Throwback Thursday – Jets at Titans, December 23, 2007

This week’s “Throwback Thursday” looks at Jets vs. Titans back in 2007, when Chad Pennington led the Jets into Tennessee for a loss

Throwback Thursday is a feature at Turn On The Jets, where we take a stroll down Jets Memory Lane and reminisce about great Jets games in the past against their upcoming opponent. (Word to not take seriously in that last sentence: “great”)

When I scoured the all-time box scores in the Jets-Titans/Oilers history, I realized that the Jets have only lost once to the Titans since they moved from Houston. Before that, the Oilers absolutely OWNED the Jets, delivering them crushing losses late in seasons and in the playoffs. I have faint memories of this season-ending debacle in 1994, where the playoff hopes of the 8-7 Jets were dashed in a 24-0 loss by backup QB Cody Carlson. In a must-win, the Jets got beat by a guy who sounds like a lax bro. So Jets.

But since they became the Tennessee Titans, it’s been almost all Jets. Remember in 2008, when Brett Favre led the 7-3 Jets into Nashville and beat the undefeated Titans, enrapturing the city in Subway Super Bowl talk? Then in 2009 the surprising 2-0 Jets, behind rookie head coach and rookie QB Mark Sanchez, beat the Titans 24-17 to improve to 3-0 as Jets fans streamed out of Giants Stadium and took to the streets proclaiming “FINALLY, WE HAVE A FRANCHISE QUARTERBACK!!!” Gee how perfectly that all worked out.

However, since we like to revel in self-pity here as Jets fans and on Throwback Thursday, I of course am going to focus on the one loss in Jets’ history against the Tennessee Titans. That came on December 23, 2007. Before we get to it, let’s set the scene…

Billboard No. 1 Song in the U.S.: “No One” by Alicia Keys. How appropriate! That is, if you watched the 12/12/12 Sandy Relief concert last night, where Alicia Keys killed a slowed-down version of this song, the weird “Put your cellphones in the aiiiiiir!” bit notwithstanding. And how about our beloved ass-fumbling QB making making an appearance in Adam Sandler’s “Hallelujah, Sandy Screw Ya” song? Vintage Sandler, by the way. If the recent epic failures of “Jack and Jill” and “That’s My Boy”, coupled with last night’s hilarious song isn’t proof that Sandler should stop making movies and go back to making comedy music albums, I don’t know what is. 

No. 1 Movie in the U.S.: “National Treasure: Book of Secrets”. Is there a bigger injustice in the world than the fact that the current “Oscar for Best Actor” count is Nicolas Cage: 1, Leonardo Di Caprio: 0?  Tell me if you can think of one, because I can’t.

Jets Record Before: 3-11

Titans Record Before: 8-5

The 2007 Jets were absolutely horrific. Injuries, instability at the quarterback position and iffy skill position players put the Jets behind the eight ball from the get-go (sound familiar?!). Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens both started eight games apiece. Despite being injured and playing on a flawed team, Pennington actually put up decent numbers. He threw for an average of 196 yards a game, completing 68% of his passes with 10 TDs and 9 INTs. Can someone please explain to me how 2007-Chad Pennington, with his right arm being held together by paper clips and twine, could throw for the same amount of yards per game than a healthy Mark Sanchez? This should be grounds for Tony Sparano’s firing in and of itself. Wait, you’re telling me that in 2008, Pennington revived his career and led the Dolphins to an 11-5 record and a division title under Sparano?! Nothing in my life makes sense anymore.

So in Week 16, Pennington led the Jets into his home state of Tennessee, hoping to hand the playoff-seeking Titans a death blow. Much like I would expect this Monday’s game to be, this one was a defensive struggle (a.k.a: lower than C-SPAN on the Excitement Meter). The first five drives of the game ended with punts. On the Jets’ third possession, Pennington was intercepted by Reynaldo Hill, giving the Titans good field position on the Jets’ 40. They converted it into the game’s first score, a four yard run by Chris Brown (the middling NFL running back, not the Worst Man in America pop star).

After a boring first quarter, Brown’s touchdown seemed to open the game up, if only for a few moments. The Jets responded with what was probably their best drive of the 2007 season. They took over on their own 23, picked up a first down and got to their own 41, setting up a 2nd-and-7. Pennington connected with Jerricho Cotchery for a 48-yard pickup, getting the Jets in scoring position. Two plays later, Pennington and Cotchery hooked up again, this time a 9-yarder for the game-tying touchdown.

Except Mike Nugent’s extra point was BLOCKED. The Titans remained up, 7-6, and Cotchery’s touchdown catch would be the Jets’ last points of the day.

