New York Jets Fact Or False: Week 1 Edition

Chris Gross Fact or False previews the Jets/Bills week 1 match-up

With the 2012 NFL season finally just a couple of days away, Turn On The Jets brings you the very first regular season edition of New York Jets Fact Or False. For the duration of the season, each week’s F or F will be previewing the upcoming Jets game for each particular week. During the bye week, we will have another edition of the ever so popular “Tweeter’s Choice,” where readers can send in topics for analysis via twitter. For now, let’s look at some keys to the game for this Sunday’s season opener against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium.

Fred Jackson will surpass 100 yards rushing. False.

While Fred Jackson is certainly a very effective running back, who seems to be aging like a fine wine, he has never surpassed 100 yards rushing against the Jets over his entire career. Jackson is coming off of a season ending leg injury from 2011, and being on the wrong side of 30 is a cause for serious concern for one of Buffalo’s most highly touted offensive weapons. Still, Jackson will likely turn out a productive season. That being said, don’t expect him to light up the stat sheet this Sunday.

Jackson’s career rushing high against New York came in their most recent meeting last season, a game in which he amassed just 82 yards on the ground. With the way the Jets’ defense has looked this preseason, particularly against the run, don’t expect Jackson to do much better than that. The Jets have added some youth and speed to their front seven to couple with veterans like Calvin Pace, Bart Scott, and David Harris. This defense should be fun to watch this season, and it will start by shutting Jackson down this Sunday.

Darrelle Revis will keep Stevie Johnson in check. Fact. 

We all expected the hype surrounding this issue coming into this game. The Bills and their fan base like to believe that Stevie Johnson is the only wide receiver in the league to have success against Darrelle Revis. Comparatively speaking, they surely propose a fair argument. In their last match up, Johnson caught 8 balls for 75 yards and a touchdown, numbers that are certainly more respectable than those of his counterparts around the league when facing New York’s All-Pro cornerback. However, following this matchup,the claim has been made that Johnson actually has Revis’s number. Unlike the prior argument, this holds no water.

Throughout his career, Johnson has faced Revis in six games. Over the course of those games, he has amassed 22 catches for 283 yards and 3 touchdowns, averaging out to about 3.7 receptions for 37 yards and .5 touchdowns per game. Considering the fact that Johnson is Buffalo’s number one receiving option, and one of their best offensive playmakers, these numbers do not quite scream domination. You can bet your last dollar that Darrelle Revis has been listening to all of the hype from the fanbase and media alike about Johnson’s success against him, which will likely cause him to take this matchup more personal than any other. Expect Revis Island to be at high tide this Sunday.

The outcome of this game will come down to whichever Quarterback makes the least mistakes. Fact.

The Jets and Bills are both built somewhat similar. Each team relies heavily on their defense and rushing attack to stay competitive in games, hoping that their respective quarterbacks can take that next step to propel them toward permanent contender status. This game will surely provide plenty of quality defense and could remain close for the greater part of 60 minutes.

Mark Sanchez and Ryan Fitzpatrick have each shown signs of quality quarterback play in the past, but each have struggled heavily at times as well, both becoming scapegoats for holding their teams back at some point in their careers. When speaking of each of these teams, the consesus for predicting their success seems to be the same – if the quarterback position can provide consistent, quality play, the team can do great things. That notion could not be more on point for this Sunday. While there will surely be plenty of plays made on the defensive side of the ball, as well as in the running game for each team, the quarterbacks will likely determine the outcome. Who is going to make the plays when they count the most? Who will choke under pressure and cost their team a victory with a vital mistake?

Mark Sanchez will be sacked less than 3 times. False. 

While Sanchez should certainly have better protection now that Wayne Hunter is off of the team and in St. Louis, Austin Howard is making his first career start against one of the most prolific pass rushers in all of football in Mario Williams. Williams inked a record setting deal with Buffalo this offseason, and one would think that he is going to be playing to prove his worth after Houston allowed him to depart as a free agent this spring. Combine that with the rest of Buffalo’s very talented defensive line, and Howard and Co. should have a very busy day this Sunday. Again, the line does look improved with Howard replacing Hunter, however Sanchez was sacked 4 times in the season opener last year, so if New York can limit Buffalo to 3, it is still an improvement.

Mark Sanchez will complete more than 58% of his passes. Fact.

