New York Jets: Five Training Camp Questions

Five questions for the New York Jets heading into training camp

The New York Jets first full training camp practice will take place this Saturday at 8 AM in Cortland, New York. Check back throughout the rest of week for Turn On The Jets preview by myself, Chris Gross and Mike Donnelly. Today we look at five questions facing the team that still need to be sorted out in the coming weeks –

1. How Annoying Will The Tim Tebow Coverage Be? – My guess is somewhere between very, very annoying and painstakingly annoying. It has already started today with “Jets thinking about using Tebow on kickoffs story” and we know every step he takes will be tracked in excruciating detail. There is a ton of hype about all the different uses for Tebow but ultimately look for him to be a backup quarterback with a package of plays in the Wildcat. In a perfect world, Tebow will be a needed weapon in the running game, particularly in short yardage situations. Will there be times he is used as a punt protector or field goal holder? Probably, but don’t expect it to be a regular thing. Will the Jets run a trick play here or there with him? Sure, but it isn’t going to be every week.

2. The Battle For Right Tackle – The trade for Jeff Otah yesterday threw the right tackle position into a wide open competition. Otah is physically superior to incumbent Wayne Hunter across the board but has had issues with his health and motivation. If Otah can stay on the field and is in the right mindset he should run away with the job and relegate Hunter to the role he is best suited for, a backup swing tackle. It will be interesting to see how the reps are divided up in the beginning of camp and then headed into the pre-season.

3. Tweaking The Roster – Most people disagree with the notion that the Jets need another running back. Isn’t it foolish to head into camp with no backs besides Shonn Greene on the roster who have ran for more than 150 yards in a season? If he misses a few weeks, who is going to handle the bulk of the carries? Cedric Benson is there for the veteran’s minimum. Go get him. Beyond that, the Jets still need to add a blocking tight end and will likely do so sooner rather than later.

4. LaRon Landry’s Health – Landry is starting off camp on the Active PUP list. How many practices will he miss this August and at what point does he miss enough time not to be the week one starter? The Jets will be much better served with Landry starting at strong safety and Eric Smith coming off the bench as a role player. Yet, if Landry can’t get on the field, Smith will once again be forced into the starting role.

5. Wide Receiver Reps – All eyes will be on Stephen Hill at the wide receiver position. It won’t be easy for him to walk in and perform like a starter from day one and he will have Chaz Schilens pushing him. If Schilens performs well early in camp and Hill struggles to pick up the offense, how much playing time will he earn for himself? Would the Jets actually make Schilens the starter or keep Hill the starter in name and have Schilens take a big chunk of his reps?

Later Today – New York Jets Stock Watch

Tomorrow – 53 Man Roster Prediction

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New York Jets Swag: Buy Turn On The Jets Shirt

Buy the Turn On The Jets shirt for the 2012 NFL season

Turn On The Jets shirts are here for the 2012 NFL season. Click on the above image or visit our buy page to order yours today. The shirts come in small, medium, large, extra large, or XXL for men and the same sizes for lady fit. Make sure you are following Turn On The Jets on Twitter and Facebook because we will doing giveaways throughout this entire first batch. 

Can I promise that you will be the best looking Jets fan at the bar or at your tailgate with this shirt on? Yes…Yes I can. 

New York Jets Trade For Tackle Jeff Otah

The New York Jets have traded an undisclosed draft pick for Carolina Panthers tackle Jeff Otah

The New York Jets have traded an undisclosed draft pick to the Carolina Panthers for tackle Jeff Otah, a former first round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. He has started 29 games for the Panthers but has been very banged up the past two seasons, with knee and back injuries. Otah has only played in 4 games over the past two seasons but is a “dominant run blocking right tackle” when health.

There have been questions about his conditioning and toughness in the past. However, if he can stay on the field, Otah would be a substantial upgrade over Wayne Hunter. At a minimum, this is the competition that the Jets needed to bring in for Hunter who didn’t deserve to have the job handed to him. The Jets aren’t going to cut Hunter because of the money they owe him but now have a viable threat to his position on the roster. There had been some chatter about potentially adding Vernon Carey but Otah has a much greater upside.

This will likely be an open competition from day one in camp and further proves the Jets have zero faith in players like Vlad Ducasse or Austin Howard to be major contributors.

Otah is 6’6, 330 pounds and attended the University of Pittsburgh.

It is a fair assumption that the compensation will be determined by Otah hitting a certain snap count, look for the pick to slide anywhere from a 4th to 7th rounder. It is a small risk for a player with as much upside as Otah, particularly at a positon of need for the Jets whose depth is looking much better now at tackle, as they also have another former starter Stephon Heyer on the roster.

Do not be surprised if the Jets make another move or two in the coming days. They still need a blocking tight end and depth at running back.

New York Jets: The Glass Half Full

A response to negative outlooks for the 2012 New York Jets season

Earlier today we ran TJ Rosenthal’s interview with Evan Silva, which painted a negative picture of the 2012 New York Jets. We disagree with big chunks of Silva’s opinion and have elaborated what type of team we think the Jets will be in 2012. Let’s look at where we specifically see flaws in Silva and others analysis who see the Jets as a team who will struggle to even crack .500 this season.

Offense – Generally, people remain way too down on Mark Sanchez’s ability to be a successful quarterback in the NFL. I define successful as the quarterback of a team who is consistently in contention as both a playoff and Super Bowl contender. There is no reason Sanchez can’t be a better version of the player he was for the 2010 team who went 11-5 and was 5 points from a Super Bowl appearance.

Silva refers to the Jets having a successful offense when they had Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes threatening vertically and Dustin Keller and Jerricho Cotchery working the seams, supported by a power running game led by a strong offensive line. The Mark Sanchez of 2010 led a run first offense yet consistently stepped up to make big throws when it mattered. There was nothing timid about his game and he clearly trusted his arm.

Why can’t the Jets replicate that type of offense? Holmes and Keller remain on the roster. Stephen Hill has the speed to threaten defenses deep (as does Chaz Schilens) and Jeremy Kerley showed signs of being a quality slot receiver last season. Yes, Damien Woody has been replaced by Wayne Hunter but don’t forget that Hunter played the entire stretch run and playoffs for an injured Woody in 2010.