Gang Green seemed poised to take the lead on their next possession, but Pennington was picked off in the end zone by Keith Bulluck. After THE NUGE missed a 51-yarder late in the second quarter, the Jets only had FOUR total possessions in the second half. Those went like this: Punt, Punt, Punt, and on their final drive, Pennington was sacked on fourth down, giving the Titans the ball and the ability to run the clock out. Somewhere along the way, Tennessee picked up a field goal so the final score read Titans 10, Jets 6.

Pennington actually had a pretty good day despite the two bad picks, finishing with 264 yards on 26-of-32 passing. 154 of those yards went to Cotchery. For some perspective, Stephen Hill has 163 yards in the last five games he’s played. But once he learns how to catch, watch out everybody.

This time around, the Jets are the ones clinging to their playoff lives and the Titans are the ones playing spoiler. If Monday’s game plays out just like the 2007 barnburner did but the Jets end up on top, Rex Ryan will be one happy man. As will all of Jets Nation.

Turn On The Jets Week 15 Roundtable – Jets/Titans Match-Ups

The TOJ staff discusses what match-ups they’re most looking forward to in the Jets week 15 Monday Night matchup against the Tennessee Titans

The TOJ staff discusses what match-up they are most looking forward to in the New York Jets Monday Night match-up against the Tennessee Titans. Make sure to give everybody a follow on Twitter –

Joe Caporoso – If the New York Jets can slow down Chris Johnson, who has the ability to kill them in the open field, they are going to be in great shape to improve their record to 7-7. Jake Locker can be dangerous when he starts scrambling around and does have an ability to push the ball down the field. Yet, let’s not ignore that he only completes 57.5% of his passes, has thrown 9 interceptions to match his 9 touchdowns and has lost two fumbles. Locker isn’t a good enough quarterback to single-handily beat the Jets defense. Due to this, the Jets front seven must stop Johnson, not let him get to the outside and not let him catch the football in space.

TJ Rosenthal – Chris Johnson could end the Jets season. Braylon Edwards, as much as naysayers refuse to believe, may help to prolong it. What we look forward to regarding Monday night most however, is the Jets rushing attack. The Titans are tied for 23rd against the run. Tony Sparano’s ground and pound has become more creative as of late. Shonn Greene has been maximizing his “plow forward” style since the bye week. Maybe this week though, Bilal Powell will finally emerge into something more than a split carry back. With his first breakout game coming on National TV.

Chris Celletti – It’s been a disappointing overall season for Chris Johnson, but the Titans’ back is still capable of having a big game. While the Jets’ defense is coming off two excellent weeks, Johnson is the best back they’ll have faced in the past three weeks by a mile. Also, you’d expect the Titans to use a heavy dose of Johnson as the Jets’ run defense is still weaker than their pass defense (basically, expect FIREWORKS on Monday since the Jets are going to go with the same approach on offense as well). Johnson is the one player on Tennessee that can wreck the game for the Jets. If they can shut him down, they give themselves a much better chance of moving to .500.

Mike Donnelly – The matchup I’m most looking forward to seeing this week is not Braylon Edwards against the Titans secondary (although it’s a close second), but rather how Quinton Coples and Mo Wilkerson do against this Titans offensive line suffering from injuries to four of their regular starters. These two are going to be major factors for our defense for years and I want to see Wilkerson continue his superior play while Coples joins him in the “soon-to-be-stud” club. Chris Johnson is the kind of shifty running back the Jets have struggled with this year, so the ability of Coples and Wilkerson to provide pressure right up the middle will play a major roll in whether or not the Jets improve to 7-7 on Monday.

Chris Gross – Jets Defense vs. Chris Johnson – Come Monday night, Tennessee will be without 4 starting offensive lineman. The Jets have been playing lights out defense the past few weeks, so with the Titans suffering such significant loss, the easy assumption to make is that New York has a clear advantage in this matchup. However, the Jets have struggled against backs with a skill set similar to Johnson’s this year. CJ Spiller gashed this team for over 100 yards in week one, while Reggie Bush has played decently against them, as well. The key for New York will be their ability to make plays in space. Johnson needs to be hit behind the line of scrimmage early and often, but if he hits the open field, New York cannot afford to miss him for he has significant big play ability

Rob Celletti – Can the Jets defense maintain its level of dominance this week?  The Titans aren’t world-beaters, but they have a little bit more talent than the Jets last two opponents, who have scored a combined 16 points and converted only 2 of 31 third downs. The particular match-up that’s key to this game features the Jets linebackers, who simply need to put in a good performance to keep Chris Johnson in check. After becoming the guy that every fantasy football owner loved to hate, Johnson has rebounded nicely this year, averaging 4.7 yards per carry. Johnson is the prototypical running back that gives the Jets a hard time, because of his speed to the outside and ability to change direction.  The Jets’ worst nightmare in this game is Johnson breaking off a long run or two early, putting the Jets in a multiple score hole, and making their offense play catch-up. 