One thing that Sanchez has shown this preseason, particularly in the Carolina game, is a much better command of the offense. In fact, over the course of the entire preseason, he posted a completion percentage of 68.6. While the offense may not be built for Sanchez to put up monstrous numbers, there is no reason for him to be inefficient. Ball security and efficiency are going to be key to the success of the offense this year, and Sanchez, now heading into his fourth professional season, needs to demonstrate each of these components. Considering Buffalo’s young secondary, Sanchez should be able to complete more than half of his passes this Sunday, if he is provided adequate blocking. If the offensive line struggles to protect him, however, all bets are off.

The “TebowCat” will be used on at least one scoring drive. Fact.

Everyone has been eagerly waiting to see what the Jets have planned, offensively, for Tim Tebow. The “TebowCat,” as this package is now being referred to as, will likely make its debut at MetLife Stadium this Sunday, and for good reason. As previously discussed, Buffalo has a very good, ferocious defensive line, that will likely play very aggressively. New York can slow that unit down by rolling out the Tebow-led package and running some draws and misdirections to keep Mario Williams and Co. on their toes. Expect this formation to be used on at least one scoring drive this weak, particularly inside the 20.

New York Jets Fact Or False: Preseason Review Edition

Chris Gross weekly Fact or False reviews the New York Jets pre-season and makes a few predictions

For our final Preseason edition of New York Jets Fact Or False, we take a look back at the play of Gang Green throughout the summer, as well as making some predictions for the final 53 man roster and the regular season. There certainly is much to be discussed after a four game span that’s only offensive touchdown was led by third string quarterback Greg McElroy. Let’s jump right into it.

Mark Sanchez has taken major strides this preseason. Fact. Mark Sanchez has gone through arguably the most difficult offseason ever faced by an NFL starting quarterback. Since the meltdown in Miami last season, Sanchez has had to face rumors of dissension, trade, along with heavy criticism about his future, and the media circus that has ensued since the acquisition of Tim Tebow. Many players would have succumbed to the pressure and gone in the tank by now, however, Sanchez has seemingly done the complete opposite.

In his fourth preseason, Sanchez had to deal with a severe injury plague to his wide receiver corps, an issue that gave him virtually no real time with Jets’ veterans Santonio Holmes and Jeremy Kerley, a disastrous situation at Right Tackle, and a mediocre, at best, running game. Despite all of this, however, Sanchez posted a completion percentage of 68.6.

Numbers aside, the fourth year pro out of Southern California has shown the moxie that Jets fans have been waiting for since his rookie year. He’s looked more poised than he ever has, proved willing to look downfield (particularly against Carolina), his footwork and pocket awareness seem to be at an all time high, and most importantly he has displayed an excellent command of the offense. He did make one bad decision–the interception returned for a touchdown against the Giants–but other than that Sanchez has put any type of quarterback controversy to bed for now. If the offensive line and running game can get it together, this will likely be the most efficient season of Sanchez’s career.

Austin Howard will start the entire season at Right Tackle. False. While Howard certainly played well in his first start against Carolina this preseason, he showed some signs of struggle against Philadelphia last night. Although he is seemingly an upgrade over Wayne Hunter, the Jets gave the newly acquired Jason Smith extended reps in last night’s action, and the former 2nd overall pick looked quite impressive. The entire line was playing against the Eagles’ second and third string, but Smith’s play was encouraging, and undoubtedly noticed by the Jets offensive staff. A new environment and good combination of veterans may be just what Smith needs to prove why he was so highly sought after coming out of Baylor in 2009. Howard will begin the season as the starter, but he will be under the microscope, and the slightest slip up could cost him his job.

Quinton Coples is going to be an impact player this season. Fact. It is certainly far too early to deem Coples the next Jason Pierre-Paul or Justin Tuck, however the 16th overall selection has shown tremendous promise this preseason, leading the Jets with 4.5 sacks. Coples has also proved to be very tough against the run, while remaining extremely versatile, having seen reps at both end and tackle along the defensive front. His footwork and hand speed are beyond what you’d expect to see out of any average rookie, and his motor, something that was brought into question when he was drafted, does not seem to be an issue at all. He has shown hustle down the field, despite earning a personal foul for a late hit last night, and he chased down the immortal Cam Newton from behind last week, forcing a fumble, which was recovered by the Jets. Coples also seems to be playing with an attitude, and a bit of a chip on his shoulder, which should help keep him hungry and motivated throughout the season. A double digit sack season is not out of the question for the rookie out of North Carolina.

John Conner will make the 53 man roster. False. This is a bold prediction considering Conner was supposedly drafted as Rex Ryan’s personal choice two seasons ago. However, other than earning himself a catchy nickname on HBO’s Hard Knocks, as well as delivering a few quality Special Teams hits, what has Conner really done for this team? The running game has certainly not been the same since the departure of Tony Richardson, and although that can also be due to struggles on the offensive line during that time period, Conner has shown very little, if any, ability to be an effective lead blocker in this league.

