Jets vs. Patriots: Game Breakdown

First a few updates:

1. Check out http://web.me.com/greenrewind.com where I recently did an interview on Marty Schupak’s program to discuss the Jets/Pats game.

2. The New England locker room is likely buried in bulletin board material this week, since Kerry Rhodes didn’t hold back in an interview with Gary Myers of the Daily News. Rhodes stated, “You go out from the first quarter on, from the first play on, and try to embarrass them. Not just go out there and try to win, try to embarrass them. Try to make them feel bad when they leave here. We don’t want to just beat them. We want to send a message to them, ‘We’re not backing down from you and we expect to win this game, and it’s not going to be luck, it’s not going to be a mistake.” He also promised the Jets will hit Brady more than six times, which is how many hits the Bills got on him. Well at least we know the Jets aren’t lacking confidence heading into this game.

3. Kris Jenkins, Sione Pouha, Wallace Wright, and Damien Woody were all limited at practice today.

4. Check back tomorrow for Episode II of “Turn On the Jets” TV, where I ramble about my frustration with the Jets/Pats rivalry, review week one of the NFL, preview week two and make a pick for the Jets/Pats game.

Jets vs. Patriots: Game Breakdown

Jets Offensive Game Plan: The Jets need to build on what they did last week against the Houston Texans. There shouldn’t be any type of excessively conservative play calling because Mark Sanchez is a rookie and is facing Bill Bellicheck. Obviously, a large portion of the Jets game plan will revolve around Thomas Jones, Leon Washington, and potentially Shonn Greene running the football and I still believe Jones/Washington need to be at or around 40 touches for the Jets to win but the Jets can’t be afraid to spread it out and throw the football. They have the personnel to attack the Patriots. I will say this again, don’t confuse New England’s defense with the Ravens or Steelers, this isn’t one the elite units in the league, especially without Jerod Mayo.

I have watched Jerricho Cotchery repeatedly kill the Pats secondary since 2006, and they even used to have better corners than they do now. Dustin Keller snagged 8 passes last November when the Jets won in New England. The Jets should be comfortable in their three wide set with Cotchery, Chansi Stuckey, and Keller with Leon Washington in the backfield. Also, they shouldn’t shy away from using their “Seminole” package with Leon Washington or Brad Smith working from the shotgun. I will also be real interested to see if the Jets take a home run shot to David Clowney some time in the first half to keep New England off balance.

The bottom line is that the Jets can’t go into a shell because they are playing the big, bad Patriots who usually push them around in their building. Thomas Jones and Leon Washington still need their carries but the Jets shouldn’t hesitate to take their shots to Dustin Keller down the seam or David Clowney down the side-line.

Jets Defensive Game Plan: Tackle, tackle, and tackle. The Patriots always kill the Jets with a barrage of short passes and screens to Wes Welker and Kevin Faulk. It is the entire defense’s responsibility to recognize the play, swarm to the football, and wrap these guys up. Darrelle Revis will prevent the big play from Randy Moss over the top, which means it is on guys like Lito Sheppard, Donald Strickland, Kerry Rhodes, and Jim Leonhard to keep Welker and Faulk in front of them and tackle them at first contact.

The Patriots also have a deep collection of running backs, led by Fred Taylor and Laurence Maroney. They couldn’t move the ball on the ground against Buffalo but don’t expect them to abandon the running game against the Jets. The run defense  starts with Kris Jenkins who is nursing a sore back, despite being boosted by the return of Shaun Ellis, guys like Howard Green and Sione Pouha need to step up and provide quality reps for Jenkins off the bench.

I am expecting a blitz happy scheme from Rex Ryan, which will test Brady under pressure early and often. This will make the secondary’s task even more difficult but Ryan seems to have total confidence in Revis, Sheppard, Leonhard, and Rhodes. David Harris & co need to stay in Brady’s face all day, because if Brady has time to stand back there, he is lethal.

Special Teams Breakdown: Leon Washington took a kick back for a touchdown the last time these two teams met, so keep an eye on #29 as usual. Wes Welker is always dangerous on punt returns and Maroney is a pretty good kick returner himself. Hopefully, Steve Weatherford can continue his strong punting.

The Jets Will Win If…Mark Sanchez protects the football. Brian Schottenheimer catches New England off guard by coming out in the spread offense and showing confidence in his rookie quarterback. Thomas Jones/Leon Washington do their usual work with their 40 combined touches. The Jets get points either on special teams or because of a defensive turnover. The pass rush stays in Tom Brady’s face all day, keeping him uncomfortable in the pocket. New England can’t run the football, making their offense one-dimensional and opening Brady up to more hits.

The Jets Will Lose If…Tom Brady has all day in the pocket and picks apart the Jets with short passes to his tight ends, Wes Welker, and Kevin Faulk. Mark Sanchez is confused by Bellicheck and throws a couple of costly interceptions, forcing the Jets to be conservative on offense. Thomas Jones starts out with 16 yards on 14 carries but never gets the chance to have a big finish like he did versus Houston. The Jets fall behind early and the crowd/team fall into the normal New England depression/losing attitude.

Help Rex Out

Jets vs. Patriots: Key Match-Ups

First a few updates:

1. The Jets added recently released cornerback Marquice Cole to their practice squad and released tight end Jack Simmons off it.

2. Kris Jenkins missed a small portion of practice today to receive some treatment on his lower back, according to both him and Rex Ryan it isn’t anything serious but we’ll see on Sunday if Jenk is his normal dominating self.

3. The Jets have no interest in recently released Eagles receiver Hank Baskett.

4. Rex Ryan left all Jets season holders a voice mail today encouraging them to help the team out at home this Sunday be being as loud as possible. He reaffirmed his quote of the week about Bellicheck being a better coach than him and Tom Brady being a better quarterback than Mark Sanchez, but that it remains to be seen who has the better team. So, yes at this moment I am sipping on some green tea and getting my voice ready for the game on Sunday which I will be attending. Hey, all of section 313 and myself won’t be letting Ryan down, I can tell you that much.

