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

2009 NFL Predictions

First a few updates:

1. Now that I got my 40 Jets predictions in the books, I have to get my full NFL predictions out of the way so I can be ridiculed at the end of the season.

2. Normal in-season schedule for the site will look something like this:

  • Monday – Breakdown/Grades Previous Jets Game, All Sunday NFL Action, Monday Night Pick
  • Tuesday – A little more breakdown from previous game/begin to look ahead to next game
  • Wednesday – In-depth breakdown of upcoming game
  • Thursday – Key match-ups for upcoming game and more analysis
  • Friday – Video: Jets Prediction, NFL Predictions, Fantasy Predictions and more…
  • Saturday – Last second updates
  • Sunday – Quick instant reaction after game

I am also going to be deleting the TOJ of Hall Fame soon (tragic, I know) and be replacing it with “2009 Jets Stats,” which will be updated the stats throughout the season for all the players. Of course, the “Jets Game Highlights” section will also be updated each week with the new clips and the depth chart will always be changed accordingly.

2009 NFL Predictions

Drum Roll, please…

AFC East

  1. New England: 12-4
  2. New York Jets: 10-6 (Wild Card)
  3. Miami Dolphins: 7-9
  4. Buffalo Bills: 7-9

AFC North

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers: 12-4
  2. Baltimore Ravens: 11-5 (Wild Card)
  3. Cincinnati Bengals: 6-10
  4. Cleveland Browns: 5-11

AFC South

  1. Indiannapolis Colts: 11-5
  2. Tennessee Titans: 8-8
  3. Houston Texans: 8-8
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars: 7-9

AFC West

  1. San Diego Chargers: 12-4
  2. Denver Broncos: 7-9
  3. Kansas City Chiefs: 5-11
  4. Oakland Raiders: 3-13

NFC East

  1. Philadelphia Eagles: 12-4
  2. New York Giants: 11-5 (Wild Card)
  3. Dallas Cowboys: 8-8
  4. Washington Redskins: 7-9

NFC North

  1. Minnesota Vikings: 10-6
  2. Green Bay Packers: 10-6 (Wild Card)
  3. Chicago Bears: 8-8
  4. Detroit Lions: 3-13

NFC South

  1. Atlanta Falcons: 11-5
  2. Carolina Panthers: 10-6
  3. New Orleans Saints: 10-6
  4. Tampa Bay Bucs: 5-11

NFC West

  1. Arizona Cardinals: 10-6
  2. Seattle Seahawks: 9-7
  3. San Francisco 49ers: 6-10
  4. St. Louis Rams: 4-12
  • AFC Champs: San Diego
  • NFC Champs: Philly
  • Super Bowl Champs: Philly
  • Offensive POY: Adrian Peterson
  • Defensive POY: DeMarcus Ware
  • NFL MVP: McNabb/Rivers/AP/Brady…can’t decide
  • Offensive Rookie: Hakeem Nicks/Jeremy Maclin/Knowshon Moreno….can’t decide
  • Defensive Rookie: Aaron Curry

Highlights 2008 NFL Season

40 Predictions For 2009 New York Jets Season

First a few updates:

1. The Jets waived punter AJ Trapasso after picking him up yesterday and signed former Jaguars punter Steve Weatherford. It is now becoming a daily part of my day to read about the Jets changing punters: get up, eat breakfast, go to class, read about the Jets new punter, and so on…

2. I think the Yankees might win the AL East by 12-15 games this season.

3. The rumors continue to swirl about the Jets adding a receiver, thanks mostly to a twitter by Kerry Rhodes about some type of big announcement coming for the Jets. Most people are reporting that Brandon Marshall is out of the question at this point but the Jets are continuing look at other team’s rosters. I am not sure who they can add right now besides Marshall, that would be such a huge upgrade over Chansi Stuckey or David Clowney.

