Turn On The Jets Stock Watch 7/17 – Jets Hype And NBA Edition

TOJ’s weekly Stock Watch looks at the negativity surrounding the Jets heading into the season and recent NBA headlines

Welcome back to TOJ’s Weekly Stock Watch by Mike Donnelly…make sure to give Mike a follow on Twitter here and give Turn On The Jets a follow on Facebook here – 

With this being a bit of a dead period in the NFL, this week’s Stock Watch is going to focus mainly on the NBA offseason, but there are two Jets related Buys and Sells I’d like to start the column off with:

SELL: This article on TheJetsBlog.com – I’d like to thank the dozen or so people who pointed this out to me. Now, full disclosure here: I’m a big fan of that site and read it pretty regularly. I’m also fully aware that there are very few original ideas left out there when it comes to blogging or sports writing, but this is quite a coincidence here, isn’t it? I mean right down to the intro:

In my very first Stock Watch in which I bought and sold Jets players, I wrote this: “That got me thinking. What if we could buy and sell players and teams the way we do stocks?” before getting into the under and over valued player stocks I’d invest in.

In this TJB article? Slightly different: “If you woke up this morning thinking Football players are a helluva lot like publicly-traded stocks, you’re right!  Obviously.”, before getting into the buys and sells.

You can check the whole thing out yourself and let me know what you think, as it’s still a pretty good read. I mean after all, it was good when it was posted here on TurnOnTheJets.com two months ago, so why wouldn’t it still be good now, right? Ok, perhaps that was taking it too far with the self-praise. That ends the “patting myself on the back” portion of today’s column. Let’s move on.

BUY: All the Anti-Jets Sentiment out there – I’m not buying this nonsense because I agree with it or think that the Evan Silvas of the world are right; I’m buying this because I think it’s exactly what this Jets team needs to hear. Back when this team was at it’s best it was when they were the underdog facing uphill battles. They were the only ones who believed they could march through the playoffs and pull off upsets week after week. They need to get back to that “Us vs. the World” mentality and rally around each other. The media and football fans everywhere are just lining up waiting for the Jets to fail so they can mercilessly rag on them. I don’t think it’s going to happen.

(If you’re not an NBA fan or just came here for the Jets content, then this is where we should probably part ways for today. You’ve been warned.)

SELL: Kobe Bryant saying the 2012 Olympic team could beat the Dream Team – I want to just fill up this whole paragraph with “HA HA HA’s” but I’ll refrain from doing so. The notion that this team with Tyson Chandler as their only center could beat the famed 1992 Dream Team is so ridiculous on so many levels, that I don’t even know where to begin. We could start with the Tyson Chandler and Kevin Love vs. Hall of Famers Patrick Ewing and David Robinson in the post; Or maybe we can mention that the ’12 team would have no answer for Charles Barkley and Karl Malone; Maybe we can start by saying this year’s team nearly lost to BRAZIL last night and were actually down by double digits at one point. All would be great starting points in picking apart Kobe’s statements, but I choose this one: They had MICHAEL FREAKIN’ JORDAN. Sorry Kobe, you’re no Michael, and your team would learn a painful lesson in that fantasy matchup.

BUY: The Dream Teamers responses to Kobe – The way members of the Dream Team came out to basically laugh in Kobe’s face through the media over his comments was downright hilarious. From Magic Johnson taking to Twitter to Michael Jordan literally laughing out loud and basically calling Kobe an idiot while playing golf and smoking a cigar (Is there anybody cooler than Michael Jordan?), it was all very awesome, and I’d expect nothing less. Especially since they were all right. My favorite response, though, came from Scott Pippen, who was guest commentating during a USA team game the other day and casually started they’d win by at least 25 points in a head-to-head matchup.

BUY: The Knicks Bench Moves – I know a lot of people were down on adding two veterans pushing 40, but the Knicks picking up Jason Kidd and Marcus Camby, while retaining Steve Novak and JR Smith were pretty excellent moves for a team that lacked depth big time last year. When Iman Shumpert comes back from his knee injury during the season, this team is going to be very deep and potentially explosive. It’s easy to forget how great they were playing down the stretch last year before being wiped out by the Heat in the playoffs, but this team can absolutely make some noise next year.

SELL: Jason Kidd getting a DUI already – And then Jason Kidd goes and does something like this that makes you question bringing him into the fold. If the reports from TMZ.com are true that he had to be carried to his car after leaving the party he was at, it makes him an even bigger idiot. These guys really can’t just call a taxi? Really?

BUY: Carmelo Anthony’s comments on Jeremy Lin’s contract – I’ve seen a lot of fans and media talking heads jumping on Carmelo for saying Lin’s offer sheet was ridiculous… and I just don’t get it. It WAS ridiculous for the Rockets to offer him that much and it WOULD be ridiculous for the Knicks to match it with the luxury tax implications hanging over their heads. I agree with Carmelo, and JR Smith’s comments about Lin’s contract causing a problem in the locker room were very telling. It’s time for Linsanity to move on.

