Turn On The Jets 12 Pack, Week 8 – Jets vs. Dolphins

12 predictions from Turn On The Jets for the New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins week 8 match-up

The Turn On The Jets 12 pack is back and sporting a perfect 7-0 record at picking the outcome of New York Jets games this season. We had another big week of coverage here with our ongoing mission to civilize coverage of this football team. A big thanks to Chris Gross, Mike Donnelly, TJ Rosenthal, Rob Celletti and Chris Celletti for doing their thing as always. Here is a recap of the previous week –

On to the predictions –

1. The Jets are going to hold Reggie Bush under 80 yards total rushing. This might seem like a stretch considering how Bush was gashing them back in week 3 before leaving with an injury. However, he hasn’t been the same player since that hit LaRon Landry put on him. Also back in week 3, an injured Sione Pouha hurt the Jets defense by getting pushed all over the field. Mike DeVito isn’t a great nose tackle but him at 100 percent is better than the 50% it looked like Pouha was playing at in week 3. Demario Davis will also be replacing Bart Scott at inside linebacker, bringing more speed to the position.

2. Shonn Greene isn’t going to crack 60 yards rushing. Miami’s front seven is too stout and he has never found success against the Dolphins. Look for something like 15 carries and 50 yards from Greene. However, I do think he scores his 6th touchdown of the year.

3. Joe McKnight and Jonathan Grimes will combine for at least 8 carries. Credit McKnight for playing through the pain of his high ankle injury. He seems to have really grown up this season and is showing a new level of toughness.

4. Tim Tebow will have a minimal impact on the game again. He won’t crack 35 total offensive yards and will finish the first half of the year without a touchdown.

5. Brian Hartline will have less than 50 yards receiving and will not score a touchdown. Look for Antonio Cromartie to spend most of the day on him. Keep an eye on Jabar Gaffney in the slot, he is a savvy receiver who could hurt the Jets if he sees extended reps.

6. Mark Sanchez is going to outperform Ryan Tannehill in every major statistical category.

7. Nick Folk will continue his perfect season, knocking through two more field goals. Could the Jets have a kicker and punter (Mayday Malone?) in the Pro-Bowl this year?

8. Jermey Kerley will have another 75 yards receiving. Dustin Keller will catch his 2nd touchdown of the season. Stephen Hill will bounce back from last week’s drop to put together a solid all-around game.

9. The Jets haven’t ran a true trick play on offense since week 1 when they broke out a flea flicker. We will see another trick play this week that goes for a big gain.

10. Anthony Fasano will have a solid day against the Jets defense…he always seems to.

11. Dan Carpenter is going to shank another kick. Rex Ryan and Tony Sparano’s fist pumps are in his head.

12. The Jets are going to play their most complete football game of the season. I like the way this team has been trending since the Houston game, slowing improving every week particularly on offense. This is the week it comes together against a pretty good Miami team. The defense is going to be keyed up to slow down Reggie Bush and I think they answer the bell. Originally, I was going to pick a tight one but I think the Jets pull away in the second half and win 27-14.

Turn On The Jets NFL Week 8 Best Bets

Chris Celletti with his weekly NFL Best Bets. Who should you be putting your money on this Sunday?

Week 7 Record: 1-2 

Season Record: 8-12-1

In honor of Hurricane Sandy, Snowicane, The Frankenstorm – whatever you want to call that crazy thing we’re supposed to get early next week that’s supposed to turn New York City on its ear, I’m going to flip things around this week and start my piece off with my Bonus Non-Football Bet of The Week. I’m 3-4 on the season with these, but the game I’m going to pick this week is one that’s closer to my heart than any other pick I’ve ever made on this site – next Thursday’s season opener for the New York Knicks against the Brooklyn Nets, Round 1 of the New York-Brooklyn turf war. Now it’s way too early for the line for this game to have come out, but this pick is much more symbolic anyway. I’m taking the Knicks outright, whatever the moneyline is.

I guess its natural that the Nets are being overrated heading into this season. The shiny new arena, all the Jay-Z crap, a new name and all will do that for you. But let’s get one thing patently straight here – the Nets ARE being overrated heading into this season. Many people are picking them as a 50+ win team, saying they’re so much clearly better than the Knicks, and that they’re closer to the Boston Celtics than anyone else in the Atlantic Division. I’m here to tell you that that’s false, and that if the Nets were still the New Jersey Nets, playing in Newark, with those old uniforms, but had the EXACT SAME ROSTER – nobody would have them as a 50-win squad.

As a Knicks fan, I’ve watched enough bad defensive basketball to know how truly important defense is in the NBA. For years, the Knicks were an embarrassment on defense – last year that changed with the addition of Tyson Chandler. And all anyone who hates the Knicks wants to point out is how bad their stars – Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire are on defense. They’re not wrong in that criticism at all. So then why is everyone totally ignoring that the Nets have, without question, the worst defensive frontcourt in the NBA? Scour every roster and I dare you to find a starting center-power forward combination that would struggle to defend a potato and a desk chair on a pick and roll more than Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries.

The Nets are a good team, don’t get me wrong. They have a lot of talent and have a good coach in Avery Johnson. They’ll make the playoffs. But can we stop with waxing on and on about how great they’re going to be? This has reached insane levels – when the media is writing “ANDRAY BLATCHE REDEMPTION” stories, you know we’re on Mars with this whole thing. If the Knicks signed Andray Blatche, I can only imagine the crap they’d be getting. And if the Nets don’t win this year, I really don’t see how they’re going to improve from here on out. Like the Knicks, they’re pretty strapped with who they have. They signed Lopez and Williams to max deals and they traded for Joe Johnson and his crazy contract. Unless Lopez improves as a defender and rebounder in the coming years, I don’t see how they possibly get anywhere close to Miami.

And oh yeah, while I’m at it, how about we call Deron Williams what he is – an insanely talented top NBA player who has never won anything and bickered and pouted and drove a Hall of Fame coach to QUIT. Do people remember this? When Williams drove Jerry Sloan so mad that he quit in the middle of the season? Why is this ignored, but all people want to mention about Carmelo Anthony is that he was selfish and un-coachable and forced his way out of Denver? Why is Deron Williams allowed to have essentially done the same thing and gotten away with it? Okay, I’m done with the questions.

As for the game, I’m not going to go into crazy specifics as to why I think the Knicks will win. It’s one out of 82 games, they could lose by 40 for all I know. But if I’m New York (as long as Tyson Chandler is healthy), I run pick and rolls with Ray Felton/Jason Kidd and Chandler/Amare Stoudemire all night. Chandler is a marginal offensive player at best, but he should put up 40 points on 20 dunks.

Oh yeah, this is a Jets site – let’s get to my picks for this week.

Jets -2 vs. Dolphins 

The Jets absolutely have to win this game. They’re at home against a rookie quarterback – a situation they’ve done well in under Rex Ryan. New York’s defense has been a lot better as of late, so I don’t think the Dolphins will quite gash the Jets on the ground the way they did in Week 3. Also, the Jets are in a pretty good rhythm in the passing game (BUT HERP DERP SANCHEZ SUCKS YOU MORON LOLZ), and Miami’s pass defense isn’t very good. You’ll get my official prediction a bit later, but the Jets cover. Oh yeah they do.