5. Bill Bellicheck ignored questions about Rex Ryan’s “kiss the rings” comment in every way imaginable today. Tom Brady pointed out that “talk is cheap,” and disagreed with Kris Jenkins’ comment that the Jets are preparing for this game like it is the Super Bowl, reminding us that “Super Bowls are played in February,” regardless I hope Brady is having his face slammed into the turf as many times as he did the last time he played in February…remember New England fans, when you were undefeated but choked in the Super Bowl?

6. Patriots middle linebacker Jerod Mayo is out 6-8 weeks with a sprained MCL, which means he won’t be suiting up on Sunday. Another blow to the Pats defense which is quickly turning into a collection of strangers.

7. David Harris was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week…hopefully the first of many accolades for him this season.

Jets vs. Patriots: Key Match-Ups

Tomorrow check back for an excessively comprehensive breakdown of the Jets/Pats 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.

Darrelle Revis vs. Randy Moss: Revis is at the top of the match-up list again as he gets no break after shutting down Andre Johnson last week. Ever since Randy Moss shredded the Jets for 9 catches, 183 yards and a touchdown on opening day in 2007 (also the first game of Revis’ NFL career), Revis has more than held his own against Moss. In their second meeting in 2007, Moss had 5 catches for 79 yards and Revis had a spectacular one-handed interception over him. In 2008, Moss was held to 2 catches for 22 yards in their first meeting and 3 catches for 26 yards in their second meeting, although he did catch the game tying touchdown (but it was on Ty Law). It will be important for Revis to continue keeping Moss from killing the Jets with the big play. Moss is coming off a great performance on Monday Night against the Bills, where he racked up 12 receptions. If Revis could start out the season shutting down Andre Johnson and Randy Moss, who else is going to catch passes on him this year?

Mark Sanchez vs. Bill Bellicheck: Bill Bellicheck excels at confusing quarterbacks young and old with his complex defensive schemes. Mark Sanchez had a great start to his NFL career last week against a suspect Houston defense but the challenge is obviously greater this week. New England won’t drop the interceptions the Texans did last week, so Sanchez needs to be extra careful with the ball while still playing with his usual confidence and swagger. Regardless, let’s not confuse this New England defense with the 2000 Ravens despite who is coaching them. Trent Edwards went 15/25 for 212 yards and 2 TD’s against them last week.

Dustin Keller vs. Adalius Thomas/Pierre Woods/Brandon Merriweather: Or whomever the Patriots decide to use in coverage versus Keller, who killed the Patriots when the Jets beat them last season with 8 catches for 87 yards, many of them converting big third downs. Keller is a difficult match-up for any defense and needs to build off his strong game in Houston last week. Look for Mark Sanchez to target his tight end early and often against New England.

Jets Organization/Jets Fans vs. The Aura of New England: We are all feeling it right now…we are excited about our new coach, new quarterback, and general new direction of the team. Yet, here come the Patriots to ruin it, like they always do. I have been at every single Jets/Pats game in the Meadowlands since 2001, which means I have sat through 8 losses like many of you out there. I remember believing in Herman Edwards in 2002 and 2004. I remember believing that Pennington would lead us to an upset in 2003 or that Brooks Bollinger could somehow get us a Monday Night win in 2005. I remember believing the Man-genius and Pennington would take us to an upset in 2006 and then kick the season off right in 2007. Of course, I thought Brett Favre would beat Matt Cassell last year in week two, and yet the last 8 years I have left the stadium disappointed…freakin 8 years, since I was 14 years old! I wasn’t even in high school yet the last time the Jets beat New England at home. This organization and fan base needs to forget the past, forget “kissing the rings” and go out and expect to beat New England, because we have a better defense, a better group of running backs, and a better offensive line…will it happen or will Brady, Bellicheck and the Pats find a way to curb all of our enthusiasm? Only time will tell.

One of my favorite vids of all time…it’s good to beat the Patriots, and I’ll say this, I don’t like Brett Favre and think he killed the Jets last year but you have to love the end of the video when he runs into the locker room screaming “F%#@ Yea!”

NFL Week 1 Recap/Jets vs. Pats: First Look

First a few updates:

1. The Jets released cornerback Marquice Cole to make room for Shaun Ellis who is now reinstated and will be back in the starting line-up when the Jets play the Pats this Sunday.

2. The Jets made a nice little jump in ESPN’s Power Rankings from #23 to #16, giving them the week’s biggest improvement.

3. A few non-Jets things: The Yankees should be clinching that AL East title any day now and yes I believe they are the team to beat in the playoffs…Last week’s Entourage was a bit of a let down…But you have to be fired up about that new season of Curb Your Enthusiasm starting up this Sunday.

NFL Week 1 Recap

Wrapping Up Jets/Texans

Defensive Player Of The Game: David Harris/Darrelle Revis – It is impossible not to recognize both of them, which is why Rex Ryan gave them both game balls. Harris was all over the field and Revis shutdown arguably the best receiver in the NFL.

Offensive Player Of The Game: Mark Sanchez – Another easy pick, Sanchez looked like a seasoned veteran in his first career start. The tests only get tougher with the Patriots and Titans coming to town.

Honorable Mentions: Jerricho Cotchery for being clutch on third downs and looking like a running back after the catch…Donald Strickalnd for making two impact plays in a limited role…Sione Pouha/Mike DeVito for filling for Shaun Ellis and not letting the D-Line miss a beat…Leon Washington for 120 total yards…The Jets offensive line…Steve Weatherford for bringing some stability to the punting position.

AFC East Observations

New England Patriots – Was it just me or did the Patriots look nothing like an elite team last night? I’m pretty sure I saw Buffalo physically dominate them for 58 minutes and then choke away the game in a manner that only the Bills could. Give Tom Brady credit for a strong finish and leading the game winning drive and to Randy Moss/Ben Watson for having big time nights. However, let’s be honest the Pats defense didn’t look good, they had no running game, and Brady looked a little shaky in the pocket. How often you think Rex Ryan will be sending the house next week?