4. So my old piece of crap I-Pod broke a few weeks ago, leaving me i-pod less. But how about this? My girlfriend and I were taking a cab back to Grand Central Station on Friday and what do I find in the cab? A brand new I-Pod, one that holds 5000 songs compared to my old one which only held 1000 songs. Even better, it is a nice shade of Jets green…now if that isn’t a good omen for this season than I don’t know what is. It is also helped me feel better about spending 11 dollars per drink in NYC, when I currently have no source of income. In about 3 weeks, I will be eating all my meals off the Taco Bell dollar menu.

5. The Jets named their Danny Woodhead-less practice squad today. The fan favorite running back probably got picked up on waivers by another team. Here is the PS: Jehuu Caulcrick, Keith Fitzhugh, Emmanuel Cook, Jack Simmons, Marcus Henry, Kenwin Cummings, Matt Kroul, Ryan McKee

40 Predictions For 2009 New York Jets Season

Tomorrow, I will start coverage of the Jets week one match-up against the Houston Texans but today is the perfect day to make my 2009 NFL Predictions, starting with 40 (I don’t know, the number just came to me) about our New York Jets.

1. David Harris will lead the Jets in sacks this season with 9. Calvin Pace will come in second despite missing the first four games, finishing with 7.5.

2. Vernon Gholston will be somewhere between slightly below average and okay during the first four games. He will begin to play better as a situational player when the season progresses, finishing with 5.5 sacks.

3. Lito Sheppard will give up alot of plays but also make alot of plays, because of all the balls that will be thrown his way. He will start 16 games and lead the team in interceptions.

4. Darrelle Revis will be returning Hawaii. He will prove to be a top 3 CB in the NFL this season.

5. Howard Green will be an extremely valuable player off the bench on the Jets defensive line, providing a quality backup to Kris Jenkins.

6. Kerry Rhodes will have a much better year than he did last season but still won’t produce at his 2006 statistical level and won’t be a pro-bowler.

7. Jim Leonhard will be a steady, consistent player on the Jets defense but his most important contributions will be as a punt returner.

8. The Jets will sweep the Miami Dolphins this season.

9. Thomas Jones won’t match last year’s gaudy numbers but will still finish with a solid 1175 yards and 8 rushing touchdowns.

10. Leon Washington will have at least 50 more carries this season than he did in 2008, along with 10 more catches.

11. Leon Washington will have 1100 combined rushing/receiving yards. He had 800 last year.

12. Leon Washington will have 2 kick return touchdowns this season. Jim Leonhard will take one punt back.

13. Leon Washington will have a better season than Reggie Bush (sorry, Dan).

14. Shonn Greene will start out the season slow but become an important part of the offense in the second half of the season.

15. Bryan Thomas will very quietly have his best season since 2006, finishing with 67 tackles and 6.5 sacks.

16. Shaun Ellis, Marques Douglas, Mike DeVito, and Ropati Pitoitua will be a surprisingly solid defensive end rotation.

17. The Jets will split with New England for the third time in four years.

18. Somebody on the offensive line will miss a few starts this season, exposing the Jets lack of depth at the position.

19. Tony Richardson, the ageless wonder…will start another 16 games.

20. Jerricho Cotchery will just barely get 1000 yards receiving and finish with 5 touchdowns.

21. Brad Smith will have less than 10 catches this season.

22. Dustin Keller will be joining Darrelle Revis in Hawaii, finishing with 67 catches, 850 yards, and 7 touchdowns.

23. Mark Sanchez’s stats will look very similar to Joe Flacco’s last season. The Jets high paid rookie will finish with 15 TD’s, 11 INT’s, 2980 yards passing, and a 62.0 completion percentage.

24. David Clowney will catch at least 2 touchdowns of 40 yards or more.

25. Chansi Stuckey won’t have stats that will impress anybody because of his low yards per catch average, but will be a valuable 3rd down weapon for the Jets.

26. The Jets defense will give up more big plays than expected but will have more sacks, interceptions, and defensive touchdowns than in 2008.