It is fair to question the depth at running back. Shonn Greene is a fairly average back and the Jets don’t have a proven player behind him. The hope is that Joe McKnight can add a game breaking element to the running back position, which the team has lacked since Leon Washington was traded a few years back. Beyond that, let’s not forget what Tim Tebow should bring to the running game particularly in goal-line and short yardage situations.

The Jets offense has plenty to prove but there is enough talent to believe that with a new approach from Tony Sparano, they can match or exceed the 22 points per game they were scoring in 2010.

Defense – Most can admit that a minimum, the Jets will have a solid, productive defense thanks to the presence of Rex Ryan, Darrelle Revis, David Harris and Sione Pouha. A great defensive mind and an elite player at all three levels is a hell of a start. The Jets had a tough year in the points allowed category in 2011 but keep in mind no offense allowed opposing defenses to score more points than the Jets. If they cut back on the turnovers, which they are expected to under Tony Sparano, that number will drop significantly. Beyond that, the Jets have upgraded their safety position by adding two new starters in Yeremiah Bell and LaRon Landry and a new dime back in Josh Bush. They also improved speed at linebacker by drafting Demario Davis and upfront by drafting Quinton Coples. Players like Muhammad Wilkerson and Aaron Maybin will also be a year better in Rex’s system after having their first full off-season to work in it.

It isn’t a defense without flaws, as they still lack overall speed at linebacker and coverage ability at safety. However, they are deep at every position and have enough talent to be a top five unit, as they were in total defense the past three years. Karl Dunbar’s presence will also allow them to be more versatile as more 4-3 and 46 looks are expected to be worked in.

Schedule – There has been a bunch of talk about the Jets starting 1-4, leading to an inevitable Mark Sanchez benching/season long quarterback controversy. Without question, the hardest stretch of the Jets schedule is their first five games –

  • Home vs. Buffalo
  • At Pittsburgh
  • At Miami
  • Home vs. San Francisco
  • Home vs. Houston

If you are going by pre-season expectations and past history, the Jets should come out at worst 2-3. The Sanchez failure analysis is flawed because he is 5-1 in his career against Buffalo, including a 20/28, 230 yard performance and a 4 touchdown, game winning drive performance last year. He has played very well in both his trips to Pittsburgh and both match-ups against Houston. The Jets will also be substantially better than Miami. A hard stretch…yes? A season crippling stretch? Not by any means.

After those five games the Jets don’t play a single team who made the playoffs last year, outside of New England. They also get to send their defense against such offensive juggernauts as St. Louis, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, and Seattle along with getting Miami again at home.

Silva sees 7 wins as the Jets best case scenario, I see that as their worst case scenario. The 2012 Jets should be able to replicate many of the things that made them successful in 2010, along with adding a few new elements.

New York Jets 2012: Interview With Rotoworld’s Evan Silva

TJ Rosenthal interviews Rotoworld’s Evan Silva, who gives his outlook for the 2012 New York Jets…and it isn’t pretty

TJ Rosenthal had the opportunity to sit down with Evan Silva from Rotoworld and Pro Football Talk to discuss the 2012 New York Jets and the reasons he believes the team will struggle so much. We never shy away from varying opinions and thank Evan for taking the time to so thoroughly explain his opinions…even if we do disagree with them. Take it away TJ…

Rotoworld Senior NFL Editor Evan Silva is one of the up and coming NFL analysts out there today. Silva, who also contributes to NBC Sports and Profootballtalk.com, has recently caught the attention of some Jets fans who have come across some not so promising tweets from him when it comes to the Jets outlook for 2012. The Jet Report caught up with him to discuss in further detail why he believes the Jets will struggle this season.

How will the Jets fare in 2012?

I don’t think they’ll be very good. The one factor that may prevent the Jets from finishing as one of the league’s worst teams in terms of won-loss record is an easy schedule. They have the AFC South and NFC West as non-division opponents. They should also be better than the Dolphins. But I think the Jets will start the season 1-4 and end up losing along the way a number of games most people believe they “should” win because they will struggle mightily to generate offense.

Mark Sanchez?

I usually try to avoid bandwagoning the mainstream, common refrains. And I realize it’s become mainstream to criticize Mark Sanchez. At the same time, I’ve seen enough of Sanchez to believe — know might even be a better word — that he’s not the answer at quarterback for the Jets. He’s a timid passer, scared to challenge deep, doesn’t trust his arm, and plays frenetically in the pocket. The Jets’ bye falls in Week 9 this year. Regardless of the phony offseason contract extension, I think Sanchez will lose his starting job before or during the off week.

I think if Sanchez is ever going to successfully engineer an offense — and not be a quarterback at the controls of a team trying to stay competitive despite him — it will happen down the road, outside of New York. I actually think that is going to happen. Sanchez will have some strong years later in his career, long after the Jets move on.

Is the AFC East “Patriot owned” with the closest challenger to the throne gearing up in Orchard Park not Florham Park, as many believe?

I like what the Bills did in the spring. They desperately needed to improve their pass rush, and they will be a more dangerous team defensively this year than they have been in quite some time. But I don’t think they’ll be more than a 7-9 win team. And I think the Jets are looking at about seven victories in an absolute best-case scenario. So, yes, I think the AFC East is Patriot owned.

The Ground and Pound: Talk about it as a viable or non viable concept at this point in time in the NFL.

It would be viable if the Jets had a premier NFL back and an offensive line capable of dominating in the trenches, snap to snap and game to game. The Jets do not have either of those elements. I have reviewed 2011 games, and I actually thought the Jets’ run blocking was better last year than it was given credit for. The front five opened lanes. There were plenty of cutback opportunities. The back consistently failed to capitalize. Shonn Greene is another major liability on this team, and I think you could make a good argument that he’s an even bigger liability than Sanchez.

Are the pieces in place for the Jets to at least achieve their goals with this system on offense?

