Turn On The Jets NFL Week 7 Best Bets: Changing the Approach

Chris Celletti with his weekly NFL Best Bets. Where should you put your money this weekend?

Week 6 Record: 2-1 (Respectable!)

Season Record: 7-10-1 (Getting there!)

Underdogs are killing it in the NFL this season. It started early and most chalked it up to the usual early-season parity and also those weirdos who were pretending to be refs. But funny thing is that it’s kept up. Last week, underdogs were 12-2. The only two favorites that covered? Your New York Football Jets and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and I had ’em both. Yippeee!

So this week I’m going to do something a little odd, which is pick three dogs and hope I get them right. Underdogs cover or outright win every single week in the NFL, and chances are with the way things are going that three will win this week. Hopefully I nab them. Let’s call it Changing the Approach, and I’d like to offer a little bit of advice to a billion dollar operation who should try the same thing: The New York Yankees.

The Yankees, the Bronx Bombers with all their power and all their home runs and questionable starting pitching just got swept by the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS. They went 3-6 in the postseason, while batting a historically-inept .188. Their starting pitching, outside of C.C. Sabathia in Game 4 against the Tigers, was incredible. Delmon Young drove in six runs in the sweep, the Yankees scored six themselves. Alex Rodriguez’s world came crashing down, Derek Jeter’s ankle exploded into 19 pieces, Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson looked like they were actually trying NOT to hit the ball, and …well, you get the point.

At least the Red Sox finished last.

But this has to be the wake up call the Yankees needed. When you look back at the 2009 postseason, when the Yanks won their 27th World Series, you now have to count it as an outlier. For all the years the Yankees went into the postseason worried sick about their starting pitching, it’s almost always been the offense’s sputtering that sent them home. The theme has always been the same: horrible with runners in scoring position, no productive outs, no stealing of bases/pushing the envelope, way too dependent on the long ball, and A-Rod sucking. This season, all of that rued its collective ugly head, but it went to epic proportions. If the Yankees finally realize that they need to be a more versatile offensive team and make changes to that end this offseason, the 2012 postseason might be the best thing that ever happened to the franchise. If not, we’ll likely be saying the same thing next year.

What the Yankees need to do is change the approach. Look, A-Rod will most likely be back next season. If they can get rid of him, they will, and they should, but we’re going to assume he’s back. And that’s fine, really. He just has to be the full-time DH next season, and see if he can give the Yankees 500 healthy at bats. Nick Swisher will be gone. He’s been a good regular season player, but it’s time to move on. He somehow makes Postseason A-Rod look like Ted Williams, which is amazing.

But what the Yankees can’t do is replace Swisher with another home-run-seeking guy. They already have power in the lineup with Robinson Cano and yes, A-Rod. Russell Martin will likely be back, who will chip in 20 homers or so (he just needs to be way better as an average hitter). Where the Yankees can make big, meaningful moves towards youth and versatility is in left field/right field, third base and center field. If I’m Brian Cashman, I’m shopping Granderson this offseason. The Yankees just don’t need a guy who is going to hit 43 home runs but hit .220 and strike out 200 times. They don’t need Adam Dunn, which is what Granderson has become. Another team will take him. Guys like him have value on some teams. The Yankees aren’t one of those teams.

If I’m the Yankees in 2013, I bring back Ichiro Suzuki on a one year deal and stick him in right field. Brett Gardner plays every game in center field. I get a younger, versatile left fielder and a similar player for third base. It almost doesn’t even matter who. Just someone who can hit .270, play decent defense, bunt, steal, and most importantly, someone who isn’t just looking to mash the ball into the seats every at-bat. The rest of the infield stays the same. A rotation of Sabathia, Phil Hughes, Hiroki Kuroda (who should also be brought back on a short deal), and perhaps Michael Pineda and Andy Pettitte is good enough, as was proved this October.

But if the Yanks write a blank check to Josh Hamilton and stick him in right or left field, I have a feeling that they’ll be cleaning out their lockers at about the same time next season. It’s not that Hamilton isn’t a great player, he’s just not the type of player the Yankees need. They have enough of those already. They need some more versatility, some more youth and speed, and they have ample opportunities to add that this offseason.

Now, onto the picks:

Ravens +7 at Texans

I think we can chalk this line up to ZOMG Ray Lewish is hurt the Ravens are toast! The Texans haven’t looked great for the past six quarters. The Jets did a good job against them in the second half in Week 5, and the Packers wiped them in Week 6. I guess you could say that the Texans are due to play a good game, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to have an easy time with the Ravens. This just smells like a field goal game to me. I think you take seven points with the Ravens against anyone in the NFL.

Redskins +6.5 at Giants

The Giants went 0-2 against the ‘Skins last season. They always seem to struggle with them. I could also see this being a little bit of a let-down game for the G-Men, coming off a big road win at San Francisco last week. For some reason I just have visions of RGIII running all over the place, keeping this a dogfight to the end.

Cardinals +6.5 at Vikings

Chances are this will be a really low scoring game, with two good defenses going head to head. Generally, those types of games are close all the way through. I actually like the Cards straight up in this one, so give me the 6.5 points.

Bonus Non-Football Bet of the Week (Season Record 3-3)

Shameless plug here – I’ll be ringside this Saturday when boxing debuts at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, on assignment for SBNation New York. Does that mean I probably shouldn’t make a gambling prediction for one of these fights? Yeah, but whatever. Of course, in typical boxing fashion, Saturday’s main event between super-exciting Danny Garcia and grizzled vet Erik Morales is in doubt because Morales probably failed a drug test, but there are other good fights on the card for boxing nuts. One I’m looking forward to is Randall Bailey against Devon Alexander for Bailey’s welterweight crown. Bailey pulled a shocking victory out of nowhere in his last fight against Mike Jones, flooring Jones in the 11th round after being out-boxed the previous 10. Bailey is never out of any fight, because he’s one of boxing’s toughest one-punch punchers (check YouTube for some highlights). Alexander is wildly talented but his toughness has often been put into question. The fight presents a compelling dynamic, and I’m going to say Bailey pulls the upset and retains his title. He’s at +450 to do so, so this would be another fairly big upset for Bailey.

Turn On The Jets Week 7 Fantasy Football Preview

Mike Donnelly with his weekly Fantasy Preview, looking at week 7 in the NFL

As we approach the midway point of the fantasy football season, it’s time to evaluate who you should try and trade off while their value is high, and who you should be sticking with as you chase that 2012 fantasy championship. Unless of course your name is Joe Caporoso and you’re sitting in the basement at 1-5 in the TOJ Fantasy league, that is. In that case, your season is already over and you should be mocked publicly, but I digress.

Anyway, for this week’s column I brought in Dan Drobnis, the co-host of the popular weekly fantasy football podcast, The Tebow Sports Show (which can be found here, or on Twitter @TebowSportsShow. His co-host is Jay Ferraro). Dan also doubles as a friend of mine and long-time fantasy league rival, but today we are going to be debating five of the most confusing players in the 2012 fantasy football world. These are guys that have been driving their owners crazy, either due to poor play, injury, or perhaps just that they’ve been playing a little too well and a dip in production is feared going forward. As is usually the case, there are two strong sides to each player, and we’re going to be exploring what you should do with these guys from here on out.