SELL: Linsanity – With Mike D’Antoni gone, there was a good chance “Linsanity” as we knew it was over anyway, but with his move to Houston, we will all forget his name soon enough. He can still be a good quality NBA point guard, but all the publicity and hoopla are finished. By 2014, Jeremy Lin will be a good punch line to many jokes, and I’m sure the “30 for 30: Linsanity” on ESPN will be cool to watch in five years.

New York Jets Headline Watch – Santonio Holmes And Two Quarterbacks

A closer look at what Santonio Holmes actually said during his interview on NFL Network last night

Shockingly enough the New York media and the mainstream media will occasionally twist headlines to generate some type of controversy. We will use this series of columns to review what was actually said and whether there is any reason to be up in arms about it. Today’s topic is Santonio Holmes interview on the NFL Network last night –

Here are the headlines that have been generated from that video clip –

This is what Holmes had to say about two quarterback systems in the NFL

No. I don’t think so because you have to allow one quarterback to get into the rhythm of the game. It starts from the preparation in practice, knowing the first couple of plays that he’s going to take these reps. It’s getting a feel for coming onto the field with the crowd awaiting you. It’s the making the mistakes early in the game, to finishing the games at the end. You don’t just change a guy out just because he has a few mistakes early in a game. So I think coming into this season that we have a lot to expect from Sanchez.”

This is what he had to say about Mark Sanchez –

“Sanchez has done everything that he can do to keep his starting spot, and I’m thinking that he’s going to be our guy this season. I’m not saying that with any bit of less confidence than the way I feel about him coming into the season. He’s going to be our guy that we depended on for the past couple of years, and he’s going to get the job done this year.”

So where are the headlines about Santonio Holmes supporting his starting quarterback Mark Sanchez? There shouldn’t be a headline about Holmes making a common sense statement about two quarterback systems not working…they don’t work, they never have worked and they never will work. Holmes is absolutely right in that the Jets shouldn’t pull Sanchez if he has a few early mistakes in the game and gave a strong endorsement of him, which is exactly what you want to hear from your top receiver.

This was a positive interview but positive doesn’t fit the narrative the media has created for Holmes so it is spun into a negative. It is spun into a negative so Tweets like this can be fired out –

Make sure you give my lovely vocal chords a listen as I talked everything Jets last night with All Purpose Roto

New York Jets: Pass Coverage Still A Concern

The New York Jets could still have major issues covering tight ends and running backs in 2012

The New York Jets defense struggled heavily when it came to covering the tight end last season. Basically, if a team had a good receiving tight end, they exploited the hell out of Rex Ryan’s defense. Jason Witten finished with 110 yards, including a 64 yarder. Fred Davis grabbed 6 passes for 99 yards. Brent Celek went off for 156 yards and a touchdown. Rob Gronkowski pulled in 113 yards and 2 touchdowns in primetime and in the Jets/Patriots other meeting, it was Aaron Hernandez who racked up 56 yards. Antonio Gates had 54 yards and a touchdown. Hell, even Ed Dickson was able to get 45 receiving yards on them.

Their coverage of running backs out of the backfield also left something to be desired. The lack of speed at linebacker position allowed the Jets to be taken advantage of on checkdowns and screen passes.

The Jets solution to the problem this off-season was to completely re-tool their safety position (signing Yeremiah Bell and Laron Landry, and drafting Josh Bush and Antonio Allen) and adding linebacker Demario Davis in the third round.

Yeremiah Bell and LaRon Landry will be a more athletic starting duo than Jim Leonhard and Eric Smith, with substantially more size. However, both players are strong safeties, not free safeties. It will be on Bell to spend more time at the free safety position than he is accustomed to. Landry has the ability to be a highly productive player inside the box but can he stay on the field? As defensive backs coach Dennis Thurman said, Eric Smith is good at 300 reps but not necessarily 900 reps and he might be at the number if Landry isn’t healthy.

The Jets did add two rookie safeties in the late rounds with Josh Bush and Antonio Allen. Bush will get the chance for immediate playing time because he is the only natural free safety who will make the active roster but how much can the Jets really expect from a rookie sixth round pick? Allen is built to play inside the box and for now just provides depth behind Landry and Smith.

The 2012 schedule is going to provide plenty of challenges from the tight end position, including Vernon Davis in week 4, Owen Daniels in week 5, Gronkowski/Hernandez in weeks 7 and 12 and Antonio Gates in week 15.

It is going to be on Bell to handle free safety responsibilities when they are handed to him and on Bush to grow up faster than most 6th round picks. Landry and Demario Davis should be able to help slow down the releases tight ends are getting but you don’t want them running with them past 5-7 yards. Their presence should also help contain running backs shaking loose for big gains on checkdowns or screen passes.

Kerry Rhodes certainly couldn’t tackle but the Jets haven’t found a free safety since he was traded. Bell could be a stopgap and maybe Bush is the future. If not, the Jets will once again be looking to retool a position they haven’t seemed able to get right since Rex Ryan has taken over.

