on his opinion, since there is no accountability without a clearly defined “variety of factors.” So, Walker claims to have put Moore ahead of Sanchez “fair and square,” but it seems as if his idea of that is based on whom he prefers. I’d love to be proved wrong on this, but unfortunately, the print doesn’t lie.

So, now you have Matt Moore ranked ahead of Mark Sanchez by Walker, who then goes on to praise Sanchez in a defense article noting his ability to play big in big spots, and his habitual winning, less than a week later. A bit contradictory if you ask me. Perhaps Walker smartened up and actually did some research on this one. For that, JW gets a slight pass, but it will be a long season, and he is sure to cause some rumblings in these rankings again.

Still, Walker is not completely off the hook just yet. As pointed out by our good friend Kristine Reese, James is the biggest proponent of retweeting himself on twitter, which would be the equivalent to him “liking” his own status on Facebook. It is simply just not in good taste. Retweeting yourself is a no-no. Get it together James. – Chris Gross

Turn On The Jets Stock Watch: Jets, NBA, Mets, and Mad Men

Mike Donnelly gives us his weekly Stock Watch. Who is he buying and selling this week?

Mike Donnelly is back with his weekly Stock Watch, which will be published every Tuesday throughout the summer. Check back in tomorrow for our first edition of Jets Beat Writers Power Rankings – JC 

Just as with the initial Jets Edition of the Stock Watch, we’re going to be buying and selling individual players, teams, coaches, ideas, and whatever else we see fit based on their future prospects. We’re going to be doing this with our fake money in our fantasy land where these things can be bought and sold, so bear with me. And as always, feel free to contact me via Twitter @TheMikeDonnelly . Now let’s do some buying and selling…

BUY

Jets West – If I had the opportunity to buy some stock in Jets West 2012, I’d load up. It got plenty of attention the past two years with Mark Sanchez bringing his teammates out west for some good old fashioned team-building without coach supervision, but this year TEBOW(!!!) is involved! And as we all know, when Tebow is involved, things get out of control pretty quickly. Look for Jets West to be featured non-stop on television and talked about endlessly on Twitter. Of course, the story SHOULD be how Mark Sanchez is the undisputed leader of the team and has the respect of his offensive teammates, but Tebow’s mere presence will not allow for that. I’m amazed that a Jets player planning to attend Jets practices could be such a big story, but evidently it is.

On the bright side, I’m starting to think that in a roundabout way all of this nonsense is going to be very beneficial for Sanchez, and he’s going to come out playing with some serious fire this season. Plus, getting new receivers Stephen Hill and Chaz Schilens out west along with slot man Jeremy Kerley, and the formerly disgruntled Schottenheimer-hater, Santonio Holmes, should allow Sanchez to get comfortable with his receiving corps. And as we all know, that was not a luxury he was afforded last year with all the comings and goings, like the foolish swapping of Edwards and Cotchery for Mason and Plaxico. Which brings me to..

Mark Sanchez – Get used to seeing him here in the Buy section. With Brian Schottenheimer’s dismissal and the addition of a true deep threat in Stephen Hill, I’m expecting big things from the Sanchize this year. Remember all those fake shares you bought after last week’s column? Let’s add a few more to it.

The Mets Pitching Staff – This is strictly limited to the Starting pitchers, because watching their bullpen makes me feel like I just saw a puppy get hit by a car, but wow, what a week for the Mets. Between Johan Santana’s no-hitter, R.A. Dickey’s shutout, and Jon Niese’s near-shutout, the Mets announced themselves as serious contenders in the NL as long as the rotation remains in tact (which all Mets fans know is nearly impossible, given their incompetent medical staff, but still..). Throw in big time prospects Zach Wheeler, Matt Harvey, and to a lesser extent Jenrry Mejia, and the Mets are shockingly putting together a potentially dominant pitching staff. Let’s add some Mets stock to our portfolio and pray Johan’s arm doesn’t fall off in the next few weeks.