QB: MATT RYAN

Case For (Mike Donnelly) – Don’t be turned off by Ryan’s clunker against Oakland last week. Every quarterback is going to have bad weeks from time to time and that was a clear letdown game for the Falcons against an inferior opponent that they clearly were looking past. Ryan still has the best set of targets of any quarterback in the league with Julio Jones, Roddy White, and Tony Gonzalez and to top it off has quite an easy schedule the rest of the way. He gets to face the Saints and their hilariously bad defense twice, and during the playoff weeks he gets to take on the Panthers, the Giants at home in a dome, and then the Lions in another dome game. Stick with Ryan and expect top 4 QB production as you march into the playoffs.

Case Against (Dan Drobnis) – If you’ve got him, you know how productive he’s been early in the season. But he must have had you scratching your head last week when he threw three picks and failed to reach 300 yards against a Raiders defense that came in ranked 28th in the league against the pass.  The Falcons’ margin of victory has been slim each of the past 3 weeks, and I believe that’s a direct result of the league  starting to catch up to what Dirk Kotter and the Falcons offense has been doing here in early in the season. Being undefeated can have that effect. I’m not saying he won’t be a productive fantasy quarterback the rest of the way, but fantasy owners have already seen the best they’ll get from Ryan, and should move him now while his value is still sky-high. There are not as many cupcakes on the schedule in the second half and his most recent performance hints that there is some regression right around the corner. Give me any one of the other top 5 QBs over Ryan the rest of the way.

RB: CHRIS JOHNSON

Case For (MD) – It may seem odd that I’m going to defend Chris Johnson here since I own him in one of my leagues and I’ve mercilessly trashed him in this column repeatedly, but that’s exactly what I’m going to do. The Titans have quite possibly the worst offensive line in the NFL, but they’ve actually started to play better and last week’s 114 total yard output by Johnson was very encouraging. Looking ahead, Johnson has games against Buffalo and their joke defense, two games againt Indianapolis who just got run all over by Shonn Greene, Jacksonville, Green Bay, and the Jets. I’m not saying he’s an every week guaranteed starter, but he has the opportunity to rack up some very solid games for your squad. Also, with Kenny Britt now healthy, it should help open things up for Johnson as defenses won’t be able to stack the box nearly as often.

Case Against (DD) –  He’s got two juicy matchups over the next two weeks against the Bills and Colts respectively, and then the sledding gets much tougher for the artist formerly known as ‘CJ2K’. Let him build off of what was a solid performance against the Steelers last week and then ship him off to any sucker in your league that’s dumb enough to trade for him. He’s much too hesitant when hitting the hole, and leaves a lot of yards on the field even when he does produce a decent fantasy day. Their O-line doesn’t open up any running lanes for him and Jake Locker and Matt Hasselbeck won’t exactly have defenses scared of the pass. Let him be someone else’s headache, and target a back like a Willis McGahee or Doug Martin who have easier schedules in the second half of the year and have shown they can consistently produce in the early part of the season.

WR: JORDY NELSON

Case For (DD) – Jordy Nelson isn’t going to surprise defenses the way he did in his 2011 breakout campaign when he scored an astounding 15 TDs, and  won fantasy football championships for people all across this great country. But Nelson will make up for the inevitable regression in the TD department with the increased targets he’s seen being as an every-down player in one of the NFL’s most explosive passing attacks. Aaron Rodgers hit Nelson early and often against the Texans last week, and he should see less double-teams and safety help once Greg Jennings returns from a groin injury that has had him on the shelf for most of the season. He does have a tendency to disappear some weeks, as Aaron Rodgers likes to spread the ball around. But as long as you aren’t relying on this guy to carry your team, he should be locked into your lineup each week as Aaron Rodgers’ go-to guy.

Case Against (MD) – Nelson is a prime example of a guy who you shouldn’t be tricked by after one great week. That does not offset 5 weeks of mostly mediocre play, not by a long shot. Aaron Rodgers is not going to throw 6 touchdowns every week, and as we’ve seen this year, he spreads the ball around to many different receivers, so Nelson won’t be the prime target every week — especially when Greg Jennings returns. The Packers offense has not been the same dominant force it was last year as the league has seemingly caught on to their schemes. I’m not saying Nelson won’t have his moments, but I wouldn’t rely on him week in and week out. If you can pawn him off while his value is high right now, I’d recommend doing so.

WR: HAKEEM NICKS

Case For (MD) – Yes, I know Nicks has been a disappointment to those who drafted him this year as he’s missed most of the season due to injury, but there are few receivers I’d rather have from here on out. When Nicks is on the field, he’s always performed really well, highlighted by his 199 yard effort in week 2. He’s always going to be the #1 option on this Giants offense, and with Victor Cruz playing so well, defenses won’t be able to key on Nicks like they have in the past. If you take a look at his schedule the rest of the season it’s extremely promising, as he gets to face the Redskins twice, the Packers, the Steelers, the Bengals and then the Saints, Falcons, and depleted Ravens secondary during the playoff weeks. Nicks is the kind of guy that can single-handedly win you a championship.

Case Against (DD) – I’m calling this one more of a feeling than anything else.  I won’t deny it. Nicks is a beast when he’s on the field, and plays with arguably the best quarterback in the game today in Eli Manning. But he rushed back from a broken foot and aggravated his knee trying to compensate for the foot injury. Not to mention, in the games that he’s already missed, guys like Domenik Hixon and Ramses Barden carved out larger roles in the Giants offense. If Nicks were given time to let his injuries heal, I wouldn’t be so down on him. But this just looks like it’s going to be a down year for one of the most talented, young receivers in the game and a headache for fantasy owners trying to figure out when, if, and how effective he’ll be on Sundays dealing with all of the lingering issues stemming from the preseason foot injury.

TE: TONY GONZALEZ

Case For (MD) – Just like with Matt Ryan, I don’t think you should be giving up on this Falcons offense at all, and quite frankly I’m surprised Mr. Drobnis is so down on them. Gonzalez has been the clear-cut top Tight End this year, and there’s little reason to think that’s going to change going forward. The Falcons simply have too many weapons for defenses to deal with, and with Jones and White getting so much attention, Gonzo has been torching everyone over the middle of the field. Plus, he’s a great red zone target and the opportunity for touchdowns are always there. The only thing to worry about now is if the Falcons run away with the #1 seed and start to rest veterans like Tony down the stretch, but I don’t anticipate that happening. Gonzo is a stud.

Case Against (DD) – As the blueprint for slowing down the Falcons offense gets around the league, you’ll see more and more teams taking away Gonzalez and forcing Matt Ryan to throw into double coverage down the field as he did Sunday against the Raiders. I always like to sell high on players, and with the way Gonzo has produced early on, you’d be wise to shop him around and see what you get. He’s been the #1 fantasy TE through the first 6 weeks of the season, something no one saw coming from the 36-year-old future hall of famer when the season started. With guys like Kyle Rudolph, Heath Miller, and Brent Celek (just to name a few) outperforming their draft-day price tags, there are cheaper options at tight-end that will produce about the same if not more fantasy points than Gonzalez the rest of the way. Put his name out there and see what you can get.

Recommended Bye Week Fill-Ins

QB- Josh Freeman

QB- Brandon Weeden

RB- Felix Jones

RB- Danny Woodhead

RB- Montario Hardesty

WR- Denarius Moore

WR- Randall Cobb

WR- Stephen Hill

TE- Dustin Keller

TE- Dennis Pitta

New York Jets Fact Or False: Week 7 Edition

Chris Gross weekly Fact or False previews the Jets/Patriots week 7 match-up

Make sure to check out Tammany Hall this weekend for 20 wings and 2 pitchers for only $20, courtesy of our friends at Night Out!