New York Jets Week 15 – Jets/Titans Early Thoughts

Early thoughts on the New York Jets week 15 Monday night match-up against the Tennessee Titans

A collection of early thoughts on the New York Jets Monday night match-up against the Tennessee Titans

1. Chris Johnson has shaken off the early season fantasy football jokes and is putting together a strong overall season, with 1,037 yards on 4.7 yards per carry, along with 4 touchdowns and 33 receptions. Johnson is the type of back who has owned the Jets defense in recent years. He has the ability to break to the outside and be a factor in the passing game, which could expose the Jets lack of speed at linebacker.

2. Jake Locker is kind of like a more mobile Mark Sanchez, in that he is inaccurate and turns the ball over way too much. If the Jets can get the game into his hands primarily, they have a good chance of getting a victory. Tennessee has some talent at wide receiver, look for Antonio Cromartie to match-up with Kenny Britt which will leave Kyle Wilson and Ellis Lankster to handle Kendall Wright and Nate Washington…not ideal match-ups for the Jets.

3. The Titans are 4-9 for a reason. Right now, they are down four starting offensive lineman which should equal a big day for Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples. They are ranked 27th in total defense (23rd against the run and 26th against the pass).

4. Regardless of their vulnerability in the secondary, look for another run heavy game plan from the Jets that will look to control the clock. There is no reason to expect anything less than 15+ carries each for Bilal Powell and Shonn Greene. If the Jets do take their shots down the field, taking them to the newly signed Braylon Edwards makes the most sense.

5. Our playoff pipe dream viewing guide will be published tomorrow but know this – if the Jets win and get just a little help this weekend, their week 16 game at home against San Diego will be hugely important and not just in a “pipe dream” kind of way but in a “they really have a shot to make the playoffs” kind of way.

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

Turn On The Jets answers your questions on the New York Jets offensive game film from their game against Jacksonville

The Turn On The Jets offensive film breakdown this week is going to focus on a handful of questions I received on Twitter – All the questions generally broke out into the following four categories, which I will review section by section. Make sure to check back later today for Chris Gross‘ defensive film breakdown.

1 – Wide Receiver Separation

Many people were curious if the Jets wide receivers were getting any type of separation against a below average Jacksonville secondary. There was only 19 attempted passes by Mark Sanchez, in what was a highly conservative game plan. To put it bluntly, the Jets basically ran a high-school passing attack this past Sunday. Extremely simplistic and meant to give Sanchez easy, quick reads that would equate to a high completion percentage. Yet, how did the receivers fare with their limited routes?

Overall, they were relatively average. Yes, there were situations where they struggled to create separation as seen below when Mardy Gilyard runs a comeback route and curls directly behind the cornerback. Needless to say, there is a reason Gilyard has been unemployed in the NFL more than he’s been employed.

But outside of him and a few instances from other receivers, the situation wasn’t a complete disaster. Jeremy Kerley continued to run crisp, quick routes and gets himself plenty of separation like shown below but Mark Sanchez just missed him. Chaz Schilens had a good day, consistently getting himself open outside of a sideline comeback route that should have never been thrown his way. He got excellent separation twice on a boot route, including this 17 yard completion below.

2 – Mark Sanchez’s General Play

Meh. The Jets literally ran a high school passing attack, which consisted of them running about 3 different basic passing plays out of a few different alignments and formations. They ran boot, quick rub routes (short speed outs) to the outside and three step slant/comeback combinations. Sanchez did OK with this but generally played timid and still missed more throws than you’d like to see in this type of attack (like the Kerley comeback above). Look at this boot route – He has Chaz Schilens open for a big gain but instead he pulls the ball down and runs for 4 yards.

This hesitation likely comes from having two deep balls to Schilens the previous week dropped and intercepted, along with an emphasis from the coaching staff to play safe. However, if we see Braylon Edwards running the same route this week, I can guarantee that Sanchez makes this throw.

Outside of his 37 yard completion to Jeff Cumberland late in the fourth, Sanchez didn’t make any plays that you’d classify as “very good.” He basically had a mix of proper decisions, good throws mixed in with some missed throws and poor reads. The completion to Cumberland was a thing of beauty however…just a frustrating glimpse of his first round talent.