No Huddle: New York Jets Areas Of Caution

TJ Rosenthal goes into the No Huddle to look at five areas of their team the New York Jets should be concerned about

TJ Rosenthal is back with the No Huddle, today looking at five areas of the New York Jets that could be a cause for concern in 2012. Make sure to give TJ a follow on Twitter and keep an eye out for a few exciting interviews by him in the coming weeks – 

As a lifelong New York Jets fan it’s hard to deny that there have been LONG stretches of years that have warranted seeing things through a glass half empty. The bright pockets of time for this organization have come in quick bunches thanks to the late 1960’s crew, some of the clubs from 1981-86, Bill Parcells, Herm Edwards, and Rex Ryan. The rest of the club’s fifty year history has essentially featured one harrowing crash on the runway after another. Especially in December.

History aside, we will soon be embarking upon a new Jet adventure. One that again will arrive for the die hard with excitement, eternal hope, paranoia, and of course, habitual doubt.

The Jet Report can envision 2012 heading in both directions. One that leads the club late into January with a shot at glory, and the other, well, yet another disappointment. Our personal goal for this season is to enjoy it with zero expectations. Despite the two near misses in 2009 and 2010 and a 2011 that contributed to helping springboard the other New York team to a world title.

In this week’s no huddle we approach five concepts whose success could collectively combine to catapult the Jets towards the Super Bowl. Knowing that they all should be approached with caution. After all, many of us still carry scars that forever force us to sleep with one eye open.

At all times.

1. The Rookies Will Have A Major Collective Impact In Year One –

Will they? Well we hope so. Then again, we always hope that draft picks blow up into legends and do so right out of the gates.

Coples, Davis, Hill and Co. will be used and much needed in spots, but demanding week in week out veteran type play from them is unfair. And unrealistic. How many rookies have become first team all pros in the last decade? Not as many combined as the Jets plan to put on the field this year all at once.

Let’s ease up on what we demand from this group and instead, enjoy the promise of individual break out moments and timely performances that we know these kids can give us.

2. Santonio Holmes Will Be Happy All Season – 

Santonio Holmes is a great clutch player. Period. He makes big plays with the money on the line. His unhappiness last year should have never been confused and mixed in with his reactions. We all wasted so much time wondering why Holmes behaved the way he did and spent little time asking “how the hell did Holmes not see more balls last year?” Was it Schotty’s fault? Sanchez’s fault? Well who cares whose fault it was. Just give him damn the ball please (to quote another Jets WR). Even if this team runs 60 percent of the time.

If the Jets win games and run the ball, Holmes will be a good teammate and accept it. We truly believe that. Fail to get him the rock AND lose games? Why wouldn’t he get pissed off? Why shouldn’t he?

The Holmes happy meter will be a reasonable measuring stick regarding the entire happiness of the Jets situation. Just win baby. This guy didn’t come from the Super Bowl champion Steelers to win four games for the Jets in one season to then just run around like a silly decoy all day.

Let’s make everyone happy by letting him help win games like he can. Or by having a ground game that is so exceptional, he can collect his big paychecks without having to jump over safeties downfield to haul in bombs.

We can live with either one of those scenarios. So can Santonio Holmes.

3. The Jets Will Of Course Return To The Postseason – 

Tell the Bills that. How many divisions send three teams to the playoffs? Not many. If you are thinking what we’re thinking (The Patriots are always in the playoffs when Tom Brady is healthy) then let’s make sure that the upstart buzz team Bills don’t finish with a better record or divisional record than the Jets do.

After you consider the Bills and the AFC East logjam, add the Ravens, Steelers, Bengals, Broncos, healthier Chiefs, and pissed off Chargers for starters into the equation and what you have is a crowded AFC wildcard race.

With little breathing room for third place teams to enjoy. Better stay ahead of Buffalo gentlemen.

Or else the road to the playoffs will grow quite slim and narrow.

4. The Jets safety situation has improved – 

Provided that LaRon Landry is healthy well maybe it has. Of course the only photos of Landry’s biceps that we have been to find on Google to this point, are one’s of him in his Redskins gear. He better not be damaged goods.

Yeremiah Bell is poised to help out but he is 33. Sorry to bring that up folks.

On the younger side, Josh Bush is a late round pick. Give us his energy. Just don’t let us get bitten by his youthful over excitement on play action or pump fakes.

The Leonhard, Pool and Smith Experience were often times late to the party but when Jimmy was healthy, this unit was never an X’s and O’s meltdown. Except when it had to cover the tight end. Better to give up twenty yards at midfield than be toast downfield every week due to miscommunication though, right?

Eric Smith is back and healthy again but even when healthy, is limited as a cover guy. Bell, Landry and Smith. Let’s see a few series of plays with them this August first.

5. The Ground and Pound Is Set To Roll – 

First of all, who is ground and who is pound? The Jets have walked away from the Ryan blueprint of a veteran RB leading the way for the rookies and the younghans in this latest version of the ground game. There is also no back with a bell cow track record statistically in this corps right now. Shonn Greene is the group’s only 1,000 yard rusher, having squeaked by in 2011 with 1054 yards after a non existent start into mid October. Everyone else (Joe McKnight, Terrance Ganaway, Bilal Powell) is unproven except for Tim Tebow who as a QB has rushed for 12 TD’s in two years.

The offensive line is coming off a rough year and has to gel once again. Plus, we have to see how Mark Sanchez looks. If he can keep defenses honest in the passing game then hey, this new ground and pound mentality can work. Like the new safeties though, we have to wait and see how it all comes together. The potential is there but potential and results don’t always meet together when asked to.

