Sanchez Is Starting…Duh, But What Now?

First a few updates:

1. RIP Ted Kennedy.

2. Darrelle Revis, Kris Jenkins, Donald Strickland, and Jay Feely all returned to practice. Hopefully, the Jets will be at full strength for the Giants game this Saturday, which should see the starters play into the 3rd quarter.

3. The Jets waived offensive lineman Tavita Thompson.

4. Tonight is my first night of extensive graduate school homework but what better way to procrastinate than with an article about the Jets. Also, the Yankees are on ESPN tonight and Hard Knocks is on at 10…could be a late night.

Sanchez Is Starting…Duh, But What Now?

Today’s big news is that Mark Sanchez has been named the starting quarterback for the New York Jets. If you have been following the Jets all summer, you knew this was coming and it was only a matter of when not if Sanchez was going to be named the starter. Any individual who has kept track of the Jets on a daily basis would tell you it has either been a draw to this point or that Sanchez has slightly outplayed Clemens. Rex Ryan made the right decision. Kellen Clemens couldn’t outplay the rookie despite having 4 years of experience in this offensive system and showed no reason to believe he could be a reliable veteran quarterback that would protect the football. He consistently turned the ball over more than Sanchez, despite taking less risks down the field. In reality this decision was a no-brainer for Ryan, you don’t hold back your franchise quarterback for somebody of Kellen Clemens’ talent level.

So now what? First off, Jets fans need to accept the reality that Mark Sanchez is going to take his lumps, which should be an obvious. Yet, they also need to understand the type of football the Jets will be playing this year. This team has been built to win through their defense and running game. Sanchez isn’t going to  be airing it out or putting up pretty statistics. There is going to be plenty of times this season when it is 3rd and 9 and the Jets are on their own 30 yard line, down 7-3 in the third quarter and they are going to hand the ball off to Leon Washington and then punt…this is okay and smart football. You punt, play defense and wait until you have better field position. A good game for Sanchez this year could be 10/15 for 139 yards with 0 TD’s and 0 INT’s, if the Jets win. Gradually the offense will begin to open up more as his experience grows.

In terms of what is around Sanchez, apparently Mike Tannenbaum said in a recent interview that “nothing was imminent” in the contract talks with Leon Washington. Give the guy his 6 million a season and get the job done. He is their most valuable offensive player and a proven game-breaker. Washington is the type of guy you want spending 12 seasons in green and white, especially as your 60 million dollar quarterback grows…there are certain times to play hardball and certain times when you need to pay your stars, it is time to pay your star running back.

At the wide receiver position, David Clowney was working extensively with the first team today. It is about time. If you are evaluating the receiver position right now, Cotchery and Clowney should be starting with Stuckey playing the slot and working in alongside Cotchery on certain plays. Brad Smith is a few notches back and should be a #4 receiver used in certain packages of plays. There are rumors swirling about the Jets desperately looking to acquire another receiver in a trade, but at this point who are they going to get? It appears things are starting to go smoother with Brandon Marshall and the Broncos and he would also have a monstrous price tag. When looking at a few lower profile guys to consider, how about Reggie Brown on Philly or DJ Hackett on Washington?

The Jets offense has potential to be better than people think. Let’s not forget they have a top flight offensive line, a great stable of running backs, a very good fullback, a playmaking tight end, and a competent number one receiver. They also appear to have a legitimate deep threat in David Clowney. Mark Sanchez is going to be handing the ball off alot, throwing a ton of screen passes and intermediate passes to Dustin Keller and Jerricho Cotchery. He will probably only be taking a few shots a game to a guy like Clowney or Keller down the seam. Beyond that, the Jets will look for the big plays to come from their running game or Leon Washington turning a screen pass into a 30 yard gain. They will also fool around with the wildcat with Brad Smith behind center and use him on some reverses.

An Awesome Video Made by JetNaton.Com, Put Chills Down My Spine…How Many Days Until We Play Houston?

Grading Out the Jets/Ravens Game

First a few updates:

1. John Clayton speculated it would take a 1st and 4th round pick for the Jets or any other team for that matter to acquire Brandon Marshall from the Broncos…that is a steep price for the Jets, who only drafted three players last year and still badly need to add depth/talent to the WR, TE, and OL/DL. However, how much better would Mark Sanchez be with a guy like Marshall to throw to? It is an interesting debate, as of now I still wouldn’t expect anything to happen.

2. The Rex Sox just acquired Billy Wagner…did somebody say desperate? Also, it is really historically unbelievable how bad the Mets season has gone, in terms of injuries and everything else that has happened around the team.

3. I just found out you can download something called “NFL Replay” which allows you to watch any NFL game on your computer within 24 hours of it ending. Thank god…I was contemplating not going to Italy with my family because I would miss the Jets/Colts week 16 game.

4. My fantasy football league is holding our live draft this Saturday…and I am stuck the #5 pick. Suggestions are still welcome.