3 – Running Back Comparison

Bilal Powell and Shonn Greene put up nearly identical numbers, with Powell having a slightly higher yards per carry. Both players are very comparable on a week to week basis but the film maintains that Powell is a little quicker and can make a little more happen when less is available. Surprisingly it was Powell who was more effective going directly up the middle, while Greene was getting more from the outside counters. Here are two inside handoffs, the first one is Greene which went for 9 yards, the second one is Powell which went for 13 yards. Powell gets more yardage because he is quicker through the hole and is quicker with his cuts at the second level.

To Greene’s credit, he showed better vision and decisiveness on counter handoffs than Powell. Both backs were benefitted by a superior game from the Jets offensive line.

4 – Offensive Line

Outside of D’Brickashaw Ferguson letting Jason Babin beat him for a strip sack, this was an excellent all-around performance from the Jets offensive line. In the second half, they simply took over the football game and drove Jacksonville defenders all over the field, clearing big lanes for Greene and Powell. Look at the blocking on this counter –

To their credit, Austin Howard and Matt Slauson had particularly strong games despite having up and down seasons. Both were borderline dominant in the running game. Nick Mangold had arguably his best game of the season and made the PFF All-Week 14 Team. Vladimir Ducasse played limited snaps but Slauson looked better out there and was in the line-up for both touchdown drives. Jason Smith also deserves credit for strong blocking as an extra tight end.

Turn On The Jets Stock Watch: Week 15 Edition

Mike Donnelly with his weekly Stock Watch, buying and selling as the Jets head into week 15

Lots to get to in Jets Land as usual with just three games left to play, so let’s just jump right into this week’s Stock Watch.

BUY: Braylon Edwards Signing – I know lots of Jets beat writers and “expert” types rushed to their laptops and smart phones to make their very own Braylon jokes on Twitter as soon as news of the signing broke, but make no mistake about it: This was a GOOD signing. Here is a list of players that have lined up at wide receiver this season for the Jets (other than legitimate NFL options Santonio Holmes and Jeremy Kerley): Stephen Hill, Chaz Schilens, Clyde Gates, Jason Hill, Mardy Gilyard, Jordan White and Antonio Cromartie. Seriously.

So my question to these “experts” is how is this in any way, shape, or form a bad move?  The Jets picked up a veteran receiver who has a rapport with their quarterback and a familiarity with the team, city, and locker room. If he isn’t healthy enough to contribute, then you cut him and lose nothing. If he plays bad, you cut him and lose nothing. If he says or does something stupid, then you cut him and lose nothing. More than likely though, you are getting a motivated player who knows he’s on his last chance and is going to give everything he has to this team and to this quarterback. And yes, I’m aware he called the general manager an idiot on Twitter in a moment of frustration, but so what, Mike Tannenbaum IS an idiot when it comes to building a roster. That being said..

BUY: Mike Tannenbaum – Yes, he’s done a horrible job with this offense and roster in general the past two years, but kudos to Mr. T for putting his pride to the side and doing what is clearly best for this team in signing a real NFL-caliber receiver for a change. Some people may say the organization is too soft on Sanchez and signing one of his favorite ex-receivers is another example of that, but I say it’s about time Tannenbaum threw Sanchez a bone and let him throw some passes to a player he’s comfortable with rather than needlessly dismantling the offense so they can sign 53-year-old Derrick Mason and fresh out-of-Oz, Plaxico Burress. Ehhh…

SELL: Mike Tannenbaum – Yeahhhh.. he still should probably be fired

BUY: Quinton Coples – I’ve been as big of a Coples supporter as there is out there, and I’ve been dying to see him get more playing time. (I’ve bought more stock of him in this column than I know what to do with.) This week we finally got to see him in action for extended time (although it still should have been more) and he did not disappoint. He only recorded 1 sack on the stat sheet, but he should have closed the deal on two others, and he was directly responsible for the game-ending interception as he got in Chad Henne’s face and forced a poor pass. The Quinton Coples break out is coming and he’s going to be a major force by the time 2013 rolls around. That reminds me..

SELL: Garrett McIntyre Getting So Many Snaps – There were times in the 4th quarter agains the Jaguars we saw two down linemen rushing the passer with blitzes coming from all over the place. Those two linemen were the tremendous Mo Wilkerson (who is having an All-Pro caliber season), and… Garrett McIntyre?! I know Calvin Pace is basically useless at this point in his career, so I understand him not being out there, but why not let Coples and Wilkerson feast on the Jags offensive line in those obvious passing situations?