More importantly, though, is Conner’s lack of versatility. Apparently he is not the bruiser that the Jets thought they were getting, as shown by his single carry of 0 yards last night against the Eagles. Conversely, he is virtually non existent in the passing game. As noted by a former NFL executive, the Jets became extremely predictable last season anytime Conner checked into the game, as the opposing defense knew of the fullback’s struggles in the passing game.

Extended reps for rookie Terrance Ganaway at fullback last night could be an indication that the Jets are leaning toward the 6th round pick out of Baylor to be the primary guy for the position this season. In one game he has already shown more versatility than Conner, catching 4 passes for 18 yards and a touchdown. He certainly has the size to be a starting fullback in this league at about 6’0″ 240 lbs, so it will be very interesting to see how this plays out. If the Jets are convinced that he can be a better blocker than Conner, his versatility makes him far more valuable to the 53 man roster.

The Jets will have a top five defense this season. Fact. Although the offense has had its struggles this preseason, the defense has played lights out. Sure, there are some coverage issues to be figured out, primarily the struggles of Bart Scott and Calvin Pace to cover underneath routes, but Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine should get very creative, personnel wise, with their third down sub packages to keep these issues in check. The defensive line has looked elite all preseason, with vast improvements from Kenrick Ellis assisting to a shutdown run defense. The new safety tandem of LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell looks like it can be extremely potent if both players can stay healthy. With the way the two of them have played together thus far, combined with the stellar cornerback play of Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, the Jets could very well have the best secondary in all of football. It seems as though this defense has the perfect combination of veterans and young players to be a wise and knowledgeable, yet explosive unit. Expectations are high for New York’s “D” this year.

New York Jets Fact Or False: Preseason Week 3 Edition

Chris Gross weekly Fact or False previews the Jets third pre-season game against the Carolina Panthers

For this week’s edition of New York Jets Fact Or False, we examine the most pressing issues facing Gang Green heading into their third preseason game against the Carolina Panthers.

Austin Howard will prove he is the answer at Right Tackle. False. While many people are getting caught up in today’s news that Austin Howard has replaced Wayne Hunter as the Jets starting RT, there is still no reason to believe that Howard is the savior. Will he play better than Hunter? Probably. But unfortunately for Wayne, the Jets could have likely put Tony Sparano himself in there, and he wouldn’t have looked much worse than Hunter did last week. Hunter’s contract should have never been guaranteed after his abysmal 2011 and now Mike Tannenbaum is in one of the worst positions he has ever been in as the Jets GM. Howard will get the start tomorrow by default, but the Jets will likely remain active in their hunt to bring in a tackle from the outside. Don’t expect Howard to be the long term solution here.

The Offense will score a touchdown. Fact. I mean, they have to…right? The Jets offense remains without a touchdown over two preseason games thus far. Although the game plans have been very vanilla as they are implementing a new system, it is now time to spice things up. The basics of this new offensive scheme should be more than engraved into every offensive players head at this point in the preseason, so it is time for Sparano to mix it up a bit. It is extremely difficult to take shots down the field when there is virtually no time to properly execute a 5 or 7 step drop, however, look for the Jets to take advantage of a very average defense. With the likely return of Jeremy Kerley this weekend, Sanchez gets back with a familiar target that he can rely on to help move the chains. Regardless of how poor they have looked, there is simply too much talent on this offense to go another game without crossing the goal line.

We will finally see some of the wildcat. False. For everyone waiting to see the marvelous Wildcat formation, it looks as if you will have to wait until, at the earliest, September 9th in the season opener against Buffalo. At Rex Ryan’s press conference today, the fourth year head coach stated that he did not expect to see any Wildcat during this preseason. Of course, this could be Rex throwing a smokescreen at fellow defensive mind Ron Rivera, however, Ryan is likely being honest here. There is no reason to unveil this formation and give the Bills a series of plays to watch on film and prepare for. Tebow enthusiasts, keep on waiting.

The Jets starting defense will have its best test against the run. Fact. While Cincinnati and the Giants certainly have established running offenses, neither of them quite compare to the four headed monster of DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, Cam Newton, and Mike Tolbert. This will be a great test for the Jets as they will face a very unique combination of size, speed, agility, and athleticism, that they have yet to see this preseason. If they can hold the Panthers to less than 100 combined rushing yards through the first 2-3 quarters, it will be a very good sign of things to come for the defense this season.