Bears -7.5 vs. Panthers

I really like the way the Bears are playing right now; they’re a balanced offensive team, Brandon Marshall is quite possibly the best receiver in the league right now, and their defense is all-world. Even Jay Cutler can’t screw this thing up…yet. The Panthers on the other hand are a total mess. Teams have either figured out Cam Newton or he’s just not very good. It will take time to find that out for sure – like with all quarterbacks ahem ahem – but right now Carolina is one of the worst teams in the league. At home and on a roll right now, I like the Bears pretty big.

Saints +6 at Broncos

We know how bad the Saints’ defense is, but they’re still averaging almost 30 points a game. I just feel like anytime you give an offense like this an additional six points, you take it. This is likely going to be a wild, high scoring game. I don’t love the Saints outdoors, but I’m still going to take these six points and hope for the best.

 

Turn On the Jets Fantasy Preview – Keeper League & Week 8 Edition

Mike Donnelly with his weekly Fantasy Football preview. Who should you start and sit, with a special focus on keeper leagues this week

Way back at the start of the 2012 fantasy football season in my 8 Easy Steps to Achieve the Perfect Fantasy League column, I strongly recommended that you get yourself involved in a keeper league with a group of your close friends that you know you’ll stay in touch with for at least the next few years. If you’ve never tried it, you should give it a shot, because it adds a whole new wrinkle to your fantasy season and even helps you keep fantasy in mind during the “dark period”, aka baseball season.

June becomes a whole lot more fun. Did one of your players just get traded or sign with a new team? I drafted him in the 6th round, is it worth it to keep him? Did that increase or decrease his value? Should you still keep him? Do you have a backup running back who is now shooting up the depth chart because the starter just got sent to prison for beating up a cop for the third time? All major things to keep an eye on for keeper consideration. Just as importantly, it forces you to keep trying during the current season, even as your once promising lineup is spiraling out of control toward a 2-11 finish due to injury, poor performance, or both (Damn you, Maurice Jones-Drew and your brittle bones!). In a standard league, at this point in the year if you’re 1-6 and totally out of it, you’re likely to throw in the towel, not pay attention to your lineup, and it becomes less and less fun for the other teams to even insult you.

Well, in a keeper league, that problem is solved. Since you’re going to be able to keep 2 or 3 players (or however many your league decides) heading into next year based on their previous year’s draft value, you can bolster your 2013 lineup while you take it on the chin in 2012. For example, in my keeper league, one team is totally out of it and traded Ryan Mathews and Antonio Brown (two players he had no intention of keeping in 2013) for Trent Richardson. Had it been a standard 1-year league, this trade would have caused death threats in a competitive league. However, since it is a keeper league and Trent could be a superstar, it was a fairly reasonable trade. I still hated it, but I digress. Anyway, today I’m going to throw out a few players you should be looking to target in a trade to build around for next year.

(Keep in mind I’m not going to suggest you keep Ray Rice. That’s obvious. This will be guys drafted in the mid-rounds this year who will provide great value for next year. I’m also going on the premise the keeper rules are you lose a pick in the 2013 draft based on where the player was picked in 2012. So if you took Alfred Morris in the 8th round and keep him next year, he’s put down as your 8th round pick.)

RB – Alfred Morris (drafted between rounds 6 and 8) – Heading into the season, there was great mystery surrounding who would be the Redskins starting running back, but Morris appeared to be the front runner. I personally have a strict “don’t take any Mike Shanahan RB’s” rule because of how he shuffles them in and out, but Morris locked down the role and looks like a stud. Playing with that RG3 fella certainly doesn’t hurt things either. Next year he will likely be picked somewhere in the #25-30 overall range, and that makes him a no-brainer keeper based on his 2012 draft position.

QB – Robert Griffin III & Andrew Luck (rounds 6-10)– This goes without saying, but if you’re the lucky guy who drafted RG3 in a standard league between rounds 6 and 10, well congratulations. If you did that in a keeper league, you can probably go ahead and start thinking about where to put your 2013 championship trophy. Andrew Luck hasn’t had quite the same success this year, but he’s been pretty damn good. And as the Colts surround him with better talent heading into next year he’s only going to get better. These guys are both going to be great.

RB – Stevan Ridley (rounds 5-9) – Ridley’s draft position was all over the board heading into 2012. He got a grip on the starting job late in the preseason and there was some uncertainty there in New England. Well, there’s much less uncertainty now. Ridley is on pace to easily surpass 1,200 yards rushing and score about 10 touchdowns. He averages a shade under 20 carries per game for one of the best offenses in the NFL and he’s only 23 years old. Guys like that don’t grow on trees. If the Ridley owner in your league is looking to upgrade for this year, this is a very solid guy to build around for 2013 with that round value.

WR – Percy Harvin (rounds 3-5) – Readers of this column know Harvin was a guy I was extremely high on heading into 2012 and he’s actually surpassed my expectations. In PPR leagues, he is an absolute stud with 53 catches through just 7 games. Oh, and he also tacks on rushing yards, which is a major bonus. He’s a top 5 receiver going forward, especially as Ponder progresses. If he was drafted any later than the 3rd round in your league, there is major keeper value there for you to try and target.

WR – Kendall Wright (round 10 or later) – Kendall Wright was a solid sleeper heading into the season, and he’s had a very solid rookie year. He’s currently 16th in the NFL in passing targets, and as Jake Locker improves, so will Kendall Wright. If you’re out of it and can trade a guy like Torrey Smith for Wright and get that late round value for 2013, it’s something you should definitely look into.

QB – Peyton Manning (round 5-7) – It’s hard to believe now, but Peyton Manning wasn’t even drafted as a QB1 in a lot of leagues heading into this season due to concerns about his injury. Well, so much for all that. Peyton has been an absolute stud and if the owner in your league has 2 QB’s and could use help at another position, Peyton is an excellent guy to target so you have a top 5 QB for next year. Suddenly, your crappy franchise is looking up!

RB – Rashard Mendenhall (round 9 or later) – Someone in your league likely drafted Mendenhall late hoping he’d contribute by this point in the season. Well, that hasn’t quite happened, and there’s a good chance that team could use some RB help since it hasn’t. Menenhall may not help this year, but since you’re already out of it, might as well swing a trade for him and wait for him to return to full strength in 2013. This is how you have to think when you’re 1-6 and need to rebuild.

Other Late Round Players to Consider Trying to Nab

WR – Stephen Hill

WR – Jeremy Kerley

WR – Josh Gibson

WR – Randall Cobb

RB – David Wilson

RB – Kendall Hunter

RB – Alex Green

QB – Ryan Tannehill

RB – Jonathan Stewart

RB – Daryl Richardson

WEEK 8 RECOMMENDED SITS

QB- Matt Stafford vs. Sea – Seattle has a tough defense, and did you SEE Stafford play on Monday? Ugh. At least he’s playing at home.