Miami Dolphins – Welcome to reality Miami fans aka your 2009 season. I have been saying this for months, Miami has 6-10 written all over them, last year’s magical run is over and it is time for a tough schedule and a lack of talent to catch up with them. Chad Pennington won’t finish the season as their starter, and they will be 0-2 after losing to Indy this Monday night.

Buffalo Bills – Smart play, Leodis McKlevin…just brilliant. You really showed everybody what a game breaker you were last night by taking the ball out of the end-zone with your hands team blocking for you and then trying to fight for extra yards after getting lit up by Brandon Merriweather…awesome, real smart football. Beyond that, Buffalo was impressive and should be 1-0. How do you bench Fred Jackson when Marshawn Lynch comes back?

Five Teams That Impressed Me

  1. Philadelphia Eagles– Steam rolled the Panthers in their building, but better hope McNabb gets back quickly.
  2. Oakland Raiders – Put up a fight on Monday Night Football when everyone expected them to lose by 30.
  3. Buffalo Bills – See above.
  4. San Francisco 49ers – Big opening day win against the defending NFC West champs.
  5. New York Giants – Dominated the Redskins, don’t let the score fool you.

Five Teams That Looked Like Garbage

  1. St. Louis Rams – Absolutely no fight from this team, are they really that bad?
  2. Cleveland Browns – They are going to average about 10 points a game this year.
  3. Carolina Panthers – They aren’t going anywhere with Jake Delhomme, who looks like his confidence is shot after last year.
  4. Arizona Cardinals – What happened to that offense from last season?
  5. Miami Dolphins – The first of many losses for them this year.

Other Observations

Let’s see if the Vikings can win when somebody stops the run (if it is possible to stop AP)…At least on Sunday night I was happy we didn’t trade for Jay Cutler, 4 picks owch…The poor Bengals, they had become my 2nd favorite team after Hard-Knocks and they lose like that? (By the way, Laveranues had 1 catch and 2 drops)…Good effort by a young Jacksonville team to nearly upset the Colts…I’d still take Darren Sproles over LaDanian Tomlinson, regardless of what anyone says about him having some type of big bounce back year…Reggie Bush: 7 carries for 14 yards, glad we got #29.

Jets vs. Patriots First Look

The Opponent: Everybody’s pick to win the AFC East, Las Vegas’s favorite to win the Super Bowl, the New England Patriots are the team that every analyst and expert loves to love. The Pats were 11-5 last year without All-Pro quarterback Tom Brady who has now returned. New England looked less than impressive as they escaped with a week one victory because the Buffalo Bills choked in the final minutes. Regardless, they have won their last eight games in the Meadowlands against the Jets and have one of the league’s most potent offenses. Despite questions on defense, the Pats will be consensus favorites to beat the Jets this week as the media hypes up Rex Ryan’s quote that he won’t “kiss Bill Bellicheck’s rings.” If the Jets want to be considered serious AFC contenders, a win at home against the Pats would be a good place to start.

New England Patriots Starters/Key Reserves

OFFENSE

  • Quarterback: Tom Brady – 39/53, 378 yards, 2 TD’s, 1 INT
  • Running Back: Laurence Maroney – 10 carries, 32 yards
  • Running Back: Fred Taylor – 9 carries, 25 yards, 1 TD
  • Running Back: Kevin Faulk – 3 carries, 7 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Randy Moss – 12 catches, 141 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Wes Welker – 12 catches, 93 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Joey Galloway – 0 catches
  • Tight End: Ben Watson – 6 catches, 77 yards 2 TD’s
  • Tight End: Chris Baker – 1 catch, 7 yards
  • Left Tackle: Matt Light
  • Left Guard: Logan Mankins
  • Center: Dan Koppen
  • Right Guard: Stephen Neal
  • Right Tackle: Nick Kaczur

DEFENSE

  • Defensive End: Ty Warren
  • Nose Tackle: Vince Wilfork
  • Defensive End: Jarvis Green
  • Outside Linebacker: Pierre Woods – 4 tackles, 2 FF
  • Inside Linebacker: Jerod Mayo
  • Inside Linebacker: Gary Guyton – 4 tackles
  • Outside Linebacker: Adalius Thomas – 1 sack, 5 tackles
  • Outside Linebacker: Tully Banta-Cain – 2 sacks
  • Outside Linebacker: Derrick Burgess – 1 sack
  • Corner: Leigh Bodden – 5 tackles, 1 pass defense
  • Corner: Shawn Springs – 6 tackles, 1 FF
  • Safety: Brandon Merriweather – 8 tackles,
  • Safety: James Sanders – 4 tackles

SPECIALS

  • Kicker: Stephen Gostkowski
  • Punter: Chris Hanson
  • Kick Return: Laurence Maroney
  • Punt Return: Wes Welker

Key Players: Obviously Tom Brady, Randy Moss, and Wes Welker are the Pats best weapons on offense. They have a deep group of running backs led by Laurence Maroney and their offensive line is consistently solid. On defense, they have a strong rotation at outside linebacker who all contribute to their pass rush. Brandon Merriweather is a rising star in the secondary.

Injuries: The Jets appear to be 100 percent healthy heading into this game, nobody will be inactive because of an injury. Pats middle linebacker Jerod Mayo was hurt last night and is questionable to play this week.

Early Story Lines: Pats have won 8 straight in the Meadowlands…Rex Ryan “kiss the rings” quote…Battle for early lead in AFC East…Darrelle Revis vs Randy Moss…The Jets defense getting after Tom Brady…Mark Sanchez vs Bill Bellicheck’s defensive scheme.