These “no huddle” keys may all work out just fine in 2012. It IS possible. Yet we have no idea to what extent they will be a success at this point in time. Patience and time will play a key part. It’s a long season. The coaches, players and fans better have to remember to let this all build naturally.

The potential is there.

Turn On The Jets 12 Pack: New York Jets Statistical Predictions

The Turn On The Jets 12 Pack breaks out some stat predictions for the 2012 New York Jets

This week’s 12 Pack is going throw out some statistical predictions for members of both the New York Jets offense and defense. Credit for the idea goes to (@ItsOasus) on Twitter. Give the man a follow and while you are it give our fellow writers Chris GrossMike Donnelly and TJ Rosenthal a follow. 

In case you missed it this week…

Turn On The Jets shirts (designed and created by Bark Tees NY) are being shipped out this upcoming week and should be for sale no later than July 20th. 
Check out Gameday Goods for 10% off all New York Jets apparel. All you have to do is use the promo code “TurnOnTheJets”

1. Mark Sanchez – 256/432, 59.2 completion percentage, 3,360 yards, 25 touchdowns, 13 interceptions – I am basically projecting Sanchez for 16/27, 210 yards on a weekly basis. The yardage total might seem a little high but I think the Jets will attack down the field more often with Tony Sparano calling plays, will use Santonio Holmes more vertically and should have a viable deep threat in Stephen Hill. Yes, I believe he will do a better job of protecting the football and will cut 5 interceptions off his total from last season.

2. Shonn Greene – 280 carries, 1,175 yards, 4.2 yards per carry, 5 touchdowns – Greene isn’t anywhere near an elite level back but considering their depth chart at running back and the offensive system the Jets are going to give him 17-20 carries per week. He should be able to translate that into a little under 1,200 yards considering his history. His touchdown total will be disappointing because Tim Tebow will be a major presence around the goal-line.

3. Santonio Holmes – 72 receptions, 1,044 yards, 7 touchdowns – Holmes averaged 15 yards per catch over the 3 years prior to 2011, let’s put him at 14.5 this season…a nice bump up from the 12.8 of last season. Sparano should also do a better job of getting the ball in his hands than Brian Schottenheimer did last season, so 4.5 catches per game seems reasonable. Holmes had 8 touchdowns last year, which tied a career high. He will end up with 7 this season.

4. Dustin Keller – 64 receptions, 832 yards, 7 touchdowns – Yes, I do think Holmes and Keller will equate for this large of a share of the Jets passing game. Keller was at 12.5 yards per catch last year, he’ll bump up to about 13 in Tony Sparano’s offense. 7 touchdowns would be a career high but he is due to be a sustainable red-zone presence throughout an entire season.

5. Stephen Hill – 40 receptions, 630 yards, 5 touchdowns – The reception total won’t be high but Hill will be a big play threat for the Jets, hence the high yards per catch average. His size and leaping ability ability will also make him a consistent red-zone threat.

6. Tim Tebow – 80 carries, 440 yards, 7 rushing touchdowns, 250 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns – Tebow is going to be a major factor in the red-zone as a rusher and overall should average out to about  5 carries per week. His passing totals are hard to project, because it remains to be seen how often the Jets will use him a passer. For the record, I do think Mark Sanchez, barring injury, starts every game this season at quarterback.

7. Aaron Maybin – 10.5 sacks, 26 tackles, 5 forced fumbles – With a full off-season under his belt, Maybin will become the first Jets defender to hit double digit sacks since John Abraham (!). If that forced fumble total seems high, remember he forced 4 last season in 13 games with a very limited role.

8. David Harris – 90 tackles, 4 sacks, 4 interceptions – Another rock solid, Pro-Bowl caliber season from the Jets inside linebacker. Don’t look for any drop-off in his regular production.

9. Quinton Coples – 30 tackles, 5.5 sacks – Rex Ryan and Karl Dunbar will get Coples in the proper position to make an immediate impact as a pass rusher. Towards the end of the season, he will begin to come on more as a complete player, particularly in run defense.

10. Muhammad Wilkerson – 55 tackles, 6 sacks, 10 tackles for a loss – I am on the Wilkerson bandwagon, who I think will play at a Pro-Bowl caliber level as a two way defensive end. Wilkerson and Coples will give the Jets their best pass rushing duo up front since John Abraham and Shaun Ellis were young pups.

11. Joe McKnight – 75 carries, 325 yards, 32 receptions, 320 yards, 2 offensive touchdowns, 1 special teams touchdown – A good all-around year for McKnight who will be able to handle the role of 3rd down back and be a reliable checkdown/screen option for Mark Sanchez. He also will remain one of the league’s better kick returners.

12. Jeremy Kerley – 45 receptions, 460 yards, 2 touchdowns – Kerley won’t have a high yards per catch but will develop into a reliable third down target, being a good option in the short to intermediate passing game.