I don’t think so. Not even close. I mean, what is the Jets’ strength on offense? It’s definitely not the passing game. And you can’t tell me it’s Shonn Greene. I enjoyed watching the Jets a couple of years ago when you had Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes threatening defenses vertically, and Dustin Keller and Jerricho Cotchery working the seam. The offensive line was maybe the best in the league. The Jets didn’t have elite backs, but there was a vertical threat and a punishing front-five group that worked in unison to kind of compensate for the talent shortcomings in the backfield. The Jets won 11 games that year. They could compete with anyone.

The Jets have gotten worse since then, probably much worse. The right tackle is a major, major problem. Wayne Hunter isn’t just a poor pass-protecting tackle. He gets knocked off the ball in the run game, too. And right tackle in a run-first scheme is a crucial puzzle piece. You want a guy there that you can run behind. Pound it off his backside. Hunter isn’t remotely close to that guy.

How about adding Cedric Benson?

I don’t think Benson would be a terrible pickup. He can handle a large workload and fits the scheme from the standpoint that he’s a power runner. He does a better job of picking up blocked yards than Greene. He sees the field better than Greene. But Benson doesn’t have any big-play ability. He doesn’t play in the passing game. When Benson is in the game, the defense knows the run is coming, which makes the offense easy to defend. He would not solve the Jets’ problems.

Tim Tebow?

I like Tim Tebow. I think he fits the Jets philosophically because he is a run-first quarterback. Rex Ryan and Tony Sparano want to pound the rock. I think that by midseason, Tebow will have overtaken Sanchez because he’s a superior philosophical fit. He’s also willing to stand in the pocket and test the defense downfield. Even if he’s not putting it on the money every time, I think that’s more than you can say about Sanchez. I think Tebow gives the Jets a better chance of delivering the rock to Santonio Holmes in the vertical passing game than Sanchez does.

The Jets are begging for a quarterback controversy, by acquiring Tim Tebow. And I think it will start off very rocky. But I think ultimately he will prove their best option to play under center.

How do you see him fitting into the equation offensively should he remain QB2?

It’s pretty clear that he will be used on special teams, and on offense have a designed package of plays for about 5-12 snaps per game. Offensively, I think it will be a disaster because you already have a starting quarterback whose down-to-down consistency is a major issue, and then you are pulling him off the field for a different quarterback who is sure to be a fan favorite. There is little doubt in my mind that it will cause problems for the Jets internally, until Tebow takes over full time.

Will Tebow improve at throwing the football as a pro?

I don’t feel great about betting against Tim Tebow long term, but I don’t think he will improve as a passer. He’s not a natural thrower of the football. Passing the ball into tight windows with precision and consistency is not in Tim Tebow’s DNA. Watch a bunch of Tebow’s throws uninterrupted, and you can see it in the way the football comes out of his hand. I don’t think we’ll see him get much better, but I also don’t think that necessarily means he can’t quarterback a winning offense.

How much of Mark Sanchez’s inability to elevate his play in 2011 when the Jets started the year attempting to open it up, had to do with Brian Schottenheimer’s playcalling, and or any handcuffs having been put on him since day one?

The issues are with Sanchez. They’re not with Schottenheimer. Schottenheimer ultimately did not successfully coordinate an explosive offense, and by failing to do so he failed to do his job. I know it’s easy to pile on the guy who’s gone. The guy who failed. But if he had an effective quarterback, Schottenheimer would still be the Jets’ offensive coordinator. In Sanchez, he did not have that.

The Jets did open last season with a passing offense. For instance, in the Week 1 Dallas game, the Jets used shotgun on 38 of their 64 offensive snaps. The Jets were using three receivers as their base offense early in the year. They opened up their offense and gave their quarterback a chance to really establish himself as a top-flight NFL passer. When Sanchez failed to produce the results the Jets wanted, Ryan called the thing off and went back to the Ground and Pound. We’d be telling a different story — and Schottenheimer would still be around — if Sanchez had played well in the passer-friendly offense. It all comes down to execution. Sanchez did not execute.

Can Tony Sparano make Sanchez into the leader the Jets first envisioned, when they traded up to select him 5th overall in 2009?

I obviously don’t think so. I don’t even think Sparano is trying to do that. The Jets hired Sparano to implement a running-based offense. In the NFL these days, you don’t implement a running-based offense when you have a quarterback who throws the football effectively. With Sparano calling the offense, the Jets will try to get back to winning games in spite of Sanchez. That’s not an endorsement of the quarterback, and that’s probably not going to work unless you have an elite running foundation. And the Jets do not have that. Sanchez will be asked to manage games, avoid turnovers. Hit the open man in obvious passing situations. He’ll be a complementary piece — a role player. In pro sports, it’s difficult to truly be a great “leader” when you’re a role player.

Does the offensive line have the potential talent wise to rival Rex Ryan’s initial unit that once housed names like Faneca and Woody?

No, they don’t. This is pretty obvious. I think the Jets can be a decent run-blocking team, but not to the point that they open enough holes to turn Shonn Greene into a great back. A healthy Nick Mangold for an entire season will help, but otherwise you have all of the same linemen returning from last year. You have the new offensive line coach talking up Hunter like he can play. To me, these are the signs of a delusional organization that is internally evaluating its own talent poorly.

The rookies: The Jets are real high on Quinton Coples, Stephen Hill and Demario Davis, among others they selected during April’s draft. Can any team realistically expect a serious contribution from so many first and second year players?

Absolutely they can. First- and second-year players contribute at high levels every year. The jury is out on all three of the players you mentioned for various reasons. For Coples, his motor is a concern. And he’s not a bend-the-edge pass rusher. I watched quite a bit of Hill at Georgia Tech, and at times he looked like the best player on the field. At others, he looked like the worst. I think the Jets will struggle to get him the ball, and we don’t know a whole lot about him because he ran one route in college. Davis is a small-school phenom who is probably a year away from impact.

On defense the Jets want to alternate between the 3-4, 4-3 and 46. Will this provide more versatility or lead to more confusion?