Grading Out the Jets/Ravens Game

Quarterbacks: D+ – Yeeesh. Let’s be honest here, outside of one play it was an ugly, ugly night for Mark Sanchez. The rookie threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown (a ridiculously athletic play by Haloti Ngata), threw another ball right into the arms of Ray Lewis, fumbled an exchange, had two delay of game penalties, and a miscommunication with Jerricho Cotchery. Yes, he did make an athletic play and a great throw on a 19 yard touchdown pass to Leon Washington on a third down, which shows some character and a short memory, both necessary for a successful quarterback but outside of that play, he was simply bad. Hopefully, this night be will remembered as an important part of his development and learning curve as a NFL QB. The Ravens in their building are as good as it gets in the NFL…Sanchez will learn from last night and be better prepared the next time around.

Kellen Clemens had a real shot to make the quarterback battle alot more interesting last night but didn’t respond to the challenge. He threw a horrible interception at the end of the first half, which was returned for a touchdown and only completed 50 percent of his passes. He did drop in a nice 28 yard touchdown to David Clowney (who else?) and threw a beautiful long ball to Brad Smith that was dropped (shocking…I know).

The Jets are built to play defense and run the ball. They need a quarterback who can protect the football and not give points to the opposing team. If you take away the 2 INT’s for touchdowns last night, the Jets win that game handily. They can’t have turnovers from the quarterback position, period.

By the way, Erik Ainge looked pretty good last night and is probably on his way to being the #2 quarterback next year when Clemens isn’t resigned.

Running Backs: A – Pay Leon Washington. Pay Leon Washington. Pay Leon Washington. Pay Leon Washington. #29 is the engine the keeps the Jets offense running. He put on a display last night that clearly showed his value to the Jets. 48 rushing yards on a 6.0 yards per carry (just like last season…give him more touches), 2 receptions for 35 yards including a 19 yard touchdown, and a 52 yard kickoff return. Pay Leon Washington. Thomas Jones also looked like he was in 2008 form with 32 yards on 8 carries. Shonn Greene had a nice 15 yard catch but took a rib shot that limited his action. I am still not that impressed with Danny Woodhead, who isn’t going to make the roster. Brock Christopher looked pretty good filling in for Jehuu Caulcrick. Good to see Tony Richardson back out there.

Wide Receivers: D – Nothing from Jerricho Cotchery or Chansi Stuckey, who combined for 1 catch for 7 yards. Brad Smith dropped a touchdown and had an offensive pass interference penalty. Britt Davis dropped a long touchdown. Marcus Henry couldn’t get open on the 2 point conversion that could have won the game. Wallace Wright was quiet. On the positive side, David Clowney just keeps making plays as he caught another touchdown pass, using his speed to blow by Frank Walker. How can Clowney not be the Jets #2 receiver right now? Everybody talks about how much they love Stuckey in the slot, so put Clowney and Cotchery on the outside and have Stuckey work the slot.

Tight Ends: C – Quiet night from Dustin Keller. Jack Simmons had a drop and Kareem Brown didn’t have a catch, although they all deserve some credit for strong blocking in the running game.

Offensive Line: B+ – It says alot about Nick Mangold and Alan Faneca that they strapped it up last night…that is exactly what you want to see from your veterans, that they are excited about the team/season and are raring to get back out there. The offensive line did a great job opening up holes in the running game and did decent in pass protection, considering the amount of blitzes the Ravens threw at them. Wayne Hunter played much better filling in for Damien Woody than he did last week.

Defensive LIne: B+ – Very strong games from both Howard Green and Ropati Pitoitua, who both recorded a sack and are showing that the Jets have pretty good depth along their defensive line. The run defense was great and the entire line got a solid push all night. It will be a huge boost to get Kris Jenkins back in the next couple of days.

Linebackers: B – David Harris is going to record alot of sacks in Rex Ryan’s defense. He continued his terrific pre-season with 5 tackles and a sack. Bart Scott missed a tackle in the backfield on third down that would have ended a drive. Bryan Thomas and Calvin Pace both had productive games, including another sack from Pace who the Jets are going to miss badly for the first four games this year. Kenwin Cummings and Marques Murrell were both active. Vernon Gholston did nothing except get out-run by Joe Flacco.

Secondary: C – They badly miss Darrelle Revis. Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman were picked on all night. Coleman had a nice pass deflection but was toasted deep by Derrick Mason. Lito Sheppard was beat a couple of times. Kerry Rhodes was pretty active and had a nice pass deflection, to break up a screen play. Marquice Cole had a nice interception but was beat deep later in the game. James Ihedigbo had an interception called back on a penalty.

Special Teams: C – Average punting, decent kicking, a big kick return by Leon Washington, a nice job on punt returns by Jim Leonhard and a near turnover by Aundrae Allison.