 

Comparing AFC East Teams To The Corleone Children

Turn On The Jets compares the teams of the AFC East to the Corleone children from The Godfather

This is the time of the NFL season where it is important to do things like compare AFC East teams to the Corleone children in The Godfather. If you didn’t comprehend that first sentence, go watch all three movies…thank me…and then come back to read this article. The original inspiration for this article came from a group of Buffalo Bills fans referring to themselves as #BillsMafia on Twitter, where I couldn’t help but respond by calling them the Fredo of the AFC East as they promptly lost 8 of their last 9 games. Let’s fill out the rest of the family heading into the 2012 NFL season –

New England Patriots – Michael Corleone – The head of the family and the head of the division. Sneaky, ruthless and willing to do whatever it takes to maintain power. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady came out of nowhere to run the AFC East, just like Michael came out of nowhere to run the family. Belichick is notoriously paranoid about every piece of information surrounding his team, while Michael was paranoid enough to kill his own brother. We know that Belichick back-stabbed the Jets by resigning from their head coaching position and Michael was never shy to back-stab anybody on his rise to the top. The Patriots have the media (Peter King, Pro Football Talk) in their pocket just like the Corleone’s did under Michael’s leadership. Beyond that, couldn’t you see Belichick showing up at the Spygate hearings in the NFL office with a member of the family of anybody who was going to testify against him?

New York Jets – Sonny Corleone – Hotheaded and a little too outspoken for their own good at times. Rex and the Jets had a short reign at the top after knocking New England out of the playoffs in 2010 before coming crashing down from their brash words and actions in 2011. Sonny got hit on the causeway because Carlo gave him up. Who is Carlo? I am going with Brian Schottenheimer and his atrocious playcalling throughout the 2011 season, most notably dropping Mark Sanchez back over 60 times against the Giants pass rush in a game that all but ended their playoff hopes.

Buffalo Bills – Fredo Corleone – Always looking for respect when they have done nothing to deserve it. Every year they are hyped up as a contender but are then “stepped over” in the division by the Patriots and Jets. Buffalo can’t compete with their brothers, considering their combined record against the Pats and Jets since 2009 is 2-10. Yes, we hear everybody saying they can handle things in 2012 and will be a contender but we think they will be stepped over yet again.

Miami Dolphins – Connie Corleone – Not taken seriously. Connie is a floozy bouncing in and out relationships, while still being financially dependent on her brothers. The Dolphins put tarps over their seats, sell Jets apparel in their gift shop and will have David Garrard throwing passes to Chad Johnson Ochocinco Johnson this season. Hysterical…

Unfortunately, the New York Giants have to currently be Don Corleone since they are the reigning champs and their cloud hangs over the Patriots and Jets. Yes, it isn’t always being a Jets fan but “this is the business we have chosen”

New York Jets: What Are Reasonable Expectations?

What are reasonable expectations for the New York Jets in 2012?

The general consensus from the mainstream media about the 2012 New York Jets isn’t positive. We have seen them ranked as low as 27th in Power Rankings by Evan Silva of Rotoworld, along with most commentators pegging them for 3rd or 4th in the AFC East behind Buffalo and in some cases behind Miami. This line of thinking isn’t that surprising when you step back and consider a few things.

Most people view the Jets as a brash talking organization who has seen their small window close. They are a roster stuffed with overhyped, overpaid players who had an ugly meltdown to end the 2011 season. Everybody who doesn’t wear a green and white jersey on Sundays is giddy at the thought of Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez failing and being out of a job this time next year.

The hate towards Ryan makes sense. He bit off more than he could chew last year when his big words weren’t matched by a successful January run that came up just short of a Super Bowl appearance. Tom Coughlin and the New York Giants made him look foolish and petulant. He is an easy target because of his personality. Yet, it doesn’t mean the man can’t coach the hell out of a defense or that he wasn’t more successful than 95% of NFL coaches are in their first three years.

The hate towards Sanchez is a little more perplexing because few individuals in the league face more unwarranted criticism. It could be because of the Hollywood, appearing on GQ Cover persona. It could just be having Rex Ryan as his head coach. Whatever it is, Sanchez is treated as a backup, masquerading as a starter instead of a young, developing quarterback like his counterparts Josh Freeman (who was truly awful last year) and Joe Flacco. Nobody is saying Sanchez has been anywhere near a great quarterback the past three years, but he has had more than enough great moments to merit faith in him being the future quarterback of a successful team.

Certain prominent players on the Jets roster have a negative public perception which blurs objectively looking at their talent on the field. Santonio Holmes is a selfish diva, not a former Super Bowl MVP who had 4 game winning receptions for the Jets in 2010 and 2 more in 2011. Antonio Cromartie is a guy with a ton of kids, not one of the best number two corners in football. Other prominent players are soft-spoken and stay out of the limelight leading to them being overlooked. People forget David Harris is a top five inside linebacker in football. Nick Mangold is the best center in the NFL and Sione Pouha is one of the league’s top nose tackles. Is there 10 better guards in the league than Brandon Moore or 5 better left tackles than D’Brickashaw Ferguson? I’m not so sure.

It almost seems that with each passing month the Jets 2011 record got a game worse. You would think from commentary on their team that they finished at 4-12 or 5-11 last year. The reality is that they were 8-5 and lost their last 3 games to finish a very average 8-8. A tip here or a tip there away from being a playoff team at 9-7 or 10-6.