Rex Ryan knows a lot more about defensive schemes than me, and I don’t doubt for a second that the Jets will trot out an effective 2012 defense no matter what formation they’re using. The Jets will play good defense. I still question whether they have a pass rusher capable of instilling fear in offenses and altering field position. I would also think that in order for the 46 to be successful, you’d need a quality centerfield safety to roam the deep middle. I don’t think the Jets have that, and my guess is that it’s an area in which they’ll be exposable. But all in all, I have the utmost confidence in Ryan’s defensive strategy and think his unit will play well.

I just think the Jets will be heavily reliant on their defense to score points. Perhaps too reliant on the defense to take the football away and score touchdowns. Because I don’t think the offense is going to move the ball and put it in the end zone. They will need the defense to do it.

Are LaRron Landry and Yeremiah Bell an upgrade at safety over Jim Leonhard and Brodney Pool?

If LaRon Landry is healthy — and there is no way for any of us to tell whether he is — he is a ferocious in-the-box safety. He blows up ball carriers and can separate them from the football. He will be an upgrade if and only if he is healthy.

Yeremiah Bell is 34 years old and got destroyed in coverage by tight ends last season. I hope the Jets don’t plan on matching him up with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. I think Bell can bring to the table run-support skills and veteran “leadership,” but the former is a dime-a-dozen trait at this point and the latter is unquantifiable in terms of value, and I’d ultimately put zero stock in it.

The Jets sense a big year out of Mo Wilkerson? Do you?

Wilkerson was a really good pass rusher in the MAC and he earned extensive playing time as a rookie, and played pretty productively. I’m not going to pretend to have watched him closely, but I think there are certainly promising signs and I would bet on him becoming a pretty good player. But the Jets seem to “sense” a big year out of every player on their roster. Shonn Greene, Wayne Hunter, Mark Sanchez, LaRon Landry, Kyle Wilson. So I don’t think it matters much that they “sense” a big year out of Wilkerson because they do that for everybody.

The current air attack corps: Holmes, Hill, Schilens, Kerley, Keller, Cumberland with of course some blocking TE’s, late picks and UDFA’s mixed in…A sufficient enough group to keep eight out of the box all day?

I don’t think the idea of keeping eight defenders out of the box has much to do with the pass-catching assembly. I think it has everything to do with the quarterback. And until the Jets get quarterback play that worries opposing defensive coordinators, those D-Coordinators are going to keep eight in the box, attacking the line of scrimmage and daring the quarterback to beat them.

Why not re-sign Braylon Edwards?

I don’t know how much Edwards has left. He’s coming off a troubling, recurring knee injury and couldn’t keep a starting job in a poor 49ers receiver corps last year. I know the New York Post reported that the Jets have essentially ruled out bringing Edwards back. So probably a moot point.

Why hasn’t Dustin Keller turned into a top tier TE yet?

I think Keller has developed into a nice player. He’s a solid starter, certainly not one of the Jets’ weaknesses. I think he’s not considered an elite tight end because he doesn’t put up huge stats. Stats for a player like this can be a function of the offense in which he plays. The Jets don’t throw the ball a ton. I also think it’s no secret that he blocks poorly. Keller can stretch the seam and has improved as a hands catcher. But he’s not a great fit for a run-first offense because he can’t block.

Some have recently said regarding your twitter posts on certain Jets personnel that “Evan Silva just hates the Jets, that’s all.” How would you respond to those who justify your take on the team as being more personal than analytical?

I’d just say I have nothing personal against the Jets. I don’t think they’re going to be a good ball club in 2012, and that’s precisely why I said those things.

2012 NY Jets Biggest strength: Darrelle Revis
2012 NY Jets Biggest weakness: Offense

Word association: In a few words or less:

Rex Ryan: Great defensive mind.
Tony Sparano: Fine coach, but I don’t see how he’s an upgrade on Callahan.
Mike Tannenbaum: Fired after this season.
Mark Sanchez: Benched by midseason.
The Ground and Pound: There are certain elements you need to make it work. Jets lack them.
Tim Tebow: Fun guy to root for.
Quinton Coples: Versatile five-technique end. Will be a solid — not spectacular — NFLer.
Darrelle Revis: Best defensive player in football.
Buffalo Bills: Fitzpatrick will hold them back.
NE Patriots: Have revolutionized the NFL.
The AFC Playoff Picture: Like the Pats and Steelers. Titans are my sleeper.
The Jets Offense in 2012: Hard to watch.
The Jets Defense in 2012: Must carry the team.
Jets Chemistry Issues of 2011: Don’t care much about them.

Turn On The Jets 12 Pack – Must Follows For Jets Fans

The Turn On The Jets 12 Pack gives 12 must follows for Jets fans throughout the NFL season

Today’s edition of the Turn On The Jets 12 Pack is going to hand out some love to our peers who we have had the pleasure of interacting with throughout the growth of our site. Turn On The Jets started as a member of the Fanball Network thanks to Bryan Douglass, who is currently the content manager for Wayin. Personally, I will always have Bryan to thank for giving me a shot. After the network shut down, Will Horton of the Rams Herd made sure we stayed afloat thanks to some timely HTML and web service help. So thanks to Will as always, who is a great writer himself. 

Anyway here are your TOJ recommended follows for the 2012 NFL Season, obviously outside of us and staff writers Chris Gross and Mike Donnelly. Turn On The Jets commits itself to providing in-depth writing and analysis on the New York Jets on a daily basis. We do that as well as anybody out there, so stay with us. The staff is only growing with Rob Celletti and Chris Celletti joining up in season and TJ Rosenthal continuing with contributions.

Last site PSA: T-Shirts are done and shipped. They will go on sale early next week (likely Tuesday) right here on the site. We will be doing all types of giveaways to people who buy from our first batch so keep an eye out and make sure you are following TOJ on Facebook

On the to the recommendations (in no particular order) –

1. Jeff Capellini, CBS New York/WFAN.com – Jeff is a terrific, in-depth writer who covers the Jets along with the Yankees and Islanders. His articles are a must read. We only wish we could have more published content from him. Jeff thinks outside the box and has a very good pulse on the Jets. He is also an entertaining follow on Twitter and always up for a solid debate.