27. Despite having a better backup than he did last year, Kris Jenkins will start out slow because of missing most of the pre-season and will start 14 games this year, not the full 16.

28. Brian Schottenheimer will be extremely conservative the first 5-6 games of this season, frustrating fans. However, as Sanchez gets more comfortable the Jets offense will begin to resemble its 2006 form.

29. Steve Weatherford won’t finish the season as the Jets punter….will he even finish this article as the Jets punter?

30. The Jets will split with the Buffalo Bills this season.

31. Bart Scott will be a quality player and bring a nasty attitude to the Jets defense but he will be outplayed by David Harris at inside linebacker.

32. Thomas Jones will catch another 30 passes this season.

33. Mark Sanchez’s inexperience will cost the Jets a couple of winnable games in the first half of the season. His talent level and growing comfort in the offense, will steal them a late season game they shouldn’t win.

34. The Jets will enter their week 9 bye as a 4-4 team and not be considered a serious playoff contender.

35. Similar to the 2006 team, they will rally to a 6-2 finish and end up as a 10-6 wild card team.

36. They will either upset the Colts or Pats on the road in the second half of the season, not both. Their other second half loss will be at home to Atlanta…so yes, I am saying they win in Buffalo (aka Toronto), Tampa, and take care of the Panthers at home in the second half of the season.

37. Most Improved Player Offense – Dustin Keller.

38. Most Improved Player Defense – Bryan Thomas, David Harris

39.  Pro-Bowlers – Darrelle Revis, Dustin Keller, David Harris, Leon Washington (kick returner), Nick Mangold

40.  The Jets won’t add another veteran receiver this season, but it will be top priority in next year’s off-season.

The Jets Clinching a Playoff Spot in Their Last Home Game in 2006, I am expecting a similar situation when they beat the Bengals in week 17 this year to clinch a playoff spot:

Crazy Sunday For Jets: Updated Look At 53 Man Roster & Cuts

No time for non-football updates, on what has been a suprisingly active Sunday for the Jets:

1. The Jets have acquired former New England backup quarterback Kevin O’Connell from the Detroit Lions for an undisclosed draft pick (likely a conditional 6th or 7throunder). Regardless, both Dave Hutchinson and Rich Ciminihave confirmed that Kellen Clemens isn’t going anywhere and will remain the #2 quarterback for now. Why did the Jets make this move? Apparently the front office has always been high on O’Connell and wanted to jump at the chance to get him on the roster. Kellen Clemens is going to be gone after this season and they want somebody to battle it out with Erik Ainge for the #2 spot behind Mark Sanchez in 2010. In terms of this season, the Jets won’t carry four quarterbacks on their active roster, as Hutchinson smartly points out expect either Ainge or O’Connell to pick up a phantom injury and end up on injured reserve for 2009.

2. The Jets have also been working the waiver wire, today they acquired punter AJ Trapasso from the Tennessee Titans. Bye, Bye Reggie Hodges. Trapasso executed a fake punt for touchdown in the Hall of Fame Game this season and also boomed one off the Cowboys new scoreboard. They also picked up tight end Matthew Mulligan from the Titans, who is regarded primarily as a blocking tight end. He is a second year player from Maine, who is 6’5 270 pounds. In the pre-season he recorded 3 catches for 40 yards and a touchdown. Finally, they picked up fullback Jason Davis, who is a fourth year player that has primarily been with the Chicago Bears. Last year in Chicago, he started three games, had a rushing attempt and a reception for 12 yards.

3. Since the Jets have now added four players (O’Connell, Trapasso, Mulligan, Davis) they released running back Danny Woodhead, tackle Michael Kracalik, punter Reggie Hodges, and linebacker Brandon Renkart.

Quarterbacks:

  1. Mark Sanchez – Let’s translate strong pre-season into strong regular season.
  2. Kellen Clemens – Some concerns about an injured elbow, but remains backup for now. Gone in 2010.
  3. Erik Ainge – Great pre-season, could be eventual #2.
  4. Kevin O’Connell – There are some rumors the Jets may trade him to Denver now, but if he stays put expect him or Ainge to end up on the IR and then both compete in 2010 for the #2 spot.