Rajon Rondo – Anybody watching the NBA Playoffs knows what a joy Rondo has been to watch these past few weeks. He’s playing absolutely out of his mind, and even better, he keeps taking hilarious shots at the Miami Floppers–err, I mean the Heat–through the media. Keep up the great work, Rondo! I’m buying.

The 46 Defense – After basically being wiped out of NFL playbooks for the past two decades, Rex Ryan and the Jets are bringing back the 46 defense in a big way this year. With the additions of Quinton Coples, Demario Davis, Laron Landry, and Yeremiah Bell, Rex Ryan has added a lot of the pieces he thinks are necessary to replicate his father’s famous dominant defenses in Chicago. In addition, he brought in widely respected defensive line coach Karl Dunbar to work with Coples, Mo Wilkerson, Aaron Maybin and the rest of the defensive front on their pass rushing technique. Look for all these moves to pay major dividends this year and other teams to follow suit. After all, the NFL is a copycat league, and you can expect to hear plenty about the 46 defense going forward.

Michael Ginsberg – No, this is not a new addition to the Jets defense or something like that, but all my fellow Mad Men fans know who I mean. With Peggy off finding out if the grass truly is greener on the other side, and Don desperately looking to go after the big fish, he needs Ginsberg more than ever–and to make matters worse for Don, Ginsberg knows it, too. Mr. Draper has started to realize he’s slightly out of touch and the 60‘s are passing him by, while Ginsberg has the new “cool” ideas the company needs. I’d load up on Ginsberg stock; he’s on the fast track.

SELL

Lane Pryce – Allow me one more Mad Men thought here, and please, stop reading if you haven’t seen this week’s episode, because I’m going to spoil it for you. Seriously, you’ve been warned! Last chance. Ok.. This one is pretty obvious, but it’s pretty safe to unload all your Lane Pryce stock at this point after he totally bottomed out this week and committed suicide. We saw this one coming all season, but man, how depressing was it that poor Lane couldn’t even kill himself right? His brand new Jaguar wouldn’t start, so he had to resort to sadly hanging himself in his office, next to his New York Mets pennant. The poor guy could never quite catch a break. Ok, that’s the end of my Mad Men ranting for the week. Let’s move on..

Plaxico Burress – Oh, what’s that? Plaxico hasn’t even gotten a sniff in free agency this year? Wow, I am completely shocked that a receiver who can’t run, can’t get down the field, and can’t separate from cornerbacks hasn’t been scooped up. Plaxico hamstrung Mark Sanchez and this offense last year far more than Jets fans realized. I think it may be all over for Mr. Burress. Plaxico stock is a dud.

Justin Blackmon and Jaguars Fans (all 18 of them) – I have no sympathy for Blackmon, who is a total idiot, but I feel bad for the fans. Just when they thought they had a good receiver for the first time since Jimmy Smith, it turns out he’s a complete moron and likes driving around completely hammered at 3am. Great. He deserves to be punished for this, especially since it’s his second offense. And he will, but man oh man, that is not the way for your first round pick to start his career. I wouldn’t invest in this situation.

NBA Officials – It doesn’t get much worse than the performance the NBA Officials have put on as a whole in these playoffs. Whether it’s just awful calls or flat out rigging the games, these playoffs have been especially painful to watch. It’s gotten so bad that I have pretty much waited until a few minutes into the game to see which team the refs are favoring, then root for the underdog playing 5 against 8.

Quinton Coples Critics/Bashers – It was a popular thing to say during the draft process that Quinton Coples was a “boom or bust” player with questionable work ethic. Well I firmly believe Coples is going to make all of those people eat their words. It’s only June, but all reports out of Jets camp are that Coples is the real deal, and he’s going to be a terrific fit in this attacking style defense. He’s got all the tools, and he’s going to have some of the best defensive coaching in the NFL between Rex Ryan and assistant Karl Dunbar. All the people who bashed Coples will have changed their tune by the end of 2012.