2. TJ Rosenthal, The Jet Report – We are fortunate enough to have TJ as a regular contributor here at Turn On The Jets but his own site, The Jet Report is also a must visit. TJ has a PhD in Jets history and has a fascinating collection of materials from the team throughout the years. He is also a detailed writer who frequently finds unique angles to cover the team from.

3. Erik Manassy, Jets Twit – The social media master when it comes to the New York Jets. He does a little bit of everything, including writing, podcasts, web development and social media management. Erik does a great job of aggregating all the social media content coming from Jets writers and players.

4. Flight 5 Live – A new web based television show that airs every Friday night. They have pulled in quite the collection of guests so far including Curtis Martin, Wesley Walker, Demario Davis and Marcus Dixon. All five hosts are passionate fans, among them Kristine Reese who is a great writer for Aerys Sports and Brian Imbemba who is a must follow on Twitter.

5. Erik Frenz, The Bleacher Report – The AFC East lead blogger for BR. Regardless of your preconceptions of the site, Erik is a terrific writer who thoroughly covers the Jets, Dolphins, Bills, and Patriots. The guy literally might publish 3,000 words a day…not sure when he sleeps.

6. Jet Nation – An active and interesting Twitter account and a website that houses a great forum for Jets fans to debate about the team.

7. The Jet Press – A site that frequently has differing opinions with us about issues surrounding the team but that doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy reading their content. Alan does a great job with the site and we have debated here recently.

8. Brian Bassett, The Jets Blog – Founded The Jets Blog, which is now in partnership with SNY, the Jets home station. Brian is a blogging beast and a great guy who I was fortunate enough to meet at Blog With Balls last year.

9. HargzAndCarter, The Green Zone – Run a weekly Jets radio talk show that is always worth a listen and contribute to The Jets Blog.

10. Pro Football Focus – We love how in-depth they are with film breakdown and how consistently they put out quality content. Any NFL fan should enjoy this site.

11. Enemy Tweeps – Keep your enemies close…New England Patriots fans to follow (Pats Propaganda and Patriots XLVII). Armando Salguero who is a beat writer for the Miami Dolphins and Tim Graham, the former AFC East blogger who now covers the Bills.

12. The Rest – @LilMissNYJet (Opinionated and entertaining Jets and soccer fan), @MokeHamilton (our favorite Knicks blogger), @NYJets_101 (good Jets reading), @FootballPost (NFP), @MCaseyNYJ (just started his own site), @ItsOasus , @JRDengo , @cfattovw (Great fans, thanks for reading!)

New York Jets Fact Or False: Sanchez, Holmes, and Linsanity Edition

Chris Gross weekly Fact or False focuses on Mark Sanchez, Santonio Holmes and Jeremy Lin

With less than a week to go before the New York Jets report to Cortland for the start of training camp, there have been countless topics and stories emerging on the Gang Green front, some good, some not so good. Regardless of what most sports books are predicting, we are carrying on as usual here at Turn On The Jets. For this week’s edition of New York Jets Fact Or False, we’ll examine some of those recent Jets topics heading into training camp, along with a little dose of Linsanity and America’s #1 new soap opera “As The Dwight Turns.”

Mark Sanchez is “The East Coast Alex Smith.” False.

In a recent article on Bleacher Report, columnist Michael Schottey referred to Mark Sanchez as “Alex Smith with a Jheri curl.” However, Schottey fails to provide any factual argument to back his proclamation. This is likely because there are no facts to support the comparison between the two. Smith has played three more seasons in the NFL than Sanchez has, yet has thrown for only 3,334 more yards, less than the total number of yards Sanchez threw for last season alone. Additionally, Smith has thrown for only 13 more touchdowns than Sanchez has while compiling a total of 7 more interceptions than number 6. Again, Smith has played six full NFL seasons to Sanchez’s three. Numbers aside, Sanchez has already won 4 playoff games on the road, while Smith has won just a single playoff game, at home. It is surely shocking how far people will go in their attempst to bash Sanchez, and this ignorant comparison is just the tip of an iceberg of criticism that the Jets’ QB has faced this season.

A more realistic comparison to Smith would actually be Jets’ backup Tim Tebow. Both players have a similar style of play and both played in the same system in college under Urban Meyer. However, Tebow also has 2 national championship victories and a Heisman trophy on his resume, while winning a playoff game in only his second season as opposed to Smith who took six seasons to finally win in the post season. As the roster stands now, Smith would be the third best quarterback on the Jets if he were in New York. As for the comparison to Sanchez, there is no debate.

Santonio Holmes will be the Jets scapegoat all season. Fact.

The perception of Holmes as the largest villain to grace Gotham City since the Joker isn’t dying anytime soon. In an interview on NFL Network this past week, Holmes simply stated the obvious fact that even the most casual NFL fan knows, when he said that teams cannot succeed in a two quarterback system. Could you imagine if Marques Colston or Hakeem Nicks said the same thing? They’d be laughed at for stating something so obvious, while lauded for praising their starting quarterbacks.

Not only did Holmes simply state what everyone already knew, but he actually defended Sanchez, while subtly telling everyone to pump the brakes on Tebowmania in New York for now. Holmes noted that, in order for a Quarterback to get into a rhythm, he needs to be allowed to make mistakes early in games, while settling in and growing comfortable. Holmes is far from stupid. He knows, just as everyone else covering the Jets knows, that the moment Sanchez makes the slightest mistake, most fans will be calling for Tebow to take the helm. However, Holmes also knows that this would not put his team in the best position to win games. Sanchez will make his mistakes, every quarterback does. The key to his success, as well as the success of the Jets, will be his teammates and coaches being confident enough to allow him to correct those mistakes.

The bottom line with Holmes is that he simply wants to win. However, no matter what he says, it will likely be turned in a negative, selfish manner, until he lets his play do the talking.

 The Jets will add RB depth heading into training camp. False.

