Grading Out the Jets/Saints Game

First a few updates:

1. Damien Woody left the game in the second half with an ankle injury and was replaced by Wayne Hunter. Apparently it isn’t that serious and Woody absolutely expects to play this Monday night. There is no question that the Jets offensive line is off to slow start, which could be attributed to the missed time of many of the starters in the pre-season or maybe Woody and Alan Faneca are getting a step slower at their age.

2. Shonn Greene also has an ankle injury that isn’t considered serious, but if it wasn’t that bad why didn’t the Jets use him in the second half after such a strong showing on his first four carries? Obviously the status of Woody and Greene will be something to keep an eye on all week, but at least they have an extra day to get healthy since the Jets are playing on Monday night.

3. I’d be shocked if Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland weren’t ready to go this week.

4. The Jets bumped down to #6 Peter King’s weekly power rankings and Darrelle Revis climbed to #4 on his MVP watch list, after another strong showing.

5.  Site Updates – The new episode of TOJ TV has been uploaded to the “TOJ TV” page and Jets/Saints highlights have been added to the “Game Highlights” section. The stats have also been updated.

Grading Out the Jets/Saints Game

Quarterbacks: (F) It was about as bad as it could get for Mark Sanchez yesterday. He directly handed the Saints 14 points off turnovers, including a telegraphed interception and a fumble in the end-zone where he held on to the ball for too long. There were also two more late interceptions on forced passes as the Jets attempted a desperation comeback. We’ll learn about the rookie this Monday night by seeing how he responds to his first poor performance in a nationally televised game on the road against a hated division rival. Give Sanchez credit for taking the blame after the loss but he needs to learn from his mistakes and start immediately protecting the ball better. He also needs to stop getting personal fouls for taking out people’s legs on his interceptions.

Running Backs: (C) Thomas Jones got off to another sluggish start but looked substantially better after Shonn Greene began taking his reps. Greene tweaked his ankle after only four carries and wasn’t used in the rest of the game after his strong start (4 carries, 23 yards). Leon Washington wasn’t involved with only 4 carries. The Seminole package looked good but the Jets still aren’t a anywhere near where they were last year running the football.

Wide Receivers: (C) Jerricho Cotchery had another good effort (5 catches, 71 yards) but did have a key dropped pass on a third down. Chansi Stuckey was invisible for the second week in a row. Brad Smith made an impact with a big run in the Seminole package and also registered a reception. David Clowney was active but still hasn’t had a pass thrown his way in four weeks. Somebody needs to step up to support Cotchery.

Tight Ends: (C) Dustin Keller had a big grab down the seam but the Jets need more out of him than 31 yards receiving. Since week one, his yardage totals have been extremely low and he hasn’t been the consistent impact player he was during stretches of time last year.

Offensive LIne: (D) Another sub-par effort by this unit, who just hasn’t looked right this season. I don’t know if it is because of age or because they didn’t play together alot in the pre-season but they aren’t producing. Mark Sanchez can’t be sacked four times and the ground game can’t keep struggling like this if the Jets are going to be serious contenders.

Defensive Line: (B) Good all around effort up front, especially in the short yardage situations. Sione Pouha (3 tackles) and Marques Douglas (5 tackles, 1 TFL) were particularly active. Kris Jenkins played well but had a killer offsides penalty on a fourth and short situation.

Linebackers: (A-) David Harris racked up 12 tackles and Bart Scott had a pair of tackles for a loss and a quarterback hit. Bryan Thomas had his best game of the season. Vernon Gholston registered one tackle and failed to record a sack in any of his four starts. Fortunately, the Jets best pass rusher, Calvin Pace is returning from suspension this week.

Secondary: (A) Despite being without Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland for the second straight week, the unit had a very good effort. Darrelle Revis knocked down 3 passes and held Marques Colston without a reception. Both of his catches came with Drew Coleman on him, who still played a pretty good game as the nickle back. Dwight Lowery was solid and made a great play on a deep ball to Robert Meachem. Kerry Rhodes saved a touchdown on the first drive of the game by knocking away a pass intended for Reggie Bush and had 8 tackles. Jim Leonhard and Eric Smith had quiet games.

Special Teams: (B) Jay Feely is putting together a very good season. Steve Weatherford had a bad shank but responded with a 56 yard punt. Leon Washington never got a chance to get going because the Saints forced him into a touchback every time but once.

Coaching: (C) Some questionable play calling in short yardage situations. The defense did their job and had a strong all around game plan but the offense let the entire team down. Let’s see how this staff will respond to their first loss and how they can motivate their team against inferior opponents the next four weeks.

Jets/Saints Game Highlights

Welcome to the NFL, Rookie: Jets vs. Saints Instant Reaction

Well, I guess we aren’t going undefeated. You can’t win in the NFL when you turn the football over and the Jets let a great performance by their defense go to waste today. There are inevitable negatives when you start a rookie quarterback and today we were reminded firsthand that the Jets are going to lose some games this season because of Mark Sanchez’s inexperience. Yet, step back from the cliff Jets fans there is still plenty to feel good about for the 2009 season.