New York Jets: The Other Off-Season Of Santonio Holmes

Regardless of the New York media’s portrayal, Santonio Holmes had an off-season to be proud of

The media that covers the New York Jets has come up with a few consistent narratives heading into the 2012 NFL season. One of them is building up Tim Tebow’s work ethic and viability as a starting quarterback while simultaneously questioning the same attributes in Mark Sanchez. Quarterback controversies sell. The potential of a Darelle Revis holdout is another one, even though the topic was initially broached by reporters not by a comment from Revis or the team. Finally, Santonio Holmes remains the aloof team villain.

Whether it is the Daily News misconstruing quotes from him or anonymous sources or Rich Cimini commenting during last week’s OTAs “Holmes still in Germany, according to team. Long trip. Maybe he’s looking for Berlin Wall.” when Holmes missed a voluntary practice to visit with American troops abroad, he remains the team’s bogeyman. It is laughable when the reporters characterize his answers to their questions as “testy.” Gee, I wonder why? Maybe he sees what is written about him and is exhausted of the constant questioning of him being the sole reason for the team’s struggles last year.

Let’s give a quick review of what we know Santonio Holmes did this off-season –

1. He worked out in Florida with his strength and conditioning coach, during a time of the year that many NFL players are taking a vacation.

2. He spent 2 weeks in Africa with the Pros for Africa organization visiting with and helping impoverished children throughout the continent.

3. He met with quarterback Mark Sanchez for a few days in Florida to smooth over any differences they had last season.

4. He visited ill and injured troops at USO locations in Germany.

5. He organized a bowling event to raise money for Sickle Cell research.

6. He is working with the F.I.N.E.S.S.E. Foundation Football Camp by sponsoring five kids to attend.

All the positive work that Holmes is doing doesn’t fit in the media’s narrative of him, so it doesn’t receive the attention it deserves. Instead he gets a headline on the Daily News saying “Give Me The Damn Ball!” when the quote was pulled from an anonymous source and not from him…then people like Manish Mehta wonder why they get “testy” answers from him in press conferences.

I am not saying Holmes hasn’t made mistakes on and off the field throughout his NFL career, but who hasn’t? I do know he is far from the villain that the media makes him out to be.

 

Jets West Camp Is About Sanchez, Not Tebow

The buzz surrounding Jets West Camp should be about Mark Sanchez’s leadership, not Tim Tebow’s attendance

For the third straight year, Mark Sanchez and his family will be hosting a collection of New York Jets offensive players for “Jets West” Camp. It has become a yearly tradition for Sanchez to gather his teammates in the weeks leading up training camp to review the offense, hold practices and spend roughly a week together. He organizes the whole thing, takes care of the scheduling and accommodations, along with extending invites to all the team’s skill position players.

Things like Jets West were part of the reason it was laughable when anonymous sources questioned Sanchez’s work ethic and leadership. Since day one of joining the team, Sanchez has reportedly been the first one in the building and the last one out. Recently, newly hired offensive coordinator noted that he has been the team’s hardest worker on offense and has mastered the offense in the classroom already.

Of course, the primary story being written about Jets West this year is that backup quarterback Tim Tebow will be in attendance. Why wouldn’t he be? Greg McElroy will be there and Tebow should be too. The narrative about Jets West Camp should be about Sanchez’s leadership, not Tebow’s attendance. Yet, in what should be an ongoing theme leading up to the regular season, Tebow is again being spotlighted over Sanchez.

This year’s camp will be a chance for Sanchez to further instruct his teammates on Sparano’s offense, which he began learning well before anybody else on the team when he went out of his way to train with Chad Pennington. Yes, the lazy Sanchez tracked Pennington down on his own and took multiple trips down to Florida to learn his new offense before OTAs began. His early knowledge will pay off in a situation like Jets West, where he could instruct his fellow skill position players and work towards developing chemistry with them.