Good Luck Blocking Kris Jenkins

Grading Out the Jets/Texans Game

First a few updates:

1. A bunch of the Jets talked about Rex Ryan’s pre-game speech before their beatdown of the Texans. According to Jay Feely, Ryan used the f-word about 52 times. The general gist of the speech was that the Texans were a soft, finesse team and the Jets were going to kick the crap out of them, and sure enough they did. Ryan sent a message to Houston right away by deferring after winning the coin toss, showing he wasn’t scared of their hyped up offense. Kris Jenkins joked that Ryan should be banned by the NFL as performance enhancing drug because of how motivated he had the team…I hope he has a strong encore performance for this week’s game.

2. The Jets don’t have permanent captains but their game captains for Houston were Kris Jenkins, Alan Faneca, Howard Green, and James Dearth.

3. After being presented with the game ball by Kerry Rhodes, Rex Ryan turned and flipped it over to Woody Johnson for giving him the chance to be a head coach in the NFL, before getting a little emotional in the locker room. I wonder if Eric Manginishowed any emotion in his opening game with the Browns?

4. Shonn Greene was inactive because the Jets wanted to carry an extra linebacker because they were concerned about Bryan Thomas having a sore leg, so Jason Trunsik was active over Greene who is now 100 percent healthy.

5. Across the top of the page, you can now find “Jets Stats” which has their updated leaders in all major statistical categories. I also added the Jets/Texans highlights to the “Game Highlights” section, don’t be confused by the lettering on the video that says “Colts vs Jaguars,” it is the Jets/Texans highlights. Also the first episode of TOJ TV is archived under the “TOJ TV” page.

Grading Out the Jets/Texans Game

Quarterbacks: (A-) I’m not sure you could have asked for a better performance by Mark Sanchez in his first career start. Yes, he threw a costly interception and nearly had two others picked off but he dominated third down going 12/15 for 191 yards and a touchdown, showing his clutch ability. He also moved tremendously well in the pocket, avoiding sacks and keeping multiple plays alive. People love to talk about the “it” factor at quarterback, I’m not sure it is reasonable to assess a trait that can’t clearly be defined to somebody but it sure as hell looks like Sanchez has “it.” He plays with a ton of energy and acts like a leader on the field, sprinting out to break up a fight after Jay Feely knocked through a field goal. Would Brett Favre have been out there last year, trying to prevent a penalty?

Running Backs: (A-) 19 touches for Leon Washington? It is about damn time. Washington averaged 4 yards per carry and provided a consistent performance. He also chipped in 4 catches and a key pass breakup on a near interception. Thomas Jones started with 14 carries for 16 yards and finished with 20 carries for 107 yards, which is why you stick with the running game. Tony Richardson was excellent, providing a crushing block on safety Nick Ferguson that sprung Jones 38 yard touchdown run. I am going to keep harping on this…the closer Jones/Washington get to 40 touches a game, the more likely the Jets are to win. They combined for 39 against Houston, with a near perfect split of Jones having 20 and Washington having 19.

Wide Receivers: (B+) Jerricho Cotchery and Chansi Stuckey’s ability to run after the catch converted a handful of key third downs for the Jets. After dropping his first pass, Cotchery caught the next 6 thrown to him. If they can play like this on a weekly basis, people won’t think twice about Laveranues Coles or any other veteran receiver for a long time. Brad Smith had a nice run on a reverse but also had a drop and a holding penalty. David Clowney wasn’t targeted at all.

Tight Ends: (A) Dustin Keller led the Jets in receiving yards with 94 and had two key third down conversions, including the biggest catch of the game, a 40 yard catch and run when the Jets faced a crucial 3rd and 3 with a 17-7 lead. He is going to be a nightmare match-up for defenses all season. Ben Hartsock played very well for somebody who just joined the team a week ago, providing steady blocking and playing a bunch of reps.

Offensive Line: (A) Whenever you allow zero sacks and have 190+ yards of rushing, you get an A. The only negative was three false start penalties. D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Damien Woody more than held their own against Mario Williams.

Defensive Line: (A) It was comical watching Kris Jenkins throw Texans center Chris Myers around like a rag doll all day. Jenkins didn’t have a big day statistically but anybody who watched the game knows how well he played. Mike DeVito had a big fumble recovery, thanks to his hustle down the field. Marques Douglas had a TFL…oh yea, Steve Slaton only ran for 17 yards.

Linebackers: (A) The A’s are getting redundant, but trust me I’m not getting tired typing them. David Harris was a beast with 11 tackles, a sack, and a pass defensed. He also knocked Andre Davis into another planet when he tried to come over the middle. Bart Scott set the tone early with a crushing blow on Matt Schaub, who played scared the rest of the game. Vernon Gholston had 3 tackles, a TFL and held his own for the entire day which is a step in the right direction for him. Jamaal Westerman continues to look like a UDFA steal, as he recorded his first NFL sack.

Secondary (A) Outside of Nnamdi Asomugha, who is a better corner than Darrelle Revis in the NFL? He is straight lockdown, period. Andre Johnson might as well stayed in the locker room because it was hard to notice he was even out there. Kerry Rhodes and Jim Leonhard were both active around the line of scrimmage. Donald Strickland had a great game with 3 tackles, a key forced fumble, and a QB pressure that led to an INT. Lito Sheppard was strong in run support and also had an interception. Eric Smith had a big 4th down pass break up and had a surprisingly active day.

Special Teams (A) Jay Feely made all his kicks. Steve Weatherford punted well and the Jets allowed zero return yards on punts. Leon Washington and Jim Leonhard were solid on returns.

Coaching (A) Rex Ryan had the Jets motivated and came up with a game plan that had Matt Schaub and Gary Kubiak’s head spinning. Brian Schottenheimer did a great job using Leon Washington and throwing some well timed screens to keep Houston off balance.