Highlights From the Game Last Night:

Monday Night Football: Jets vs. Ravens Preview

First a few updates:

1.  The Yankees took care of business this weekend, grabbing 2 out of 3 from the Red Sox. It would take a colossal Mets type meltdown for them not to win the division now. How about the season Hideki Matsui is putting together?

2. Television/Movie Discussion of the Day – Entourage was pretty good last night. They finally moved away from E’s relationships dominating the story line and introduced a few new interesting characters in the agency he is working in. Also it is always good to see Bob Saget back on the show…I saw Inglorious Bastards over the weekend, great movie that I highly recommend.

Jets vs. Ravens Preview

The Main Story Lines: Mark Sanchez makes his first start, with a chance to end the quarterback battle. Rex Ryan goes against his former team, that snubbed him for a head coaching job in 2008. The Jets offense faces arguably the best defense in football. The Jets defense will be without their two best players, Kris Jenkins and Darrelle Revis for the second straight pre-season game. The offensive line will be without Alan Faneca and Damien Woody, also for the second straight pre-season game.

The Best Case Scenario– The Jets offense holds their own against the Ravens defense, putting together a couple of scoring drives and not turning the football over. They are able to establish a running game and protect Sanchez, who is able to make Baltimore pay for stacking the box by hitting a big play deep. The defense continues to put pressure on the quarterback and forces a few turnovers.

The Worst Case Scenario – The Jets are completely out-classed by the Ravens on national television. Sanchez struggles immensely and keeps the quarterback battle alive for at least another week or two. The Jets defense can’t stop the Ravens running game and the backups forced to start look shaky, increasing questions about their depth on both sides of the ball.

You’d Like to See – Jerricho Cotchery and Chansi Stuckey….the Jets starting receivers make some plays. Vernon Gholston have an active game at outside linebacker. Somebody seize control of the punting job. Shonn Greene continue to improve. Sione Pouha and Howard Green lead a strong run defense. Dwight Lowery have a strong bounce-back performance. Kerry Rhodes make a big play in the secondary.

Prediction – The Jets offense moves the ball but is forced to settle for a few too many field goals. Sanchez does well enough to end the quarterback battle. The defense struggles a little bit without Jenkins and Revis. Final Score….Ravens- 23 Jets-16.

Jets vs. Ravens: Five Players to Watch

First a few updates:

1.  The Jets had their first annual “King Ugly” contest which names the three ugliest players/coaches in the organization. According to the beat writers and David Clowney’s twitter (also an interesting follow), first place was James Ihedigbo, second place was defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, and third place was Leon Washington. Hey, it’s not a big deal guys…you play a sport with helmets on and I am pretty sure Pettine will be tucked safely away in the booth.

2. I was cleaning out my closet today and went through all my NFL Jerseys, which was obviously overloaded with Jets no longer on the team and WR’s and CB’s from other teams. For some reason when I was in high school I  wasted hundreds of dollars on jerseys of receivers and corners cause I played both positions. Anyway, look at this depth chart of jerseys and please if you are interested in buying any of them except for the guys currently on the Jets, feel free to let me know:

Jets Jerseys:

Still On The Team – Dustin Keller, Jerricho Cotchery, Kerry Rhodes

Legends – Curtis Martin

Out of Date – Santana Moss, Laveranues Coles, Curtis Conway (Yes, Curtis Conway), Jonathan Vilma, Chad Pennington, #9 Caporoso Jersey (a horrible gift from an ex-girlfriend)

Other NFL Jerseys:

Recievers: Anquan Boldin, David Boston, Issac Bruce

Corners: Terrence Newman, Phillip Buchannon, Charles Woodson, Quentin Jammer

Jets vs. Ravens: Five Players to Watch

I am going to do a full preview of the game before Monday Night but for now here is five players in particular to watch out for when the Jets play the Ravens:

Mark Sanchez – Obviously…the rookie is making his first start and it is on the road against one of the NFL’s best defenses. What will be the most interesting to see is how he handles the intense amounts of pressure the Ravens will throw at him. Can he avoid sacks and move the pocket? Can he make the proper check at the line to a quick pass? Can he find the back or tight end to dump the ball off too? Even better, will he make the Ravens pay for crowding the box? Leading a scoring drive against the Rams is one thing but if Sanchez can put up some points against Baltimore’s first defense, that would be pretty impressive and leave us all feeling better heading into the season.

David Clowney – Can the speedy receiver keep up his pre-season dominance and more importantly, can he stay healthy? I would like to see Clowney catch a few balls that aren’t deep bombs (obviously in addition to catching a deep bomb or two) to show that he could work in traffic and be a complete receiver. Teams are going to start respecting his deep speed, which will open up the deep curl and comeback for him. Clowney has had some issues catching the football, so he needs to prove he can pull in a few difficult passes. Also, we’d all like to see him catch another touchdown and do that bizarre dance.