It’s hard to believe that we are already heading into week 7 of the regular NFL season. For the New York Jets, to say it has been a roller coaster season up until this point would be an understatement. After a week 1 blowout of the Buffalo Bills, all looked extremely promising for Gang Green. Following that game, many felt as if the Jets were finally poised to be a legitimate threat to New England’s AFC East throne. However, since then, the Jets have suffered tough losses and injuries to their two most high profile players in Darrelle Revis and Santonio Holmes. New York has responded well the last two weeks, though, with a tough effort against Houston and a blowout of the Indianapolis Colts to put them back to .500 and give them their current lead in the division.

The landscape for the remainder of the season still remains to be seen. This sudden group of low profile Jets seems to be starting to develop an attitude of camaraderie based around the notion that their season is dead in the water. Unlikely players like Chaz Schillens have stepped up into leadership roles by voicing out against the popular belief that this team doesn’t have a chance to make it out of the regular season with a winning record. This is something that we have yet to see in the Ryan era, but for this group of Jets, it could be a recipe for success.

This week will be a true test of how valid that idea may be. New England, although also .500, still remains the top dog in the AFC East. As Rex Ryan so eloquently put it, you need to beat the man if you wish to be the man. That’s exactly what this group will attempt to do this Sunday in Foxboro. Will the “us against the world” concept drive this team to be successful? Or was last week merely a mirage in a season poised for a serious let down? Come Sunday night, we should know a lot about where this team truly stands heading into the second half of the season.

For now, let’s breakdown some likely, and unlikely, scenarios that we expect to see in this week’s rivalry matchup in our latest edition of New York Jets Fact Or False.

The Jets will do everything in their power to prepare for New England’s hurry up offense. Fact. We are already seeing the makings of a package designed specifically to defend the hurry up offense. Antonio Allen is active again, and the Jets recently activated LB/S Marcus Dowtin from the practice squad. As noted here earlier in the week, these guys are players who fit perfectly into the “big nickel” package. What this means is that Rex Ryan will try to put his most versatile players on the field at once. Allen and Dowtin have the size to line up in the box and defend the run, as well as the speed to get out in space and cover tight ends. There is a very good chance that Allen will see extended reps and that Dowtin will be thrown right into active duty, just days after being signed.

Also, expect to see a big game out of LaRon Landry. Landry has linebacker size, with safety speed, something that will make him a weapon against this type of offensive scheme. Rex has been getting extremely creative with his defenses this past week, and you can bet your bottom dollar that he has been up all week devising a package that he believes will be effective against the hurry up. Whether it proves to be truly effective remains to be seen.

Tom Brady will be sacked at least twice. Fact. The Jets are familiar with the formula for beating the Patriots, as their counterparts in New York have made it a point to set the blueprint on how to take down New England’s high powered offense. You want to beat the Patriots, you need to get Tom Brady to the ground and throwing out of the pocket. The last time the Jets beat New England, in the 2010 playoffs, they did a great job of pressuring and hitting Brady. Brady notoriously becomes frazzled when facing a premiere pass rush, but the key is to get pressure without having to use a surplus of blitzes.

Brady has made a name for himself torching blitz packages for years. The Giants have success against New England because their pass rush is good enough to get to him by rushing just 4. The Jets had similar success in the 2010 playoffs. This year, the Jets finally have some natural ability up front that will allow them to get pressure on Brady without having to blitz too frequently. Quinton Coples is finally coming into his own as a pass rusher, primarily from the interior, where he could be deadly against a struggling Patriots offensive line. Muhammad Wilkerson will surely bring pressure as well, and if Aaron Maybin can duplicate his play from last week, the Jets may have a real good chance to get to Brady numerous times.

Shonn Greene will run the ball for 100+ yards for the second consecutive week. False. Shonn Greene is coming off a career week against the Colts in which he rushed for 161 yards and 3 touchdowns. While this is certainly an encouraging sign for the Jets rushing attack, don’t be fooled by these numbers. Yes, Greene looked more decisive, elusive, and powerful than he has in years, but the Colts rank in the bottom tier in rushing defense. New England, on the other hand, ranks 6th in that area, surrendering just 82.7 yards per contest on the ground.

With Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight out, the burden to carry the load will be on Greene. We know that he has struggled in such a role, but if the Jets can get yards from Tim Tebow and Jonathan Grimes, then Greene still has the potential to amass somewhere between 75-90 yards. As far as the century mark, don’t be disappointed looking at the box score after the game. Greene can be effective, but it is highly unlikely he surpasses 100 yards rushing in consecutive weeks, which would be a career first.

Tim Tebow will see over 30% of the offensive snaps this week. Fact. It was one thing to expect to see more of Tebow with a depleted group of wide receivers. The popular thought was that, with little playmaking ability in the offensive arsenal, Tebow would be used more frequently to generate a spark for this offense. As we have seen, that has not been the case since losing Holmes in week 4. However, this week presents an entirely new set of obstacles for this offense.

Following a week where New York finally seemed to gel in terms of running back depth and rotation, two of the three most used backs were lost due to injury and are out this week. That leaves the Jets with Greene and a very untested Jonathan Grimes. New York seemingly has no choice but to use Tebow on the ground, if not in the wildcat, then in a running back role. Greene may struggle as the only proven running threat, and it is unclear what exactly Grimes will bring to the table at this point. Why not add another proven runner to that stable of backs and allow Tebow to carry the ball 10-15 times in any type of capacity? There is no reason for the Jets to avoid this, and it will certainly be in their best interest to include a heavy dose of TT in the run game this week.

THURSDAY NIGHT PICKS

  • Joe – SF (-7)
  • Chris G – Sea (+7)
  • Chris C – Sea (+7)
  • Mike – (-7)
  • Rob – SF (-7)

Turn On The Jets Talks With Pats Propaganda – Jets/Patriots Preview

Joe Caporoso talks with Mike Dussault of Pats Propaganda about the upcoming match-up between the Jets and Patriots

I had the opportunity to talk with one of our favorite writers behind enemy lines, Mike Dussault of Pats Propaganda, to preview the upcoming New York Jets/New England Patriots showdown. Here is our conversation –

JC – What is the issue with New England’s secondary and is it a solvable problem this season? Is it actually as bad as it is being hyped up to be?

MD – Really the only issue, and it’s a glaring one, is that they cannot stop the 20+ passing plays. They’re giving up almost 6 per game. It really just boils down to that, and it’s maddening because they’ve been the worst in the NFL at it for two seasons and just can’t seem to get it fixed. Now injuries have played into it somewhat. When Russell Wilson heaved the 46-yard game winning TD last weekend it was two rookies that were on the back end. But things weren’t especially better when it was starters Steve Gregory (out since week 4) and Patrick Chung (dinged at the end of the game).

JC – Are you surprised by some of the game management issues that are arising, particularly with two Hall of Famers like Belichick and Brady leading the way?

MD – Yes, there have definitely been some head scratching moments this year, like last week’s debacle at the end of the first half, where they took an intentional grounding with one second left inside the 10-yard line that basically cost them the game in the long run. They should’ve just kicked the field goal when they had the chance with 6 seconds left.

There are a couple factors contributing. With Josh McDaniels back and his aggressive/often unconventional style, and the Pats trying to execute at such a fast pace it has led to some of the miscues, but ultimately I think they’ll be okay in the long run. There’s no question they’re still trying to lock down their identity and I think that has played into it as well. Sometimes they’re unstoppable, other times they seem to be going backwards. They need consistency and with that the game management stuff will take care of itself.

JC – Can you talk about how New England has rebuilt this offense to be a dual threat with their newly found power running game?

