New PLAJ Podcast: Scott Mason with part 1 of his interview with New York Jets legend Bruce Harper on his career with the team…
Early thoughts on the New York Jets week 15 Monday night match-up against the Tennessee Titans
A collection of early thoughts on the New York Jets Monday night match-up against the Tennessee Titans
1. Chris Johnson has shaken off the early season fantasy football jokes and is putting together a strong overall season, with 1,037 yards on 4.7 yards per carry, along with 4 touchdowns and 33 receptions. Johnson is the type of back who has owned the Jets defense in recent years. He has the ability to break to the outside and be a factor in the passing game, which could expose the Jets lack of speed at linebacker.
2. Jake Locker is kind of like a more mobile Mark Sanchez, in that he is inaccurate and turns the ball over way too much. If the Jets can get the game into his hands primarily, they have a good chance of getting a victory. Tennessee has some talent at wide receiver, look for Antonio Cromartie to match-up with Kenny Britt which will leave Kyle Wilson and Ellis Lankster to handle Kendall Wright and Nate Washington…not ideal match-ups for the Jets.
3. The Titans are 4-9 for a reason. Right now, they are down four starting offensive lineman which should equal a big day for Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples. They are ranked 27th in total defense (23rd against the run and 26th against the pass).
4. Regardless of their vulnerability in the secondary, look for another run heavy game plan from the Jets that will look to control the clock. There is no reason to expect anything less than 15+ carries each for Bilal Powell and Shonn Greene. If the Jets do take their shots down the field, taking them to the newly signed Braylon Edwards makes the most sense.
5. Our playoff pipe dream viewing guide will be published tomorrow but know this – if the Jets win and get just a little help this weekend, their week 16 game at home against San Diego will be hugely important and not just in a “pipe dream” kind of way but in a “they really have a shot to make the playoffs” kind of way.
Early thoughts on the New York Jets week 14 match-up against the Jacksonville Jaguars
Oh hey, remember there is still a football game this Sunday amidst all the quarterback controversy when the 5-7 New York Jets travel to face the 2-10 Jacksonville Jaguars. It is game that will likely be played in front of 10,000 disinterested Jacksonville fans, 10,000 disappointed Tebow fans who came to the game just to watch him stand on the sideline in a sweatshirt and many…many tarps.
1. The Jets may be catching a huge break if both wide receiver Cecil Shorts and running back Rashad Jennings don’t play this weekend due to injury, making an inept Jaguars offense that much worse. They have been more productive since Chad Henne took over at quarterback although he took a step back last week but Shorts in particular would have given the Jets fits. Justin Blackmon will likely be manned up by Antonio Cromartie and now the Jaguars don’t have the playmaking Shorts to eat up Kyle “Finger Wag” Wilson and Ellis Lankster. If Jennings doesn’t play, it leaves special teamer Montell Owens to handle the primary running back role. Basically, Rex Ryan’s defense should be able to beat up on this unit the way they beat up on Arizona last week.
2. You will hear a ton of hype this week about how Chad Henne has “owned” Rex Ryan’s defenses when in reality outside of one big game early in 2009, he hasn’t doen much of anything against them. In his last start against the Jets, Henne went 5/18 for 55 yards and was sacked 5 times.
3. Yes, Mark Sanchez will be under center this week and yes he will have a quick hook. It will be fascinating to see what kind of game plan the Jets come out with. Jacksonville has the league’s 31st ranked defense meaning they are putrid against both the run and pass. Last week Buffalo racked up 232 rushing yards on them. There should be a heavy dose of both Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell but the Jets have to take their shots down the field, if anything just to see how Sanchez handles it.
4. Hopefully wide receiver Stephen Hill can build on his encouraging performance from last week. The Jets worked him in the short/intermediate passing game and it’d be nice to see him as a target on most deep shots…not Chaz Schilens who struggled with them last week.
5. Speaking of rookies, can we see more of Quinton Coples and Demario Davis? Both barely played last week and will be opening day starters in 2013.
6. For you playoff day-dreamers you need to root for the following: Jets win, Colts loss to Tennessee, Pittsburgh loss to San Diego and Cincinnati loss to Dallas…also a New England win over Houston so the Texans have something to play for in week 17 vs. the Colts…good luck!
Early thoughts on the New York Jets week 13 match-up against the Arizona Cardinals
A collection of early thoughts on the New York Jets week 13 match-up against the Arizona Cardinals, where the over/under shouldn’t be higher than 10 points.