Vernon Gholston – Paging Mr. Gholston…paging Mr. Gholston….will you ever record a sack? Even in a pre-season game? Why can Kenwin Cummings get a sack last week but you can’t? I am tired about hearing how strong he is at the point of attack and how he has all the tools. It is time for Gholston to make a pass rush move and use his speed to put the quarterback on the ground.  We are all sick of seeing the #6 pick in the draft end of the game stats be 2 assisted tackles and 0 impact plays.

Dwight Lowery – The second year corner is coming off a rough outing against the Rams and should start again in place of Darrelle Revis and also see extended reps because Donald Strickland is sitting out with a sore toe. Lowery apparently struggled last game because he was dealing with some personal issues involving a friend nearly being deported. Hopefully, he can put that behind him, go out and have a strong bounce-back performance. You can never have enough depth in the secondary and Lowery is a talented guy who has a chance to be a big part of the Jets nickle and dime packages on defense this season.

Wayne Hunter – The backup tackle will start again for Damien Woody. Hunter struggled last week, giving up a 3rd down sack to Leonard Little of the Rams. It would be nice to see Hunter have a solid performance against a top tier defense, showing the Jets have somewhat decent depth on the offensive line. Also, keep an eye out to see if he gets any reps at tight end with the second offense.

Another Funny Jets Commercial, this time starting Fireman Ed:

Sanchez Nears Knockout Punch in QB Battle

First a few updates:

1. We got a nice long weekend of sports coming up. The Yankees and Red Sox start up tomorrow, hopefully the Yankees will deliver the knockout punch in the divisional race over the next three games. Fortunately, the Jets will prevent me from getting too depressed on Sunday night since they are on Monday Night Football against the Ravens, with Mark Sanchez making his first start under center.

2. I got my fantasy draft next weekend and I am still very undecided on my #5 pick. Although I am leaning towards Drew Brees or Larry Fitzgerald…yes Fitzgerald, I’m not shy about taking a WR at #5. Yes, I am also excited about taking Thomas Jones and Dustin Keller in the late rounds because nobody in my league touches any Jets because they are too high and mighty as Giants fans.

3. Minor Jets roster moves – They released guard Dennis Conley and signed safety Nate Ness.

Sanchez Nears Knockout Punch in QB Battle

Today was the final day of practice up in Cortland, New York and similar to how he exited mini-camp, Mark Sanchez ended with a bang. In the situational drills, which were set up to imitate the final play of the game with the Jets needing a touchdown from the 5 and 15 yard line, Sanchez twice found Brad Smith for a touchdown. Kellen Clemens on the other hand went 0-2 with an interception. Prior to the situational drills, Sanchez also hit Jerricho Cotchery with a 35 yard touchdown strike and Clemens was intercepted by backup DB Rashad Barksdale. Can anybody else read the writing on the walls? Unless Clemens lights it up on Monday night and Sanchez completely tanks or gets hurt, #6 will be under center for the first snap of every game in the 2009 season.

Up to this point both quarterbacks have been slightly inconsistent, trading good days with rough days and being overall pretty average. However, Sanchez is learning a new offense and adjusting to play at the NFL level. This is Kellen Clemens fourth year in the system and he hasn’t improved as camp went on. In fact, if you remember early on Clemens had a clear lead on Sanchez but slowly squandered it away. The rookie will take his lumps this year but should be able to stay healthy behind a premier (please stay healthy) offensive line and supported by a strong running game. In the long run, Sanchez will benefit from being thrown into the fire with a team that harbors playoff expectations. I believe he could play as well as Joe Flacco did last year and that he won’t impede the Jets from being a playoff contender.

What about the other training camp battles? We have had a strong camp by Chansi Stuckey, slowly being forgotten because of the recent resurgence of David Clowney who remains the Jets only legit home run threat at the position. Expect to see alot of Stuckey in the slot, with Clowney and Brad Smith (also quietly having a good camp) splitting out alongside Jerricho Cotchery. I expect the Jets to keep 6 receivers, with Wallace Wright and promising UDFA Britt Davis rounding out the depth chart.

Over at tight end, nobody has really stepped up behind Dustin Keller and I am still waiting for the Jets to bring in another veteran after roster cuts are made. Regardless, expect Jack Simmons and Wayne Hunter to see the majority of the #2 TE reps for now. At outside linebacker, neither Vernon Gholston or Marques Murrell has done anything that impressive this summer, with UDFA Jamaal Westerman arguably outplaying both of them. On the positive side, Bryan Thomas has had a very good camp and Calvin Pace looked like a beast in the Jets first pre-season game.

In terms of injuries, the Jets haven’t sustained anything major but rather a handful of minor injuries. As of right now, it doesn’t look like they will be missing anyone week one because of an injury. I would expect Darrelle Revis, Kris Jenkins, Tony Richardson, and maybe Alan Faneca to play in the third pre-season game and wouldn’t be surprised if Nick Mangold suited up on Monday.

Kerry Rhodes and Nick Mangold compete in throwing contests to prove who deserves the higher Madden rating:

Big Moves On Jets Horizon?