Sanchez, Offense Let-Down…The Jets defense held the Saints to 10 points today, forced Reggie Bush to fumble which set up the Jets only touchdown, held Drew Brees to under 200 yards of passing and a QB rating of 78.9…that should have been enough for a victory today. Unfortunately, Sanchez didn’t give the Jets a chance by directly handing the Saints 14 points. On his first interception, he locked on to Dustin Keller and turned a Jets red-zone opportunity into a 99 yard Saints touchdown. On his fumble, Sanchez needs to have the mental clock in his head go off and he has to get rid of the football. I also wasn’t crazy about Brian Schottenheimer throwing the ball twice on 3rd and 1 and then finally deciding to run on 3rd and 2 in the Jets goal-line personnel group. Regardless, the Jets still aren’t running the ball very well. Shonn Greene looked very good off the bench with 4 carries for 23 yards but then left with an injury. Why can’t this guy stay healthy? Chansi Stuckey has also pulled a disappearing act for the second week in a row.

Defense Is Real Deal…I already mentioned their impressive stats and they also stepped up with a goal-line stand and a stop on 4th and inches. This team is absolutely legit on the defensive side of the football. Darrelle Revis had another great game and David Harris was all over the field with 12 tackles. They received no help from the offense and still kept the Jets in the game until late into the fourth quarter.

At Least Feel Good About…the next 4 games on the Jets schedule – Miami (1-3), Buffalo (1-3), Oakland (1-3), Miami (1-3) and then a bye week…Calvin Pace is back this week…the Jets will receive less national attention now as a contender and most people will jump off their bandwagon as a contender allowing them to go about their business and deal with a little less pressure…we will get to see how Mark Sanchez responds to a bad performance on national television…at least he got this type of performance out of his system early in the season.

Jets vs. Saints: Prediction, TOJ TV Episode IV

First a few updates:

1. Don’t expect to see either Lito Sheppard or Donald Strickland on the field this Sunday. Hopefully, like Calvin Pace they will be rejoining the defense next Monday night in Miami.

2. Some interesting quotes about Vernon Gholston by defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, “The plays that he’s gotten, especially when he got in more in the last game, he’s graded out well. Vernon’s not a guy that you’re going to see a lot of flash from, but he’s strong…If you go back and look at some of the quarterback pressures we got, a lot of them happened because Vernon kind of collapsed that side of the defense and had taken up two blockers and the running back and the quarterback. Vernon has really taken it upon himself to get better and he’s really done it out in practice…It showed in the game. He made some really nice plays.” Usually you think of a flashy guy when you spend the #6 overall pick in the draft on him, unless he is an offensive lineman. However, at least Gholston is moving towards being a solid all-around contributor for this defense.

Jets vs. Saints: Prediction, TOJ TV Episode IV

Check out the recap of the week three, along with a prediction for  Jets/Saints and plenty more…including our first  Jets themed commercial. Great job by our editor James Corbett this week, who is really helping take the show to another level.

The Song: Drake – I’m Still Fly

Jets vs. Saints: Game Breakdown

First a few updates:

1. The only Jets who didn’t practice today were Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland. Ryan didn’t sound too optimistic about either of them playing, especially Strickland. It definitely isn’t a good week to be without your #2 and #3 corners but Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman have showed they are capable replacements off the bench.

2. Make sure you check out episode IV of Turn On the Jets TV tomorrow, Corbett (my editor) and myself will in the studio (our apartment) filming a recap on week 3 and a prediction for Jets/Saints, along with a few other things for your entertainment.

3. Congratulations to Mark Sanchez for winning the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month award. It is the first time a Jets player has ever won that award. Sanchez has 606 yards passing with 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.

4. It will be good to see the Jets back in their normal green and white jerseys this week.

5. Just a reminder that after this game, the Jets get outside linebacker Calvin Pace back (80 tackles, 7 sacks, 5 forced fumbles in 2008).

6. The Jets are 6.5 point underdogs this week…no respect.

Jets vs. Saints: Game Breakdown

Jets Offensive Game Plan: It has been tough sledding for the Jets running game so far this season but this is the game they need to break out of their funk. On the road, in the deafening Superdome, against the league’s best offense you need to establish a strong running game to keep Drew Brees and co. off the field and not put too much pressure on your rookie quarterback. Thomas Jones and Leon Washington need their combined 40 touches and they need to make the most out of them. Leon is way overdue to rip off a big play on offense and Jones needs to get back above 4 yards a carry to start moving the chains again. If Jones starts off slow, don’t be surprised to see rookie Shonn Greene get a few carries. The better the Jets run the football, the better Mark Sanchez will play and the better chance the Jets will have to win this game.