SELL: All Corner Backs Not Named Cromartie – When Cro left the game and was headed to the locker room in the 4th quarter on Sunday, I thought this defense was toast. All of the corners on this team not named Cromartie are awful. Kyle Wilson has played a little better of late (and even stopped doing his ridiculous finger wag!), but he’s still no better than a solid 3rd corner. Ellis Lankster is a fine 3rd corner as well, as long as we’re talking about being a 3rd corner on some sort of low-grade independent football league out in the midwest or something. Aaron Berry has been hurt since the day he signed his contract with the Jets, which is unfortunate, because I was really hoping to see more of him out in the nickel spot this year.

BUY: 3-0 The Rest of the Way – The manta is “One Game at a Time” for the Jets, but I’m just a guy writing about them on the internet, so I’m allowed to look ahead. It is 100% conceivable that this team is going to go 3-0 the rest of the way with this schedule. The Titans are suffering from injuries to FOUR of their offensive linemen. Believe me, I was a Chris Johnson fantasy owner, I know how incredibly putrid this team is. It doesn’t help them that Mike Munchak looks more like a guy who should be driving a tow truck than being an NFL coach either. And speaking of comical head coaches, the Jets get to then close out the season against Norv Turner and Chan Gailey, who have both been updating their resumes for two solid months now in hopes of getting an offensive coordinator job in 2013. I don’t know if the Jets will get the necessary help to make the playoffs, but just that it’s possible is truly crazy.

BUY: Rex Ryan – That this team — with this talent — has a chance to go 9-7 really speaks to how good of a coach Rex Ryan is. I’m really tired of hearing people rip this guy and saying they want him fired. Just remember: The grass is not always greener on the other side. We have a good thing here with Rex Ryan. Just imagine how much better it can be once someone comes in here who can evaluate talent and give him the necessary pieces to become a dominant team again.

TOK – New York Knicks Through 20

A look at the New York Knicks through 20 games of the regular season

In the coming months we are going to be starting up “Turn On The Knicks” – Job descriptions for writing positions will be released in January along with our new openings for Turn On The Jets. However, I will be contributing to both sites as will Chris Celletti, who does terrific Knicks work over at SB Nation as well. Outside of Twitter commentary, we want to keep our pulse on what has been a thrilling Knicks season so far. Hence, every 10 games moving forward we will review what we have seen and what we think moving forward 

Current Record: 15-5, first place in Atlantic Division, first place in Eastern Conference

Most Impressive Win: How can you top winning in Miami by 20 points without Carmelo Anthony? The early season comeback win in San Antonio is a close second. Yet what might even be more impressive is how the Knicks have routinely blown out their inferior competition. There have been no let-down losses against the Detroits and Orlandos of the world.

Worst Loss: The only one that stands out as a truly brutal one was the beating they took in Houston by 28 points. Obviously the overtime loss in Brooklyn stung a little bit from a bragging rights perspective but it isn’t like the Knicks laid a complete egg that night.

Best Player: Of course this has to be Carmelo Anthony, who is right in the middle of the MVP discussion. Anthony is averaging 26.8 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists per night while shooting 43% from downtown. More importantly, there is a greater all around urgency to his game, particularly on the defensive end. He seems to be finally fully embracing every aspect of being both a team’s leader…and their leading scorer.

Most Pleasant Surprises: Despite being more of his usual sporadic self as of late. JR Smith remains a viable 6th Man of the Year Candidate with 13.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 2.7 assists and strong defense off the bench. Smith has been more reliable than expected and of course had that gem of a game winner in Charlotte. Tyson Chandler’s offense (over 70% from the field!) has been a huge boost and the amount of quality minutes from Rasheed Wallace has helped tremendously on the defensive end.

Biggest X-Factor: Stats don’t do justice to what Jason Kidd has brought to the Knicks backcourt. He is a knockdown three point shooter (50% from behind the arc), facilitates the offense and is averaging nearly 2 steals per game. His ability to comfortably play two-guard has been enormous in settling down the Knicks rotation.

Other Mentions: The next time somebody says “Man, the Knicks really miss Jeremy Lin” will be the first. Raymond Felton has been solid from day one as the starting point guard. For the record, he is outperforming Lin in every major statistical category.

Biggest Disappointment: Marcus Camby has been unable to stay healthy and when he has been out there, hasn’t been able to contribute much. Considering that Chris Copeland has handled his limited minutes well and that Amare Stoudemire will be back soon enough, it is hard to see him making much of an impact at all this year.