QB- Josh Freeman @ Minn – Throwing for 420 yards against the Saints is equivalent to about 215 yards against an average defense. The Vikings are better than average, and Thursday night games have not been kind to QB’s.

RB- Frank Gore @ Ari – Gore is banged up, the Cards have a tough D, it’s a rivalry game, and Arizona is home. Temper your expectations for Mr. Gore. 

RB- Steven Jackson vs NE – The Pats D is an embarrassment, but Steven Jackson is basically useless at this point for your fantasy team. Plus I feel like I’m forgetting something… oh right, SCHOTTY!

RB- Felix Jones vs. NYG – Whether he plays or not, I’d keep him on your bench against the Giants defense looking for week 1 revenge.

WR- Denarius Moore @ KC – The combination of Carson Palmer and Brandon Flowers should really limit Moore this week.

WR- Steve Smith @ Chi – Charles Tillman and the Bears D are playing out of their minds lately. Oh, and Cam Newton stinks.. can’t forget that part.

WR- Mike Williams @ Minn – Williams has been on a nice run lately, but that will come to a halt tonight in Minnesota.

TE- Jermichael Finley vs. Jax – This game could get out of hand early.. oh, and Jermichael Finley sucks. If you own him, you already know that though.

Thursday Night Picks

  • Joe – Vikings (-6.5)
  • Mike D – Vikings (-6.5)
  • Chris G – Vikings (-6.5)
  • Rob – Bucs (+6.5)
  • Chris C – Vikings (-6.5)

Turn On The Jets Week 8 Roundtable – Jets/Dolphins Match-Ups

The TOJ staff discusses what match-up is most crucial in the Jets/Dolphins week 8 match-up

Joe Caporoso – LaRon Landry and the Jets Run D versus Reggie “Hot Sauce” Bush – There has been plenty of chirping from Reggie Bush about the New York Jets and LaRon Landry didn’t back down reminding that Bush “will remember his hit from week 3, every time he sees him on the field.” Should be a scrappy one on Sunday, no? In all seriousness, if the Jets slow down Reggie Bush and the Dolphins running game they will be in great position to win. Ryan Tannehill isn’t ready to put an offense on his shoulders on the road and win a division game. As for Bush? A suggested meal for him –

Chris Gross –  LaRon Landry vs. Reggie Bush: For the first time since we can remember, we are beginning to see the New York Jets display the ultimate camaraderie by proving to have each other’s backs. Following the Jets’ week 3 victory in Miami, Dolphins RB Reggie Bush blamed Darrelle Revis’s season ending ACL injury on karma, due to the fact that he thought the Jets were intentionally trying to injure him. Well, today, newly acquired safety LaRon Landry (who is quickly becoming a fan favorite on this defense) spoke up for his secondary brethren. When asked about Bush and his attitude toward the Jets and Revis, Landry responded:

“Every time he sees me, he’ll remember the hit. If I’m in the box or coming downhill, he will remember the hit.”
Could Landry have answered Bush’s comments any better? Number 30 has made a name for himself in this league as an extremely ferocious hitter, but rarely do we hear him come out and target one specific player. Bush has been very solid for Miami this season, and certainly is not one to back down from a challenge. Everyone should keep a close eye on these two this Sunday. Make no mistake about it, Landry will try to decapitate Bush the first chance he gets, while the former USC Trojan will likely try to make him look foolish in the open field. Who will reign victorious in this matchup? Something tells me Landry will not sleep until he has proven his point to Bush. 

TJ Rosenthal – Reggie Bush vs Jets Run Defense. Reggie Bush had alot to say about bounties and karma following the Jets and Dolphins prior meeting. One that saw a season ender occur for Darrelle Revis. An injury to Gang Greene’s best defender that sparked Bush’s “that’s what you get” views for having been targeted by the Jets. This after Calvin Pace alluded to such bounty-like behavior after the Jets OT win. Who has more to prove now? Bush or a Jets team that if Rex Ryan’s words today in asking for an apology from Bush are any indication, want some retribution? Bush is the Dolphins main cog on O even though rookie QB Ryan Tannehill has begun to settle in. If the Jets can rally around this storyline, it will help them find a new target of focus while separating from the potential hangover from yet another tough loss to the Pats. Rex is using the opportunity to motivate. Let’s see his Jet run stoppers follow their head coach’s lead with Reggie and crank things up Sunday.

Chris Celletti –  Forget The Run – I’m not saying the Jets should throw 50 times on Sunday against the Dolphins, but I’m also not saying they shouldn’t. Basically, I don’t think they Jets will have much success running the ball. Miami has a very good run defense, and despite a bit of a turnaround in New York’s run game as of late, I certainly can’t expect Shonn Greene to go off like he did against Indianapolis. Thus, I’m putting the onus on Tony Sparano to open the game up, take shots downfield, and how’s this: trust Mark Sanchez. However you want to slice it, Sanchez has played a lot better over the last three weeks; he’s played good enough for the Jets to win games, no question. Miami’s secondary is their weakness on defense, Jeremy Kerley has developed into a legitimate threat, and Dustin Keller is back and appears to be a hundred percent. Don’t let this game get into a defensive slugfest by being conservative on offense. The Jets’ defense has also been a lot better of late, so I expect a good outing at home against a rookie quarterback. I want to see the offense go for the kill early. If they indeed try to, I think Sanchez and the offense has a big day in a blowout win.

Mike Donnelly –  Jets Receivers vs. Dolphins Secondary is the matchup I’m most looking forward to this weekend as the Jets host the Fish. As we know, the Dolphins have one of the best run defenses statistically in the NFL so far this season, and it doesn’t appear to be a fluke. Yards are going to be hard to come by on the ground, especially with zero healthy running backs (McKnight’s ankle is clearly not right, and I’d be shocked if Greene was not still off in la-la land after that kill shot he sustained last week), and a Tebow that doesn’t get used. Fortunately, the Jets passing game has shown some serious signs of life the past few weeks, and don’t think the Dolphins didn’t spend their bye week preparing for the emerging Jeremy Kerley, and rookie Stephen Hill, who despite that killer drop last week, is getting healthy and improving each week. Throw in the return of Dustin Keller, and the Jets suddenly have a formidable trio going up against the Dolphins less than stellar secondary. I expect Mark Sanchez to continue his solid play and for the Jets offense to ride high into their bye week.

Rob Celletti – SHOCKER: I’m really interested in seeing how Mark Sanchez fares in this game, and I think this will be crucial to the Jets’ chances of winning. As we’ve tweeted and written about endlessly here at TOJ, Sanchez’s game has started to come around since the second half of the Monday Night loss to the Texans. The issue with him has really always been consistency.  Anyone who doubts Sanchez’s ability to play at a high level is guilty of selective memory and has already decided that they’d rather he not quarterback this team. But back to Sunday: if Sanchez can do what he did to New England (Miami’s dismal statistics against the pass – 28th in the league in yards allowed – suggests he will be able to), the Jets will win the game.