MD – Honestly I don’t think they have much of a straight up power running game as some might think, and we saw that against the Seahawks last week.  What they excel at is running on nickel and dime defenses, and once their passing game that’s when their run game is most dangerous.

Now there’s no question Stevan Ridley, Danny Woodhead and Brandon Boldin are still a more dynamic group than they’ve had in some time, but so far we’ve only seen them dominate the run game situationally, when teams are on their heels and overly concerned with the passing attack. Whether they can consistently move the ball on the ground to run the clock out and seal a win, when the opposition knows they’re trying to run, remains to be seen. This includes short yardage situations too. And we’ve already seen a ton of negative plays that were rare in recent history. Make no mistake, you’ve got to stop the passing game first and foremost.

JC – If you were the Jets how would you attack the New England defense? The New England offense?

MD –  For the Jets offense you have to take some shots down the field. There’s no weaker link than the Patriots back end. They’ve been effective in stopping the run every week, with Brandon Spikes really being the tone setter there, and they’re a good tackling team for the most part as well. The short pass and ground attack is less effective so far this year than it has been in year’s past.

But if you look at Seattle’s game plan, they stuck with their ground game even though it wasn’t dominant and took a lot of play action shots down the field, especially on early downs. The Jets have some ammo to keep the Pats defense off balance, I’m sure Rex has been saving something Tebow-y just for New England. Those plays that confuse or put the Pats on their heels will open up the long balls down the field. But the difficult thing, and most key part, is not throwing interceptions on those deep shots. Simply put if Sanchez and the offense have one turnover or less they’ll be in the game until the end and then they just have to make the clutch plays. The Patriots defense lives or dies by turnovers, if you give them two or more New England will probably win.

For the Jets defense it’s all about patience. There will probably be a couple drives where the Patriots run no-huddle and look unstoppable. You just have to weather those storms and continue to force them to execute for 60 minutes. Because they’ve got a habit of going stone cold during crunch time. I know Rex loves to mix things up a lot, but the Pats no-huddle will make that difficult, so I’d say stay in base and simplify the calls so they can get in quickly. If the Jets go DB heavy the Patriots will not hesitate to run so they’ll have to be prepared for that as well.

Obviously they must try to confuse Brady’s reads as much as possible, and when the Pats offense goes no-huddle they must be prepared. So much of the damage New England does in the no-huddle is because teams are not lined up, don’t have the call, or simply gassed. You can’t give them anything easy. Make them work for it till the end and it’s entirely possible they won’t make the clutch plays in the clutch moments.

JC – Prediction for the game, how many wins the Patriots finish with and how many wins the Jets finish with?

MD – Well hey, I’m biased but even when I do my best to be non-biased I like the Pats in this one. They’re always tough coming off an embarrassing loss, even moreso at home. I’d expect them to bring their A-game this week.

The wild card is Sanchez and the deep ball. If the Jets can get a couple long scores, not turn the ball over, move the ball a bit on the ground, and keep it close until the 4th quarter it could be anybodies game.

Let’s go Pats 24, Jets 13.

At this point I like the Pats at 12-4. Jets 9-7.

MD – The Jets have had a season of injuries like none I’ve seen before. Who are some of the players that might be unknown to Patriots fans but have been elevating their play in the absence of so many starters?

JC – On offense, Jeremy Kerley has stepped into being the offense’s top playmaker. He is averaging over 17 yards per catch and has shown a consistent ability to create big plays down the field. The Jets receiving core gets a ton of flak for lacking talent but that isn’t a fair assessment. Outside of Kerley, Chaz Schilens has been a capable possession receiver and a healthy Stephen Hill has big play potential. He already has three touchdowns, despite missing 2 and 1/2 games.

On defense, Patriots fans know Antonio Cromartie obviously but he has taken his play to a different level in the absence of Darrelle Revis. The past three weeks have been the best I’ve seen Cromartie play since joining the team and he seems to have embraced a leadership role in the secondary.

MD – Is this a make or break year for Mark Sanchez? Has he progressed or regressed as a quarterback?

JC – Considering the structure of his contract, he will likely be back next year unless the bottom truly falls out on the season and his performance. Even the staunchest Sanchez apologist would have to admit he has regressed since the 2010 season. There have been flashes of strong play but the inconsistency has been maddening. The last two weeks have been baby steps in the right direction after a disastrous game against San Francisco. We have seen some of Sanchez’s best work against the Patriots since his career started, so hopefully he can keep building positive momentum.

MD –  How have the defense and offense evolved this year, if they have? What kind of team are the Jets trying to be? Is ground and pound really accurate?

JC – Ground and Pound needs to go as an expression (which is why we changed the tag-line on our site haha). Prior to last week, the Jets had been dreadful running the football and stopping the run, along with having a non-existent pass rush. We saw strides in the right direction beginning the in second half against Houston and then carrying over to the Indianapolis game. On offense, they are still going to be run heavy but do take more shots down the field than they did under Brian Schottenheimer. On defense, Rex Ryan seems to recognize his base defense’s shortcomings and has slowly been getting more creative with his schemes and integrating younger players into more playing time.

MD – Name a player on offense and a player on defense that will be key to the Jets chances of knocking off the Patriots.

JC –  Offensively, it has to be on Sanchez to hit his throws down the field. The Jets have the players on the outside who can beat the Patriots secondary deep (Hill, Kerley and yes even Cromartie) but Sanchez must be accurate. Defensively, they must knock Tom Brady off his mark and get him rattled early in the game. Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples are their best natural pass rushers and both must make an impact early and often.

MD – If you were the Patriots where would you attack the Jets offense and defense? What can be exploited?

JC –  The Jets still lack speed at linebacker in a big way. I would be running to the outside heavily with RIdley and Woodhead, along with looking to hurt the Jets in the screen game. If the Jets try to match up the Patriots tight ends in man coverage with their safeties, it should be a match-up Brady can take advantage of as well. On defense, I would make Sanchez beat you. Bottle up the running game and force him to hit throws down the field into tight windows and hope he throws a few interceptions.

 

Turn On The Jets Week 7 Roundtable – Jets vs. Pats Match-Ups

The Turn On The Jets discusses what match-up they are most looking forward to in Jets/Pats

Joe Caporoso – Mark Sanchez vs. Patriots secondary – The Patriots are extremely susceptible to the deep ball and for the Jets to pull the upset it will be up to Mark Sanchez to take advantage of that. We saw Russell Wilson do it last week. We saw Joe Flacco do it a few weeks before. Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley and yes Antonio Cromartie all have the speed to get down the field but Sanchez can’t misfire when the plays are there to be. Beyond that, he absolutely cannot turn the football over. Simply put for this season, when the Patriots don’t force turnovers, they don’t win.

Chris Gross – Patriots Tight Ends vs. Jets Safeties – The long awaited, heavy weight bout between LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell against Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez will finally be underway this Sunday in Foxboro. Gronkowski and Hernandez have fared well in their respective careers against New York with Gronkowski averaging 3.5 catches for 42.5 yards and .5 touchdowns and Hernandez averaging 5 receptions for 62.25 yards and .25 touchdowns per contest.

New York has been improved, but still somewhat average against opposing tight ends this season. Some games, they have done a good job of shutting down the position that shredded them time and time again last season, while other times, they have given up big chunks of yards and critical red zone touchdowns. At the end of the day, this year’s Jets are still giving up just 4.7 catches for 54 yards and .5 touchdowns per game to opposing tight ends.

New York had severe holes at the safety position, something that was exploited in their most recent matchup with the Patriots in which Gronkowski went off for 8 receptions, 111 yards, and 2 touchdowns. As a result, the Jets went out and signed two proven veterans in Landry and Bell, and also used two draft picks on safeties in Josh Bush and Antonio Allen. These four players were brought in, not entirely, but primarily for this game.