Cedric Benson recently revealed that the Jets were one of the teams to check in with the free agent veteran running back this offseason. While Benson joining Gang Green surely isn’t out of the question, don’t expect any moves to be made on this front anytime soon. The Jets are moving forward with Shonn Greene as the starter this season, regardless of what some may think. They are also ready to see what Joe McKnight can do as the primary backup to Greene, and rightfully so. McKnight has improved drastically since his rookie season when he was questioned for his work ethic and commitment. With an increased role on Special Teams last season, McKnight thrived as a kick returner. The Jets are hoping a similar increased workload on offense will produce parallel results.

Aside from Greene and McKnight, New York is also very eager to see if Bilal Powell is serviceable, as well as what newcomers Terrance Ganaway and John Griffin can do. They added these players because they are confident that Tony Sparano’s system will allow each of them to produce. If they prove incapable of such a feat over the course of the preseaosn, then the Jets may revisit bringing in a veteran like Benson. For now, they are more than ready to move forward with what they have.

Mark Sanchez will make the Pro Bowl this season. False.

While Sanchez is poised for a breakout year, the odds are against him to make the Pro Bowl this season. The new offensive system under Tony Sparano will likely limit the amount of passing attempts Sanchez has, thus limiting the statistics that would get him elected to a Pro Bowl. Additionally, outside of Santonio Holmes and Tight End Dustin Keller, Sanchez has an entirely new arsenal of weapons this season, most of whom come with very limited, if any, NFL experience. While Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley, Chaz Schillens, and Jordan White could all prove to be productive, it is going to take time for them to develop chemistry with Sanchez. While I firmly believe that Sanchez will be a Pro Bowl caliber Quarterback at some point in his career, this season is more about improving his accuracy and developing relationships with his new targets.

The Knicks made the right move letting Jeremy Lin leave. Fact.

Knicks fans seem split on this issue. Some are up in arms that James Dolan and co. allowed such a young and exciting player to leave after his brief stint of success last season, while others are perfectly content with the club’s decision to move in another direction. While Lin could certainly become a very good point guard, the luxury tax ramifications the Knicks would have had to pay in the third year of the deal he agreed to with Houston would have been far too large of a financial commitment to a player who is still somewhat unproven. Remember, Lin’s numbers dropped after the departure of Mike D’Antoni. The Knicks already have an abundance of money committed to Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, so taking a risk on Lin simply would not have been worth it. Additionally, what no one seems to be talking about, is the fact that Chris Paul will be a free agent next summer. Surely, there are no signs that Paul wants out of Los Angeles, but don’t forget, he is good friends with Anthony, and even hinted at the idea of playing with him and Stoudemire at Anthony’s wedding last summer. While this is a shot in the dark, don’t think for a minute that this did not cross the minds of the Knicks’ brass in weighing the decision of whether or not to re up on Lin.

Dwight Howard will start the season in Orlando. False. The ongoing saga of this situation is growing far too annoying, not only to NBA fans, but to people around the league as well. Howard wants out of Orlando, seemingly worse than Carmelo Anthony wanted out of Denver, and will not ease his stance on this issue. The Magic will soon realize that they need to rid themselves of this headache and start fresh. While General Manager Rob Hennigan has been rightfully patient in weighing his options, the alleged three-team deal that could soon be in place soon between the Lakers, Cavaliers, and Magic will reveal itself as the best option for all clubs involved. With Howard now committing to signing long term in LA, Mitch Kupchak and co. will go above and beyond to get a deal done. My prediction? Howard starts the season in the purple and gold.

Interview With Former New York Jets Scout Connie Carberg, Part 2

TJ Rosenthal sits down with former New York Jets scout Connie Carberg to discuss the current roster

TJ Rosenthal was fortunate enough to sit down for a lengthy interview with Connie Carberg, the NFL’s first female scout. Yesterday, she discussed her career with the New York Jets and today she and TJ discuss the 2012 Jets roster. Enjoy and make sure to follow both TJ and Connie on Twitter –

READ PART 1 HERE

2012 Jets

Let’s Fast Forward to the 2012 Jets and start with Rex Ryan. Assess his body of work so far and what he has to do to improve as an HC.

When I worked for the Jets, the best record we had in 8 years was 8-8, so to consider that we went to back-to-back AFC championship appearances (under Ryan) is pretty darn good. We had so many lean years, that you can appreciate good coaches. I went to Super Bowl III at the Orange Bowl.

Jet Fans seem to forget our history was so bad for so many years and we’ve been to the playoffs many times with Herman Edwards, Eric Mangini and now Rex.

He said the locker room got ahead of him, and while it may sound strange, I believe the 2 years we were at Cortland made a huge difference in terms of team chemistry.  Last year, the team wasn’t even staying together in a hotel or dorms. You never had a chance to connect with folks you might normally not have. Hopefully this year at Cortland will make a big difference, and this Rookie class appears to be very tight and close together, with very good character.

Rex’s hirings of Sparano and Dunbar and his involvement on all facets of the team will make a big difference.

Mark Sanchez: Can the Jets win with him?

YES, I believe the Jets can win with Mark Sanchez. Even Namath took his 4th year before the Super Bowl, and with how many INT’s he threw, you realize how much seasoning it can take to be successful in this league. Also, let’s not forget that he has had to deal with new receivers every year, lacking consistency. Fans often want to discount this, but Namath knew who he would be throwing to every year, and that made a difference. We need consistency. I believe in Mark.

What do you make of the arrival and skill set of Tim Tebow?

I was shocked by the arrival of Tebow, but I was always an admirer of his emotional leadership and skills, and I think that if the press and fans will allow it, he and Mark can coexist.  I am real excited about this.

Assess the current draft class and is it realistic for the Jets to expect major contributions from too many rookies?

(Quinton) Coples has all the physical skills for a guy at 16 who has top 7 talent. I love Stephen Hill, and today, I watched an interview and if he can play as well as he can interview, we’ll have a deep threat we haven’t had since Wesley Walker. I know he went to an option college, but hopefully with others who have succeeded, he will do well especially in the red zone. I like Terrance Ganaway and Demario Davis has the skill set be very good.

Can the Ground and Pound get the Jets to a Super Bowl?