When the Jets do need to pass, Sanchez must do a better job of protecting the football than he did last week. The Jets offense can’t let New Orleans get a short field because of a turnover or give them any points to make the defense’s task harder than it already is. Outside of his touchdown grab against New England, Dustin Keller has been very quiet the past two weeks and the Jets need to get him involved in their passing attack. Jerricho Cotchery needs to keep it going as the go to receiver, and Chansi Stuckey needs to bounce back after only having 11 yards receiving last week. Let’s see if this is the game that David Clowney can get a ball thrown his way, since he is coming off a couple of strong weeks in practice as a response to his deactivation against the Titans. I would like to see the Jets run another play out of their “Seminole” package beyond Leon Washington just faking the reverse to Brad Smith and keeping it. They tried a throwback to Sanchez last week but it got called back on a holding penalty.

Jets Defensive Game Plan: The Jets banged up secondary will have a difficult task against Drew Brees and co. this week. Darrelle Revis will likely be locked up Marques Colston and should be able to handle him. However, that will leave speedster Devery Henderson on Dwight Lowery, who has struggled with faster receivers in the past and been beaten deep on occasion. Don’t be surprised if the Jets give Lowery some help over the top. Expect to see Eric Smith either shadowing Jeremy Shockey or Reggie Bush out of the backfield. It will be interesting to see how often the Saints go to their running game with Pierre Thomas or Bush against the Jets front seven. I have confidence in the Jets ability to contain the run but they must continue to be aggressive their pass rush to help out their secondary this week.

New Orleans won’t drop as many passes as the Titans did and they have more players on the outside who can make you play for a blown coverage. This game is a golden opportunity for the Jets defense to make a statement that they are the league’s best. If they can go into New Orleans and keep Drew Brees in check, how are you going to say another unit has been better than them through four weeks?

Hopefully, the Jets can jump out to an early lead which will force the Saints to rely even more on the passing game than they already do, allowing the Jets to get some hits on Brees and force him into a few turnovers. This is Vernon Gholston’s last game as a starter, so far he only has 6 tackles and 1 TFL. There isn’t a better time for him to get his first NFL sack than this week.

Special Teams Breakdown: Leon Washington almost broke a few against New England, let’s see if can rip off a huge kick return against the Saints suspect coverage unit on the fast track at the Superdome. Reggie Bush is always dangerous on punt returns, but guys like Wallace Wright, Jason Trusnik, and Eric Smith have been excellent in coverage this season.

The Jets Will Win If…They establish a strong running game and get Thomas and Leon their combined 40 touches. Mark Sanchez doesn’t have any turnovers and hits a few big plays down the field to keep the Saints defense honest. The Jets defense gets to Drew Brees early and often, forcing him into a few bad decisions. Darrelle Revis continues to prove why he is the best corner in football, by locking down Marques Colston.

The Jets Will Lose If…Mark Sanchez plays like a rookie and struggles with the crowd noise, along with the Saints opportunistic defense. Dwight Lowery gets torched by Devery Henderson for a big play. Reggie Bush rips off a long run after a catch out of the backfield to get some revenge on Bart Scott. Drew Brees isn’t pressured in the pocket and carves up the Jets banged up secondary.

A Memorable Moment in Jets/Saints History

Jets vs. Saints: Key Match-Ups

First a few updates:

1. Lito Sheppard, Donald Strickland, Jim Leonhard, Wayne Hunter and Larry Izzo sat out practice today. Darrelle Revis and Kerry Rhodes were also limited. Despite the endless list of defensive backs on this list, Rex Ryan expressed confidence that all of them would be available on Sunday, withthe possible exception of Strickland. He didn’t rule out bringing in free agent Corey Ivy by the end of the week, if it looks like both Sheppard and Strickland won’t be able to go on Sunday. Ivy is familiar with Ryan’s system from his time in Baltimore, and would be able in step in right away.

2. Congratulations to linebacker Jason Trusnik for winning the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week Award.

3. Rex Ryan singled out Vernon Gholston for praise in his press conference, saying he was awarded a game ball for putting together an all around solid game, including saving a touchdown on a hustle play during one of Chris Johnson’s big runs.

Jets vs. Saints: Key Match-Ups

Tomorrow check back for an excessively comprehensive breakdown of the Jets/Saints game and then again on Friday for my prediction, today I am going to focus on the key individual match-ups for this Sunday’s game.

The Jets Banged Up Secondary vs. Marques Colston/Devery Henderson/Robert Meachem/Jeremy Shockey: With our without Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland, the Jets will have their hands full against the wide variety of weapons the Saints have on offense. Darrelle Revis should be able to handle Marques Colston, but there will pressure on the rest of the Jets secondary to keep the speedsters Henderson and Meachem in check. If the Jets are without Sheppard and Strickland, Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman will again need to respond with big time efforts off the bench. Jeremy Shockey is becoming a bigger part of the Saints offense, so expect to see Eric Smith shadowing him on passing downs. Smith did an excellent job against Owen Daniels in week one and continues to develop as a playmaker in the Jets defense.