It will be very interesting to see how this matchup plays out. With all the hype surrounding New England’s talented duo of tight ends, you’d have to think Landry will be coming out like a man possessed, looking to make a statement. Look for both Landry and Bell to be extremely physical in their coverage with each of these tight ends, something that has been lacking in the secondary prior to this season. A physical approach and sound, but creative, game plan could be just what the doctor ordered to finally keep this dual threat of Gronk and Hernandez in check.

TJ Rosenthal – We can’t help wondering how fast this new “starless” Jets team can gel. They seem commuted to each other and must be vining off of the perception that they should just pack up and go home now that Revis and Holmes are done this year. The key may be the run game. When the Pats are held to under 100 yards they are 0-3 this year. When Shonn Greene goes over 100, the Jets are 7-0. Was the Jets run game a mirage that fed off of a bad Colts run defense? Perhaps. If it was a case of the ground and pound finally kicking into gear though, hold the phones. Because maybe some respect on the ground will open up an already questionable Pats secondary to play action. Hold them under 100 and get Greene going again. That’s what we’d like to see. If the matchups up front on both sides of the ball yield something close to it, then the Jets can win in Foxboro Sunday.

Chris Celletti – I’m anxious to see how the Jets cover New England’s downfield passing game. The Patriots haven’t been as dominant through the air this season, but they’ve also faced very good defenses in all three of their losses (Baltimore, Arizona, Seattle). Stevan Ridley and Brandon Bolden have given New England a semblance of a running game, something they haven’t had in quite a while, but this unit has been a bit feast or famine so far this year. Make no mistake, New England still prefers to move the ball through the air, and Tom Brady still has plenty of weapons to use. . I’m interested to see how effective Rob Gronkowski is against LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell. Sunday’s game is one of the main reasons the Jets felt the need to make a huge upgrade at safety after last season. Overall the Jets’ secondary has a tall order ahead of them, but keeping the Pats’ passing game in check will go a long way towards the Jets beating their hated rival on the road.

Mike Donnelly – Jets New look D vs. Pats Hurry up O – The matchup I’m most looking forward to seeing this weekend is how the Jets matchup and play against the Patriots quick strike offense. In years past the Patriots have been able to catch the Jets off guard by getting a certain defensive personnel package on the field and exploiting it by going no-huddle and not letting the team make substitutions. Rex Ryan has made a conscious effort the past two years to get more players who can play all three downs effectively to match up with New England specifically. On the defensive line we’ll see less Po’uha and DeVito and more Quinton Coples and Muhammad Wilkerson, which is a massive improvement over Marcus Dixon. At linebacker we’ll see more of Demario Davis, Antonio Allen, and the newly signed Marcus Dowtin to play “hybrid” roles where they can still effectively defend the run and cover the Patriots excellent tight ends. Obviously not having Darrelle Revis is a major blow, but with the improvements made elsewhere, I think the Jets are going to be able to do a solid job covering the Pats many weapons.

Rob Celletti – Jets Front Seven vs. New England’s hurry-up. Two weeks ago, I sat, semi-horrified, watching Tom Brady march the Patriots up and down the field on the Broncos, utilizing a ruthless hurry-up offense that was just as likely to pick up 15 yards on the ground as it was through the air. But I didn’t see their opponent in orange and blue; I saw them in green and white.  This seems like a truly worst-case scenario matchup for the Jets, who are slow at linebacker and largely inexperienced along the defensive line.  Would there be anything more torturous than watching Brady hurry the Patriots to the line and kill the Jets with handoffs to Stevan Ridley and Danny Woodhead?

But remember, the Jets are coming off of a brilliant defensive performance, albeit at home against an inferior opponent.  They have leaned on some younger players which has increased athleticism; but can these pups handle a Brady-led offense? Again, the onus is on Rex Ryan to prepare this defense to try and hold New England to around 24 points in order to give the Jets a fighting chance at the upset.

New York Jets Week 7 – Game Plan Thoughts For New England

A few thoughts on how the New York Jets could game plan for the New England Patriots

The New York Jets head to New England this Sunday in a pivotal AFC East game between a pair of 3-3 teams. Despite having the same record, the Jets find themselves as 10.5 point underdogs. New England is a better team but the Jets have beat the Patriots in the past when they had less talented rosters than them. This is another “kitchen sink” game where Rex Ryan and the coaching staff needs to put together a creative game plan that doesn’t hold back any gadgets or surprises. How can the Jets give themselves a chance to pull off the upset?

Offense – New England is extremely weak in their secondary, giving up an inordinate amount of 20+ yard passing plays. Their corners and safeties have a difficult time playing the ball in the air and both position groups are generally lacking on talent. The Jets are going to have to take their shots down the field. This is the type of game they drafted Stephen Hill for. This is the type of game you give Antonio Cromartie another shot to run a pass route or two. Jeremy Kerley should be able to do some damage down the seam. Of course all of that is irrelevant if Mark Sanchez cannot be accurate with his deep passes. This is a big test for Sanchez. Can he take advantage of a weak secondary? In the past Sanchez has played some of his best games against New England (and some of his worst) – but he does have over a 100 quarterback rating in 4 of his 7 games against them. The Jets need “Good Sanchez” in a big way on Sunday.

Obviously the Jets can’t be one dimensional. They need a productive running game to open up play action passing down the field. Without Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight, that much more pressure will be on Shonn Greene to perform. Nobody is expecting him to duplicate last week’s performance but if he could give the Jets a solid 20 carry, 85 yard performance it will go a long way to helping their passing game out. Powell and McKnight’s absence could also lead to a bigger role for Tim Tebow.

I had an interesting conversation with Steve Hunter of Sports Geek, where he mentioned the possibility of using a “surprise” Wildcat that utilized Tebow in a hurry-up offense. New England uses their hurry-up to prevent defenses from subbing and allowing them to take advantage of team’s nickel personnel with their running game or their base personnel with their passing game. If the Jets started a series with Sanchez at quarterback and Tebow at one of the running back spots, they could move to a hurry up and alternate in plays where Tebow lines up quarterback before New England has a chance to substitute or react. This also wouldn’t be a bad game to allow Tebow to take a shot down the field, considering the Patriots vulnerable secondary.

Basically, the Jets need to get creative to manufacture points because New England is going to score their share. You aren’t winning this game with anything less than 24 on the board.

Defense – As previously mentioned, New England is going to gain their yards and score their share of points. The key is going to be, how many times can the Jets force the Patriots to settle for a field goal instead of letting them get in the end-zone? And can they force New England into a couple of turnovers? The Jets can’t allow the Patriots to rip off huge chunks of yardage. They have to make them work on long drives and hope they press eventually and Brady throws them an interception or Stevan Ridley coughs up a fumble.

New England thrives in their no huddle because they take advantage of a team’s inability to substitute and then gash them with their running game when they have personnel on the field to defend the pass. This is what makes having the personnel to run a “big nickel” that much more important. Rex Ryan seems to recognize that and smartly brought up hybrid safety/linebacker Antonio Allen last week and now this week has brought up another hybrid in Marcus Dowtin. These are the type of players you need to defend the Patriots, guys with coverage skills but who have the ability to play in the box and make tackles. Considering Eric Smith’s injury, look for extended reps for Allen and for Dowtin to be thrown right on the field like Allen was last week. At linebacker, Demario Davis should see a big chunk of Bart Scott’s playing time because of his speed and coverage skills.