The Ground & Pound CAN WORK if it’s not ALL on Shonn Greene. We need John Conner and Joe McKnight and (Bilal) Powell and Ganaway in case anybody gets hurt. Our offensive Line has to get more consistent and I believe Sparano will help with that.

Let’s go back to the word association but this time, to cover some thoughts on the 2012 Jets and “friends.”

The Revis Contract Situation–– I hate it. Take care of the man. He’s an amazing ballplayer and some could argue that the last holdout severely injured the team with him being hurt throughout the season.

Santonio Holmes – I’m a fellow Buckeye and rooting for the Tone of 2 years ago, and for he and Mark to be on the same page.

Woody Johnson – Fan friendly owner who truly cares about the team and is doing everything in his power to make the team a winner.

Mike Tannenbaum – Genius salary cap/contract negotiator with a flair for the extraordinary and a willingness to take risks with the players he brings in.

Met Life stadium – I haven’t been there, but I still wish we didn’t share a stadium with the Giants. I will go there sometime and watch a game, but Shea will always be home to me.

Brady and Belichick – Enemy. Enemy. Enemy.

Local Rivalry with the Giants – When I was growing up, the Jets were always treated like 2nd class citizens, and then we won the Super Bowl but were still second banana. However, then we played the Giants at the Yale Bowl (August 1969), an exhibition game, and even Joe Namath has said that the Yale Bowl Game means as much if not more to him that SB III. Todays Jets don’t have that feeling, but I do, and I’ll forever hate the Giants and will NEVER root for the Giants as long as I live (that includes in Super Bowls against the Patriots).

Connie Carberg in 2012

What are you doing these days? 

I live in Coconut Creek FL, doing PR for Al Hendrickson Toyota as my full time job. My husband and I have been married for 33 years. My step daughter Lisa lives in Mystic,Connecticut and my Son, Chris lives in Orlando with his wife, Jenna. Both Die Hard Jet Fans. Everywhere I go, people know me as the biggest Jet fan there is down here.

Do you still go to training camp?

Yes, when I go back every summer, whether it’s at Hofstra, Cortland, or Florham Park, they treat me like family, and I NEVER take it for granted.

Tell us about your new Website and how the fans can contact you.

My website is www.ConnieScouts.com and has lots of great information to share, as well as stories from the past. I’ve probably had the luckiest life in the world (You can also find Connie on Twitter)

New York Jets: Rookie Defenders Should Make Immediate Impact

What kind of impact will the New York Jets rookie defenders make in 2012?

The New York Jets drafted four defensive players in the 2012 NFL Draft, three of them are locks to make the roster and contribute in some capacity in their rookie year. How much will the Jets be asking from their newest additions and will they be able to handle the workload? Let’s run through the four selections and discuss what reasonable expectations should be –

Strong Safety – Antonio Allen – 7th Round – Allen fell further down the draft board than most people expected. He is a natural strong safety who basically played like an extra linebacker at South Carolina. Talent-wise the Jets got great value with Allen but it will be extremely difficult for him to make any kind of impact this season on defense. LaRon Landry, Yeremiah Bell and Eric Smith are all similar players to Allen and ahead of him on the depth chart. Unless there is significant injuries throughout the Jets secondary, it is difficult seeing Allen being active on a weekly basis. The only way he will be, is if he proves to be a monster on special teams. It isn’t out of the question for Allen to be a practice squad player in 2012 as he projects to make a bigger impact down the road after Landry, Bell or Smith have moved on.

Free Safety – Josh Bush – 6th Round – Walked into a better situation than most 6th round picks. Bush is entering training camp as the team’s fourth safety and only true free safety likely to make the 53 man roster. If he can hold his own throughout August, he will see significant playing time particularly in the Jets sub and nickel packages. Don’t be surprised to see Bush playing a Dwight Lowery type role in Rex Ryan’s defense, bouncing between safety and corner to take advantage of his coverage skills. If Bush can’t establish himself as a competent role player with long term potential in 2012 it will be disappointing and hurt the Jets already questionable depth at safety. Bush is a likely candidate for an extensive role on special teams, particularly on coverage units.

Demario Davis – Linebacker – 3rd Round – The pre-training camp darling of the Jets draft class who has already been given comparisons to Ray Lewis (seriously, come on Rex) for his intensity and natural leadership. Davis has something the other Jets linebackers lack: speed. It is going to get him on the field immediately on passing downs and he is already running with the first unit in the sub package. Davis will also be a fixture on just about every special teams unit from day one. The question is, can Bart Scott hold him out of the starting lineup for the entire season? Make no mistake, Davis will be the opening day starter at inside linebacker in 2013 but will he crack the starting lineup in 2012?

Quinton Coples – Defensive End – 1st Round – We won’t hide from our initial criticism of the Coples selection however with the Jets apparently moving to a defensive scheme that is more 4-3 and 46 heavy it at least makes a little more sense. Beyond that, Coples put together a very strong OTAs and says everything you want to hear from a first round pick with motor questions. He is going to start from day one and is physically the most talented pass rusher the Jets have had on their roster in awhile. Alongside Muhammad Wilkerson, he has the chance to be a special player in this defense.

Interview With Former New York Jets Scout Connie Carberg, Part 1

TJ Rosenthal sits down with former NFL Scout, Connie Carberg to talk about her time with the New York Jets

TJ Rosenthal was fortunate enough to sit down for a lengthy interview with Connie Carberg, the NFL’s first female scout. We are going to run the interview in two parts. Today she talks about her career with the New York Jets and tomorrow she and TJ discuss the 2012 Jets roster. Enjoy and make sure to follow both TJ and Connie on Twitter –

For Connie Carberg the NFL’s first female scout, the New York Jets have always been family. Literally. From growing up the daughter of a team doctor to becoming a scout, from 1974-1980 (the one who found Mark Gastineau) few if any bleed the Green and White more than Connie. We truly thank her for taking the time to go through some of her personal Jets history with us while giving us a look through a professional’s eyes on how the NFL has changed. As well giving us some thoughts on the current 2012 New York Jets –

1974-80: Growing up a Jet:

You experienced so much as a scout for the Jets from 1974-80. Mark Gastineau. You found him. How did that process take place from your initial sighting of him to the Jets selection of him in 1979?