The Truth About Mark Sanchez and The New York Jets

Chris Gross looks at why it is a good thing Mark Sanchez will remain the Jets quarterback for the next couple of years

Mark Sanchez has become arguably the most highly criticized quarterback in the National Football League. Over the course of his career, Sanchez has become well known for his maddening inconsistency, something that has put him in the doghouse with the New York Jets fan base time and time again. However, following this week’s overtime loss to division rival New England, Sanchez unjustly received a heavy amount of blame for the loss from the fans and media, seemingly out of habit. Yes, Sanchez threw a poor interception. All quarterbacks do, it is part of the game. Sanchez also fumbled in overtime, a play that ended the game and crowned the Patriots victorious. However, what many are failing to realize is that, if not for Sanchez, the Jets likely would not have even been in position to fumble it away in overtime.

The debate will continue about this game until the Jets kickoff against Miami this Sunday at home. However, the bottom line pertaining to the New England game is that Mark Sanchez was the least of the Jets problems this past Sunday. The defense proved a notion we all knew: there is no closer on this group that can strike fear into an opposing quarterback on a final drive. The coaching became wildly conservative down the stretch, both offensively and defensively. Whatever the case may be for the loss in New England, Sunday’s game was much more about the growth of Mark Sanchez, rather than the two poor plays he may have made throughout the game.

Sunday witnessed Sanchez, a quarterback who has been left for dead by many over the past few weeks, go into a hostile environment and statistically outperform Tom Brady in his own house. Yes, Sanchez’s 28 completions on 41 attempts gave him a season high 68.3 completion percentage, nearly 7% higher than Brady’s 61.9%. Additionally, Sanchez’s 328 yards were greater than Brady’s 259. Outside of the poor interception, there is no statistical argument for which quarterback played the better game.

Statistics aside, this game saw a growth of Sanchez that we have not seen since the quarterback arrived in New York. When have we seen Sanchez take his team 92 yards down the field in the 4th quarter, on the road, on 9/10 passing and a touchdown to set his team up with a chance to take the lead? In his 4th season, people will not want to hear it, but the USC product is still growing, and Sunday proved just how much room he still has to achieve that growth.

Now, as far as Sanchez’s future with the team is concerned, we can sit here and discuss how the QB has been given an unfair slate to work with including a budget wide receiver corps and the acquisition of Tim Tebow, but we have repeatedly beat that drum, and quite frankly, the theme is played out and irrelevant at this point. The bottom line is, Sanchez is playing with the receivers, backs, and offensive line that he has been given, and he is beginning to play well. Good quarterbacks elevate the play of those around them, and that is exactly what we are starting to see Sanchez do. The Jets have adamantly defended Sanchez as the franchise quarterback, a notion many believed to be false after the team traded for Tim Tebow, however, Sunday proved it to be nothing but the truth. Mark Sanchez is the quarterback of the New York Jets for now, and for the future, and there are several reasons to examine as to why this is the case.

In his first two seasons with the Jets, Sanchez was merely a game manager for a team built primarily on defense and a high-powered rushing offense. Both the defense and offensive line ranked among the top of the league, and the basic belief was that Sanchez would serve as the game manager to complement these groups, until his development matured to the point where he could take this team over. What the Jets failed to realize in Sanchez’s third year, is that he was not yet mature enough to take on that role. In 2011, New York put their faith in Sanchez by cutting costs on the offensive line and receiving corps (with the exception of Santonio Holmes), believing that it was the year their quarterback could elevate the play of the average players that were put around him. Unfortunately, Sanchez was not ready, and following two consecutive AFC Championship game appearances, high expectations were not met. Sanchez, of course, was the fall guy. Whether it was just or unjust, New York is the ultimate “What have you done for me lately?” market, so naturally the majority of the blame was put on Sanchez. An attitude began to develop amongst this fan base that, perhaps, he was not the quarterback of the future.

However, Sunday proved that notion to be completely wrong. Is Sanchez maddeningly inconsistent? Yes, no one is debating that here. However, Sanchez’s inconsistencies are becoming much less frequent, they are just magnified to the highest degree. Early in Sanchez’s career, his inconsistencies were tolerated because the supporting cast around him usually picked them up. Now, Sanchez’s supporting cast is not nearly as strong, so the burden is on him to carry this team, a role that he is slowly easing into.

Sanchez’s inconsistencies are also much more discussed because of the market he plays in. This is New York, where excellence is demanded. This fan base has zero patience, and if the first guy in line isn’t getting it done, there is an immediate call for the next guy. But is Sanchez the only inconsistent quarterback in the NFL? Absolutely not. Could you imagine if quarterbacks like Jay Cutler, Michael Vick, or Cam Newton were on this team? They would be massacred just as bad, if not worse, than Sanchez.

When it comes to the Jets, the truth is, that Mark Sanchez is, by far, the best option at quarterback for now and for the future. Look at the alternatives. Are you going to hand the offense over to Tim Tebow and become truly one-dimensional? The Jets would be foolish to do so. Tebow could not complete Sanchez’s touchdown pass to Dustin Keller from this past Sunday once out of one hundred attempts. Whether he is a competitor or not, Tebow is not nearly the NFL quarterback that Sanchez is, and the coaching staff knows this. Why do you think Tebow gets only a handful of plays each week?

The second option to possibly replacing Sanchez is to draft another quarterback. This would set the Jets back a minimum of five more years. This team needs pass rush help in the worst way possible, and using a first round selection on a quarterback, just 4 years after trading up to acquire Sanchez with the fifth overall pick would be downright foolish. Talk about a market that has very little patience, and you want to replace Sanchez, a player on the cusp of taking the next step, with a guy who you’d essentially be starting completely over with? Not going to happen, Jets fans.

New York’s fan base should not be discouraged by this, but should rather be excited about Sanchez as their quarterback. Yes, he has the flaws listed above, but he is also beginning to develop a moxie that we haven’t seen from him. When watching the Jets, we are beginning to see glimpses of Sanchez displaying the attitude that this is his team. The comparisons to Eli Manning’s early career are frequent, yet completely warranted. You can’t help but think about how Tiki Barber came out and knocked Manning after his third year in the league, following the running back’s retirement, eerily similar to how LaDanian Tomlinson came out and claimed that the organization babied Sanchez, and questioned whether or not he could ever truly develop into a great player.

Manning also took a giant step forward when the Giants lost Jeremy Shockey, a diva tight end who demanded the ball, during their first Super Bowl run, eventually trading the fan favorite away the following offseason. Could that be what we are seeing take place with the recent loss of Santonio Holmes? Maybe, maybe not, but the bottom line is that Sanchez is finally beginning to develop some cohesion with his offensive teammates. The chemistry being built with guys like Jeremy Kerley and Stephen Hill is extremely encouraging and obvious. Since the loss of Holmes, Kerley has established himself as the Jets top receiving option, hauling in 15 passes for 238 yards in the past 3 games. Hill, on the other hand, is beginning to develop a feel for his new quarterback, as displayed by the adjustment he made on the route on his touchdown reception against the Colts a couple of weeks ago. Dustin Keller proved to be a deadly option for Mark Sanchez in his first game back, something many expected him to do. The running game is suddenly rejuvenated and we are seeing formerly questioned guys like Shonn Greene and Joe McKnight now being praised for playing through injuries and displaying an extreme sense of dedication and tenacity.