First a few updates:

1. Special thanks to Tim Graham for linking TurnOnTheJets.com to the NFL Nation Blog right here (http://myespn.go.com/blogs/afceast/0-9-191/Projecting-final-rosters-in-the-AFC-East.html) …a little ESPN.com action for our little web site, we just might make it. I knew it was a good idea to predict the 53 man roster, although it was clearly not a good idea to predict people like Mario Urrutia and TJ Conley to make the team since they both have been cut already, oh well. 51 out of 53 wouldn’t be bad.

2. The big news in my life right now is that I found my old SNES and have started a season in Tecmo Super Bowl with the 1993 Jets. All I can say is that nobody can cover Chris Burkett and Rob Moore or stop my rushing attack of Brad Baxter, Johnny Johnson, and Rob Carpenter. Between the recent installation of HBO On Demand, the discovery of my old SNES, and the beginning of the NFL season it isn’t going to be easy to get that graduate school work done.

3. I just caught up on the last three episodes of Entourage…eh, I still liked last season better. I am more excited about beginning to re-watch seasons 1-5 of Lost to prepare for the final season.

Big Moves on Jets Horizon?

The big news about the Jets today is that they are exploring the possibility of trading for a veteran receiver, namely Brandon Marshall, Dwayne Bowe, or Rich Cimini even mentioned Sinorce Moss…yuck. We all know that Mike Tannebaum isn’t afraid to pull the trigger on a big August deal, but what would the Jets have to give up for a premier receiver like Marshall or Bowe? Let’s forget about a journeyman like Moss for now, since the Jets have no need for him with a guy like David Clowney on the roster. You would have to think a minimum of a 2nd round pick would be necessary or maybe a veteran player, Thomas Jones? I don’t think the Jets should give Jones up but a 2nd round pick for either Marshall or Bowe would be reasonable. Parting with a first round pick would be difficult, although both players are legit number one receivers and would instantly improve the Jets offense. Imagine Marshall as a #1, Cotchery as a #2, Stuckey as a #3, Clowney as a #4, with Smith and Wallace Wright rounding out the receiving corps…sounds good to me.

If I had to guess right now, I’d say nothing is going to happen. I think I might prefer Bowe over Marshall because he doesn’t have as much baggage, despite not being quite as talented. Regardless, I’d still be surprised if the Jets gave up a high draft pick because they only added four players last April and need a big draft in 2010 to improve the overall depth on their roster. It certainly would be exciting to add Marshall or Bowe but after the Jets first pre-season game I think they might be alright with Cotchery, Stuckey, Keller, and Clowney catching the majority of the balls.

The Jets have also bumped their offer to Leon Washington to around 5 million a season. It originally started at 2 million, then to 4 million, and now they moved to 5 million which is inching closer to the 6 million per year that Leon wanted. It is only a matter of time until something gets done, hopefully before the start of the regular season. It would send the right message to other players on the team that the Jets will take care of their players who have earned a significant pay raise, which Washington certainly has.

Tomorrow is the Jets last training camp practice out at Cortland. They will have a couple of more practices open to the public in Florham Park but beyond that training camp is just about done. Where do we stand right now in the quarterback battle? Mark Sanchez is probably a bit above Kellen Clemens right now, after both them were pretty average in both of the practices today. If Sanchez plays well against the Ravens on Monday night, he will start against the Giants the following week and for the rest of the season. If Sanchez struggles and Clemens turns in a strong performance, a decision may not be reached until right before the regular season opener.

Enjoy the Dance Moves of David Clowney

Troubling Trends at Jets Camp

First a few updates:

1. Sorry about the lack of posts since Saturday, I just moved in to my new apartment out by Lehigh and had orientation for grad school all day yesterday. I don’t know if anybody who reads this has ever been to the campus but let me tell you it was quite a workout finding my way around. Our orientation was held on top of Mt. freakin Everest, it was like being at Mile High Stadium up there, I needed oxygen.

2. Last night I just finished re-watching the last season of The Sopranos, so of course I spent the majority of my day reading theories on the final scene. I am convinced now the big guy was whacked, unfortunately.

3. I played in a touch football tournament over the weekend. My team lost in the finals but we had a great run in preparation for the spring league which we will be taking part in. I was like Keyshawn on the 1998 Jets out there but I am now paying the consequences since I have been hobbling around my apartment the past few days.

4. Brett Favre with the Vikings? A team built to play defense and run the ball, with average receivers?…good luck Minnesota.

5. I updated the Jets depth chart with the subtractions of TJ Conley, Keith Fitzhugh and J’Nathan Bullock and the addition of Ken Parrish, Joshua Magua, and Huey Whittaker.

Troubling Trends at Jets Camp

I have to say I felt really good after the Jets pre-season opener last Friday night. Mark Sanchez looked great. David Clowney looked like a viable deep threat. Shonn Greene showed some burst. The first team defense was all over the place and had a great pass rush. Regardless of the loss, there were plenty of encouraging things shown by the team. However, since the game has passed there have been some things you have to be concerned about, things that are getting me worried we could be running into a pre-season buzzsaw this Monday Night on national television against the Ravens.