Safeties LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell were brought in to help slow down the Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. They can’t match them in man to man coverage and it may be a good idea to give Antonio Cromartie a few shots on them in certain situations. However, they have the ability to get physical with them in the box and re-route or delay their routes in hopes of throwing their timing with Brady off. It will be imperative that Muhammad Wilkerson, Quinton Coples and Aaron Maybin generate a pass rush because Brady is a different quarterback when he is getting frequently hit.

Special Teams – If Joe McKnight doesn’t play, Antonio Cromartie will be the primary kick returner and he is always capable of ripping off a big return. Jeremy Kerley remains dangerous as a punt returner as well. Any points generated from special teams would be a huge bump in a game where the Jets are trying to pace themselves with the Patriots offense. I have a tough time seeing the Jets executing another fake punt because you know New England is going to be waiting for it. Let’s see how creative Mike Westhoff can get.

New York Jets Defensive Film Breakdown: Week 6

Chris Gross breaks down the New York Jets defensive film against the Indianpolis Colts

The New York Jets week 6 dominating performance of the inferior Indianapolis Colts was surely the best collective defensive effort of the season. From top to bottom, the Jets were sound in all facets of their defensive play. The defensive line, without two key players in Sione Pouha and Kenrick Ellis, played their best game of the season against both the run and rushing the passer, the linebackers looked surprisingly rejuvenated and fast, and the secondary continued to impress even without their All-World leader Darrelle Revis. Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine put together a brilliant game plan that clearly had Colts rookie quarterback Andrew Luck flustered and frustrated by the 4th quarter.

For this week’s defensive film breakdown, we will again format as we did last week, highlighting the game’s top performance, followed by the normal breakdown order. Let’s jump right into it because there is a lot to discuss.

Week 6 Top Defensive Performers:

Aaron Maybin – We have been extremely critical of Aaron Maybin in this column all season long, but it is time to give credit where credit is due. Maybin was very exceptional this past week, easily playing his best game of the season. Although the box score will not show it, Maybin was finally a serious factor in the Jets pass rush this week. We have knocked the former Buffalo Bill thus far this year for not working any pass rush moves into his arsenal, but simply running past the quarterback on a consistent basis. This week, Maybin finally worked in some variety of moves to his rushes, and it payed off tremendously.

On Antonio Cromartie’s first interception of Andrew Luck, Maybin worked a fantastic inside move that the opposing tackle was clearly not expecting, forcing Luck to run out of the pocket and make an off balance throw. Yes, Cromartie made a very nice play on the ball, but make no mistake, this play would not have happened if not for the efforts of Maybin.

Here, Maybin has Colts left tackle, and former first round pick, Anthony Castonzo completely off balance, as he tries to lunge at back to the inside, where Maybin clearly beat him.

As a result, Luck is forced out of the pocket, making an off balanced throw, with neither of his feet on the ground. With no leg drive behind his throw, Luck cannot put the necessary zip on the ball, and misses his target, resulting in the Cromartie interception.

Although Maybin only had half a sack in the box score, he was partially responsible for Muhammad Wilkerson’s strip sack in the 4th quarter.

On this play, Maybin came in on an inside loop stunt which he timed and executed to perfection. The key on these stunts is to sell the initial outside rush, to get the tackle to bail out, then come underneath, across half the length of the line, and establish pressure up the middle. As shown here, Maybin is right in the face of Luck, causing the rookie quarterback to make a decision – either take the sack, or scramble and try to make a play. Luck chooses the latter and the result is as follows.

Luck moves to his left, only to find the grasp of Wilkerson who gets credited with the sack and forced fumble. However, if not for Maybin’s perfectly executed stunt, this play would have not been made.

If Maybin can keep this level of play up, the entire pass rush will be boosted. The way he elevated the play of those around him this past Sunday should be very encouraging to Jets fans. If he does this on a consistent basis, all of a sudden the Jets go from a team that struggles to rush the passer to a team that poses a legitimate threat in that area.

Quinton Coples – As great as Muhammed Wilkerson played this past week, Quinton Coples was the best defensive lineman on the field for the majority of the game. In a full time role, Coples saw a lot of time not only at defensive end, but as a defensive tackle as well, similar to how he was used during his college career at North Carolina. What makes Coples so effective in being constantly moved around is his natural ability as a pure defensive lineman. Not only is he extremely athletic and powerful, but at 6’6″ tall, he has tremendous length, which he is beginning to use very effectively.

Coples demonstrated effective swim moves, push/pull technique, and the ability to get excellent separation from the offensive line. When the rookie uses his hands effectively, his reach is so long that it makes it just about impossible for any opposing offensive lineman to get into him enough to make a block. In doing this, Coples dictates exactly what he wants to do on any given play, making him extremely dangerous to an opposing offensive line.

Coples continues to be extremely agile in his pass rushes, particularly when lined up on the inside where he is a complete mismatch against slower offensive lineman. However, what very few realize, is just how powerful he is against the run. On a play in the 1st quarter, in which Muhammad Wilkerson stopped the ball carrier for a loss of one in the backfield, Coples forced the play back into Wilkerson with a tremendous push on the opposing offensive guard. Take a look:

As you can see, Coples has the opposing guard about 5 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. The back (who is right behind the guard) is forced to cut back to the other side, where Wilkerson is in hot pursuit. Without this push by Coples, the back is likely never forced to cut back across the field, thus never giving Wilkerson to opportunity to make the tackle for loss. Great cohesiveness by this unit demonstrated on this play, as was the case throughout the entire game.

Rex Ryan – Ryan was ranked as a top performer for his game plan last week against Houston, something he topped this week against the Colts and their rookie quarterback. Ryan mixed up fronts, coverages, personnel, and most importantly, blitzes, particularly, the blitz that resulted in Antonio Allen’s first career sack, one of the greatest demonstrations of schematics and execution that one will ever see in a defensive arena.

As shown below, Allen lines up on the slot receiver, showing anything but blitz.

At the same time, cornerback Isaiah Trufant is lined up over the center showing an inside blitz. The alignment here makes it nearly impossible for a rookie quarterback to expect a blitz to be coming from where Allen is currently lined up. However, at the snap of the ball, Allen comes hard off the edge, while Trufant bails out to compensate for what would have been Allen’s man.

The complexity of this blitz is why it is so successful. Luck could have never expected the Jets to attempt to get Trufant all the way back to Allen’s man from where he was lined up, but that is exactly what they did. Unsuspecting that pressure is coming from his right, Luck cannot avert the blitz in time, and the play results in Allen’s first career sack. Extremely gutsy call that clearly paid dividends.

With his top two nose tackles inactive for this contest, Ryan also did a tremendous job of mixing up his defensive fronts to compensate for the lack of a true nose guard. At times, the Jets did show a traditional 3-4 look with various players lined up at the nose including Mike DeVito and Wilkerson. However, since neither of these players are truly effective at the position, Ryan adjusted to his personnel greatly.

Here, Ryan comes with a very creative scheme up front. From left to right, the personnel is David Harris, Muhammad Wilkerson, Calvin Pace, Quinton Coples, and Aaron Maybin. With virtually no one lined up in the middle, the Colts offensive line gets an unfamiliar look here both in terms of alignment and personnel, causing great confusion amongst this unit and their rookie quarterback. Excellent job by Ryan in recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of the players he had available on Sunday.

Since losing Darrelle Revis, Pouha, and most recently Ellis, Ryan has become extremely innovative in his schematics. For the second week in a row, we have witnessed how impressive of a defensive mind Ryan truly is.