1. This has the potential to be an epically awful offensive football game. Rex Ryan’s defenses generally perform very well against rookies and inexperienced quarterbacks. Remember what they did to Andrew Luck earlier in the year. Ryan Lindley is about 1/5th the player Luck is and is coming off a 4 interception performance against St. Louis. The Cardinals also have a dreadful offensive line. Basically if the Jets can’t feast on this offense, Rex might need to hang it up.
On the other side, Arizona is strong at all three levels of their defense. They have been consistent all season and don’t forget this is a team that just intercepted Matt Ryan 5 times in a single game. Linebacker Daryl Washington is one of the league’s best. Patrick Peterson is one of the top young corners in football and Calais Campbell with be a handful up front. Ex-Jet safety Kerry Rhodes will also be looking to stick it to his old team and Rex Ryan who called him out as being “too Hollywood” in his book. (Remember when Rex Ryan could write books about his success?)
2. Antonio Cromartie going against Larry Fitzgerald should be a fun match-up to watch, except I’m not sure if Ryan Lindley can get the ball anywhere near Fitzgerald to make it interesting. He was 0-6 last week on passes attempted to him that were over 10 yards. Outside of Fitzgerald, Andre Brown is the type of mediocre receiver who will have a career day working against Finger Wag Wilson and Ellis “Let’s Leave Welker Alone In The End-Zone” Lankster.
3. The tickets for this game are going as low as $18 right now, which means they could conceivably be under $10 by kickoff. It is officially now more expensive for me to go to Shake Shack than a Jets game. IT’S GO TIME!
4. It would be nice to see Stephen Hill start building some confidence heading into next year. Hopefully, Mark Sanchez can get him a few easy catches and maybe take a shot or two down the field to him. He should see a ton of reps because it appears doubtful that either Clyde Gates or Chaz Schilens will play. Fellow rookie Jordan White could also be in line for extended reps.
5. Considering how poor Arizona’s offensive line is, how about a sack or two from Quinton Coples this week? He hasn’t had one since week 5 against the Colts.
6. If the Jets can’t win this game…against a team on a 7 game losing streak…at home…on a 10 day rest. 4-12 might be on the way.
Early thoughts on the New York Jets week 12 Thanksgiving Night match-up against the New England Patriots
The New York Jets season received a shot of life with a 27-13 win over the St. Louis Rams. However, it will take an upset over the New England Patriots this Thursday night to truly make them relevant in the AFC playoff picture again. Here is a collection of early thoughts –
1. The big injury news this week is that Patriots tight end Rob Grokowski will not play because of a broken forearm. Considering he is the league’s best tight end and had 2 touchdowns in their early season match-up…yes this is a huge deal. Aaron Hernandez is expected to play and the Jets coverage attention must now shift to him and Wes Welker. It will be interesting to see how the Jets play Welker since Isaiah Trufant, who covered him the majority of the first match-up, is now out of the season. Look for them to frequently bracket him and throw a collection of different corners at him, hopefully led by Antonio Cromartie who is the only one with the ability to cover him man to man.
2. Mark Sanchez’s best game of the season came against the suspect New England secondary, as he went 28/41 for 328 yards with a touchdown (although he did have two turnovers). Sanchez finally looked in rhythm yesterday as the Jets kept Tim Tebow on the bench outside of three plays. This is another game to keep him on the bench. You don’t beat the Patriots with the Wildcat. You beat the Patriots by throwing down the field on their secondary.
3. That being said, the Jets still need to hit 35-40 carries to keep balance on their offense, protect Sanchez and give the play action passing game a chance. We saw the beginning signs of a committee approach yesterday. Bilal Powell merits 10-12 carries a game, along with Joe McKnight deserving at least 5-7. Powell and McKnight also need to remain factors in the passing game. They are both better screen and checkdown options than Shonn Greene. McKnight also has the ability to split out at wide receiver, something the Jets should consider with their lack of depth at the position.
4. Speaking of receiver, it is time to send Stephen Hill to the bench and reduce him to being a role player. The rookie clearly has his confidence shaken and cannot handle major reps. Chaz Schilens should start at split end, with Jeremy Kerley in the slot. Reduce Hill’s workload to 15-20 snaps and build his confidence back up with a few easy catches on smoke screens or hitch routes. Clyde Gates is another player who shouldn’t be seeing more than limited reps in certain packages. He does have very good speed but is a poor route runner.
5. The Jets special teams needs to wake the hell up. There is no way they could beat New England if they have another killer mistake from that unit.
6. An upset victory over New England on national television is the type of win that could start a late season playoff run, especially when you look at the Jets next two opponents (home vs. Arizona and at Jacksonville). The Jets are appropriately 6.5 point underdogs but this is a winnable game. The team should have confidence from the earlier match-up that they should have won and New England’s defense still has many holes.