The Jets will have ease running the football. False. This is certainly not to say that the Jets will not run the ball effectively in this game, because they very well just may. However, Carolina has a daunting young pair of linebackers in two time All-Pro Jon Beason, who returns after missing last season with a tear in his Achilles tendon, as well as rookie Luke Kuechly, the 9th overall selection in this year’s draft out of Boston College. This will be yet another great test for Greene, Tebow, and the rest of the running attack to get themselves on track and finally show some of that ground and pound that has been preached so frequently since the hiring of Sparano.

This is the best opportunity for Quinton Coples to prove his worth thus far. Fact. Coples faced an excellent offensive line last week against the Giants, but this week he has the opportunity to play against All-Pro Jordan Gross, along with Matt Kalil, and Bruce Campbell. With these three, Carolina has one of the most respected offensive lines in the league. If Coples can duplicate what he has been doing through the first two games against this unit, it will be an excellent sign of progress. A sack, a QB knockdown, or a tackle for loss will all be indications of further improvement and more good things to come.

New York Jets Fact Or False: Preseason Week 2 Edition

Chris Gross weekly Fact or False previews the New York Jets pre-season game against the New York Giants

Chris Gross is back with his weekly Fact or False, this week previewing the upcoming Jets/Giants pre-season game. Make sure to give Chris a follow on Twitter and for God’s sake get yourselves a TOJ shirt before we sell out to current Jets players –

For this week’s New York Jets Fact Or False, we preview the preseason edition of the Battle of New York. Although the Giants remain the victor in this rivalry until the next regular season match-up, Jets fans still have much to watch for in Battle of NY Lite.

A Jets win will help forget about 12/24/2011. False.

Unfortunately for Jets fans, even if Gang Green beats their cross town rival in blowout fashion, the image of Victor Cruz’s 99 yard touchdown catch on Christmas Eve will remain burned in their memories until the next regular season match-up between the two clubs. The Jets would certainly love to take the game, and at least have some sense of pride in the city, however the Giants and their fans will hold bragging rights until the Jets take Big Blue down in the regular season, or until they win a Superbowl, whicever comes first. Until then, the Giants remain the Kings of New York.

Victor Cruz will dominate. False.

Anyone familiar with either of these two teams knows that Victor Cruz has had his way with the Jets over the course of his young career. Cruz became well known to both Jets and Giants fans when he torched Gang Green for 6 receptions for 145 yards and 3 Touchdowns in their 2010 preseason match-up. Cruz seemed to hold onto that flame in last year’s Christmas Eve game when he hauled in 3 balls for 164 yards and a touchdown, including the infamous 99 yard touchdown reception that all but ended the Jets’ 2011 campaign. However, with Hakeem Nicks out, and Mario Manningham now playing in San Fransisco, Cruz will likely play as the team’s primary option at wide receiver, meaning he will be matched up on All-Pro Darrelle Revis. While this is an excellent opportunity for Cruz to even further showcase his skills and dominance of the Jets, chances of anyone getting off of Revis Island are extremely slim.

Revis has been clashing with Stephen Hill in practice throughout all of training camp. After the rookie had his way with the league’s best defensive back earlier this week, Revis had reportedly buckled down and blanketed Hill in the week’s later practices. Revis has been practicing against great speed throughout training camp, something Cruz has plenty of. However, this will be nothing new to what Revis has seen in practice thus far, and I would expect him to come out on a mission, considering Cruz’s past success against the Jets.

The Offensive Line will struggle to get Sanchez protection early. Fact.

Although the Jets Offensive Line has vowed to improve upon their abysmal performance in Cincinnati, there is still a very serious issue at Right Tackle. Although Austin Howard held his own, and has earned praise from the coaching staff, the Giants defensive front is among the best in all of football, if not the best. Last year, Defensive Ends Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul combined for 3 sacks and 4 quarterback hits on Sanchez, leading the team’s total of 5 sacks and 6 QB hits. Although part of the blame for these numbers can be placed on former Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, who called for an idiotic 60 plus passing plays, the offensive line will have their work cut out for them. Expect Giants Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell to attack the right side of the line with combinations of Tuck, Pierre-Paul, and Osi Umenyiora to get pressure on Sanchez. The task will be extremely tough for the guys up front come Saturday night.

The Jets will be able to run the ball effectively. Fact.