State of the Union: Could you have really asked for a better start? The Knicks have the best record in the Eastern Conference, remain undefeated at home and have blown out the Miami Heat twice. Despite their often joked about advanced edge, they have shown tremendous depth, energy and outside shooting. Can they sustain this 60 win pace? It is hard to expect that but they are firmly in the mix for a #2 seed in the conference and the current favorite for an Atlantic Division title.

What is even more exciting is that both Amare Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert will be returning in the coming month or so from their respective injuries. Stoudemire has publicly claimed he is comfortable coming off the bench and he better be because that is where the Knicks need him. He should be able to provide a down low scoring punch off the bench and step in to take the offensive lead on nights when the 3 pointers aren’t falling or Anthony isn’t shooting well. Shumpert is a terrific on-ball defender who will likely take Ronnie Brewer’s (who has been very good) place in the starting line-up, allowing him to become part of the second line with Amare.

The Knicks have ten games throughout the rest of December and have a real chance to put some distance between themselves Brooklyn and Boston (currently 3.5 and 4 games back respectively). There are some fun ones coming up starting tonight in BK. After that Mike D’Antoni and the Lakers come to MSG on Thursday, Lin-Sanity is in the building this Monday and then Brooklyn plays their first ever game here next Wednesday.

Recommend Knicks Reads

 

New York Jets Sign Braylon Edwards

The New York Jets have brought back wide receiver Braylon Edwards

The New York Jets have signed Braylon Edwards to boost their depleted group of wide receivers. This is a sensible. low-risk move that will likely be very popular with the fanbase considering Edwards’ success with the team in 2009 and 2010. Despite struggling since leaving New York, Edwards had good chemistry with quarterback Mark Sanchez and was a productive vertical receiver for the team, especially throughout 2010 when he had 53 catches for 904 yards and 7 touchdowns. Considering the Jets were looking at starting Jeremy Kerley and Chaz Schilens at receiver this Monday night with Mardy Gilyard as the number three, this provides an immediate upgrade in a needed area.

In the worst-case scenario, the Jets get nothing from Edwards the final three games and let him walk in the off-season at no cost to the 2013 team. In the best case scenario, they get a productive Edwards and bring him back on a low-cost contract in 2013 which gives them needed depth and a mentor to Stephen Hill at split end. Santonio Holmes, Jeremy Kerley, Stephen Hill and Edwards is a good situation to walk into next year with at wide receiver, allowing the Jets to focus on improving in the many other areas they need to.

Edwards has been banged up the past two years but if he is healthy he provides excellent size and good deep speed. There is no reason to think he won’t step into playing a good chunk of reps this Monday Night. Ironically, his Jets debut in 2009 also came on Monday Night and he came up with 5 catches for 64 yards with a touchdown. Considering how the Jets offense has played the past few weeks, any numbers that even approach that would make the signing worthwhile.

Considering that Edwards publicly called the Jets front office “idiots” only a couple weeks ago, this move shows just how desperate people in the front office are to make sure this team finishes strong. Rex Ryan was always a fan of Edwards but Mike Tannnebaum (who is deservedly on the hot seat and should be fired) certainly can’t be and still pulled the trigger on this move. Regardless, the move makes sense from a football perspective and is certainly better than just bringing Jason Hill or Patrick Turner back another time, right? So let’s enjoy that and hope for the best.

New York Jets – Somehow Very Relevant In December

Somehow the New York Jets are playing relevant football in the middle of December

The New York Jets are a deeply flawed football team. There is a frustrating level of dysfunction in the front office and a concerning lack of talent spread throughout the roster. Yet, when you strip away all the media backlash and punchlines…the Jets are an overachieving mediocre team. Through 13 regular season games, there is 17 teams with an outright better record than them, 1 team with the same record and 13…yes 13 teams with a worse overall record than them.

That’s right, the biggest circus in professional sports is having a better year than a whole bunch of teams in their own league, including two in their own division. There is a chance that when they take the field this Monday night, they will pull into a tie for the final AFC playoff spot with a victory. Could you imagine this team in the playoffs? The collective anger and bitterness of all the wise-ass pundits would be worth the trip alone.

How is this possible? There isn’t a team in the NFL with less offensive talent than the Jets. Their defense is pretty good but far from elite, mainly due to a lack of overall talent at linebacker. They have been a disaster on special teams all season. You can blame the schedule but Buffalo and Miami are playing the exact same one (if not a slightly easier one) and have a worse record with more overall talent.