Running Backs:

  1. Thomas Jones – Could be last year in Green and White.
  2. Leon Washington – Hope a new contract gets done soon.
  3. Shonn Grenne – Don’t know if he can contribute early because of injury plagued pre-season.

Fullbacks:

  1. Tony Richardson – Solid veteran.
  2. Jason Davis – Starting experience. I guess the Jets weren’t sold on Jehuu Caulcrick.

Receivers:

  1. Jerricho Cotchery – First year as an unquestioned #1 receiver.
  2. Chansi Stuckey – Top of the committee approach to the #2 spot.
  3. David Clowney – Another monster pre-season.
  4. Brad Smith – Quiet pre-season.
  5. Wallace Wright – Special teams ace.

Tight Ends:

  1. Dustin Keller – Potential for a monster season.
  2. Ben Hartsock – Doesn’t know the offense but is the #2.
  3. Matthew Mulligan – Doesn’t know the offense but is the #3.
  4. James Dearth – Long Snapper.

Tackles

  1. D’Brickashaw Ferguson – Hopefully can take game to next level in ’09.
  2. Damien Woody – Seems fully recovered from pre-season concussion.
  3. Wayne Hunter – Also has value as backup tight end.

Guard

  1. Alan Faneca – Stay healthy.
  2. Brandon Moore – Got a well deserved new contract, hopefully he maintains level of play.
  3. Robert Turner – Also the backup center.
  4. Matt Slauson – Draft pick, means he gets more time to develop,

Center

  1. Nick Mangold – One of the best in the business.

Defensive Ends

  1. Shaun Ellis – Will be back in week 2.
  2. Marques Douglas – Should be good replacement for Kenyon Coleman.
  3. Mike DeVito – Should start week one for Ellis.
  4. Ropati Pitoitua – Strong pre-season earned him roster spot.

Defensive Tackle

  1. Kris Jenkins – Straight beast when healthy.
  2. Howard Green- Great pre-season.
  3. Sione Pouha- Might not play much but provides decent depth.

Linebackers

  1. Bart Scott – Still love watching him rip that ball out of Brandon Jacobs hands.
  2. David Harris – Two words in this defense: Pro Bowl.
  3. Calvin Pace – Back in week four.
  4. Bryan Thomas – Had a quiet but strong pre-season.
  5. Vernon Gholston – Showed a pulse the past couple of pre-season games.
  6. Marques Murrell- Good special teams/depth player. Could see some defensive action in weeks 1-4.
  7. Jamaal Westerman – I think he probably hopped Murrell on the depth chart. Could be Jets top backup in weeks 1-4 at linebacker.
  8. Jason Trunsik – Quiet pre-season. Might be released when Pace or Ellis returns.
  9. Larry Izzo- Earned spot on reputation. Could still be cut when Pace/Ellis return.

Cornerbacks

  1. Darrelle Revis – Lock Down
  2. Lito Sheppard – Real worried about him.
  3. Dwight Lowery – Finished pre-season strong.
  4. Donald Strickland – Quietly will be a good addition for the Jets on defense.
  5. Ahmad Carroll – Special teams ace.
  6. Drew Coleman – Could be gone soon.
  7. Marquis Cole – Either him or Coleman could be gone in week 2 or 5. Seven corners is a bit excessive.

Safeties

  1. Kerry Rhodes – Should have a big year.
  2. Jim Leonhard – First time beginning season as a starter.
  3. Eric Smith – Good depth/special teams player.
  4. James Ihedigbo- Good depth/special teams player.

Specials

  1. Jay Feely – Quality kicker.
  2. AJ Trapasso – Bye Reggie Hodges.

To recap, strong candidates to be cut after the return of Ellis and Pace are: Larry Izzo, Drew Coleman, Marquis Cole, Jason Trusnik.

Our New Punter Scores a Touchdown