So where does that put them heading into 2012?

It is equally as foolish to rank the Jets as a top five team heading into the 2012 season, as it is to rank them a bottom five team. The Jets didn’t get worse this off-season by making their starting tandem at safety Yeremiah Bell and LaRon Landry instead of Jim Leonhard and Eric Smith. They didn’t get worse by adding Quinton Coples, Stephen Hill and Demario Davis through the draft. And if used properly, they didn’t get worse by adding Tim Tebow and all that he brings to their offense. Finally, they certainly didn’t get worse by replacing Brian Schottenheimer with Tony Sparano at offensive coordinator.

Considering the talent on their defense (which was still top five in the NFL last season by the way) and a schedule that features games against offensive juggernauts like St. Louis, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, Miami (twice) and Seattle, the Jets have the look of a team that will range between 7-9 and 11-5 depending on how they play in close games.

The Jets are built to play tight, low scoring football. The results of these games will depend on winning the turnover battle, special teams, and finding a way to make the big play at an opportune time.

A large burden falls on Mark Sanchez to protect the football and hit big plays when they are available. He has a wide receiver who has the longest resume of clutch receptions currently in the NFL. A very good receiving tight end who he is comfortable with and a rookie speedster who is 6 foot 4. This team doesn’t need 45 pass attempts and 350 yards from Sanchez. It needs 18/25 for 200 yards but most importantly accuracy and smart decision making in big moments, which Sanchez has displayed in the past. They have the makings a competent, not great running game that could be dynamic at times if Tim Tebow is used properly.

Ultimately, there is too much talent on this roster to see the Jets as a 5 or 6 win team but there is enough questions to prevent expecting double digit wins. The difference between another 8-8 year and a playoff run into January will be their offense or special teams doing more of this in big spots –

And less of this –

New York Jets Fact Or False: Jets vs. Bills Edition

Chris Gross goes Fact or False on the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets, who are battling to be New England’s main competitor in the AFC East

With all of the hype surrounding the Buffalo Bills this offseason, particularly as the favorites to challenge the Patriots for the top of the AFC East this year, it seems as if many have forgotten that the Jets still play in the division. Since the Bills made the big splash this offseason in signing free agent defensive end Mario Williams, coupled with the Jets 8-8 season last year, most people have written New York off, and have proclaimed the Bills as the best team behind New England in the East. However, when comparing the Jets and the Bills, there are several things to consider before handing Buffalo two easy victories this season. This week’s New York Jets Fact Or False focuses on what to believe, and what not to believe, when it comes to the Jets vs. the Bills.

Fred Jackson will be an elite level RB this season. False. While Jackson surely experienced the greatest success of his career last season, the clock unfortunately struck midnight on his Cinderella story in week 11 when he suffered a fractured fibula against the Miami Dolphins. Now Jackson, on the wrong side of 30, will try to bounce back from the leg injury while battling father time, which just so happens to be horribly unkind to NFL Running Backs. In fact, last season there were only two backs that ranked in the top 30 in the NFL in rushing yards over the age of 30, Willis McGahee, who had just turned 30 in October of 2011, and Jackson. While it would certainly make for a nice story, it will be extremely difficult for Jackson to establish an elite level of production this season when considering all of these factors. Of course, crazier things in the NFL certainly have happened, however don’t forget that Jackson has had only just a single 1,000-yard season during his five years in the NFL. To expect him to surpass that less than a year removed from a broken leg at age 31 would be asinine.

Mark Sanchez is a better quarterback than Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fact. We can talk numbers all we want here, but there is only one number that matters in this debate: 4. That’s the number of playoff wins that Sanchez has over Fitzpatrick. In fact, Sanchez has won each of those games on the road against two good quarterbacks in Carson Palmer and Phillip Rivers, along with arguably the two greatest of all time in Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. While Sanchez has yet to take the leap and lead his team to the Superbowl, Fitzpatrick has yet to take his team into the post season.

While staying on the topic of postseason success, consider this: Sanchez has done all of this at the ripe age of 25. With only one collegiate season as a full time starter, before his very young 3 years in the NFL, it would be completely ignorant to think his best years aren’t ahead of him. Fitzpatrick, on the other hand, started two seasons at Harvard before his 6 seasons in the league, and will turn 30 by midseason this year. Sure, the argument can be made that he is finally starting to blossom, but realistically Fitzpatrick has likely maxed his ceiling for success in the NFL. Not many players in this league turn the corner after the age of 30.

The Bills’ top offensive weapons are enough to overcome the Jets defense. False. I’m sure everyone associated with the Bills will argue this until the cows come home, and for good reason. Buffalo certainly has some talent on the offensive side of the ball. However, when matched up with the Jets, the Bills’ 4 best offensive weapons have not exactly performed at a level that would produce an abundance of victories. Here’s a look at how Jackson, RB CJ Spiller, WR Stevie Johnson, and QB Ryan Fitzpatrick have fared against Gang Green over the span of their careers in Buffalo.