The skinny on Sanchez and this team is simple. The core of this offense is in place with an abundance of young players that are developing more and more each week. Sanchez will prove to be the glue that holds it all together, for a group that has an extremely promising future. This offense could potentially develop into one of the most cohesive and talented units in the league in the years to come. Abandoning that now by getting rid of Sanchez would simply be foolish, and would likely go down as yet another move that would haunt this franchise for years to come.

Bonus Sanchez Breakdown: Patience Must be a Virtue

Rob Celletti with a bonus breakdown of Mark Sanchez’s development and why patience is still needed

The only thing more difficult to stomach than Sunday’s loss to the New England Patriots was the inane, baseless and downright absurd criticism of Mark Sanchez that followed it on SNY, Twitter, and the other usual outlets, despite the fact that he played well enough for the Jets to win. However, this is the age we live in. Every game is a referendum on a team, and thereby, their quarterback. Every loss raises the question: can this guy cut it? Wins almost always lead to inordinate and undeserved amounts of praise.

So as I consumed and contributed to the discussion, I came across the following sentence, ironically in a gossip article about Sanchez’s supposed split from Eva Longoria: “Quarterback Sanchez, 25, who was already partying at the club…” blah blah blah. I literally went back to the beginning of the sentence, semi-shocked: Wait…Sanchez is 25 years old! 25! He’s practically a child! How easily we forget this. At least I did.

But, it’s his fourth season, the season where quarterbacks are supposed to “turn the corner”. Consistency is expected. Accuracy should improve. Yardage, YPA and touchdowns are supposed to increase; turnovers expected to decrease. Realistically, this should only be expected if the quarterback has been put in a stable and sustainable situation for growth. Sanchez has had the same head coach for the first four years of his career, but little else has remained constant. He’s dealt with a revolving door of receivers, right tackles and backup tight ends. He’s in the midst of learning a new system. And oh yeah, he who shall not be named. But that’s all besides the point.

Sanchez’s age made me wonder: when do most of the league’s most productive quarterbacks make the proverbial leap? As someone who is at least semi-interested in the statistical revolution that’s happening throughout all sports – started of course in baseball by Bill James and put into practice famously by Billy Beane – one of the more fascinating theories was that players have a discernible prime age. In baseball, the magic number is the Age 27 season. This is the power prime for hitters. It’s also around the time when a lot of players become free agents, so it’s advised that teams on a budget (anyone not named the New York Yankees) not overpay for talent that will almost certainly decline over the coming years. But there seems to be something about that 26-28 age range where something clicks.

So, who’s up for a little experiment? Let’s apply this theory to the last five Super Bowl winning quarterbacks and see how the numbers look. They are: Eli Manning (twice), Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Peyton Manning. All of them are indisputably “elite”. Jets fans would be happy if Mark Sanchez developed into HALF of any of them. But at what age did Eli become Eli? Brees become Brees? READ ON (all statistics from Pro Football Reference).

Sanchez has rightly been compared to Eli Manning before for many reasons, but mainly because of how similarly their careers began and the fact that they both play in New York. There isn’t a Giants fan on earth who was sold on Eli until he threw the Super Bowl winning touchdown to Plaxico Burress. And even still, Eli’s 2007 regular season (Age 26) was nothing to brag about. He completed 56.1% of his passes, his YPA a rather poor 6.3 (good for 26th in the league behind stalwarts such as Tavaris Jackson and Vince Young). He also threw 20(!) interceptions. Amazingly, Eli turned 27 on January 3rd and EXACTLY one month later, he lifted the Lombardi trophy. In subsequent seasons, Eli has certainly raised his play to a consistently high level. He threw for only 3,238 yards in 2008, but his completion percentage jumped 4 points and he cut his interceptions in half. Eli was on his way to the “elite” status he has rightfully earned.

Aaron Rodgers may well be the outlier in this discussion, but bear in mind, he didn’t start a game in the NFL until his age 25 season. After playing understudy to Brett Favre for three years, Rodgers came in and dominated right away. That he threw for 4,038 yards in his first season on the job is borderline ridiculous. His 63.6% completion percentage that year is, laughably, a career-low. But even after such an unfathomable start to his career, Rogers found another gear. 2011 was one of the all-time great years by any quarterback ever. Rodgers posted an insane 9.2 YPA and an aggregate QB Rating of 122.5. He amassed 45 touchdowns and threw only 6 interceptions. This was Rodgers’ Age 28 season (though he didn’t actually turn 28 until December). I’m noticing a trend. Are you?

Drew Brees’ story is well-documented. The 6-foot-nothing quarterback that the Chargers couldn’t wait to get rid of got a second chance in New Orleans and three years later delivered the former laughingstock franchise its first Super Bowl title. But Brees’ first two years in the league were rocky to say the least. He was benched in his second season. And while he did get his act together and produce in San Diego, Brees’ leap took place in his first season in New Orleans at – you guessed it – age 27. Brees outpassed his career-best yardage total by nearly 1,000. He attempted 54 more passes and threw 4 fewer interceptions (though to be fair, Brees’ interception rate has held pretty steady throughout his career). By his 2009 Super Bowl season, Brees had cemented himself as one of the NFL’s best.

Ben Roethlisberger’s case is an interesting one, but the magic number comes into play here as well. Yes, he went 13-0 in his rookie year and won a Super bowl in his second season, but he had certainly not been handed the keys to the car. Similar to Sanchez, Roethlisberger received a ton of support from a run-heavy system, stellar defense and tremendous coaching. He was asked simply not to lose games. What happened when the Steelers leaned more heavily on Roethlisberger, following their championship season and the retirement of Jerome Bettis? Roethlisberger struggled. His completion percentage fell three points. His YPA dropped from 8.9 to 7.5. He was intercepted 23 times. He threw for a career high 3,513 yards, but only because he attempted 201 more passes in 2006 than he did in 2005. And oh yeah, Pittsburgh went 7-8 in games started by Roethlisberger.

Can you imagine if this happened in New York? Can you imagine if management went out and made an asinine trade for a flashy backup quarterback? Fortunately for Steelers fans, their organization isn’t owned by Woody Johnson. Yes, they had the tonic of a recent Super Bowl championship to ease the pain, but they stuck with their quarterback. He was only 24, after all. Age 25 was good to Roethlisberger, but he was statistically mediocre in 2008 as a 26 year old, until the playoffs. It was here, just a month before turning 27, that Roethlisberger cemented himself as a big time NFL quarterback. From 2009 on, Roethlisberger has put up two 4,000+ yard seasons and generally earned his place among the league’s best.