Thomas Jones/Leon Washington/Jets Offensive Line vs. Saints Front Seven: The Jets have stuck to their running game through the first three weeks but haven’t had anywhere near the success they did last season. Thomas Jones is under 4 yards per carry and is a couple of big runs against Houston from being under 3 yards per carry. Leon Washington is right at 4 yards per carry but hasn’t ripped off any big ones yet this season. The Jets must run the ball successfully to keep the Saints offense off the field for as long as possible. Don’t be surprised to see Shonn Greene get a few reps if the Jones has another slow start. However, all the focus can’t be on Jones and Washington. The offensive line needs to do a better job of opening up holes for their pro-bowl running backs.

Bart Scott vs. Reggie Bush: Don’t forget a few seasons ago, when Scott had this to say about Bush after the Ravens put a beatdown on New Orleans, “The media darling, aka the golden boy of the NFL, tried to take a cheap shot at me, so I told him I was going to put some extra on it. He can do all those shakes he wants, but I wasn’t going anywhere. I put a little hot sauce on that ankle.This was after a play in the 4th quarter, where Bush left with a sore ankle after Scott tackled him. In subsequent interviews, Scott said he wasn’t trying to imply that he intentionally hurt Bush, but rather was referencing the spicy food in New Orleans and was joking around. I haven’t seen footage of hit but from clicking around the Internet, it appears most people don’t think it was anywhere near a dirty play by Scott. One of our most frequent readers, my good friend Dan is a big Reggie Bush lover and correctly pointed out he is second in offensive yards on the team, so the pressure will be on Scott, David Harris and the rest of the Jets linebackers to contain him on his receptions out of the backfield. Bush has struggled running the ball (111 yards, with a 3.7 per carry average) but been a big factor in the passing game (164 yards, 11 yards per reception).

Mark Sanchez vs. Tracy Porter/Roman Harper/Darren Sharper/Jabari Greer: The Saints secondary is tied for the league lead in passes defensed and interceptions. There will be pressure on Mark Sanchez in this game to put up some points through the air, so the rookie must do a better job of protecting the ball than he did a week ago. Sanchez has looked good when throwing the ball down the field so far this season so let’s see if he takes some shots to Jerricho Cotchery, Dustin Keller, or maybe even David Clowney, fresh off his Twitter suspension.

Marques Colston Almost Has Hands As Good As Mine

NFL Week 3 Recap/Jets vs. Saints First Look

First a few updates:

1. The Jets have now moved up to #6 in ESPN’s Power Rankings, one spot behind this week’s opponent, the New Orleans Saints.

2. The status of Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland remains up in the air for this weekend. I get the impression that Sheppard is further along than Strickland. It would be a huge boost to have at least one of them back against the Saints lethal passing attack. I am guessing the Jets aren’t going to sign a free agent corner like Corey Ivy, since they probably would have made the move already to have him in as early as possible to study the game-plan for New Orleans.

3. Rex Ryan admitted David Clowney was inactive for the Titans game because of some comments he made on Twitter about being disappointed with his lack of playing time. Clowney responded with a strong week in practice as a look squad receiver. Hopefully, this will be the type of thing that motivates Clowney for the rest of the season and he will eventually find a role in the offense.

Wrapping Up Jets/Titans

Defensive Player of the Game: Eric Smith – I never thought I’d be typing Smith’s name in this category but the fourth year safety has found a home in Rex Ryan’s scheme as a do everything defensive back. Smith has been used to shadow specific tight ends and running backs, along with frequently being sent at the quarterback as a blitzer. In the Tennessee game, Smith had 6 tackles, 2 passes defensed, and an interception. He is currently third on the team in tackles, despite not being a starter.

Offensive Player of the Game: Jerricho Cotchery – For the second week in a row, I am giving this award to Cotchery who carried the Jets passing attack with 8 catches for 108 yards and a touchdown. Right now, Cotchery is on pace to be a 1500 yard receiver and is proving all the critics wrong who thought he didn’t have the skill set to be a number one receiver.

Honorable Mentions: Drew Coleman for stepping in and playing a great game as the team’s nickel back…Kris Jenkins for continuing to dominate up front…David Harris for racking up another sack and his first interception of the season…Bart Scott for having his best game so far this season…Jim Leonhard for ripping off a big 36 yard punt return…Shaun Ellis for quickly getting Leonhard’s back when he was cheap shotted by one of the Titans lineman.

AFC East Observations

New England Patriots – The Patriots had a nice bounce back win against the Falcons at home. Their offense was led by a strong game from Fred Taylor, while Tom Brady continued to be somewhat out of sync. There was some horrible officiating in this game, that of course benefited the Patriots. I am very interested to see how New England handles the Ravens, who are considered by most to be the best team in the NFL, this upcoming Sunday.