His reputation will prevent him from getting the credit he deserves, but Rex Ryan has done a commendable job this year. There has been ugly moments but those blowout wins over Indianapolis and St. Louis don’t look so weak now do they? People scoff at a win over Jacksonville but Jacksonville hung 37 points on Houston 3 weeks ago and beat up on a Tennessee team 2 weeks ago, that many people will pick the Jets to lose to on Monday. This isn’t a good team but they haven’t quit and they have scrapped together enough wins to play a highly relevant game in week 15.

Rex is far from a perfected coach. He needs media training. He needs to learn to be less loyal. He needs to find a new offensive coordinator and be paired with a new, strong-minded GM. Yet, in a league filled with the likes of Jim Schwartz, Romeo Crennel, Dennis Allen, Ron Rivera, Chan Gailey, and Pat Schurmur…the Jets could do much worse. The focus this off-season needs to be on revamping the front office and rebuilding the roster…not starting over at head coach.

Let’s also not ignore the players who have put together strong seasons amidst the never ending idiotic TEEE-BOWWW speculation. Muhammad Wilkerson and Antonio Cromartie have been All-Pro caliber on defense, while LaRon Landry hasn’t been too far behind. The Jets received some heat for signing Landry but he hasn’t missed a game and has been productive all season. Rookie Quinton Coples is starting to come along and Mike DeVito and Yeremiah Bell have put in workmanlike seasons that are flying under the radar.

Offensively, there hasn’t been much to celebrate but the offensive line has been better than the general perception. D’Brickashaw Fereguson is having a nice bounce-back season and Nick Mangold remains a top five center in the NFL. The rest of the unit has struggled at times with pass protection but is getting a steady push in the running game. Bilal Powell is averaging 4 yards per carry and is showing potential to be the team’s long term 1B/3rd down back. Shonn Greene has been better in recent weeks but likely still won’t return (and the Jets would be foolish to sign him to a new contract). Despite his fumble yesterday, Jeremy Kerley has put together a very good year and will be a big part of the offense moving forward into 2013.

The Jets play ugly football because that is how they can win right now. Regardless of what happens the final three games, this roster needs to be rebuilt. But for now, all you can do is sit back and hope for another impromptu late season run from the Rex Ryan led Jets.

No Huddle – Jets Still Alive Edition

TJ Rosenthal goes No Huddle on the New York Jets ugly win and them still being alive in the AFC Playoff race

Are the Jets 6-7 and still alive in the AFC Wildcard race? Yes, if you can believe it. Rex Ryan pulled out some late 2009 magic dust and sprinkled it on Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, after yet another must win over the Jags and an exhausting week playing “Who Is My Quarterback?” The fact that this current roster is in the postseason hunt with three games left is a testimony to someone. Or something. We just can’t pinpoint what. Logic has never been a strong suit for this franchise.

A Win Is A Win

You are what your record says you are. Right? Well the Jets are 6-7. Okay, we know they’ve had a bit of a JV schedule lately. However, you can only play the next team up on the docket. Yesterday’s 17-10 win over a depleted 2-11 Jacksonville club will not be passed around on DVD as a “How To Play Offense” guide for the youth of America. Winning ugly is part of the Ryan philosophy though. 166 yards were gained by Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell, who ran downhill for the entire fourth quarter. Take this win and run right Rex? Literally.

Sanchez Is Back, As The Handoff Machine

When the Jets trailed 3-0 at halftime, many wondered “how long does Mark Sanchez have” until Tim “Cracked Ribs” Tebow gets a shot at achieving successive first downs. After all, the inactive third stringer Greg McElory came off the pine last week to life the Jets to a 7-3 comeback win over a Cards team (that lost 58-0 yesterday to Seattle). Surely Tebow in the city that loves him was poised to take the reigns. It seemed so scripted. Of course the Jets don’t follow scripts. They light them on fire.

To start the third, Rex Ryan did decide to make a switch. Turning Sanchez into a handoff machine. The move worked to perfection. As it did when the “Sanchise” threw for less than 125 yards in eight wins during his rookie season. A victory strategy that was employed two other times already this year as well.

Sanchez threw two passes in the fourth quarter. Two. He totaled 111 yards on the day. Against the 31st pass defense in the NFL. In the end, the Jets came out on top and Sanchez avoided a season ending mistake. How long this 100 yard business can last all depends on whether the defense can average giving up 6.5 points per game like it has averaged over the past two weeks. In other words, there will be a shelf life to this madness folks.

Hilliard, Reuland, and Gilyard

Lex Hilliard, Konrad Reuland and Mardy Gilyard were three consecutive targets during one three and out series on Sunday. A point worth adding into the equation when pondering over the question of how a quarterback in 2012 can only amass 100 yards in a 60 minute game.