Highlights of the Jets Week One Win Over Houston

Jets – 24 Texans – 7, Instant Reaction

You couldn’t have asked for a better opening day effort from the New York Jets. They completely dominated  a team that all the “expert” analysts were calling a serious playoff contender and a threat to the Colts in the AFC South, while everybody dismissed the Jets as the AFC East’s worst team, who wouldn’t be able to handle the Texans with a rookie quarterback and rookie head coach. Well, that’s why they play the game and there is no question that the Jets embarrassed an over matched, and likely overrated Houston Texans team.

First and Foremost….the Jets defense was phenomenal. Steve Slaton was held to 17 yards rushing and the Jets forced him into a crucial fumble. Andre Johnson was invisible (thank you very much Darrelle Revis, who owned their 1 on 1 match-up) and Matt Schaub looked terrible, mostly thanks to consistently vicious Jets pass rush, which was in his face all day. David Harris looked like an all-pro, racking up 11 tackles, a sack, and a pass defensed. Better yet, everybody contributed with guys like Donald Strickland, Eric Smith, Mike DeVito, and Jamaal Westerman (1st NFL sack before Vernon Gholston) chipping in. Rex Ryan called a great game, keeping Houston off balance.

He Sure Didn’t Look Like A Rookie…Outside of an interception and a handful of other risky throws, Mark Sanchez played very well providing the Jets with a balanced attack by racking up a 272 yard passing performance and a touchdown. Most impressive was Sanchez on third down, where he was nearly flawless routinely converting big throw, after big throw. i believe he was something like 12/15 in those situations. His biggest throw of the day was a 40 yard completion to Dustin Keller on a third down after the Texans had cut the lead to 17-7 on an interception return, completing stopping any chance they had at momentum.

40 Touches…I said before the game that if Thomas Jones and Leon Washington combined for 40 touches, the Jets would win and sure enough they combined for 39 and the Jets won. Brian Schottenheimer did an excellent job utilizing Leon Washington (15 carries, 60 yards, 4 catches 24 yards) and sticking with Thomas Jones who struggled early but broke through in the second half with 2 huge runs and 2 touchdowns. He finished the day with 107 yards on 20 carries. I also like the Jets “Seminole” aka their version of the Wildcat, which hit for a couple of nice runs to Washington.

No Brandon Marshall, No Laveranues Coles, No Problem…Great games by Jerricho Cotchery, Dustin Keller, and Chansi Stuckey who all raised their games on third downs to make big plays for their rookie quarterback. Cotchery ran well after the catch and was right around 100 yards, as was Keller. Stuckey obviously had the big 30 yard touchdown and ran well on receiver screens.

You What Is Even More Exciting?…We didn’t even have Calvin Pace, Shaun Ellis, or Shonn Greene today. The Jets D is going to be scary, scary good when those guys come back….No sacks allowed by the Jets -Line…Kris Jenkins is still a beast…The Dolphins looked like garbage today, getting beat down by Atlanta…We are playing New England next week, you have to love that early season big game.

And on that note, I will carry on being in a great mood for the Jets of my Sunday.

Jets vs. Texans: Talking to the Opponent

First a few updates: 

1. A big congratulations to Derek Jeter for breaking the all-time Yankees hit record.

Jets vs. Texans: Talking to the Opponent

I exchanged questions with Texans writer Mike Kerns from (http://dontmesswithtexans.com/) here is our conversation about the Jets/Texans match-up:

MK: With the apparent “QB battle” over and Mark Sanchez winning the starting job (was there really any doubt?), what does the team plan to do with Kellen Clemens. Does he become the primary backup? Or does Rex Ryan plan to see if Clemons can garner any interest on the trade market? Also, is he okay with just being a backup?

JC: Clemens will be the Jets backup this season because none of the quarterbacks on the roster have any experience but this will be his last season in green and white since his contract expires and the Jets like the long term potential of Erik Ainge and Kevin O’Connell. I’m sure Clemens isn’t okay with being a backup, but he had enough chances to be a starter and never took advantage.

MK: A lot of Texans fans were all about trading down in the 2006 draft and taking D’brickshaw Ferguson with their first pick. Now that the fallout from the Mario Williams pick has cleared (and most are now declaring him the right pick for #1 overall) you don’t hear much about Brick in Houston anymore. With this being the first match up between the two high draft picks, who do you give the edge to?
JC: I would give the edge to Williams, who has been a pro-bowl caliber player the past couple of seasons. D’Brick has been pretty good but not great since the Jets drafted him, although he is predicting a pro-bowl appearance for himself this season. It will be fun to watch those two battle on Sunday though, since they two of the more athletic people at their positions in the NFL.
MK: Is the new stories about Brett Favre calling out Jets officials about making him play injured last season as big of a story around the team as ESPN is making it out to be?
JC: I think Favre is just making excuses for his poor play down the stretch. Mike Tannenbaum admitted today that he should have listed Favre as probable, but it remains to be seen if the NFL will take any disciplinary action against the Jets
MK: Derrelle Revis and Andre Johnson. All-Pro vs. All-Pro. This is the one that seems to be getting the most attention on Texans fan sites. Last season, only Nnamdi Asomugha of the Raiders was able to keep Andre Johnson in check. Revis isn’t exactly a slouch though. What’s your gut telling you the outcome will be in this match up?
JC: Andre Johnson will get his catches, but I think Revis will be able to prevent him from killing the Jets with the big play. He usually rises up against the elite receivers in the league. I can see Johnson having something like 5 catches for 59 yards, but he won’t go off for one of his 8 catch, 130 yard, 2 TD’s performance.
MK: With the Jets strong running attack being matched up against Houston’s weakness (Run Defense), what kind of day are you expecting from Thomas Jones and Leon Washington?
JC: I am expecting Jones and Washington to combine for 40 touches on Sunday. I think TJ will get 22-25 carries and be right around 100 yards. Washington should be in the 10-12 carry range, along with a few receptions and should be good for a couple of big plays as usual.
 