Rex Ryan must reverse a disturbing trend since he has taken over. Since 2009 (his first year), the Jets are 0-3 in their second regular season match-up against the Patriots with an average margin of defeat of 26.6 points. Mark Sanchez has also played very poorly in all three of those games with 2 touchdowns to 9 interceptions overall. There is no better time to break this trend than right now.
Early thoughts on the New York Jets week 10 match-up against the Seattle Seahawks
A collection of thoughts on the New York Jets week 10 match-up against the Seattle Seahawks
1. On paper this is a terrible match-up for the Jets. Seattle has an elite defense led by a great secondary with an elite pass rush bolstered by the best homefield advantage on football. The Jets have a below average offense with an inconsistent passing game that can’t protect their quarterback. Seattle also has the league’s second leading rusher in Marshawn Lynch who is the best back after contact in the NFL right now. The Jets defense has struggled to stop the run mostly because they can’t tackle.
2. Where do the Jets find a hope for an upset? Seattle’s offense has been inconsistent and is led by a rookie quarterback in Russell Wilson. He has been much better at home than on the road. Unfortunately the Jets have to face him in his building. Regardless, he remains a rookie and we saw what the Jets defense did to Andrew Luck a few weeks back. Seattle will likely have a tough time moving the ball through the air but if the Jets can’t slow down Lynch, that won’t matter anyway.
3. Dustin Keller needs to have a big week. Their wide receivers are going to struggle against Seattle’s cornerbacks, Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner, so Keller needs to be a factor in the middle of the field. The running game must also take pressure off of Mark Sanchez. Fortunately, Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight are both expected to play to help support Shonn Greene. It isn’t worth making any comments about Tim Tebow’s usage at this point until the Jets show any desire to use him more than 4 plays per game.
4. The Jets special teams needs a bounce-back in a major way. A key recipe for any upset is making big plays in that third of the game. Whether it is a big return, a turnover or a faked punt. The Jets need to get points here.
5. Ultimately this is a gut-check game for the Jets. If you want to be relevant for the second half of the season you need to pull the upset here. They had an extra week to prepare and this team should be playing with immense desperation and aggressiveness. A big upset on the road is the type of thing that can propel a 6-2 second half and a run to a playoff spot. A blowout loss is the type of thing that can propel a 5-11 season.
Early thoughts on the New York Jets week 8 match-up against the Miami Dolphins
A collection of early thoughts on the New York Jets critical week 8 match-up against the Miami Dolphins –
1. This game is without question a must win and has the potential to be a turning point in the Jets season in either a positive or negative way. They can’t afford to drop to 2-2 in the division, 3-4 in the AFC, take a season split with Miami, and have to sit on the loss for two weeks before heading cross country to Seattle, a game the Jets will appropriately be underdogs in. A victory keeps them within one game of New England, guarantees a tie-breaker with Miami (who will be a wild-card contender) and puts their conference record over .500. You can’t lose this game at home to a rookie quarterback.
2. Nobody is saying Ryan Tannehill hasn’t played well for a rookie or that the Miami Dolphins aren’t a talented team. Yet many people are getting carried away with their lofty praise. Let’s keep in mind Tannehill was 16/36 with a INT returned for a touchdown in the team’s previous meeting which was about a month ago. The Dolphins have beat Oakland and St. Louis at home along with a Bengals team on the road, who couldn’t even beat the Cleveland Browns. Overall, Miami is 1-2 on the road, averaging 16 points per game and Tannehill only has 1 TD pass between the three games.
3. The Jets are going to have their hands full with Miami’s running game. They were gashed back in week 3 and that was with Reggie “Don’t Call Me Hot Sauce” Bush missing the entire second half. It is doubtful that Sione Pou’ha and Kenrick Ellis are going to play making the challenge even more difficult. If the Jets can slow down Bush, it will put that much more pressure on Tannehill and likely force him into a handful of mistakes.
4. On offense, the Dolphins are stout in the front seven. The Jets can’t be stubborn and try to force the running game if it isn’t there. This Dolphins secondary can be exploited. Jeremy Kerley is rolling right now and hurt the Dolphins with two big plays in the previous meeting. Dustin Keller is back after missing week 3 and Stephen Hill looks to be 100 percent healthy. Tony Sparano and Mark Sanchez can’t be shy about throwing down the field.
5. Look for Antonio Cromartie to cover Brian Hartline for most of the game. If Cromartie keeps playing the way he has been, I’m not sure who else in the Dolphins passing game is going to hurt the Jets.