Since the Jets season went down in flames, Sanchez has done all the right things. Hosting Jets West is just another one of them that will help pay dividends in September.

Turn On The Jets 12 Pack: Reasons For Optimism

The Turn On The Jets 12 pack looks at reasons to be optimistic for the upcoming season

Inspired by our good friend Jeff Capellini’s article this week, we have decided to go optimistic on the 12 pack this weekend. Yes, I know some of you have been frustrated by my questioning of the Tebow trade and the Coples selection, but hey I don’t hand out effervescent praise for transactions that I think deserve questioning. That being said, let’s look at 12 reasons to be optimistic for the upcoming New York Jets season

1. Sparano > Schotty – There isn’t an easier person to replace to New York Jets fans than Brian Schottenheimer, Sparano was beloved the second he came in the door simply because he wasn’t Schottenheimer. Shockingly, we are exhausted of consistent mediocrity, confused game plans and 67 ‘effin dropbacks against the Giants pass rush. Yet, let’s give Sparano more credit than just not being Schotty. He has brought a needed energy and discipline to the offense. He won’t stray from the Ground and Pound approach Rex Ryan wants in place but also won’t be shy to take his shots down the field. Expect an improved Jets offense in 2012.

2. Needed Speed – If there is one thing the Jets added through the draft, it was speed. Quinton Coples gives them a defensive lineman, who unlike every other one on the roster, can get after the quarterback. Stephen Hill gives them a wide receiver, who unlike every other one on the roster, can take the top off a defense. Demario Davis gives them a linebacker, who unlike every other one on the roster, can run with a tight end.

3. Measured Improvement – Despite lacking a proven free safety, which is an issue. The safety collection of LaRon Landry, Yeremiah Bell, Eric Smith, Josh Bush and Antonio Allen will be better than Eric Smith, Jim Leonhard, and Brodney Pool were last year.

4. He Can Do Some Things – Tim Tebow isn’t anywhere near the quarterback Mark Sanchez is but he will bring a new dimension to the Jets offense, particularly in short yardage situations. His presence will improve the Jets rushing game and add a dynamic element to their offense which it sorely lacked last year.

5. Versatile Dunbar – The New York Jets are going to be more versatile on defense this season, with a better ability to bounce between a 3-4, 4-3 and 46 and the addition of defensive line coach Karl Dunbar will only help that process. Keep an eye on Muhammad Wilkerson in year two, who is coming off a quietly strong rookie year. If Wilkerson keeps improving and Coples turns into boom instead of bust, the Jets will have a serious presence up front surrounding proven nose tackle Sione Pouha.

6. Bounce Back – Credit the coaching staff and Bart Scott for both recognizing his need to drop weight in order to remain effective on defense. Scott can’t be any worse than he was last season and should still be able to be the effective 2 down linebacker he was in 2009 and 2010. Also look for an improved year from D’Brickashaw Ferguson, who is simply too talented to have back to back down years. Finally, watch out for Santonio Holmes this year. No matter how much the New York media disparages him, the guy can play football.

7. Other Year 2 Leaps – Outside of Muhammad Wilkerson, Jeremy Kerley will be a year better and has the talent to be every bit the slot receiver Davone Bess was in Miami under Tony Sparano. I also count this year as Joe McKnight’s second season since he basically redshirted his rookie year in an out of shape daze. Hopefully Sparano uses McKnight in a similar way to how he used Reggie Bush last year.

8. Mayhem – Aaron Maybin has now had a full off-season to work with the coaching staff and master the Jets defense. He racked up 6 sacks in 13 games last season, let’s see what he can do with a full 16.

9. Great is Great – Contrary to some, I believe Darrelle Revis will be on the field week 1 against Buffalo. Revis, Nick Mangold, and David Harris are still elite football players in the prime of their career.

10. Learn From Your Mistakes – In the long run, last season could have been the best thing that happened to Rex Ryan’s coaching career. He learned valuable lessons about keeping the pulse of his team, keeping his mouth shut in certain circumstances, and becoming more hands on in certain situations.