JC: My prediction for the game:  Jets- 23, Texans – 20
JC: Expectations have never been higher for the Texans, do you think they will finally get over the hump and challenge the Colts for the divisional title or at least a wild card spot?
 
MK: Well, I am kind of on the fence about that one. The Texans were a trendy sleeper pick last year, as well. But I think either way it goes, it wouldn’t surprise me. We have gotten so used to things going wrong here that we have gotten used to it. We expect bad things to happen and expectations to come up short. I don’t necessarily think it is pessimism. Just realism. But to answer your question, it all depends on Matt Schaub. If he can stay on the field for a full season, I think Houston reaches double digits in wins for the first time in franchise history. The defense only needs to be middle of the pack with the high power offense. And it all starts, and ends, with Matt Schaub.
JC: How healthy is Matt Schaub and if he gets knocked out of the game, will Dan Orlovsky or Rex Grossman come into the game?
 
MK: Matt Schaub declared himself ready to go for the game Sunday. When asked if he was 100%, he replied “in this league, you are never 100%.” But I really think the ankle sprain he suffered against Minnesota has really only been made a big issue because of his durability problems in the past. The team is just being overly cautious. As they should be.
 
With his strong showing in the preseason finale, Rex Grossman won the backup job. But I have to believe he will have a very short leash, especially since the Texans gave Dan Orlovsky a 3 year/9 Million dollar contract this offseason.
JC: How concerned are you about the secondary and the Texans defense overall?
 
MK: I thank the lord above that Dunta Robinson ended his holdout. He immediately became the Texans best CB simply by walking back through the door. Jacques Reeves is still out with a broken fibula, so Fred Bennett will start opposite Robinson on Sunday. Aside from Dunta, I am very concerned about the secondary. As I have been for the past few seasons.
 
With a new defensive coordinator, Frank Bush, I expect some big plays to be given up sometimes by the Texans defense (See Adrian Peterson). Amobi Okoye is in his third year and is teetering into the “bust” stereotype. DeMeco Ryans is 100% healthy this year and playing for a new contract, so I expect him to bring the pain even more that usual. Mario is Mario, so I’m not worried about him. But I want to see more than just these two guys making plays. Okoye and free agent acquisition Antonio Smith need to work at slowing down the run. I really do not know what to expect from first round draft choice Brian Cushing. He missed the entire preseason, yet he is starting on Sunday. Should be interesting.
JC: Do you think Houston will target Kevin Walter often, since it will be matched up on Lito Sheppard who has struggled this pre-season, or do you think they won’t shy away from throwing at Darrelle Revis because they have Andre Johnson?
 
MK: I don’t think they will go to Kevin Water that much since he will probably not play. He suffered a hamstring injury in the preseason and he didn’t even practice today. Andre Davis or David Anderson will probably step in. I’d like to see Jacoby Jones get some time simply for his playmaking abilities, but his immaturity keeps him strictly a punt returner and special teamer. But I think you will see TE Owen Daniels with a big game.
 
As much as I admire Darrelle Revis, Andre Johnson has simply looked unstoppable for a couple of years now. So I don’t see offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan letting Revis take away their greatest weapon on offense. And I am sure Andre will be up for the challenge as well. He was only thrown to one time against Nnamdi Asomugha last year and I hope they don’t do the same this year against Revis. 
JC: What is your prediction for the final score?
 
MK: I think either one of two things happen. Either Houston comes out and gets up by a couple of scores in the first quarter and forces the Jets to make Mark Sanchez feel like he has to air it out. This slowing down the powerful Jets running game. Or, what is more likely, Houston’s defense is slow to arrive and relies on the potent Texans offense to play catch up all game. So, I predict a Kris Brown field goal with under a minute left puts Houston up 24-20 with under a minute left and Mark Sanchez is unable to make the game winning drive in his first NFL start. So, Houston wins a tough one 24-20. But only because they’ve become so tough at home.

Jets vs. Texans: Prediction, TOJ TV Episode I

First a few updates:

1. Click on the video below to see the first episode of TOJ TV, with my Jets/Texans Prediction.

2. Also, Texans receiver Kevin Walter will be a game time decision with a hamstring injury. David Anderson or Andre Davis would fill in for him.

This Week’s Song: The Game f/ Li’l Wayne – RED Magic

Jets vs. Texans: Game Breakdown

First a few updates:

1. Just a friendly reminder that I will be making an appearance on The Fantasy Buffet radio show tomorrow at 11:15 AM to preview the Jets/Texans game, check it out http://ownersedge.fanball.com/fantasy_buffet.php 

2. The Jets added fullback Jason Davis to their practice squad today and removed safety Emmanuel Cook from it.

Jets vs. Texans: Game Breakdown

Jets Offensive Game Plan: The Texans are not strong against the run, and were in the bottom third in all rushing defensive categories last season. Brian Schottenheimer and the rest of the Jets offensive coaching staff should be licking their chops thinking about their running game against the Texans front seven. Thomas Jones and Leon Washington should combine for 40 touches this Sunday, the closer they get to that number the more likely the Jets are to win. If the Jets are running the ball effectively and utilizing Jones/Washington in the short passing game, they will be keeping the dangerous Texans offense off the field and protecting their rookie quarterback.

Expect the Jets to come out fairly conservative in the first half, although I wouldn’t be shocked to see them try to catch Houston off guard by taking an early shot with David Clowney or Dustin Keller down the seam. However, for the most part expect alot of runs, screens, and short hitches/slants to Keller and Jerricho Cotchery. The Jets will want to get Sanchez going with easy completions, although I think they may elect to run the ball in some 3rd and long situations early in the game, similar to how they did against Baltimore in the pre-season.

To recap, expect a heavy, heavy dose of Thomas Jones and Leon Washington and a predominantly short, quick release passing attack. Although, don’t be surprised to see the Jets look to go up top at some point in the first quarter when the Texans overload the box. When David Clowney comes in the game, obviously all eyes will be on him going deep so the Jets might have to hit him with a curl or comeback first or look to get Cotchery or Brad Smith on a go route.