Early thoughts on the New York Jets week 4 match-up against the San Francisco 49ers
A collection of thoughts on the New York Jets week 4 match-up against the San Francisco 49ers. Check back later today for Chris Gross’ defensive film breakdown and our roundtable discussion on the game –
1. Underdog. Underdog. Underdog. There won’t be a single person out there who picks the New York Jets to win this game and with good cause. San Francisco was the consensus best team in the league until they were smacked by a mediocre Minnesota Vikings team last week and the Jets have just lost their best player and are coming off a poor showing, despite winning. Fortunately, they play the games for a reason and nobody picked Minnesota to beat San Francisco last week either and we all saw how that went.
2. The Jets best opportunity to pull an upset is to get an early lead. San Francisco struggles to play from behind because they aren’t built to throw the ball down the field. The more that is put on Alex Smith, the better.
3. Vernon Davis has the potential to be an absolute nightmare for the Jets defense, who has still struggled to cover the tight end. This is a game for LaRon Landry to really show his value. Rex Ryan needs to scheme up both an adequate pass rush and a coverage answer for Davis, who is the 49ers best weapon in the pass game.
4. The Jets have two defensive touchdowns and a special teams touchdown so far this season. They are going to need one this week because points are going to be very hard to come by against a loaded 49ers defense.
5. The best approach on offense is going to be running a more spread attack than usual. This is the type of game to get into the 3 wide and have Bilal Powell take the bulk of reps at running back. The Jets are delusional if they think they are going to move the ball by coming out in their three tight end and look and handing dives to Shonn Greene.
6. In general the Jets need to be getting Jeremy Kerley more involved on offense. He needs more targets in the passing game and should be involved in the running game. Use him in the Wildcat, give him pitches and reverses. Kerley is one the team’s few playmakers and needs the ball in his hands.
7. The Jets should get Dustin Keller back and he is desperately needed. He will help prevent too much coverage from being rolled to Santonio Holmes. Look for Chaz Schilens to start in place of Stephen Hill, who should be out with a hamstring injury.
8. It is time for the Jets to mix up the looks in their front seven in hopes of generating more of a pass rush. More Quinton Coples. More Demario Davis. More speed. 3 sacks in 3 weeks isn’t enough.
A collection of early thoughts on the New York Jets week 2 match-up against the Pittsburgh Steelers
A collection of early thoughts on the New York Jets week 2 match-up against the Pittsburgh Steelers…stay with us all day today at TOJ as we have a roundtable discussion on the game coming later, along with new content from Mike Donnelly and Chris Gross.
1. Regardless of the flaws on Pittsburgh’s offensive line and disappointing showing of their defense in week 1. This is a very tough match-up for the Jets. Heinz Field is never an easy place to play, nevermind when the Steelers are 0-1 and desperate for a victory. A win on Sunday would truly put the league on notice that the Jets are a legitimate contender in the AFC.
2. Early indications are that Darrelle Revis is going to play despite a mild concussion. The logic match-up is to put him on Antonio Brown, put Antonio Cromartie on Mike Wallace and come after Ben Roethlisberger like crazy in an attempt to take advantage of their struggling offensive line.
3. The players on Pittsburgh’s offense who have the ability to hurt the Jets the most are Emmanuel Sanders, Heath Miller and Jonathan Dwyer. We all know the history of slot receivers and tight ends taking advantage of Rex Ryan’s defense since he took over the Jets. This is a big week for Kyle Wilson and for the Jets new safeties, LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell, to show their ability in coverage. The reason I say Dwyer is because Pittsburgh has ran the ball down the Jets throat in their previous two meetings and Dwyer looks to be the workhorse back this week.
4. The Jets will receive a nice boost to their run defense if Sione Pouha returns to the line-up. Chris Gross will discuss this later in his film breakdown but the defense missed badly missed him last week at nose tackle. It will also be interesting to see if Eric Smith can play, as he would provide a boost to the special teams.
5. We will get a nice barometer of just how legitimate the Jets passing offense is this week. Pittsburgh has a seemingly endless collection of pass rushers and will receive Ryan Clark back at safety. Mark Sanchez played well both times the Jets went to Pittsburgh in 2010 and you know Santonio Holmes will be fired up for his return. Tony Sparano must stay aggressive in the passing game to keep balance on offense. It will be interesting to see how Stephen Hill responds to the extra attention he should likely receive now from opposing defenses.
6. If Mark Sanchez is playing like he did last week, I’d prefer even less of the Wildcat than we saw last week. Give the extra carries to Bilal Powell, particularly the edge rushes which Shonn Greene lacks the speed for.
7. What in the world would be the justification by the national media for a Jets win this week? Pittsburgh is having a down year? We won’t be impressed until they play Houston or San Francisco? Who knows…
8. It will be good to see Jerricho Cotchery again.