Defensive Line:

Muhammad Wilkerson – Statistically, Wilkerson played his most complete game as a Jet with 7 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, and a tipped pass. New York continues to rely on Wilkerson to be their jack of all trades on the defensive front, a role he is beginning to become much more comfortable with. Throughout the course of the game, Wilkerson saw time at the 0, 1, 3, and 5 technique, and was effective at each position. We have discussed his sack above, but one particular play that really stood out was Wilkerson’s tackle in the backfield in the second quarter. On the play, Wilkerson split an aggressive double team by the Colts guard and tackle, to stop the run for a gain of only one. It was an impressive display of strength, explosion, and leverage.

Wilkerson is slowly becoming the man of many roles for the Jets, which speaks volumes to how the defensive coaching staff grades his talent and ability. Wilkerson is beginning to mature as a leader on this defensive front through both example and poise, something that, considering his tremendous talent level, is an excellent sign for this group. Moving forward, New York has to feel good about its young group of defensive lineman.

Mike DeVito – DeVito was solid as usual for Gang Green. He was forced to fill in at the nose at times due to injuries to Pouha and Ellis, however, as we have previously discussed in this column he is not necessarily a good fit in that position. Still, DeVito surely held his own, and remained the usual blue collared, run stuffing defensive tackle Jets fans have grown to love. As for his pass rush ability, DeVito still proved to be very ineffective in this area. Fortunately, Ryan and company are beginning to seriously limit his reps in passing situations, which will both keep him fresh for first and second down, and allow someone else, like Aaron Maybin to get the necessary reps during those situations.

Calvin Pace – Pace played quite solid yet again. Still struggling to get to the quarterback, he does have a natural ability to set the edge and not allow anything to get outside of him, something that he certainly does the best among everyone at his position on this roster. During the first quarter, on the Colts’ first attempted end around, Pace took a bad step and was beat to the outside by the tackle.

At the left of the screen here, Pace can be seen in poor position as he is seemingly sealed by the tackle, thus losing the edge and giving the back room to run around. However, Pace continued to work toward the sideline, despite being beat on the initial step. The best defense for an edge player when they are sealed is to drive the blocker as far as they can toward to side line, in order to string the play out as long as possible, and allow the help to come from the inside. Well, this is exactly what Pace does on this play, and it works to perfection, as he eventually turns the play back inside, allowing Wilkerson to make the tackle for no gain.

This is textbook recover technique from Pace, who continues to be this team’s best edge player against the run.

Daniel Muir – Muir played with an excellent energy level, and certainly did not look like someone who was just signed off the street. He did get driven off the ball a few times, but other times he did a great job holding his own against the double team. He is also very active with his hands and feet in his pass rush. Although unsuccessful, he repeatedly worked a surplus of pass rush moves against the Colts offensive line. For the capacity in which he was signed, you have to be very impressed by the effort Muir put forth on Sunday. He is playing like someone who is hungry to keep his spot on the roster, regardless of who returns.

Damon Harrison – Harrison saw limited action this week, with Muir getting more reps as the last tackle worked into the rotation. He continues to prove to be very raw, but demonstrates great power. With some coaching, down the road, Harrison can certainly be a very effective role player in this league.

The linebackers – Excellent effort across the board from the linebackers this week. Bart Scott and David Harris both looked faster than they have in the first five weeks, and both did an excellent job in their run reads and defending lead blockers. Scott even broke up a pass, which was a phenomenal demonstration of awareness on his part. With his back to the ball, Scott recognized the target’s eyes and arms reacting to the pass, and stuck his arm out where he thought the ball might be coming from, swatting it away before the receiver ever had a chance. There are still some coverage issues with these two, but for the most part they were very improved in this area this past week.

DeMario Davis’s reps continue to increase, and you’d have to think that by mid-season he will be seeing at least half of the defensive snaps per game. His speed is above and beyond anyone else’s at the position, and he continues to play with great tenacity. He looks a bit tentative at times, perhaps because he does not yet have a full grasp on the system, but he is seemingly becoming more comfortable each week.

The Secondary – As a unit, this group played very well. Kyle Wilson put together his most complete performance to date through a strong display of coverage, open field tackling, and the ability to shed blockers. Anontio Cromartie continued his dominant play in the absence of Darrelle Revis, recording an interception in his second consecutive game. Ellis Lankster was hot and cold. On some plays, he was in perfect position and showed great reaction to the ball, while on others his technique was poor, and he lacked awareness. Still, an overall above average effort from Lankster this past week.

The safeties played quite good again as well. LaRon Landry got caught trailing a couple times in coverage, but his physicality against the tight ends was spectacular this week. On one particular play, Landry lined up in the box directly on Colts Tight End Dwayne Allen. Landry jammed him hard at the line, then laced him as soon as the ball touched his hands. What he may lack in pure coverage ability, he certainly makes up for with his physical level of play.

As discussed above, Antonio Allen executed one of the greatest timed blitzes you will ever see, which is an area where we expected him to succeed in in our full draft evaluation. Yeremiah Bell was solid again, but sometimes showed a tendency to give too much of a cushion between himself and the first down marker.

Josh Bush and Isaiah Trufant also saw time this week. Both did not do anything spectacular in terms of making plays, but neither did anything that hurt the team, which is very positive. The more experience these youngsters can get in fulfilling their responsibilities, the better.

Sunday’s game was a very complete defensive effort. Each unit complemented each other very well, and the cohesion of this defense is really starting to take shape, even in the absence of the leagues best defensive back. Rex Ryan has gotten back to his roots as a defensive mastermind. All of these things will need to continuously improve moving forward, but make no mistake, New York should be very encouraged by the product they put on the field against Indianapolis.

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

An offensive film breakdown of the New York Jets game against the Indianpolis Colts

This week’s Turn On The Jets offensive film breakdown is going to focus more on the running game, considering their success this past Sunday. Make sure you check back later in the day for our defensive film breakdown from Chris Gross – 

This was a banner performance from the New York Jets offensive line, particularly guards Matt Slauson and Brandon Moore. They were dominant at the point of attack and consistently driving Colts defenders 4-5 yards off the football. Offensive coordinator Tomy Sparano was heavily reliant on Moore pulling into the hole and clearing out space for Greene. On his 21 yard run in the first quarter, look at the hole cleared out by Moore and then sealed off by Konrad Reuland and D’Brickashaw Ferguson. You won’t see a better blocked play in the NFL than this one –

Tight ends Dustin Keller, Jason Smith and even Jeff Cumberland deserve credit for their contributions in the running game. Keller in particular looked like a different player blocking against the run. Sparano’s game plan was built around the tight ends having a large role as blockers, not pass catchers and they responded.

While plenty of credit goes to the offense line, we won’t shy away from giving plenty to Shonn Greene. More impressive than his 21 yard run was this 7 yard one below, which showed vision, patience and power. Greene played this entire game in a different gear and finally ran like the true power back the Jets expect him to be. On this play, Greene correctly extends horizontally to get behind the pulling Matt Slauson

He sees the hole, plants and sharply cuts inside of it without stumbling or slowing down. This has been a frequent problem for him this season. Even more impressive, he began to absorb contact around a 2-3 yard gain on this play but charged forward and dragged three defenders and turned it into a 7 yard gain. Greene got more yards than were blocked up for him, instead of leaving yards on the field.

On his 10 yard touchdown run we saw more of the same. Greene quickly locates the hole and hits it at full speed. He is untouched until the 5 yard line when he is met by two defenders, with a third closing in. He absorbs contact and then keeps his legs churning to drag all three of them into the end-zone. By any standard, against any defense this a very impressive run. If he continues to play like this, the Jets offense has a chance to be consistently successful.