Jets Defensive Game Plan: The Texans have a dangerous offense, led by a strong pocket passer in Matt Schaub, a game breaking receiver in Andre Johnson, a Leon Washington clone in Steve Slaton, a pro-bowl tight (Owen Daniels) and a quality possession receiver (Kevin Walter). How do the Jets stop all of that? Well, the Jets aren’t half bad on defense themselves even without Calvin Pace and Shaun Ellis. I expect the Jets to come after Schaub early and often and test his bum ankle. Rex Ryan won’t be scared to leave Darrelle Revis one on one in coverage with Andre Johnson and Kevin Walter one on one with Lito Sheppard. Kerry Rhodes and David Harris both should be alright against Daniels at the tight end spot. In terms of Slaton, the Jets simply have to tackle. They can’t overload the box, miss a tackle and let him get in the open field because he will be gone.

I am concerned because the Texans are a big play offense and the Jets gave up a ton of big plays in the pre-season. I think Revis will hold his own against Johnson. The guy will get his catches but I don’t think he will kill the Jets with a big play or have one of his normal 8 catch, 130 yard, 2 TD performances. Keep an eye on Kevin Walter because honestly Lito Sheppard hasn’t looked good, and I’m sure the Texans will be looking to exploit that match-up.

The key for the Jets will be to prevent the big play. They need to make the Texans put together long drives to score points, and look to eventually create turnovers. Houston will get their yards but if the Jets can grab an interception and force a fumble, and hold the Texans to field goals instead of touchdowns, they have a great chance of coming out on top.

Special Teams Breakdown: Both teams have solid kickers. Obviously, you have to be concerned about the Jets punting situation but hopefully Steve Weatherford can be halfway decent and not kill the Jets with any shanks. Leon Washington and Jacoby Jones are both dangerous kick returners, and don’t forget about Jim Leonhard and Andre Davis as punt returners. Both teams have players who can change the entire dynamic of the game on their special teams units.

The Jets Will Win If…Mark Sanchez plays beyond his years, managing to take a couple of shots down the field to keep the defense honest but avoiding any costly turnovers. Darrelle Revis contains Andre Johnson and the Jets don’t let Steve Slaton get in the open field. Thomas Jones and Leon Washington combine for 40 touches, letting the Jets dominate the time of possession, keeping the dangerous Texans offense on the side-line.

The Jets Will Lose If…The Jets defense allows the big play, letting Steve Slaton or Andre Johnson score a touchdown of 30 yards or more. Johnson beats Revis up and down the field, racking up yet another 100 yard game. Mark Sanchez tries to do too much and throws a costly interception in a big spot. Thomas Jones can’t get going in the running game and Leon Washington has less than 10 touches on offense.

First Time Starters For the Jets:

  • Mark Sanchez, Quarterback – The rookie needs to manage the game but if the Texans load up the box, he has to make them pay over the top.
  • Chansi Stuckey, Receiver – Keep an eye on him on third downs, when he slides into the slot.
  • Mike DeVito/Sione Pouha – Filling in for Shaun Ellis, these guys need to support Kris Jenkins up front and apply pressure on Matt Schaub.
  • Vernon Gholston – Expect the Texans to run at him early and often. Hopefully his bench press can translate to the field.

Tomorrow, check back for the first episode of “Turn on the Jets TV” where I will make by prediction for the Jets game and the rest of the NFL Games this weekend, along with some fantasy observations.

Get Ready to See Some Thomas Jones on Sunday

Jets vs. Texans: Key Match-Ups

First a few updates:

1. The Jets first injury report today had Mike DeVito listed as limited, although he is still expected to play. There are some rumblings that Sione Pouha will start at defensive end and that DeVito will rotate in off the bench but that remains to be seen. Kellen Clemens, Bryan Thomas, Wallace Wright, and Shonn Grenne were also listed on the injury report but all participated in the full practice today.

2. The Sporting News came up with a list of the top 100 players in the NFL: three Jets made it on the list, with Alan Faneca coming in at #34, Kris Jenkins #69, and Darrelle Revis at #98. No, Nick Mangold? I was a little surprised by that.

3. Brett Favre said some garbage today about being hurt towards the end of last season and a belief that he probably should have sat because his arm hurt so much. Yea, I’m sure Favre was just begging to be taken out when the Jets were 8-4 or 8-5. I really hope Cleveland and Minnesota end up in a 0-0 tie this weekend, with Favre throwing 4 INT’s, I’m not really interested in seeing him or Mangini win.

4. A little heads up that I will be making an appearance on The Fantasy Buffet at www.fanball.com at 11:15 AM on Friday to preview the Jets/Texans game.

Jets vs. Texans: Key-Match Ups

Tomorrow check back for an excessively comprehensive breakdown of the Jets/Texans 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.

Darrelle Revis vs. Andre Johnson: Everybody knows Andre Johnson is one of the three best receivers in the NFL, if not arguably the best overall one. Few people respect Darrelle Revis as one the league’s top 3-5 cornerbacks, but make no mistake, he is. Johnson is the type of player who can change a game on any given play, having the ability to score from any place on the field which only increases the pressure on Revis. With Rex Ryan’s aggressive style, I don’t know how much help Revis will have over the top. As long as he can keep Johnson in front of him and prevent him from killing the Jets with the big play, he will have done his job.

D’Brickashaw Ferguson/Damien Woody vs. Mario Williams – Ferguson and Williams is a battle of former top 5 picks in the 2006 draft, so it will grab more headlines but I am worried about Woody struggling with a speed rusher like Williams. Despite having a solid season in 2008, Woody is still a former interior lineman who sometimes struggles against the pass rush. I think Ferguson has the feet to handle Williams and will be able to protect Sanchez adequately. Don’t be surprised to see the Jets chip Williams occasionally with a back or tight end. The last thing they need is Sanchez getting pounded into the turf or running for his life all day on Sunday.