Miami Dolphins – I feel terrible for Chad Pennington who suffered another season ending injury to his shoulder. However, I will enjoy watching the Dolphins suffer the rest of the season to a 4-12 record. Isn’t it funny how Jason Taylor left because they were 1-15, they went 11-5 without him, and now he comes back and they are going to be right back among of the NFL’s worst? haha. I am really hoping the Bills handle the Dolphins this weekend, so we could send Jason, Channing “The Jets are paper champs” Crowder and the rest of Miami to a 0-5 record.

Buffalo Bills – The Bills played the Saints tough for three quarters but fell apart in the fourth. I don’t like TO, but it is ridiculous how bad of a job Buffalo’s offense is doing getting the ball to him and Lee Evans. Regardless, Buffalo has the look of a team that could be around .500 this year.

TOJ Top 5

  1. Baltimore Ravens – Their offense continues to develop to compliment their already elite defense. I am hoping they put a beatdown on New England this week.
  2. New York Giants – Very business like victory over the hapless Bucs. They are an extremely well rounded team.
  3. Indianapolis Colts – Peyton Manning is in the zone right now, but then again I guess he always is.
  4. New York Jets – They have a chance to make a statement with a win in New Orleans this week.
  5. New Orleans Saints – First big test comes for them against the Jets defense.

TOJ Bottom 5

  1. Detroit Lions – Not in the bottom spot, which is progress for them.
  2. Washington Redskins – Their offense is a-w-f-u-l.
  3. Kansas City Chiefs – It is going to be an ugly re-building process.
  4. St. Louis Rams – Another historically bad year is on the way for the Rams.
  5. Cleveland Browns – The situation is getting real ugly for Eric Mangini.

Jets vs. Saints First Look

The Opponent: The Saints come in at 3-0 with the league’s best offense. After scoring 45 and 48 points the first two weeks, they were held to “only” 27 points last week against Buffalo. Drew Brees leads the Saints attack by spreading the ball around to a variety of receivers in the passing game, while New Orleans rushing attack has been coming on lately led by Pierre Thomas and Mike Bell. The Saints defense is coming off a strong effort against Buffalo and is generally considered to have improved from last year. Former Jets rookie of the year, Jonathan Vilma leads the unit at middle linebacker.

New Orleans Starters/Key Reserves

OFFENSE

  • Quarterback: Drew Brees – 67/97, 841 yards, 9 TD’s, 2 INT’s
  • Running Back: Mike Bell – 45 carries, 229 yards, 1 TD
  • Running Back: Pierre Thomas – 14 carries, 126 yards, 2 TD’s
  • Running Back: Reggie Bush – 30 carries, 111 yards, 1 TD, 11 receptions, 114 yards
  • Fullback: Heath Evans – 6 receptions, 51 yards, 2 TD’s
  • Wide Receiver: Marques Colston – 15 receptions, 195 yards, 3 TD’s
  • Wide Receiver: Robert Meachem – 3 receptions, 62 yards,  1 TD
  • Wide Receiver: Devery Henderson – 11 receptions, 214 yards, 1 TD
  • Tight End: Jeremy Shockey – 14 receptions, 128 yards, 2 TD’s
  • Left Tackle: Jammal Brown
  • Left Guard: Carl Nicks
  • Center: Jonathan Goodwin
  • Right Guard: Jahri Evans
  • Right Tackle: Jonathan Stinchcomb

DEFENSE

  • Defensive End: Charles Grant – 5 tackles, 1.5 sacks
  • Defensive Tackle: Sedrick Ellis – 10 tackles, 1 sack
  • Defensive Tackle: Kendrick Clancy – 1 tackle
  • Defensive End: Will Smith – 9 tackles, 1 sack
  • Outside Linebacker: Scott Shanle – 22 tackles, 2 INT’s
  • Middle Linebacker: Jonathan Vilma – 16 tackles, 1 sack
  • Outside Linebacker: Scott Fujita – 17 tackles
  • Corner: Jabari Greer – 15 tackles, 3 passes defensed
  • Corer: Tracy Porter – 10 tackles, 1 INT
  • Safety: Roman Harper – 23 tackles, 3 TFL’s
  • Safety: Darren Sharper – 6 tackles, 3 INT’s

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • Kicker: John Carney
  • Punter: Thomas Morstead
  • Punt Returner: Reggie Bush
  • Kick Returner: Courtney Roby

Key Players: Drew Brees is one of the league’s best quarterbacks and can carve any defense up if given enough time in the pocket. Marques Colston is his favorite target, especially near the end-zone. Jeremy Shockey is becoming more of a factor. Devery Henderson is a legit deep threat. On defense, Darren Sharper and Roman Harper have been playmakers for the Saints. Will Smith and Charles Grant are quality defensive ends, who can apply pressure and Jonathan Vilma and Scott Shanle are solid linebackers.