11. Still #6 – You may not find a more Pro-Sanchez Jets site than TOJ and we remain confident that despite the mainstream media’s desire to start up a quarterback controversy and the amateur psychoanalysis that constantly goes on of Sanchez, that he will play very well this season and solidify himself as the team’s long term answer at quarterback.

12. Your Weekly TOJ Schedule – Ok, not related to the team but about the site in the coming weeks leading up to training camp, keep an eye out for

  • Tuesday – Stock Watch by Mike Donnelly
  • Wednesday – Beat Writer Power Rankings
  • Thursday – Fact or False by Chris Gross
  • Friday – 12 Pack by yours truly

Enjoy the weekend…

A Closer Look At The New York Jets 46 Defense

A closer look at what roles individual players will play in the New York Jets 46 defense

This video on NFL.com provided an encouraging look at the New York Jets 46 defense, which has repeatedly been talked up by the coaching staff as a major part of their scheme for 2012. The decision to hire Karl Dunbar and draft Quinton Coples only reinforces that. We already discussed the 4-3 looks the Jets could use this season, so let’s take a closer look at how their personnel could be deployed in the 46:

NT – Sione Pouha is going to receive the lion share of the reps here. Ideally, Kenrick Ellis could provide quality reps off the bench this season but he is far from a proven commodity. The Jets also still have Martin Tevaseau behind Pouha, who does have some experience. Finally, Mike DeVito does have the ability to slide into this spot if there was an emergency.

DT – Surrounding Pouha up front, the Jets will likely have Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples starting out, with DeVito and Marcus Dixon rotating in off the bench. Obviously, Coples is a better option on passing downs and DeVito is a better presence against the run at this stage of their careers.

DE – Calvin Pace could see the majority of reps here because of his ability to set the edge and occasionally get after the passer. He also has a good amount of experience with his hand in the dirt. Aaron Maybin could also line up here on passing downs, where he could utilize his speed.

LB (On Line) – The LBs you see diagrammed lined up alongside the defensive line will likely be Bart Scott in the interior and Bryan Thomas on the outside as starters. Scott can utilize his run stopping ability here and Thomas has proven he can set the edge against the running game. However, Demario Davis should replace either Thomas or Scott in passing situations, where the Jets could use him to either cover the tight end or get after the quarterback. Finally, the Jets could also line up one of their many strong safeties on the edge occasionally, whether it is LaRon Landry, Yeremiah Bell, or Eric Smith.

LB (Off Line) – Lined up alongside the strong safety, David Harris will be the primary player in this spot. He will have the ability to roam free and do what he does better than anybody on the defense, make tackles. In certain passing situations, I could see the Jets putting Yeremiah Bell or Eric Smith in this spot, alongside LaRon Landry at strong safety.

SS – LaRon Landry’s skill set fits best to this position. However, we could also see him and Bell be interchangeable in this spot, along with E. Smith occasionally seeing reps there, particularly if the Jets line up Landry up on the line in certain situations.

CB – Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie get the opportunity to take advantage of their man to man skills in this scheme. Could the Jets deploy a formation where Cromartie drops to FS and Kyle Wilson comes in at corner? I wouldn’t put it past Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine.

FS – The Jets lack a proven one on their roster. You could see Bell or E. Smith getting reps here, along with rookie Josh Bush or maybe even Cromartie as previously mentioned. Ideally, Bush picks up the defense quickly and becomes a capable centerfielder because he has the best skill set for this spot.

There is plenty of versatility with this formation. For example, the Jets could opt to take advantage of their collection of strong safeties by putting Landry on the line as the outside LB, putting Bell at the off the line LB and having E. Smith as the strong safety. Demario Davis has the speed to set the edge on either side or line up as the off the line LB in passing situations. Calvin Pace can play on either side of the formation, with his hand in the dirt or standing upright.