Although the Giants pass rush is a cause for concern, their run defense isn’t exactly stellar. The interior defensive line has been harped by early injuries, and the linebacking corps is average, at best. Last year, the Jets ran for 105 yards against them, on only 25 carries, for an average of 4.2 YPC. I would expect the Jets to try to pound the ball in the middle, while running a great number of draws in an attempt to take advantage of the Giants’ aggressive pass rush. For the first time, we could get an early glimpse of the Tebow package, as this makes great philosophical sense against a pass rush like the Giants’.

Eli Manning will throw for multiple touchdowns. False.

Other than the fact that he will hardly play past the first quarter, Manning actually struggled the last time he faced the Jets, contrary to popular belief. Other than the 99 yard touchdown pass to Victor Cruz, which was more of Cruz burning the defense after the catch, Manning completed only 8 passes for 126 yards and an interception against the Jets last season. Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine did a good job of keeping him in check by disguising coverages and mixing up blitz packages. Manning will also be going up against the most talented secondary he will likely face all season long. While he is among the NFL’s elite quarterbacks, taking these facts, plus limited playing time into account, it is very unlikely that Manning tosses even a single touchdown pass, let alone multiple.

Quinton Coples still has a lot to prove. Fact.

Although Coples looked fantastic in his preseason debut for the Jets (5 tackles, 2 TFLs, 1 Sack, 1 FF, 1 PD), he has taken a lot of heat recently. Following the Jets 17-6 loss in Cincinatti last Friday, Coples was still criticized as the majority of his statistics came against the Bengals’ second and third strings. Earlier this week, both Calvin Pace and Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine questioned Coples’ practice habits, basically stating that they want to see the effort that he put into the game equate the effort that he practices with.

Coples has been under the microscope since the Jets selected him with the 16th overall pick in this years draft. Many have questioned the decision to pass on coveted OLB Melvin Ingram for Coples, leaving the rookie out of UNC with a lot to prove. Now, Coples needs to prove that he can make plays against the starters, while also continuing to prove that he has the proper mindset to improve day to day. Expect him to come out with a heavy chip on his shoulder yet again.

New York Jets Fact Or False: Preseason Week 1 Edition

Chris Gross weekly Fact or False previews the New York Jets opening pre-season game against the Cincinnati Bengals

For this week’s edition of New York Jets Fact Or False, we will begin a trend that will be prevalent all season long. Each week, F or F will be dedicated to the upcoming Jets game, as we will look at the most pressing issues facing Gang Green each week. For our initial take, let’s have a look at what to expect to see, as well as what to watch for, in tomorrow night’s game in Cincinnati.

AJ Green vs. Darrelle Revis will be the most intriguing matchup of the game. Fact.

AJ Green had a stellar rookie season last year, joining with Quarterback Andy Dalton to form the first ever rookie QB/WR tandem to make the Pro Bowl. Green hauled in 65 passes for 1,057 yards and 7 Touchdowns last season, while facing some excellent defenses along the way. However, this will be his first career matchup with Revis, and not to disrespect any other players, he has never quite faced a talent like this in his entire playing career. Revis is a completely different animal, but Green certainly has immense talent. Rest assured both of these players cannot wait to face each other, not only for the challenge, but for the opportunity to assert their dominance. Revis would undoubtedly like to strand yet another receiver on Revis Island, while Green would love to be one of the very few to get off. Although they will get limited reps against one another, expect each of those reps to provide the best matchup on the field tomorrow night.

Andy Dalton will outperform Mark Sanchez. False.

Although Dalton had a very solid rookie campaign last season, his numbers were average at best when facing defenses ranked in the top ten in the NFL. Against those opponents, Dalton completed 175 of 311 passes for 1,954 yards, 11 Touchdowns, and 10 interceptions with a completion percentage of 56.27 and a passer rating of 77.28. These numbers certainly are not terrible, especially for a rookie, but Dalton clearly struggled to protect the football. While he has already faced the stellar defenses of Baltimore and Pittsburgh twice each, he has yet to come up against a Cornerback tandem with the combined talent of Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, and Kyle Wilson. Factor in what should be improved Safety play, and Dalton could get overwhelmed quickly. He will certainly get his completions, however don’t expect him to outshine Sanchez. Sanchez is coming into this game with an extreme sense of confidence in relation to his knowledge of the new offensive system, and you’d have to think after what was probably the longest offseason of his playing career, he will be coming out with a heavy chip on his shoulder. Each of these players’ reps will be very limited, but look for Sanchez to play at a higher level than Dalton.

This will be a great test for the Ground and Pound. Fact.