Jackson – 77 carries, 268 yards, 1 Touchdown, 3.4 YPC. While Jackson certainly has elite talent level, his career high in yards against New York is a mere 82. The Jets have repeatedly shut down the efforts of Jackson over the five year span that he has been in the division, and in comparison with how he has played against the rest of the NFL, the argument could certainly be made that the Jets have his number.

Spiller – In Spiller’s four career games against the Jets, he has amassed the stat line of 26 carries for 76 yards and no touchdowns. This number could certainly be regarded as misleading due to the fact that Spiller hasn’t necessarily gotten a heavy workload during his four games against the Jets, however after the injury to Jackson last season, Spiller was forced to take over as the full time back in Buffalo. Against the Jets in week 12, Spiller was given a sizeable workload with 19 carries, but amassed just 55 yards for a 2.9 YPC average. These are not exactly numbers that will cause Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine to circle number 28 on the scouting report.

Johnson – While all of the Revis haters will undoubtedly argue that Johnson owns DR, a notion which we have already dispelled at Turn On The Jets, his career numbers against New York tell the truth. Over a span of six career games, Johnson has 22 catches for 283 yards and 3 Touchdowns. Those numbers average out to 3.7 receptions for 37 yards and .5 Touchdowns per game. Considering Johnson is Buffalo’s primary passing option, it is fair to assume that he will not be carrying the Bills to any victories over New York in the near future.

Fitzpatrick – One thing that cannot be denied about Fitzpatrick is that his most recent game against the Jets was easily his most successful. During their 2011 week 12 matchup, Fitz threw for 264 yards with 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. However, when looking a bit deeper, Fitzpatrick has struggled against the Jets more often than not. Since becoming a Bill in 2009, Fitzpatrick has thrown a total of 145 passes, while completing just 72 of them, resulting in a completion percentage of 49.6. To gauge what a good completion percentage in the NFL is, consider this: Blaine Gabbert completed 50.8% of his passes last season. While it could certainly be said that Fitzpatrick is finally starting to get comfortable against the Jets after playing them for three years, a similar argument could be made that he took advantage of the Jets poor defensive effort that day, causing his awful 49.6 career completion percentage against New York to actually be inflated. Most people would presumably take the latter.

Rex Ryan is a better Coach than Chan Gailey. Fact. This is one that surely is not up for argument. Gailey is 28-36 as an NFL Head Coach, while Ryan is 28-20. Gailey is 0-2 in the post season, while Rex is 4-2. Ryan’s biggest coaching accomplishment is winning a Super Bowl as the Defensive Line Coach for the Baltimore Ravens in 2000. Gailey’s greatest coaching accomplishment is winning a Division II NCAA National Championship in 1984 as the Head Coach of Troy. What else is there to debate?

Mario Williams will dominate the Jets in every contest. False. Based on his ability alone, it is certainly easy to assume that Williams is going to come into the AFC East and wreak havoc across the division. If healthy, Williams will undoubtedly have a great impact not only on the Bills, but against everyone he lines up against. Williams has played against the Jets just twice in his career, getting to Sanchez twice, both coming in their most recent matchup in 2010. However, Williams has never beaten Gang Green in his career, and when observing his surrounding talent in Houston, it is seemingly much better than what he has joined in Buffalo. Brian Cushing and DeMeco Ryans, two All-Pros, each played in both of Williams’ matchups against the Jets. The proclaimed “Super Mario” now joins a Buffalo defense that has just one former All-Pro in Shawn Merriman, who hasn’t exactly been “Lights Out” as of late. While there is surely an abundance of young potential in Buffalo’s front seven, let’s not crown Williams the sack king just yet. He will likely face a great amount of double teams until that young talent proves itself worthy of respect.

The Bills are still the Fredo of the AFC East. Fact. This notion has been looked at time and time again here at Turn On The Jets, yet it never seems to get old. When observing both characters here, the Buffalo Bills and Fredo Corleone (The infamous brother of Michael Corleone in The Godfather films, most known for going against the family), the similarities are uncanny. Both want to be the top dog, but just don’t have what it takes to garner any real respect. Fredo was overlooked to take over as head of the Family after Sonny was shot at the causeway because no one truly believed he had it in him to be the Boss of the long respected Corleones. Similarly, no one truly believes the Bills have it in them to overtake both the Jets and Patriots as the Boss of the long respected AFC East Division. The Bills want to be good, they really do, but like Fredo, they have a long history of never having quite enough in them to succeed. When Buffalo tried to act like the big dogs, they lost 4 consecutive Super Bowls. When Fredo tried acting like the big dog…well we all know how that ended.

Turn On The Jets Beat Writer Rankings: All-Time Edition

Turn On The Jets looks back at some of the all-time greats on the New York Jets beat

Today’s edition of the Turn On The Jets beat writer rankings focuses on former writers on the New York Jets beat – 

Old School

Paul Zimmerman, New York Post – An all-time great in sports journalism, more popularly known as “Dr. Z” from his time at Sports Illustrated. Zimmerman was on the Jets beat in the late 60s for the New York Post and covered their only Super Bowl victory. He was a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee until recently suffering a stroke in 2008, which he is still recovering from. When correctly picking the Giants to beat Patriots in the 2007 Super Bowl, he referred back to the Jets upset over the Colts in Super Bowl III as his inspiration –

“I can only go back to Super Bowl III, when I was the New York Post‘s beat man covering the Jets, and I had a hunch that they were primed for a major upset over the Colts even though it didn’t seem logical. So I chickened out and picked the Colts by less than the huge spread.”