Injuries: Mike Bell isn’t likely to play at running back and either is Jammal Brown on the offensive line. For the Jets, Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland remain question marks for this Sunday. Beyond that, the Jets appear to be healthy.

Early Story Lines: Battle of an undefeated teams…Top defense versus top offense…Jonathan Vilma against his former team…Jets attempt to get their running game going.

Saints/Bill Highlights

Grading Out the Jets/Titans Game

First a few updates:

1. Your 2009 AL East Champs…The New York Yankees.

2. I review the weekend for the AFC East and entire NFL tomorrow, but just as a preface: The Jets aren’t looking so stupid for trading Chad Pennington anymore are they? It didn’t take a genius to see what was coming this year for the Dolphins who are well on their way to a 4-12 season. Pennington has never put together back to back healthy seasons in his career. Their schedule is substantially harder and they generally lack talent (especially in an overhyped, overrated linebacker core). Enjoy beginning to play out the string in October Jason Taylor, Channing Crowder, and the rest of Dolphins nation. I do feel bad for Chad, who I always liked and I hope he gets healthy soon but how can I not enjoy the Dolphins being 0-3?

3. I actually felt bad for Eric Mangini watching his press conference yesterday. The Browns actually might go 0-16. It sounds like there isn’t a more hated coach in the league right now, since at least five of his players are filing grievances with the NFL about his fines. I thought Favre was more to blame than Mangini last year but I don’t understand why it appears that he didn’t learn anything from the mistakes he made with the Jets.

4. Speaking of those 3-0 Jets, I saw on ESPN that they are early 6.5 point underdogs to the Saints. This will be the third time in four games the Jets are underdogs.

5. Peter King ranked the Jets #4 is his weekly Power Rankings and put Darrelle Revis #5 on his MVP watch list.

6. Site Updates – The new episode of TOJ TV has been uploaded to the “TOJ TV” page and Jets/Titans highlights have been added to the “Game Highlights” section. The stats have also been updated.

Grading Out the Jets/Titans Game

Quarterbacks: (B-) Sanchez came out of the gate on fire, then turned into the rookie he is supposed to be, and then finished strong enough for the Jets to get a win. It was an up and down for “The Sanchise,” who finished 17/30 for 171 yards, with 2 touchdowns and an interception. The positives? He showed his toughness by barreling over Michael Griffin in the end-zone, had a beautiful play fake on his touchdown pass to Ben Hartsock, and showed his arm strength/accuracy on a picture perfect 46 yard connection down the side-line to Jerricho Cotchery. The negatives? He needs to work on his ball handling. The rain led to the ball slipping out of his hands a few times, and he was also stripped because he kept the ball too low. Also, don’t pile all the interception blame on Chansi Stuckey because Sanchez sailed that pass.

Running Backs: (D) Not a pretty day for Thomas Jones, who finished with 20 yards on 14 carries. Leon Washington had slightly better luck (12 carries, 46 yards) but still averaged less than 4 yards per carry. We are still waiting for Leon to rip off his first big run of the season and Jones looked a step slow to the hole, even though he wasn’t aided by the offensive line, who struggled. Don’t be surprised if Shonn Greene slowly begins to be worked into the offense next week. The Jets didn’t draft him to sit on the bench all season.

Wide Receivers: (A) Jerricho Cotchery played a terrific game and is turning me into a believer that he could be a legit number one receiver. He is catching every thing that comes near him and showed his speed on his 46 yard over the shoulder grab and his toughness on his touchdown catch. Brad Smith finally registered a couple of catches, including an impressive 16 yard grab as he a took a huge hit. Chansi Stuckey was quiet and David Clowney was inactive, which wasn’t surprising considering the conditions.

Tight Ends: (B) How great was Ben Hartsock’s prototypical white guy who has never scored a touchdown celebration? It consisted of him jumping straight up and down while holding up the #1 sign and then having an awkward timed jump into D’Brickashaw Ferguson. Dustin Keller had a leaping 18 yard catch on the first drive but was quiet after. I’d like to see the Jets get him more involved (probably because I have him on my fantasy football team).

Offensive Line: (D) You have to expect better than 83 rushing yards and three allowed sacks from an offensive line with this much talent. They also need to cut back on the penalties.

Defensive Line: (B) Great games by Kris Jenkins (2 TFL’s) and Shaun Ellis (.5 sack, 1 TFL). Sione Pouha and Marques Douglas were also active up front. The unit did a good job keeping Chris Johnson under 100 yards and was constantly pushing the pocket on Kerry Collins.

Linebackers: (A) Bart Scott was all over the field and David Harris keeps making big plays. Bryan Thomas has quietly put together a strong three games to start the season. Vernon Gholston looks like he is actually improving. I was somewhat surprised to Jamaal Westerman end up being inactive.