What is nice about the 46 and the Jets personnel is the ability to mix and match the player’s positions, which is something Rex Ryan loves to do and will keep offenses on their toes.

NBA Playoffs: Beards, Rings and Old Legs

Justin Fritze breaks down what we have learned so far in the NBA Conference Finals

Justin Fritze breaks down what we have learned so far in the NBA Conference Finals. Who are you Knicks fans pulling for out there? Personally, the wave of tears in Boston has led me to hope Miami beats them but is then promptly disposed of by the Spurs in 5 games. – JC 

THE WEST: EQUAL AND OPPOSITE

Was I, a diehard Thunder fan, nervous about going 0-2 to the Spurs with the potential of going down 0-3 last night? No. I was already resigned. Yes I know it’s sacrilege, but every person watching the two games in San Antonio could do nothing but marvel at the efficiency and ease that the Spurs displayed with their old school offense.

If you’re going to lose, you better lose to the best. You better not get outworked or outhustled, but getting outsmarted by a team with 4 rings in the past 10 years (and quite possibly the second or first (if you factor in the Jordan/Kobe thing) greatest coach in NBA history) is nothing to be scoffed at. Yeah, Dirk got them with an inhuman playoff performance last year, but this year was different. It was the sum of the parts working at 110% efficiency.

It was with that in my mind that I sat, stone sober, in front of my television and watched the Thunder quite literally dismantle that machine, piece by piece, and use their transition offense to beat on the Spurs. Case in point? Kevin Durant skying over Tim Duncan with an alley oop as Duncan decides not to even attempt a block. For that night, for that fanbase, the Thunder decided that they weren’t going to go quietly, and a single question stood out in my mind. Were the Spurs, with 19 straight playoff wins, getting tired?

My hope? Yes. The Thunder are going to use their momentum (and the fact that they are undefeated at home in the 2012 playoffs) to turn game 4 into a track meet. Will it work? Who knows. I’m a fan of the team, so trying to get any sort of unbiased opinion out of me on this series is going to be as useless as getting “elpresidente” to give a level headed assessment of Game 2 of the Boston/Miami series.

Why am I a Thunder fan? I’ve been trying to come up with reasons beside the obvious: the relative anonymity by which the team as a whole carries itself, the young coach, the city still trying to deal with its scars, the 22 year old shooting guard coming off the bench, the 22 year old power forward, the 23 year old point guard, the 23 year old small forward….etc.

The Thunder, simply put, are the Anti-Heat. No Armani GM, no collusion in their “Big 3”, no ring proclamations, no star treatment. Enough gushing. Let’s talk after Saturday night.

THE EAST: THE END OF THE ROAD

I’m here to give great pity, great condolence, and great admiration to the Boston Celtics. Why? Because I was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, and most of my family still resides in the New England area. Because my grandpa has hats for every Celtics championship, because there is just something different about coming from New England. People there never get much credit, and most of the industries in Connecticut and Massachusetts have all but dried up. Textile mills, steel mills, paper mills, all but gone. Go read Kerouac, and look at modern day Lowell. It’s a testament to a time gone by.

That’s what I see with the Celtics. Old men exchanging stories about the good old days. Ray Allen trying to play on two bad ankles, Paul Pierce getting absolutely 0 calls, Rajon Rondo trying to carry the load of not just the Celtics team of 2012, but all the ghosts of Celtics past. Those banners carry weight, and Rajon Rondo tried to do everything short of fly around the court to get the Celtics a win. He may be completely insane, but Rajon Rondo has the heart of 10 Lebrons.
Despite the incessant banshee screams of Bill Simmons, the Celtics are not going to win this series. This is the end of the road, and if I can pick a favorite moment of this Celtics squad, it was the crippling of Kobe’s dynasty with a title and a 30 point blowout a few years back. Kevin Garnett, Paul Piece, Ray Allen, thanks for the memories.

As a last thought, imagine if Jeff Green was healthy this year.