Walt Michaels was coaching. North team on Senior Bowl, Mike Stensrud was injured and my boss Mike Hickey asked me to find somebody, watched tapes of all 6, read reports, and made phone calls. Gastineau was in perfect shape and had the same passion off the field as he did on. He wasn’t an act. He had total enthusiasm, and I suggested we take him, and he became the defensive MVP of the game. We drafted in him in the 2nd round after we took Marty Lyons first.

Wow, what a 1-2 by the staff that year. Now you grew up as a kid in the Jets family. So were players house guests who would come over and raid the fridge? Who were the ones you knew and or liked the best growing up? Pre scouting days..

I have been part of the Jets family since I was 12 years old when my dad Dr. Cal Nicholas became the Jets doctor. His office was connected to the house, and players often came over to be examined, and would hang out in the house with the rest of the family.  The first player we had over for dinner was Gerry Philbin, and I remember meeting him and watching him at dinner, thinking “I’ve never seen anybody drink so much milk in my life”. Wonderful man,  Great DE. George Sauer was always over and was my tennis partner at the Long Island Yacht Club. He would play guitar while I played piano.  He loved to play games in the backyard, like wiffleball or basketball with my brothers and myself.

We were very close with the Hampton family, Bill Hampton was the Jets Equipment Manager, and his son Clay is now the Director of Operations for the Jets. We’d have pool parties with our large families, in Babylon and Bayshore. Emerson Boozer and Ralph Baker were often there.

The Jets had a basketball team in the offseason, with people like Bake Turner, Jim Turner, Randy Beverly, Ralph Baker, Emerson Boozer, and John Schmidt who would come over to the house afterwards. My mom would cook a big turkey and they could all eat.

My favorite growing up was WR Bake Turner, who played guitar and sang incredibly. I still have a tape of him and George Sauer playing guitar together at the house, singing all sorts of songs on reel-to-reel, in 1969. Country Songs.

It was an amazing way to grow up, and then I went off to college, first to an all girls school, Wheaton College, and later I transferred to the Ohio State University, graduating in 1974.

I came back, and went to work for the Jets, and times were changing a bit and people weren’t at the house as much as in the past, but always for treatment and checkups. I was a lifeguard at the Long Island Yacht Club, and would bring the kids over to meet Joe Namath, who was always so good signing for kids. As long as the kids were well behaved. It was a great time. There was no player I didn’t truly like.

Let’s do a little word association: In a few words or less can you help describe some of the names, nicknames and places from that 1974-80 era?

Walt Michaels – Tough, Fair, Paul Brown Disciple, Mentor, All-Pro LB

Owner Leon Hess – Hands off owner, not much football knowledge, very nice man, let coaches handle team

Lou Holtz- Motivator, great college coach, family man, answered every letter sent to him, Great man.

Shea Stadium – Home of the Jets, Diamond Club, Captain Kangaroo at every game, Bob Cleveland Orchestra, family

Joe Klecko – Strong, All Pro, Sack Exchange.

Richard Todd – Tough job following Namath, especially from Alabama, but did take us to AFC Championship game, if tarp had been down, could have been different.

Wesley Walker – Best Deep threat of last 30 years, vision in only one eye (same as me now), memorized eye charts. Great moves and hands.

Joe Namath – Quickest release ever, charisma and star power, forced AFL-NFL merger, so good to young fans, as big as the Beatles.

The Sack Exchange – Still a favorite, ability to pressure without the blitz, front four that could do it all. 

Scouting

Now we know that you still keep a close eye on things. How Much has the NFL changed to you…on the field talent and equipment wise?

Quite a bit, from the equipment (helmets), and the helmet is now a weapon. In the old days, players didn’t trust the helmet to be used as a reasonable weapon and launch with it. Now it’s supposed to be for safety.

Players are faster and stronger, due to far more lifting weights (they didn’t as much in the old days). No offensive lineman were over 300 lbs. It’s common. Middle Linebackers were 215-225, now they are 230-250.

The fundamentals of tackling are poorer. Everyone started wanting to be on the highlight reel of ESPN, not just form tackling, and with the new CBA, you only have one-a-days and the lack of ability to practice tackling. Tackling needs to get much better.

Rules wise?

Watch Ben Davidson hitting Joe Namath. He’d be fined for every single shot he took at Joe. Quarterbacks are protected far more now.

Marketing wise?

There were no jerseys back then, or Jets shirts or hats. You just looked for a green t-shirt. That’s why I wished we were red like the KC Chiefs, as it’s so much easier to find a red shirt than a green shirt. There was no Nike or Reebok.

Back then we were a Kelly green color, not as dark as now. It felt like more of a high-flying offense, while the darker green suits our defense today.

No sports talk radio, ESPN, NFL network, only the home team was on TV, so everybody always rooted for their home team. That was the only game you saw. You had no fantasy football, and didn’t know all of the stats. A lot less betting as well as no free agency, meaning that when you had a player, they were yours for life and as a fan, you lived and died with those players. He was your boy for life. I loved it that way.

The scouting profession? 

Back then – Character was most important for the Jets, and RB’s were incredibly important, whether OJ, Gale, Sweetness, or Freeman. It was usually one RB + FB to lead block. Speed was important but big and strong were emphasized.

Lots of guys didn’t make the NFL because they were tweeners, but today they become specialty players, for pass rushers (like Maybin), and are put into unique packages, situational players. Everybody played 3 downs. There was no rotation. Everybody played where they played. There was no nickel or dime packages.

What did you rank higher: IQ or athleticism?

IQ was important, but there were 2 types.  It was football and book IQ – Marino didn’t get the highest score like Ken O’Brien on his Wonderlic but his football IQ and ability to audible was off the charts.

Production, Motor, and Heart was the centerpiece of drafting then and now too because you need dependable players. The tweeners were primarily the different things that exist today. Guys just never asked to come off the field after a run or a catch like they do now.

MAKE SURE TO CHECK BACK TOMORROW FOR PART 2