Finally we come to the granddaddy of them all: Peyton Manning. Let’s be clear: Peyton is a freak. He’s the best quarterback of this NFL generation, and this is not disputable (Brady‘s three rings be damned; Manning was busy changing the game while Brady was battling Drew Henson for playing time at Michigan). He’s been putting up 4,000 yard seasons like nothing since 1999 (Age 23). But if you look at his stats, there is a shift as Peyton hit his prime at 27: mainly, he stopped turning the football over. Through his first five seasons, Manning was intercepted on 3.54% of his pass attempts. In 2003, that number dropped off a cliff to 1.8%. It didn’t go above 2.2% again until 2007, Manning’s age 31 season. Because the interceptions fell, Manning’s QB rating spiked, jumping 22 points between 2003 and 2004.

So you may be thinking: I just wasted 10 perfectly good minutes of my day reading that garbage. Mark Sanchez sucks! He’s never going to be any of these guys.

Maybe. But the bottom line is, we don’t know. As the New England game has been dissected, the one thought that’s prevailed is that Jets fans still don’t know what to make of their starting quarterback. Game to game, quarter to quarter, throw to throw, the only thing consistent has been the quarterback’s inconsistency. In truth, Sanchez may be one of the hardest quarterbacks to pin down in the league right now, because of all of the external factors that may or may not be affecting his growth. The only way for the Jets to find out what they really have in Sanchez is to give him a solid and consistent supporting cast (this includes getting rid of you know who), and be patient. How patient? Sanchez turns 27 in 383 days.

New York Jets Defensive Film Breakdown: Week 7

Chris Gross breaks down the defensive game film from Jets/Patriots

Week 7 saw the New York Jets face a familiar foe in the AFC East. New York traveled to Foxboro to take on their divisional rival New England Patriots. While New York came up short in a hard fought, over time loss, this team played well, defensively, for the majority of the contest. There were certainly some lapses that led to 3rd down conversions, long drives, and touchdowns, but outside of about 2 total drives by New England, New York put together a very impressive effort against the Patriots’ high octane, hurry up offense.

Schematically, New York did an excellent job of putting themselves in the best positions possible to succeed against Tom Brady and his plethora of weapons. However, this game revealed some serious issues with this defense. Issues that, if not fixed in the future, will prevent this team from ever truly having a dominant defense in this league.

For this week’s film breakdown, we will take a different approach than we have in the past. Since the effort in the front 7 was much more about the cohesion of the unit and the scheme, there was not necessarily any individual performances that stood out. This week, the play of the defensive line and linebackers will be much better explained if their evaluation is grouped together. This will allow for a better understanding of exactly what the Jets were doing in the box to defend Tom Brady and Co, as well as how the Patriots responded to each of the Jets adjustments. The secondary, as usual, will have its usual mention. Let’s get into it:

Defensive Line/Linebackers: The defensive line has been extremely strong over the past 2 weeks prior to facing New England, showing very solid efforts against Houston and Indianapolis. Quinton Coples is beginning to come into his own as he grows with each and every rep he gets. Muhammad Wilkerson is starting to build a little more each game toward becoming the type of defensive lineman this coaching staff expects him to be. However, as previously noted in our earlier film breakdowns, the remainder of the defensive line, without Kenrick Ellis and Sione Pouha, are extremely average, and vulnerable.

The vulnerability of the depth behind Coples and Wilkerson are going to begin to damper this defense until Ellis and Pouha can return. The issue is, without a true nose capable of being an every down player, the Jets have been forced to play Mike DeVito a heavy amount at the 0 and 1 technique. We have discussed DeVito being a poor fit at this position, as he is much more of a 3 technique player, but due to injury, New York has felt that he is still their best option to play there until this unit returns to full health. DeVito’s struggles at this spot are beginning to become magnified and problematic, not just for his own play, but for the play of the rest of the defensive line.

Since DeVito is not a true nose, he does not garner the respect from offensive line that a true nose would. In New England, the Patriots offensive line left DeVito to be blocked by one man, whether it was the center or guard, unlike someone like Ellis or Pouha who command a double team about 99% of the time. By using only one man to block the nose, New England was then able to block the remainder of the line (in the base 3 man front) using two separate double teams on both Coples and Wilkerson. This was a very intelligent scheme by the Patriots, as they were able to neutralize the Jets two best playmakers on the defensive line, without skipping a beat. Due to this, Rex Ryan was forced to get creative with his blitzes and pressure packages to get penetration and pressure on the quarterback. What is most worrisome for New York is that New England’s blocking scheme may now be the blue print for offensive lines moving forward. Until Ellis and Pouha get back, the Jets need to find a way to neutralize this type of scheme, possibly by working in more true 4 man fronts, without the use of a nose guard.

The problem with the 4 man fronts the Jets were using in New England on Sunday were basically the same as the problems they were running into using the 3 man fronts. Rather than bring in an extra defensive tackle, and sliding DeVito to a 3 technique, with Wilkerson and Coples at the end spots, New York would slide either Wilkerson or Coples inside, and put Calvin Pace at the other defensive end spot. Unfortunately for them, the Patriots gave Pace about as much respect as DeVito, as they were able to block him with just one man as well. Therefore, Coples and Wilkerson were either left in a 2 on 3 scenario, or more double teams, if a back or tight end was left in to block. It is extremely hard to get sacks in this league as it is, but when constantly facing double teams, the numbers are likely close to being statistically impossible.

Against the run, the front 7 was generally solid. Coples and Wilkerson continued to face a good amount of double teams, but this ultimately helped the linebackers get through and make plays. DeMario Davis, although making mistakes at times, was very effective against the run, and proved to be lighting quick in getting down hill and stuffing the running lanes. Comparatively speaking, he is an upgrade over Bart Scott. While Scott may not make the cerebral mistakes that Davis will, Davis’s speed and athleticism alone make him more effective than Scott, even with his mental errors. He should see the majority of the reps at linebacker down the stretch.

New England ran the ball a surplus of times out of a heavily unbalanced package. In these packages, the Patriots would line up not just two, but three tight ends to one side of the line. Yes, this package makes it obvious where the ball is going most of the time, but against the hurry up, the Jets struggled to make adjustments to the formation, and were repeatedly gutted for positive yards. That is, until Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine did finally get to making the adjustment of bringing LaRon Landry down into the box who proved to be far to fast for any of the tight ends or offensive lineman to get out on in space. His presence in the box alone assisted in shutting this formation down, and New England used much less of it down the stretch.

David Harris was generally solid in this one, however he continues to look sluggish for his position. He does a good job of filling runs that are directed right toward him, however, he has struggled to scrape sideline to sideline this season, a trend that continued on Sunday. He was also too slow to beat offensive lineman at times, as he got sealed with a lane block on more than one occasion. The hope with Harris is that now with Davis getting a vast amount of reps, he will be able to complement the speed of the rookie with his size and tenacity.

The pass rush on this defense is obviously the most concerning issue, probably on the entire team, even more so than the quarterback position. As touched upon earlier today by TJ Rosenthal, the Jets defense lacks a true closer that can get after the quarterback late in games and cause sacks or bad throws. As much as we have praised Calvin Pace’s technique in this column all season, it is clear at this point that it will not be enough to propel him into recording a surplus of sacks. Aaron Maybin, on the other hand, regressed tremendously from his solid performance against the Colts. Perhaps Maybin got caught up in the moment of a big game, trying to make the big sack, but he reverted to his old ways of sprinting directly up the field, and ending up 5 yards directly behind the quarterback.