1. Nagging Injuries – Alan Faneca is out for the Baltimore game and potentially the rest of the pre-season with a broken finger. Ryan wants to hold him out until week one, although Faneca has expressed interest in getting some pre-season reps. I wouldn’t mind seeing him play a series or two against the Eagles in a few weeks but over all he is a pro’s pro and should be fine for the regular season. Kris Jenkins still isn’t participating in team drills and isn’t going to play Monday. I would really like to see the big fella in there against the Ravens running game to see where the defense is truly at. Darrelle Revis might play, but he is still nursing a sore hamstring which is a nightmare for skill position players. I doubt we will see Damien Woody until the regular season because it isn’t worth risking it with a concussion. Tony Richardson is also still out with a hip pointer. On the positive side, Nick Mangold is probably going to play this Monday and is recovering well from his twisted knee.

2. What’s Up Mark? – Ever since the most heralded 3/4 90 yard performance in NFL history, Mark Sanchez has been awful in practice. His numbers the past few days have been things like 4/12 with 2 interceptions and 2/11 with three wide open receivers missed. Is he being complacent? I don’t think so. I think it is just normal rookie inconsistency. However, there is something about an inconsistent rookie on an off day starting behind an offensive line featuring Wayne Hunter and Stanley Daniels against arguably the best defense on football that is causing me to lose sleep.

3. Take it Easy, Rex – Let’s be clear I love the bravado and swagger Rex Ryan has brought to the Jets team. However, his comments about the Ravens were a little unncessary. We understand he was disappointed he didn’t get the job last year, but still talking about it now and calling it “BS” sounds a little immature. Also, criticizing the organization for giving out Michael McCary’s number to a rookie is a little over the top. Just worry about the Jets.

I don’t know maybe it is the pessimistic Jets fan inside of me but is anybody else worried about a rough showing on Monday Night Football this week? This team has had good training camp, a pretty encouraging pre-season opener and seems to have alot of confidence. I would hate to see an ugly performance against the Ravens that makes questions swirl about the quarterback battle, offensive line depth, and exactly how good the defense will be, because at this point…who the Jets have is who they are playing with in 2009.

I just can’t get enough of this commercial:

Grading Out the Jets First Pre-Season Game

Grading Out the Jets First Pre-Season Game

Quarterbacks: B+ – Mark Sanchez stole the headlines in this game, with his 3/4, 88 yards performance. He only played one series but led the Jets on a 95 yard touchdown drive and on his first play from scrimmage threw a beautiful 48 yard pass down the sideline that hit David Clowney in stride. He also converted a key third down when he hit Dustin Keller for a 26 yard gain. He sure the looked the part of a starting quarterback last night, even though it was only one drive. Kellen Clemens was OK. He threw the ball well (4/4 24 yards) and did a nice job avoiding one sack, but still had a fumble. I am sorry but it is time to face the reality that unless Sanchez bombs out the next 2 weeks, this competition is over. Erik Ainge played well in an extended duty, including a 50 yard touchdown strike to a wide open David Clowney.

Running Backs: B – The most exciting play of the night was a 34 yard rumble by rookie Shonn Greene. Thomas Jones was quiet but did punch the ball in the endzone when the Jets needed him to. Leon Washington showed his usual burst on a 8 yard run but beyond that he was also quiet. For all the talk about Danny Woodhead, he looked pretty ordinary last night.

Wide Receiver: A – A really encouraging night from the wide receivers. Cotchery and Stuckey didn’t play much, but the all the guys behind them contributed something positive. David Clowney obviously had a monster night with a 3 catch, 103 yard, 1 TD performance. You can’t teach speed and if he can stay healthy, Clowney should be a valuable weapon on the Jets offense this season. Brad Smith had a great 10 yard grab in traffic to convert a third down and a nice 28 yard run on a reverse. Wallace Wright got a little banged up but returned and had a nice 23 yard catch and finished with 3 catches. Britt Davis looked good when the ball was thrown in his direction (2 catches, 33 yards, 1 third down conversion). At this point, I’d be surprised if the Jets didn’t keep 6 receivers and they weren’t Cotchery, Stuckey, Clowney, Wright, Smith, and Davis.

Tight End: A – Dustin Keller looked like the beast the Jets are going to need him to be this season. It is hard to imagine Keller not being the Jets #2 WR, despite being listed as a tight end and having 70-80 catches this season. The guy is a match-up nightmare for defenses. Kareem Brown had 2 catches and Jack Simmons held his own with the first offense. We didn’t get to see Wayne Hunter at tight end since he had to play tackle with the starters.