Cincinnati ranked 7th in total defense last season, and for good reason. They have talent all over the board, especially in the front seven. They posses great size up front in players like Michael Johnson and Carlos Dunlap, as well as defensive leader Rey Maualuga who racked up 88 tackles, 3 forced fumbles, and an interception in just 13 games last season. This is a very tough, hard nosed defense, with great experience against offenses that can effectively run the ball, as they play Pittsburgh and Baltimore twice each season. Any team that has to face Ray Rice twice in the same year is no stranger to power football, so this will be a very good, early test for the Jets’ projected return to the “Ground and Pound” philosophy. Friday night should be an excellent gauge of how far along this new system is, as well as where improvements need to be made. It will be very interesting to see how the heavily scrutinized Shonn Greene, the rising Bilal Powell, and the polarizing Tim Tebow contribute.

Mark Sanchez has the most to prove in this game. False.

While Sanchez may have the most to prove over the course of the entire season, this game will have little effect on how he is judged as the Quarterback of this team. He will see very limited reps, plus there are a countless number of players with much more to prove tomorrow night.

Patrick Turner is certainly one of those guys, as he is constantly overlooked despite having quietly developed what seems to be a nice chemistry with Sanchez. Jordan White was extremely productive in college and should have ample opportunity to prove his worth with all of the injuries at Wide Receiver. LaRon Landry certainly would love to show that he is healthy and capable of playing at the level that made him the sixth overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. Quinton Coples would love to put all the question marks surrounding him to bed, and although that will not be possible in just one game, he can certainly take a step in the right direction.

Austin Howard will get plenty of reps with Wayne Hunter being sidelined, and he needs to prove to the organization that they do not need to add depth at the tackle position from the outside. As the season progresses, veterans like Bart Scott, Tim Tebow, Jeremy Kerley, and Santonio Holmes will all be highly motivated to put recent criticism behind them, but that will not happen in the first game of the preseason, especially for Holmes and Kerley who will not be participating in the contest. Tebow and Scott could certainly play well, but they will not be considered to have proven anything until the regular season.

The Jets Defense Will Impress Early. Fact.

Many observers forget how good this defense actually is. Rex Ryan and Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine produced a top 5 defense last season, despite finishing 8-8 and missing the playoffs for the first time with the Jets. New York has done what it could to address the areas of need at Safety and in the pass rush, so each of those areas should be improved in comparison to last season. More importantly though, the Jets defense seems to have gotten their edge back. Reports out of camp already reveal that Bart Scott is back to his “Madbacker” form. Antonio Cromartie, although many times painfully outspoken, certainly will be coming into this game a bit enraged due to all the recent criticism directed toward him in the past week. LaRon Landry seems ready to run through a brick wall if he doesn’t hit someone in a different colored jersey soon, and Aaron Maybin and Ricky Sapp have been turning heads all camp.

From what we have seen in training camp so far, this defense has regained its speed, its motor, and most importantly, its swagger. Expect the starting unit to come out looking to make a statement early, especially considering the fact that they realize they will only have a few series to do so.

Rex Ryan is the most intriguing coach in this game. False.

Rex undoubtedly loves to be in the spotlight, and the media generally loves to focus on him. However, this game is not so much about Ryan as it is about the newcomers. It is going to be very interesting to see the first live action of Tony Sparano’s new system. There is plenty to look for including an established running game, command of the offense by Sanchez, and whether or not the offensive line has improved yet.

Moving over to the defensive side of the ball, it will be extremely intriguing to see the work of new defensive line Coach Karl Dunbar. Dunbar certainly has a surplus of depth and talent up front, so it will be interesting to see if he is in the early stages of maximizing that. New York’s pass rush has been built primarily on scheme since the appointment of Rex Ryan as head coach, so if they can generate a rush without having to blitz as much, it will be a very positive sign for Dunbar and his unit. Wide Receiver’s coach Sanjay Lal is another newcomer to the staff, and considering all the injuries at the position so far, the wide receiver play could say a lot about his coaching ability. If the younger, less experienced players come out strong, it could tell us something very good about Lal.

JETS FOOTBALL IS BACK TOMORROW, GET YOUR NEW SHIRT TO KICK OFF THE NEW SEASON

New York Jets Fact Or False: The Tweeter’s Choice Edition

Chris Gross weekly Fact or False on the New York Jets answers your submitted questions on the team

Throughout the season, we will periodically poll our Twitter followers for what they want to see addressed in New York Jets Fact Or False. For our inaugural edition of The Tweeter’s Choice, our readers brought the heat. Not one person disappointed with the issues they wanted to read about, which proves we have one of the most, if not the most, knowledgeable fan bases in all of football. Huge shout out to @Crazychimpan, @bleist25, @ItsOasus, @DrewFromJersey, and @Jetsforlife25 for sending in their suggestions this week. Be sure to give each of them a follow on twitter, and be sure to keep a look out all season, as we will certainly run another edition of this in the future. Thanks again, and enjoy!