Finally a quick look at how the Jets properly used Tim Tebow. On a 3rd and 1 near the goal-line, the Jets lined Tebow up at quarterback with two running backs behind him, a variation of the Pistol formation. Tebow quickly calls for a shift to five wide. Look in the second image at how much confusion it causes on the Colts defense. When they settle, the Jets have 7 blockers in front of Tebow to deal with 8 Colts in the box. The Jets will take this match-up every single day of the week on a 3rd and 1 with Tebow under center. They should literally run this play every single time on 3rd and 2 or less until a defense shows they can stop it.

Other Observations 

Mark Sanchez – He was not asked to do much in this game but played very well in his limited opportunities. In particular, his two touchdown passes were throws into tight windows. On the touchdown to Stephen Hill, he showed terrific chemistry with the young receiver as Hill properly broke the route off, Sanchez recognized it immediately and fired the ball in. Of his seven incompletions, one was a drop by Jeff Cumberland, one was thrown away on a busted screen, and one should have pass interference on the defender covering Chaz Schilens down the sideline. The only bad throw he missed was Jeremy Kerley down the seam on a third down where his timing was off.

Wide Receivers – Chaz Schilens still has a bad rep with some fans because of his injuries over the summer. The reality is that he has been very good for the Jets, catching 12 passes on 16 targets. He is turning into a favorite target of Sanchez on third downs and rightfully so. He runs sharp routes and aggressively attacks the ball in the air. He will be an important player in the Jets passing game moving forward. Stephen Hill also looked good in limited reps. He caught the ball well and did a nice job using his size to shield off defenders when catching a deep stop route and a slant.

Turn On The Jets Stock Watch: Jets vs. Colts Edition

Mike Donnelly’s weekly Stock Watch is buying and selling after Jets/Colts

Despite not being able to watch most of Sunday’s game live (damn you, Sunday weddings during football season!) and tweet irrational play-by-play analysis with you all, I did manage to catch enough of it to have a pretty good grasp of what went on. DVR’ing it and finally catching up on all the minor details didn’t hurt things either, and now I feel sufficiently confident and buying and selling all things New York Jets as we head into Patriots Week. Let’s get started..

BUY: Shonn Greene – YESSS!!!! FINALLY!!!!! For weeks I was the last remaining New York Jets fan defending Shonn Greene and telling everyone who would listen to not give up on this guy. It appears as though my plan to pretend to join the masses in giving up on Greene to motive him worked perfectly! Glad I could help, Shonn.

Ok, so maybe that’s not quite what happened, but it appears as though those thousands of Shonn Greene stock shares I own have just been upgraded out of Enron territory. Joe will have more on this in his offensive film breakdown, but Greene ran confidently, hit the holes hard, and didn’t even stumble over his feet that much. He even perfectly executed a spin move in the backfield to avoid a tackler and score a touchdown, which almost made me simultaneously spit out my drink and start crying out of pride and happiness. I felt like Pedro Cerrano at the end of Major League when he’s this close to giving up on Jobu, before crushing a huge home run. If Greene can run like that now that the weather is turning and the offensive line is starting to gel, we could really be on to something here.

BUY: Stephen Hill and Dustin Keller – The numbers weren’t crazy or anything, but these two guys being on the field helped open up the offense dramatically. Hill will drive us crazy all year with his inconsistent play and drops, but there’s no question that the defense has to account for his speed whenever he’s on the field. As for Keller, he didn’t do much as a receiver, but his blocking was tremendous, and it won’t be long before he gets into the swing of things catching passes.

BUY: Tebow’s 3rd and 1 run up the middle – I can’t for the life of me figure out why it took 6 weeks for the team to use Tebow for a power run up the middle in a short yardage situation. But better late than never I suppose, as they finally did it, having Tebow run right up the middle behind Nick Mangold, and — surprise, surprise– it worked! I’d like to see more of this, please.

BUY: Coaching – I know the perception of Rex Ryan is that he’s just some big bozo who runs his mouth and can’t back it up. That perception is wrong. Rex Ryan is really a very good coach, and this game was a prime example as to why. His defensive game plan was flat out brilliant, as he confused Andrew Luck for 4 quarters and managed to fix a run defense that was getting absolutely torched the past few weeks. Now, I know Vick Ballard isn’t exactly Adrian Peterson, but it was nice to see an excellent all-around defensive performance. On offense, kudos go out to Tony Sparano for staying the course and sticking with his run game while also finding ways to get borderline useless players like Jason Hill and Jeff Cumberland involved and actually put them in a position to make plays.

BUY: The Youth Movement – This wasn’t exactly planned heading into this season, but the Jets are quietly reloading and incorporating a youth movement while also managing to contend at the same time. Injuries to players such as Darrelle Revis, Santonio Holmes, Sione Po’uha and Eric Smith have forced youngsters like Kyle Wilson, Jeremy Kerley, Kenrick Ellis, Antonio Allen, and Quinton Coples into more prominent roles than they were expected to play. Throw in contributions from guys like Bilal Powell, Austin Howard, Demario Davis, and even — gasp! — Vlad Ducasse and the Jets are quietly building something very promising for 2013. And yes, I absolutely am going to expand on this for an article later this week, so be on the look out.

New York Jets Working To Change Perceptions

Can this “no name” Jets team form new perceptions about their team?

We are starting to see a new Jets team branding themselves out there, are we not? It’s early in the process we know. After all, Darrelle Revis and Santonio Holmes just left Gang Green for the year only weeks back. Since then however, this no name bunch of young Jets has teamed up with written off starters like Mark Sanchez and Shonn Greene to battle the then undefeated Texans, and take care of business against a Colts team that simply had to be defeated. A task that is never a guarantee if you follow Jets history closely enough.

Among this excitable new crop of Jets gaining important playing time is Chaz Schilens. A wide receiver who lately, has spoken with enough pride about his belief in the systems in place and his teammates, that we are beginning to feel as though maybe something is gelling inside of the locker room of a team. A unity among this current and ever changing cast of characters, who may be rallying around the doubt that pervades them outside of Florham Park.

We all know what happens when a football team plays together. Even a team built out of a laundry list of stars in this sport can often times run into problems against a committed team that works together, despite a lack of any notable names on the backs of their jerseys.

Schilens, a fourth year vet and former Raider who has always owned physical potential and promise has slowly begun to make plays. This after waiting for a shot to contribute. Injuries to Holmes and recently to rookie WR Stephen Hill have allowed for that as Schilens has over the past few games, begun to turn himself into a player who can be counted on in tough yardage situations, with defenders draped on him.

His attitude off the field, has been one of a symbolic defiance lately too. Of refusing to be part of a team that is pigeonholed into an also ran so early in the year, even as injuries pile up. Here is what Schilens had to say about all of the talk regarding the Jets being a circus act and doomed for failure given who has been lost so far for the season:

“It’s so overly exaggerated it’s ridiculous. What’s not funny is you guys try to tell us maybe we shouldn’t even show up for the game or we’ll be outclassed or we’re not a good football team..When we get to full strength and get clicking on all cylinders with the parts we have right now, it’s not going to be funny, especially for other teams.”

There will be those who will paint Schilens’ words as just another example of a Jet sharing his views in an open door culture the team likes to promote. We see it as the voice of an entire team’s regrouped mindset.

A team that is changing it’s approach on the fly. From relying on a few top of the line stars to an entire room full of pieces. All fighting collectively for the same thing. Victories and respect.