Secondary: (B) They were defintley some breakdowns and Kerry Collins threaded the needle on them a few times. However, Drew Coleman stepped up and had a great game as the nickel back. I still can’t believe this is the same Eric Smith from the past three years. He is all over the field and has turned into one of the Jets top playmakers on defense (6 tackles, 2 passes defensed, and an interception). Jim Leonhard always seems to be around the ball. Darrelle Revis and Kerry Rhodes didn’t have their best days. Dwight Lowery was okay as a replacement for Lito Sheppard.

Special Teams (A+) Forced two key turnovers that were the reason the Jets won on Sunday. Great all around play by Jason Trusnik on fumble during the kick return. Brad Smith made a smart play by wrapping up Ryan Mouton to prevent him from recovering his muffed punt and Larry Izzo hustled down to make the recovery. Jay Feely has now made 19 straight field goals. Steve Weatherford had one bad shank but beyond that had a decent day.

Coaching: (B) It was a good decision to come out with the no-huddle, passing attack which caught the Titans off guard. Rex Ryan started out with a less aggressive scheme but with the game on his line, went back to what the Jets do best, blitz the hell out of the quarterback. The bottom line is that the Jets avoided a natural let-down game and found a way to win without having their “A” game.

Jets/Titans Game Highlights

Undefeated: Jets Move to 3-0, Instant Reaction

As I sit here watching the Dolphins fall to 0-3 (cause Chad Henne is awful) and the Bills fall to 1-2, I can’t help but have a big smile on my face because our New York Jets are now 3-0 which isn’t an easy thing to do in the NFL (unless you are Denver and have played three crappy teams). It wasn’t pretty and they were greatly assisted by a rookie returner with butter fingers, but the Jets found a way to win. We’ll take them anyway we can get them, and now it is on to New Orleans to battle the 3-0 Saints. Super Bowl Preview? Just kidding…

Special Teams Love…Jason Trusnik came up with a huge play by knocking Ryan Mouton off his block and then recovering the fumble, which set up a first quarter touchdown. Brad Smith did a great job holding Mouton down when he muffed a punt in the second half, allowing Larry Izzo to recover it, which switched the momentum of the game back in the Jets favor. Jay Feely also remained perfect on field goals for the season and I believe has hit his last 19.

New Attitude…Bart Scott led the Jets with 9 tackles and made sure to fire back at Ahmad Hall in the post game press conference by telling reporters to go look at the tape to see his dominance of the match-up. He also pointed out, “For anybody out there who thinks that this is a gimmick defense and can’t play smashmouth, how dare you.” The Jets defense looked a little sluggish in the second/third quarter, but stepped up with the game on the line. One little thing from the game I loved, one of the Titans lineman took a cheap shot on Jim Leonhard and Shaun Ellis jumped right to his defense, getting in the lineman’s face. Leonhard then responded with a huge punt return and Ellis and the rest of the defense were going crazy on the sideline for him.

In The Negative Corner…Where is the running game? 14 carries for 20 yards by Thomas Jones isn’t going to cut it, it was also a quiet day for Leon Washington (12 carries 46 yards). Sanchez also was sacked three times and struggled a little bit with the wet ball. There were some breakdowns in coverage and the Jets were aided by a few dropped passes from Tennessee.

But Let’s End With Some Positives…David Harris with a huge 4th quarter interception and sack. Eric Smith is now turning into a playmaker on the Jets defense and had 6 tackles, 2 passes defensed, and an interception. Drew Coleman stepped up in the nickel role. Jerricho Cotchery is becoming a legitimate number one receiver and had a great game. The Jets scored touchdowns on three of their four red-zone trips. Kris Jenkins was a straight beast today, as usual. Vernon Gholston put together a strong all-around effort. I need to add Ben Hartsock to my fantasy roster.

Jets vs. Titans: Talking to the Opponent

Jets vs. Titans: Talking to the Opponent

I exchanged questions with Titans writer Drexel Perry from (http://mvn.com/totaltitans/) here is our conversation about the Jets/Titans match-up:

DP: Do the Jets fans expect a letdown of sorts after an impressive two weeks, from the dismantling of Houston to the emotionally charged victory over the Brady bunch? Or is Ryan the type of coach to keep his team…ahem….humble?

JC: I think most people are anticipating some type of let down this week. It was a very emotional win last week for the franchise and the Jets have all of a sudden become the national media’s favorite team. The Titans need this game more than the Jets, so it is a dangerous match-up for them. This will be a big test for Ryan and the Jets early on, because a great team would take care of business at home this week and be able to match the Titans intensity.

DP: Mark Sanchezhas looked “Matt Ryan-esque” in his first two NFL starts. What are your thoughts regarding the rookie signal-caller’s performance and do you expect him to continue his solid play as the season goes on?
  