8 DAYS UNTIL THE PRE-SEASON OPENER. WHERE IS YOUR NEW SHIRT?

The Jets will carry more than 5 RB/FBs going into season. (@Crazychimpman). False.

While five is a great over/under for the number of backs that will be on the active roster come opening day, don’t expect any more or any less. The three guaranteed spots will be Shonn Greene, who will presumably be the starter barring an injury, Joe McKnight, for his Special Teams value will lock him in, regardless of whether or not Bilal Powell gets the nod as the third down back, and John Connor, who established himself as the starting Fullback early in training camp as the team has already decided to waive journeyman Fui Vakapuna.

The next two spots are the intriguing ones. You’d have to think that, with all the talk about Powell, he will make it. However, Powell must truly prove that he is worthy of being a valuable option as a third down back. McKnight isn’t going anywhere, due to his worth on Special Teams, so for the team to carry two backs with strikingly similar skill sets, Powell must go above and beyond what’s asked of him.

Rookie Terrance Ganaway is also a very interesting case. Ganaway was seemingly drafted because he looks to be a perfect situational fit for this season, with the hope that he will develop into a perfect schematic fit long term. He has great experience in the option offense, running for an astounding 1547 yards and 21 touchdowns last season at Baylor, while posting a remarkable 6.2 YPC, which makes him the most logical back in any Tebow package. Ganaway also has tremendous size at about 6’0” 240 lbs, which makes him an ideal fit for the Ground and Pound that New York plans to implement under Tony Sparano. Unless Ganaway really struggles to prove he is not yet NFL ready, he should remain on the roster.

The Jets will likely remain set with these five backs. Unless Powell is written off, it looks very doubtful that New York will look to add a veteran. If Powell does not prove to be worthy of a spot by the time the season begins, the Jets still may remain content with just four backs, while relying on Tim Tebow to be a huge contributor to the run game. The only way I truly see New York adding a veteran is if Powell tails off, and Greene struggles immensely during the pre-season. Otherwise, it looks like the Jets are ready to roll into the season with what is currently on the roster.

Trader Mike will make a move for another RT before camp is over (@bleist25). Fact.

Tannenbaum took a shot swinging a deal with the Panthers for Tackle Jeff Otah, which clearly did not work out due to the former first rounder’s inability to pass a physical. With the Otah trade nullified, New York is back to square one with Wayne Hunter and Austin Howard as the two most logical choices at Right Tackle. Hunter has a serious edge over Howard, who will likely not see a significant down all season. That is a scary thought. Clearly, Mike T is aware of this, as displayed by the failed Otah trade. By now, I’m not sure anyone can argue with the notion that the Jets are not comfortable with the competition they currently have at the Right Tackle position.

The next logical step for Tannenbaum is to look to Free Agency. Many questioned why he hesitated to bring in a veteran during the offseason, but he likely wanted to see how Hunter and the other tackles looked during mini-camps and OTAs. Since Tannenbaum and the rest of the organization were clearly not satisfied, they can now look to add someone like Vernon Carey, who will come at a discount in comparison to what he may have cost them a few months ago.

“Mayhem” will play on more than just passing downs this season (ItsOasus). Fact.

Aaron “Mayhem” Maybin is already earning high praise from the media and coaching staff in the early stages of training camp. He has reportedly bulked up to 240+ pounds, which will help him greatly against the run. Calvin Pace will likely remain on one side of the field for the majority of downs, however the other side is open for competition. While most expect Bryan Thomas to retain the spot opposite Pace which he occupied prior to his season ending injury last year, there is a good chance we could see him in a limited role this season. While he has had success setting the edge on run-downs in the past, the praise Maybin has been receiving for his added size and relentless motor could propel him into an increased role to play a surplus of downs in a variety of spots on the outside. His versatility will be a huge weapon for Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine this season. Expect them to utilize that to the fullest extent.

Ricky Sapp will have more sacks than Calvin Pace this season (@DrewFromJersey). False.