New York needs true pass rushing outside linebackers in the worst way possible. Bryan Thomas, Pace, and Maybin are all in contract years, and unless something drastic happens with their play, it would be shocking to see anyone of them resigned next season. With a rather depleted and aging 2013 free agent class, look for New York to target two OLB’s in next April’s draft. Combining a vicious edge rush with this very young and talented defensive line could finally put the Jets over the hump, and give them a truly dominant defense for the future.

Secondary: This was arguably the best game the secondary has played all season. Considering Isaiah Trufant’s lack of experience, he did a fantastic job on Wes Welker, who’s box score lies with regard to how well he was defended by Trufant. Two of Welker’s catches came on long catch and runs off of screens. Welker also hauled in a couple of overtime passes. However, these were obtained after a very questionable adjustment that moved Trufant over to Branch, and DeMario Davis on Welker. Brady recognized the switch, and did an excellent job of taking advantage of the mismatch, the linebacker on the speedy wide out. As much as Rex’s defensive mind is respected throughout this league, this could go down, with his conservative defensive approach late in the game, as the most questionable decision he and his staff have made all season. Why take Trufant, who was quite effective on Welker for the majority of the game, and move him on Branch, who was a non-factor? More importantly, why replace him with a linebacker to cover the fastest wide receiver on the team? A true head scratcher.

Antonio Cromartie continued to be a dominant force, holding Brandon Lloyd to just a single reception, further cementing his status as an elite cornerback in this league. Cromartie did drop a late interception that could have changed the landscape of the game, but played excellent regardless.

Kyle Wilson is continuing to grow as well. We have watched Wilson go from a heavily criticized nickelback, to a very capable starting cornerback. The pass interference penalty he was called for in overtime on Aaron Hernandez was very questionable, but his ability to bounce back the next time Brady went at him and break up the attempted pass proved that he has a short term memory, something vital for the position.

The safeties were generally effective as well. Landry was excellent against the run, and made some very nice plays in coverage. Bell continued to be solid, despite not putting up any flashy numbers or making any highlight reel plays. Antonio Allen did a very good job jamming the tight end, but was often caught trailing in coverage. In fact, the pass to Danny Woodhead that set up the game tying field goal in the fourth quarter was a result of Allen missing him as he came out of the backfield. Allen has struggled in coverage, but has proved to be effective as a blitzer, as well as being very physical, which is exactly what we expected out of him this season.

Watching the film of this matchup was truly remarkable. Ryan’s defensive mind against New England’s offensive coaching staff resulted in constant checks and adjustments throughout the entire game, a true chess match if their has ever been one. Hopefully, for the sake of New York, it is Ryan and Co that force New England into checkmate on Thanksgiving when the two teams meet for the final time this season.

New York Jets Defense Missing A Closer

TJ Rosenthal on the New York Jets defense lacking a closer

In a post game speech Sunday night, Bill Belichick called Pats LB Rob Ninkovich a”Jet Killer” after his game ending strip of Jets QB Mark Sanchez. Ninkovich’s pick six last year, in a key matchup also for first place, blew a 10 point game wide open. A play that sent the Jets who at the time were 5-3, reeling. The Jets can desperately use their own game changing pass rusher among the front seven over these next nine games.

Imagine the storylines that would be taking place had the Jets held onto the slim 3 point lead they owned with 1:30 left in Foxboro. Mark Sanchez would be hailed as the emerging leader of a young new offense. Rex Ryan would be the gutsy coach who never flinched as key injuries mounted. Trusting in his draft picks and defense instead. Shonn Greene and Dustin Keller would be written about as valuable cogs once again, and Jeremy Kerley a rising star. Tim Tebow would not be on this week’s radar for anyone except for Tebowmaniacs.

Leave it to a blown lead and a devastating loss to erase any hopes of those angles becoming headlines, or in the case of Tebow, a non story just yet. You are what your record says you are and at 3-4, few will find it suitable to note individual success stories amidst the moral victories that have piled up since the Jets almost shocked then undefeated Houston on Monday night back in week 5.

The Jets didn’t pressure Tom Brady on the final drive in regulation out of fear of sending a secondary member in, risking a big play weapon for the Patriots left open for a big gain in the process. After all, Ryan couldn’t rely on a base defense flushing Brady out of the pocket. Therefore the Jets HC chose to win the game with one big play through a strength in numbers back in pass coverage.

Ryan’s choice to “drop eight” was because no one Jet has emerged in the front seven as a player who can help close out games before they head the wrong way.

Up front, first round pick Quinton Coples is not quite there as a reliable force yet. Mo Wilkerson has made plays but is not eating up QBs week in week out in his second year either. NT Kenrick Ellis was developing into a pile pusher but has been sidelined with a recent knee sprain. Mike Devito and Sione Pouha lead the charge of veteran run stoppers, but can’t be expected to effect obvious passing downs.

The linebackers? Aaron Maybin was perhaps the club’s best hope of a trustworthy sack specialist heading into 2012, but too many third and short yardage situations have limited his time on the field. When he has been out there as a passing down only player, his inability to develop anything aside from his patented speed rush has left him as one who has become too easy to block.

Calvin Pace and Bart Scott have slowed, and David Harris is too valuable as a tackler to send in. Rookie Demario Davis is getting more time now (60 plus snaps Sunday to Bart Scott’s 9) but has yet to earn the tag of “certified blitz weapon.”

The Jets have a much better secondary than New England. A more reliable defense all around in fact, despite having given up on average, one more point a game on the season (Jets 24.3 ppg Patriots 23.3 ppg). They lack a game changer who can disrupt pass plays behind the line of scrimmage though.

The Jets offense is beginning to settle in both on the ground and through the air thanks to the resurfacing of Greene and return of Keller from the hamstring injury. Mark Sanchez’s TD to interception ratio with Keller (6TD 2 int, 104.6 QB rating) is vastly better than his numbers without the Jets valuable tight end (3TD 5int 55.0 QB rating) are.

In fact, in the past three games the Jets as a team have scored 88 points. This 29 point average is a major step up from the 18 points they averaged per game before the Santonio Holmes injury.

All of this means that if any one area needs an immediate upgrade it is not in the scoring department. It is defensivley, namely the pass rushing with the game on the line. The NFL nowadays is clearly a quarterback driven league. The Jets and Ryan have to somehow find a way to develop one of their defenders up front into a guy who can help thwart these gunslingers during crunch time.

Should they be able to, the Jets, whose playmakers on offense are starting to show signs of collective production, may be able to turn gut wrenching losses such as the one last Sunday, into wins. A change that may be the difference between a playoff berth or a second straight year without one. In a season where the tepid AFC is still so very much for the taking.