Offensive Line: C – The backups did OK…Wayne Hunter was beat for a strip sack by Leonard Little. The first unit didn’t open up too many holes for the running backs but did a good job of pass protection on Sanchez’s drive. You would really like to see the full starting line up together next Monday night against the Ravens.

Defensive Line: C – A quiet night from this unit, although they weren’t as stout against the run as you’d like to see, obviously the absence of Kris Jenkins didn’t help.

Linebackers: B+ – Really impressive nights from Calvin Pace and David Harris who were all over the field. The Jets are going to miss Pace in a big way the first four weeks. Kenwin Cummings had a nice sack and Brandon Renkart was active. Another quiet night from Vernon Gholston (2 tackles), although he did have one pressure. Marques Murrell and Jamaal Westerman also didn’t flash as much as expected.

Seconadry: C – Dwight Lowery had a rough night, muffing a punt and getting beat deep on a 50 yard completion. Donald Strickland had a sack and an overall solid night in coverage. Kerry Rhodes and Jim Leonhard didn’t record any sacks but both did a good job pressuring the quarterback when they blitzed. Lito Sheppard looked good. It will be nice to have Darrelle Revis back next week.

Special Teams: D – Three muffed punts is no good. Jay Feely did his job, hitting both of his field goals. Reggie Hodges looked a little better than TJ Conely at punter.

Highlights from Last Night:

Pre-Season Week One: Jets vs. Rams Preview

First a few updates:

1. Vick to the Eagles? Wow, I didn’t see that one coming. What an interesting move, that could be discussed for hours upon hours. I don’t know what type of shape Vick is in right now, but I would imagine by the time he is reinstated (probably somewhere between week 4-6), he will at least be the running threat he always was. Defensive coordinators will now have to prepare for a wildcat type formation or a package of plays that features Vick’s unique skill set. You can say what you want about Vick as a person but the guy is one hell of a football player, and I am sure Andy Reid’s staff will find a way to get the most out of him on the field.

2. Tom Brady returned tonight and of course threw two touchdowns to….Chris Baker. Yes, that Chris Baker who the Jets wouldn’t resign and are now stuck with Wayne Hunter and Jack Simmons battling it out for the #2 tight end job. I can already see Baker having 9 catches for 139 yards with 2 TD’s week two at the Meadowlands.

3. Did anybody see those “The Lighter Side of Training Camp” commericials featuring Thomas Jones, Nick Mangold, Leon Washington, Dustin Keller, and Jerricho Cotchery? The one with Mangold trying to sell TJ’s car is hysterical. If you havent’ seen them, I suggest going over to www.thejetsblog.com and checking them out.

Pre-Season Week One: Jets vs. Rams Preview

The Headline: The Jets are a little banged up on both sides of the ball, but especially on offense along their prized line. Alan Faneca, Nick Mangold, and Damien Woody will all sit out with injuries, thrusting Wayne Hunter, Rob Turner, and Stanley Daniels into the starting lineup. This will be a good chance for the Jets backups to gain some extra work and experience, and attempt to calm the organization’s concern about their offensive line depth. Unfortunately, because of the injuries both Kellen Clemens and Mark Sanchez will play less to decrease the risk of injury. I’d expect 2-3 series from both of them before it becomes the Erik AInge show.

You Have to Be Excited to See: Mark Sanchez…obviously. The rookie should get some work with the first team offense and if he can move the ball effectively, will go a long way towards locking down the starting quarterback position. Shonn Greene…the third round pick should receive the bulk of the carries on the night and will be looking to prove the Jets have a three-headed monster at running back. Vernon Gholston…he has been playing better in practice, but how nice would it be to see the guy finally get a sack? Isn’t that what we drafted him for?

Position Battles: David Clowney vs. Brad Smith vs. Wallace Wright vs. Britt Davis for reps behind Jerricho Cotchery and Chansi Stuckey. Let’s see if Clowney can match last season’s monster pre-season and if the undrafted rookie Davis can bounce back from a rough outing at the Green and White Scrimmage. Jack Simmons vs. Kareem Brown for the #2 tight end spot. Simmons has been active in camp but needs to be more consistent catching the football. Sione Pouha vs. Howard Green for reps behind Kris Jenkins at defensive tackle. Jenkins isn’t playing and Pouha will start but Green has had a strong camp and received plenty of praise from Rex Ryan.

What You Have to Hope For: No injuries. 7-9, 78 yards and a TD for Mark Sanchez. A sack and a forced fumble by Vernon Gholston. A highlight reel 70 yard touchdown run by Leon Washington that finally pushes Tannebaum over the edge to give him a new contract. A big day from the one the Jets receivers not named Cotchery or Stuckey.

Talking to the Opponent: Will Horton from http://Ramsherd.com and I exchanged e-mails about tomorrow’s game, here is a transcript of our conversation –

Will: This will be the first time that Marc Bulger plays without the red jersey, and will be free to take hits. How well does the new offensive line protect him, and how confident will he be in his throws? He’s looked good in practice, but he’s also been untouched. From the Jets’ perspective, who’s bringing the pass rush? 
 