JC: You could tell from the beginning of pre-season that the Jets made the right decision by trading up for Sanchez. Whatever “it” is at the quarterback position, this guy has “it.” He has surprisingly good arm strength and is very mobile in the pocket. Also, he has brought a new energy to the Jets offense. He is probably due for a couple of rough outings, but I think the sky is the limit for him in the long run.
 
DP: The Jets 3-4 defense is FAST, and will be keying on stopping Chris Johnson. Will they drop 8 or 9 into the box and dare us to throw it? (knowing Revis is a stud DB).

JC: The Jets are going to attack and be aggressive every week, regardless of who they are playing. They will come after the quarterback and come after Johnson and try to get him down in the backfield before he builds up a head of steam. We will likely be without our #2 and #3 corner this week (Sheppard and Strickland) so it will be interesting to see how often Ryan leaves Dwight Lowery on an island.

DP:  Tell us a little bit about Vernon Gholston…What impact has he had in first two games this year and will he keep his starting job when Pace returns?
  
JC: Gholston was pretty good week one against Houston but didn’t play that much last week against New England. Pace will be the starter as soon as he returns, he is one of the Jets best all around defenders and they are very anxious to get him back.

DP: Last but not least, look into your crystal ball and tell us who will win this Sunday’s Titans/Jets matchup?

JC: I think the Jets win a tight one, 21-20.

JC: How does a secondary with Cortland Finnegan and Michael Griffin struggle so much against the pass early in the season?

DP: That’s the million dollar question that’s been floating around all this week after the debacle against the Texans. In a recent article taking a look at new defensive coordinator Chuck Cecil struggles, I attributed the Titans’ atrocious pass defense to a lack of execution.

JC: Do you detect a real sense of desperation around this team, since another loss and another Colts win would put them 3 games back before September even ends?

DP: I’ll stop short of calling it desperation in respect to the head coach of this football team, Jeff Fisher. He’s been in this hole before, starting 1-4 in 2002 before rallying to finish 11-5 while making the AFC Title Game that year.

JC: Have the Titans referenced the beating the Jets handed them last often when talking about getting ready for this game?

DP: I haven’t heard too much talk centering around last year’s matchup. However, there’s a locker room full of Titans who remember how the Jets ended their undefeated season last year at LP Field. The focus of this week’s game is obviously avoiding an 0-3 start but in the back of their minds, I’m sure the Titans will use last year’s outcome as an extra source of motivation this Sunday.

JC: How excited are you guys about Kenny Britt?

DP: He got off to a slow start due to a hamstring injury, but since then, has displayed the potential to be a more than adequate downfield threat for the Titans. I’m excited about watching this guy develop in the years to come.

JC: How firm is Kerry Collins grip on the starting quarterback job? A few more losses and do you think we’ll see Vince Young?

DP: Kerry Collins is the quarterback of this football team and barring injury or perhaps if the Titans were mathematically eliminated for playoff contention, KC is going to be the guy in the huddle.

Jets vs. Titans: Prediction, TOJ TV Episode III

First a few updates:

1. Another week, another round of trash talk. Here is what Titans fullback Ahmad Hall had to say about Bart Scott, “I don’t like Bart; Bart don’t like me. He knows that. We had a good battle last year and he knows what he is going to get from me and I know what I am going to get from him. So it is what it is. You’re going to see us fighting all day. It is serious to me. I wouldn’t fight the guy or nothing like that – unless he wanted to fight. I don’t like the guy. He just runs his mouth all the time, even when he is not doing anything in the play. He is a talker and I just like guys that go out there and get their job done. Bart Scott is talking to everybody – he is talking to fans, he is talking to whoever listens to him. I think he runs his mouth a little too much and needs to just come out there and play. I went out there on a lead play (last year) and knocked his helmet off and he is still talking mess.” Keith Bulluck also said the Titans plan on rattling Mark Sanchez and leaving New York with their first win of the season. Alot of yapping from a team who is 0-2 and lost to the Jets by 21 in their own building last year.

2. Mark Sanchez is being listed on the injury report as a full participant in practice with tendinitis in his knee. Let’s not panic here, the Jets were just fined for not listing Brett Favre on the injury report last season and I think the Jets will go out of their way to list any type of ailment the rest of the season. Sanchez is going to start on Sunday and should be fine.

3. Donald Strickland and Lito Sheppard are both out this Sunday, meaning Dwight Lowery will start, with Drew Coleman sliding into the nickel role. Ahmad Carroll and Marquice Cole will be the backups. The Jets brought in free agents Corey Ivy and Justin Miller for a visit today, which could mean Strickland or Sheppard will be out for more than a week…not good with the Saints coming up next week.

Jets vs. Titans: Prediction, TOJ TV Episode III

Enjoy some footage from inside the stadium during the Jets victory over the Patriots, including the raucous celebration by the fans after the game, and some anti-New England chants.

The Song: Empire State of Mind – Jay-Z f/ Alicia Keys