Paul Needell, New York Daily News – Covered the Jets from 1983-1995 for the Daily News, before moving on to the Star-Ledger as a NFL reporter. Give this a read for a comical overview of Needell’s time with the team, who never provided a dull moment throughout the 80s, just like they never provide a dull moment these days.

Gerald Eskenazi, New York Times – He has worked at the New York Times for over five decades, covering a wide range of sports and other topics. Eskenazi documented his days with the Jets in this book and was another one of the beat writers who covered the team’s Super Bowl III victory.

Dave Anderson, New York Times – Another long running, well-respected journalist who spent time on the New York Jets beat. When writing on the long standing Jets/Raiders rivalry, Anderson commented about Weeb Ewbank’s mistrust of Al Davis

“Whenever a helicopter flew anywhere near a Jets practice the week before a game against the Raiders, Ewbank would look up and shake his fist. He just knew Davis had somebody spying on the Jets.”

New School

Erik Boland, Newsday – Unfortunately only spent about one year on the Jets beat for Newsdsay before moving on to cover the Yankees but was very popular with fans. Boland distinguished himself for being highly interactive with fans and having in-depth articles while maintaining a sense of humor.

Rod Boone, Newsday – Recently moved to the Brooklyn Nets beat, Boone was another fan favorite because of his in-depth writing and unique perspectives on the different issues surrounding the team. He is already establishing himself with excellent Nets coverage and is a must follow on Twitter (@RodBoone)

Dave Hutchinson, The Star Ledger – Covered the Jets for well over a decade before being moved over to the Mets beat in recent years. Hutchinson was a detailed writer who always seemed to come up with good scoops and was well respected by the other writers and fans alike. The Ledger’s coverage has remained top notch in Hutchinson’s absence with Jenny Vrentas taking over, who is our currently top ranked beat writer.

Randy Lange, The Record – A personal favorite of TOJ, as Lange was the beat writer for my hometown paper when I was growing up. He covered the Jets for 13 years for The Record before getting hired by the New York Jets website as their Editor-In-Chief where he currently does an excellent job.

Tim Graham, ESPN – Graham ran the ESPN AFC East blog before moving on to cover the Bills for Buffalo News. He did a terrific job with AFC East coverage and made the blog a must read for a fan of any team in the division. Since he has moved on, Erik Frenz of The Bleacher Report has become our go to guy for AFC East coverage.

New York Jets: How To Get The Most Out Of Stephen Hill

How can the New York Jets can get the most out of rookie wide receiver Stephen Hill this season?

It is impossible not to be excited about the potential of rookie wide receiver Stephen Hill. You don’t see an endless line of receivers who stand 6 foot 4, 215 pounds and still manage to run a 4.31 forty. The guy averaged over 29 yards per catch last season and is coming to an offense that couldn’t buy a 20 yard play last year. Yet, as the recent history of second round receivers shows, it might be wise to temper that excitement, especially when combined with the reality that Hill played in a triple-option offense and only caught 49 passes in 3 years at Georgia Tech.

Considering where he was selected, Hill is going to enter training camp as the de facto starter opposite Santonio Holmes at wide receiver. His size and speed has to be respected, despite being an unproven player and that will open up things underneath for Holmes and Dustin Keller.

But how can the Jets get the most out of him in his rookie season?

First off, despite being a “starter” don’t expect Hill to immediately play 65 snaps a game. There is going to be situations where Dustin Keller, Jeremy Kerley and Chaz Schilens are taking reps for certain plays in his spot and that is okay. Hill should gradually build up to a full workload as he masters the offense and every route in the playbook. It is unreasonable to expect a player out of a triple option to be polished on all the necessary routes.

Out of the gate, Hill is going to be a frequent target when the Jets look to get those “chunk” plays Tony Sparano has talked about. Mark Sanchez has shown an ability to throw the deep play action post well and Sparano won’t hesitate to call it. We know at a minimum Hill has the ability to run that and the “go” route.

Considering Sanchez’s comfort with the slant route and Hill’s frame, I’d look for him to be running a good amount of those early as well. He also has the speed to be utilized on a smoke screen where he can try to shake his defender 1 on 1. Look for the Jets to build Hill’s confidence early in the season by getting him a few easy receptions and then taking their downfield shots to him, particularly off the play action.

Hill is also a logical primary target in the red-zone. Mark Sanchez had excellent chemistry with Plaxico Burress inside the 10 yard line last season and there is no reason he can’t replicate that with Hill. You can bet if the Jets are turning to the “fade” ball, it will be Hill on the receiving end.

Overall, it would be illogical to expect high reception totals from Hill in this offense in 2012. At a minimum, he will be the third most frequent target behind Holmes and Keller. However, that doesn’t mean he can’t rack up a high yards per catch and pull in 6-8 touchdowns. The Jets would be wise to start him out as primarily as a deep threat and then gradually increase his reps as the season goes on with the hope of him starting to resemble a complete receiver by December.