Leon Washington vs. DeMeco Ryans – Ryans is a lethal combination of speed and talent at the middle linebacker position, while Leon Washington is one of the hardest people to tackle in the NFL in the open field. When the Jets drop off a screen to Washington or send him on a wheel route out of the backfield, it will be up to Ryans to prevent him from creating a big play.

Lito Sheppard vs. Kevin Walter – The Texans aren’t going to stop throwing to Andre Johnson because Darrelle Revis is on him but they will certainly be throwing a ton of balls to Walter, an 8 touchdown 900 yard receiver, against Sheppard who struggled all pre-season. Lito is in desperate need of a strong performance to calm everybody’s nerves about him opposite Revis. Walter has good size and is frequently targeted around the red-zone, Sheppard has good hands and can make big plays but also has been a penalty machine this pre-season and been beat often.

We Never Get Enough Leon Washington here at TurnOnTheJets.com

Jets vs. Texans: First Look

First a few updates:

1. Well you don’t have to worry about the Jets being jinxed by pre-season expectations. They were the consensus pick to finish in last place by all of ESPN’s “experts” and are also currently ranked #23 in their NFL Power Rankings, behind the Seahawks, 49ers, Bills, Redskins, and Texans. But, hey that’s why they play the game right?

2. The Jets added Danny Woodhead to their practice squad today and released Jehuu Caulcrick off it.

3. On the active roster, the Jets signed linebacker Ryan Fowler who played for the Titans the past few seasons, including starting 16 games for them 2 years ago and released fullback Jason Davis.

4. Mike DeVito didn’t practice today but is still expected to go on Sunday, as well is Shonn Greene who is recovering from a variety of injuries. Sione Pouha ran with the first team in practice today, with Kris Jenkins sliding out to defensive end for some looks when paired with Pouha.

Jets vs. Texans: First Look

The Opponent: The Houston Texans have been 8-8 the past two seasons, and are a trendy pick to take the step to the next level in 2009 and become a legitimate playoff contender. Their offense is expected to be one of the NFL’s best but they have a ton of question marks on defense, making them the complete opposite of the Jets who have the reverse problem. Over the past two seasons, the Texans are 12-4 at home and have generally been difficult to beat in their building since coming into the league. The latest lines I saw have them as 4-5 point favorites over the Jets. Regardless, the Jets must get this game. They don’t want to be heading home to play the Pats and Titans, teams with a combined record of 24-6 last year, as a 0-1 team.

Houston Texans Starters/Key Reserves

OFFENSE

  • Quarterback: Matt Schaub – 3,043 passing yards, 15 TD’s, 10 INT’s, 92.7 QB Rating
  • Running Back: Steve Slaton – 1,282 rushing yards, 9 TD’s, 377 receiving yards, 1 TD
  • #2 Running Back – Chris Brown – DNP
  • Fullback: Vonta Leach – 12 receptions, 103 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Andre Johnson – 115 receptions, 1575 yards, 8 TD’s
  • Wide Receiver: Kevin Walter – 60 receptions, 899 yards, 8 TD’s
  • Wide Receiver: David Anderson – 19 receptions, 241 yards, 2 TD’s
  • Wide Receiver: Andre Davis – 13 receptions, 213 yards
  • Tight End: Owen Daniels – 70 receptions, 862 yards, 2 TD’s
  • #2 Tight End: Joel Dressen – 11 receptions, 77 yards, 1 TD
  • Left Tackle: Duane Brown
  • Left Guard: Chester Pitts
  • Center: Chris Meyers
  • Right Guard: Mike Brisel
  • Right Tackle: Eric Winston

DEFENSE

  • Defensive End: Antonio Smith
  • Defensive Tackle: DelJuan Robinson – 28 tackles, 6 TFL’s
  • Defensive Tackle: Amobi Okoye – 24 tackles, 1 sack
  • Defensive End: Mario Williams – 53 tackles, 12 Sacks
  • Middle Linebacker: DeMeco Ryans – 112 tackles, 4 TFL’s, 1 sack
  • Outside Linebacker: Xavier Adibi – 35 tackles
  • Outside Linebacker: Brian Cushing – 1st round draft pick
  • Corner: Jacques Reeves – 52 tackles, 4 INT’s
  • Corner: Fred Bennett – 43 tackles, 2 INT’s
  • Safety: Dominique Barber – 15 tackles
  • Safety: Eugene Wilson – 63 tackles, 2 INT’s

SPECIALS

  • Kicker: Kris Brown
  • Punter: Matt Turk
  • Kick Return: Jacoby Jones
  • Punt Return: Andre Davis

Key Players: Matt Schaub is a dangerous quarterback when he is healthy. He has a strong arm and can get the ball down the field. Andre Johnson is arguably the best receiver in football. Kevin Walter is an underrated player and a very good number two option, who caught more touchdowns than anyone on the Jets last year. Owen Daniels is a pro-bowl tight end. Steve Slaton is an explosive player, who averaged almost 5 yards per carry last season, although he did lose 3 fumbles. DeMeco Ryans is one of the best linebackers in football. Mario Williams is a top flight pass rusher. Houston coaches have been raving about rookie Brian Cushing at outside linebacker.

Jets Injury Concerns: Mike DeVito is a little banged up but expected to start for Shaun Ellis (suspension) and rotate defensive line reps with Sione Pouha, Marques Douglas, and Kris Jenkins. Shonn Greene is nursing sore ribs and a sore hamstring but should be active as the #3 RB. Backup quarterback Kellen Clemens has a sore elbow, but will be the #2 QB on Sunday.

Early Story Lines: Rex Ryan’s first game as a Head Coach…rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez’s first start…Darrelle Revis vs Andre Johnson…Texans look to justify pre-season expectations…expected great defense (Jets) vs expected great offense (Texans).

I’m glad we got Darrelle Revis