Wilkerson and Coples Shine

The Jets defensive line is finally making an impact. Mo Wilkerson is playing like an All Pro. Rookie Quinton Coples is making his presence felt now too. When the big boys up front make plays, life is easier for the entire defense. This duo can carry the Jets down the stretch in their attempt to run the table and hope that out of town help arrives.

Stranger things have happened. Remember Curtis Painter?

The QB Carousel Has Been A Dizzying Ride

How did Greg McElroy go from relief pitching hero to a guy in a running suit in the final moments before kickoff? Explain to us how Tim Tebow didn’t see the field for one play in his hometown even as the Jets were being shutout for thirty minutes. Did Mark Sanchez show any signs that he is worthy of long term security in New York?

The answers are: we have no idea, we have no idea, and no.

Now it’s time to pop some advils. What a dizzying ride it’s been on the QB Carousel these past seven days. Ryan got lucky, again, that QB1 stayed healthy because once if Tebow was not 100 percent like he was while sititng a hearbeat away against New England weeks back, the move would have instantly replaced last week’s “Three Ring QB Circus” as controversy for the week.

Faster than Tebow gets tackled on a Wildcat dive up the middle.

The Jets Return To National TV

The last time the Jets played in front of the entire nation, they gave up three touchdowns in 52 seconds and helped add the “Butt Fumble,” to future NFL Films blooper reels. The Titans and Jets meet next Monday night for no apparent reason, but the Jets can use the undeserved opportunity erase the taste of their last moment under the big lights.

The “hide our quarterback” gameplan with the ground and pound and defense will be in full swing on December 17th in Nashville. Should Sunday’s games open the door to January, Gang Green will look to achieve those dastardly archaic designs with more than just pride or job saving goals on their minds.

One can only imagine what developing story out of Florham Park will hit us next. As we get set for what may actually be a big game, since the Jets to their credit, refused to quit, and are now in business.

Despite the fact their two best players have been out all year. That their special teams unit is a ticking time bomb. That eternally emerging tight end is constantly hurt, and there are no receivers, or top notch running backs. While the starting quarterback has the entire coaching staff and fan base scared to death when he drops back to throw.

Initial Reaction – Ugly But Winning Football, Jets Move To 6-7

The New York Jets won ugly, beating Jacksonville 17-10 to move 1 game within .500

It has been far from pretty but the New York Jets have won two games in a row and three of their last four after today’s 17-10 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Somehow they remain relevant in the AFC Playoff picture for the final wild-card spot, thanks to losses from both the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals today.

The Jets have fully embraced their 2009 style of football – playing suffocating defense and running the football, while shielding Mark Sanchez from taking any risks. It has helped that they played weak competition recently but wins are wins and it is working right now.

Let’s start with the defense, which hit Chad Henne 10 times, had 3 sacks and came down with 2 interceptions. They have now only allowed 16 points over the past two games and are slowly climbing up all the major defensive rankings, thanks to their feasting on mediocre offenses. Muhammad Wilkerson is turning into a legitimate All-Pro player in front of our eyes. He recorded another sack today and hit Henne three times. Rookie Quinton Coples also got in on the action, recording a sack and hitting Henne twice. If the Jets could ever find an edge rusher, it is hard to fathom just how productive the two of them could be on a consistent basis.

LaRon Landry and David Harris were all over the field, combining for 20 tackles, 1 sack and 2 tackles for a loss. It has been a down year for Harris but hopefully he can finish strong. Landry has been a strong free agent signing, bringing a needed physicality and attitude to the Jets secondary.

On offense, Mark Sanchez made one positive play, one negative play and didn’t do much else. The positive play was a huge 37 yard completion to Jeff Cumberland late in the 4th quarter on a beautiful throw. The negative play was yet another strip sack. This team is a mess at wide receiver and tight end. Rookie wide receiver Stephen Hill appeared to seriously injure his knee, which is the last thing this team needs right now. Hill needs as many reps as he can get in these final few games to keep growing for next year. Right now, the Jets are basically working with Jeremy Kerley, Chaz Schilens and Jeff Cumberland as their top three pass catching targets.

The running game was extremely impressive. Led by a strong push from their offensive line, Bilal Powell finished with 19 carries for 78 yards and a touchdown, while Shonn Greene had 20 carries for 77 yards. Both backs had a drive apiece in the second half where they took over and showed good burst up the middle. Look for the Jets to continue to lean heavily on their rushing attack in their final three games.

If Cincinnati loses to Philadelphia next week and Pittsburgh loses to Dallas, next Monday night in Tennessee will be awfully interesting.