New York Jets Week 8 – Early Thoughts On Jets/Dolphins

Early thoughts on the New York Jets week 8 match-up against the Miami Dolphins

A collection of early thoughts on the New York Jets critical week 8 match-up against the Miami Dolphins –

1. This game is without question a must win and has the potential to be a turning point in the Jets season in either a positive or negative way. They can’t afford to drop to 2-2 in the division, 3-4 in the AFC, take a season split with Miami, and have to sit on the loss for two weeks before heading cross country to Seattle, a game the Jets will appropriately be underdogs in. A victory keeps them within one game of New England, guarantees a tie-breaker with Miami (who will be a wild-card contender) and puts their conference record over .500. You can’t lose this game at home to a rookie quarterback.

2. Nobody is saying Ryan Tannehill hasn’t played well for a rookie or that the Miami Dolphins aren’t a talented team. Yet many people are getting carried away with their lofty praise. Let’s keep in mind Tannehill was 16/36 with a INT returned for a touchdown in the team’s previous meeting which was about a month ago. The Dolphins have beat Oakland and St. Louis at home along with a Bengals team on the road, who couldn’t even beat the Cleveland Browns. Overall, Miami is 1-2 on the road, averaging 16 points per game and Tannehill only has 1 TD pass between the three games.

3. The Jets are going to have their hands full with Miami’s running game. They were gashed back in week 3 and that was with Reggie “Don’t Call Me Hot Sauce” Bush missing the entire second half. It is doubtful that Sione Pou’ha and Kenrick Ellis are going to play making the challenge even more difficult. If the Jets can slow down Bush, it will put that much more pressure on Tannehill and likely force him into a handful of mistakes.

4. On offense, the Dolphins are stout in the front seven. The Jets can’t be stubborn and try to force the running game if it isn’t there. This Dolphins secondary can be exploited. Jeremy Kerley is rolling right now and hurt the Dolphins with two big plays in the previous meeting. Dustin Keller is back after missing week 3 and Stephen Hill looks to be 100 percent healthy. Tony Sparano and Mark Sanchez can’t be shy about throwing down the field.

5. Look for Antonio Cromartie to cover Brian Hartline for most of the game. If Cromartie keeps playing the way he has been, I’m not sure who else in the Dolphins passing game is going to hurt the Jets.

Turn On The Jets Offensive Film Breakdown – Jets vs. Pats

Turn On The Jets breaks down the offensive game film from Jets vs. Patriots

Turn On The Jets is back with another offensive film breakdown. Make sure to check back later in the day for Chris Gross’ breakdown of the defensive game tape. Today the primary focus is going to be on the passing game, which the Jets found a good amount of success with against New England. We will be looking at both “Good Sanchez” and “Bad Sanchez” and why Jeremy Kerley, Dustin Keller and Stephen Hill were so successful at getting open. 

The first two passing plays of the game were a perfect demonstration of Mark Sanchez’s inconsistency at quarterback. Tony Sparano called for a skinny post from the slot to Jeremy Kerley, which was executed to perfection. A good route from Kerley and a pinpoint throw from Sanchez in-between two defenders for a 20+ yard gain. The next play, Sparano goes right back to the well with the same play except to the opposite side with Stephen Hill in the slot. Encouragingly, Hill runs a very good route and gets himself wide open. Unfortunately, Sanchez overthrows him after just hitting a much harder throw to a much smaller target the play before. Frustrating to say the least.

The presence of Dustin Keller in the line-up made an enormous difference to the Jets passing offense. New England was forced to pay extra attention to Kerley on the outside, leaving Keller with one on one match-ups over the middle. Sanchez is extremely comfortable with Keller, particularly over the middle of the field. These are two separate 10+ yard completions, where Keller runs an option route, breaks the proper way and Sanchez correctly leads him away from the linebacker allowing him to turn up field. Expect to see a ton more of this throughout the year.

Sanchez only threw 12 incompletions throughout this game out of 38 attempts. At least five of those incompletions could be credited as drops. On the whole he was very accurate. However, Sanchez had his share of poor decisions as well. The interception was an indefensible mistake. He had two open receivers underneath, who he ignored and then floated an ugly, under-thrown pass to Stephen Hill. Later in the first half he tried to force this pass to Jeremy Kerley who is double covered and technically triple covered if you count the referee. He was lucky this didn’t turn into his second interception.

An appropriately criticized play-call was Tony Sparano’s decision to throw a slant to Chaz Schilens on 3rd and 1 near the red-zone. Regardless, the play was executed to perfection up until the ball went right through Schilens’ hands. This was a good route, a very good throw and a bad drop. Part of the reason you don’t make this call is because the Jets lack a big receiver who is reliable enough to make this play every single time.

Sanchez and Jeremy Kerley put on a clinic on how to operate the smash/fan combination in this game. Basically the Jets consistently had their outside receiver release on a short stop or in route and would send Kerley on a deep corner from the slot. The Jets completed this four times throughout the game, including this 19 yard gain where Sanchez drops a beautiful pass in all the way across the field.

We further see Sanchez’s arm strength on this touchdown pass to Dustin Keller. Look at how small that window is. Sanchez threw an absolute bullet in-between three defenders. There aren’t many people in the league capable of making this throw and I got news for you, Tim Tebow isn’t one of them.

A major point of contention towards the end of this game was Mark Sanchez taking a third down sack before the Jets go-ahead field goal. Anybody who criticized Sanchez in this situation is clueless (looking at you SNY). The Jets rolled Sanchez out and had Jeremy Kerley wide open at the 5 yard line. Sanchez cocks his arm back to fire it in to him but Kerley slips on his break so Sanchez pulls the ball back down. When he does pull the ball back down, he is immediately wrapped up. He then smartly takes the sack because if he threw the ball away, it would save New England a time-out. Yes, he added 10 yards to the field goal attempt but the Jets were so deep into field goal territory it didn’t matter at that point.

A few other player observations –

Jeremy Kerley – He is developing at such an impressive rate. Kerley runs precise routes and shows tremendous hands/toughness at consistently catching the ball in traffic. Honestly, he looks like a younger, quicker version of Santonio Holmes. Mike Tannenbaum got a steal in the fifth round.

Stephen Hill – His route running is really improving on a weekly basis. Outside of his drop, he easily played his best game as a pro. He made tough catches in traffic and did a nice job working back to the football on his routes. There is still going to be mistakes from time to time but Hill is going to be a very good NFL receiver, it is only a matter of time.

Shonn Greene – A solid effort from Greene, who picked up tough yards and somehow returned after taking an enormous shot from Brandon Spikes. Greene also deserves credit for being active in the passing game, where he made a positive impact and made a few difficult catches.

Joe McKnight – Ran very well, especially considering he played basically on one leg. When he is 100 percent healthy, it is hard to see him not being a much larger part of the offense.

OL – This was an ugly game for Matt Slauson and Brandon Moore. Shockingly, it might not be a bad idea to start giving Ducasse even more of Slauson’s reps. There is no discernible drop off between the two and Ducasse has a higher upside. D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold both played terrific, Pro-Bowl caliber games. Austin Howard was “meh” but the Jets generally do a good job of giving him help.