Joe: The Jets top two sack guys from last season were Shaun Ellis and Calvin Pace. Unfortunately, both are facing early season suspensions, with Pace missing 4 games and Ellis missing 1. Vernon Gholston will be stepping in for Pace and should see a ton of action against the Rams to get him ready for the first 4 weeks of the regular season. Also, keep an eye on under the radar linebackers, Marques Murrell and Jamaal Westerman who both have had very strong training camps.

Will: Will Spagnuolo be able to remake this Rams defensive front into a Giants-style penetrating attack? We got pushed sideways and backwards all last season, perhaps no game more so than against the Jets. (That video you posted is nightmarish for us!) With Mangold, Faneca and Woody out, are the Jets’ backups stout enough to hold the fort?

Joe:It is hard to evaluate their top backups because none of them have had extensive playing time. Regardless, Robert Turner and Wayne Hunter did contribute last season as extra tight ends in short yardage situations and are veterans of the Jets offense. Stanley Daniels, who will start for Alan Faneca is probably the biggest question mark of the three. Rex Ryan has already went on record stating he believes Wayne Hunter is a starting caliber tackle and Rob Turner is a versatile player with good size.

Will: If the Rams get to the red zone, can we score? How was the Jets’ red zone defense last season? How does it project this season?   
 
Joe:
The Jets red zone defense was pretty good last season and should project to be even better this year because of the depth they added at all three levels. Darrelle Revis and Lito Sheppard can man up on receivers and let the Jets stack the box. Kris Jenkins leads the charge on the D-Line and frees up space for the Jets exceptional pair of inside linebackers, Bart Scott and David Harris.

Jets Training Camp Wrap Up: August 11th, Jones on the Market?

Jets Training Camp Wrap Up: August 11th, Jones on the Market?

New Starting Running Back?: According to the National Football Post, the Jets have been placing some calls around the league to gauge trade interest in starting running back Thomas Jones. The article specifically cites a NFC West team that the Jets have been in discussions with. You have to think that team would be Seattle, since the 49ers have Frank Gore, the Cardinals have Tim Hightower/Beanine Wells and the Rams have Stephen Jackson. Personally, I think it’s a crazy idea to trade Jones. If the Jets are going to run the ball as much as they say they are, why would you trade a pro-bowl workhorse like TJ? I understand the factors with his age and contract but just let him go after the season, that way Shonn Greene/Danny Woodhead/Jehuu Caulcrick all have a year to develop and gain some NFL experience, especially Greene. There is nothing wrong with having a potent three headed monster at running back, especially when you are thin at receiver/tight end and starting an inexperienced quarterback.

Camp Story of the Day: Both quarterbacks stepped up their games today. Sanchez was accurate and in-control while working with the first-team offense. Clemens had one of his best practices working with the second team and made an acrobatic play to Britt Davis for a two-point conversion. He also hit Brad Smith for a 50 yard bomb down the sideline…encouraging signs for both Smith and Clemens.

Pre-Season Update: Kris Jenkins, Darrelle Revis, Nick Mangold, and Damien Woody won’t play on Friday…likely giving starts to Sione Pouha (NT), Dwight Lowery (CB), Rob Turner (C), and Wayne Hunter (T). Kellen Clemens will start at quarterback but Mark Sanchez will receive some work with the first team offense, although he won’t play into the second half. Rex Ryan said Erik Ainge will probably see the majority of snaps, likely playing most of the second half…oh boy. It will be important for Clemens to set the tempo early, avoid turnovers, and move the football. Sanchez will have lowered expectations because it is his first NFL action, but if he can engineer a scoring drive with the first-offense and protect the football, it might be lights out for Clemens in this QB battle.

First Pre-Season Game Ramble: You have to be excited as a Jets fan about this Friday. The best part of the first pre-season game is finally seeing what your team’s offense and defense looks like, in terms of formations and play calling, along with seeing all the new additions out there in Green and White. We will also get to see our new coaching staff on the sideline for the first time, and get some type of a sense about the 2009 team’s style and attitude.

X and Z, Receiver Talk: Rich Cimini pointed out how Jerricho Cotcheryhas been working at split end (X) with the Jets first offense, with Chansi Stuckey in the slot (Z). Cotchery has been the Z the past few years, but playing at X will allow him more 1 on 1 match-ups and create more space for him to get open. Stuckey has had a great camp but playing Z will be a big test for him, it is a tough position that requires alot of movement, different types of routes, and versatility.

Number Crunching: It will be real interesting to see if the Jets decide to keep 6 running backs, 6 receivers, or 10 secondary guys. People like Danny Woodhead, Britt Davis, and Drew Coleman need to show value on special teams in these upcoming pre-season games.

Jets Highlights of the Day: Speaking of Thomas Jones and the Rams, here is Thomas Jones highlights against the Rams from last year, not the best quality but still a decent watch.