Although Sapp has very exciting potential, he has still yet to record a sack at the NFL level. While he could very well break that trend this season, I wouldn’t give him an edge over the seasoned veteran that is Calvin Pace, even if he is entering the twilight of his career. Since joining the Jets, Pace has gotten to the Quarterback a total of 26 times. Sure, his sack total has decreased each year since 2009, however his experience, along with the amount of reps he will receive should make him good for at least 4 sacks, if healthy. Sapp, on the other hand, may still be able to compile 2-3, but will likely be used far less. Additionally, players with very little experience in real NFL game situations, unless tremendously talented, tend to compile more QB hurries and knockdowns, rather than actual sacks. Timing is everything on getting to the Quarterback before he gets rid of the ball, and it will likely take a full season of game experience before Sapp gets used to executing his moves just at the right time.

Early Camp Star Ellis Lankster will become a serious playmaker and collect at least 3 Interceptions as a shutdown nickel-guy this year (Jetsforlife25). False.

Lankster’s progress is extremely encouraging for New York thus far. With a serious question mark heading into training camp as to who would assume the role of the fourth cornerback, Lankster has provided a breath of fresh air for coaches and fans. However, he has played in just 17 total games over the course of his career, and has yet to register an interception. Additionally, the amount of reps he gets will likely be very limited. The Jets have a surplus of defensive backs including three excellent corners in All-World Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, and Kyle Wilson, whom many believe is on his way to becoming a very good corner in this league, as well as the Safeties Yeremiah Bell, LaRon Landry, and Rookie Josh Bush, who is realistically the best cover Safety on the roster. For Lankster, it will all come down to scheme. His inexperience will have some, but not much, effect on his ability to become a playmaker.

However, if the Jets choose to put out more packages of Revis, Cromartie, Wilson, and two safeties, which seems like the most logical approach, other than third and long scenarios, Lankster may not get the amount of snaps necessary to truly establish himself as a serious playmaker, while compiling 3 interceptions. As well as Lankster has been playing, it is unlikely he will beat out Wilson for reps as the third CB. You’d like to think with improved Defensive Line and Safety play, New York will not see a surplus of third and long scenarios this season. However, if these positions fail to live up to their potential, then all bets are off.

Josh Baker is the 2nd best TE on the roster (DrewFromJersey). Fact.

Baker wins the spot as New York’s second best TE, somewhat by default. Jeff Cumberland has great potential, and has showed flashes of solid play in the past, but he has participated in just 4 career contests. Baker, on the other hand, saw action in 11 games last season, while hauling in 3 balls for 27 yards, including a touchdown on Christmas Eve against the Giants. Hayden Smith is very intriguing, but as a guy who has never played a down of football in his life, he certainly does not have the edge over his competition just yet. The key for whoever becomes the second Tight End this season will be their ability to block. Unfortunately for New York, not one of them has truly proved to be able to do that, so it will be very interesting to see how this plays out.

Josh Bush will struggle in a forced role as the Jets only true cover safety (Jetsforlife25). False.

The fact that Bush will be forced into a role as the only true cover safety on the roster will actually benefit him. Prior to becoming a safety at Wake Forest, Bush was a corner, and has been noted for his cover abilities throughout his career. Last season, Bush had a team best 6 interceptions earning him First-Team All ACC accolades, as well as a spot as a third teamer on the All-American squad. Bush has sub 4.5 40 speed, and under the tutelage of savvy veterans like Landry, Bell, and Revis, he should fit nicely in a center field type role for the Jets. Sure, he will have his growing pains, but Bush will ultimately succeed more often than not this season.

New York Jets Fact Or False: Offseason Review Edition

Chris Gross Fact or False reviews off-season predictions for the New York Jets and sees what was right heading into training camp

Staff Writer Chris Gross looks back at the previous few months of Fact or False to see how the off-season developed for the New York Jets and what predictions were on point or completely off-base. Make sure to follow Chris on Twitter – 

With the 2012 NFL Offseason finally in the books, it is only fitting that we take a look back at our first 10 editions of New York Jets Fact Or False and review which predictions went wrong, as well as which ones seem to have held up thus far. Certainly, few, if any, of these predictions will not be resolved until the conclusion of the season, but for now, let’s use the beginning of training camp as a check point to see how we are doing. For this week’s edition, we look at the 6 most prevalent issues that we predicted, and explain why or how they look to be on point, or completely lost.

TOJ SHIRTS AVAILABLE NOW – TURN THE SWAG ON FOR TRAINING CAMP

From May 17th, 2012 –

What we said then:

1.) Darrelle Revis will hold out again. False. Outcome: Correct. 

Why we were right: The heart of my argument against a Revis holdout was that, as a team leader, Revis would not be selfish enough to abandon his team when it needed him the most. The importance of Revis’s presence in Cortland goes far beyond his play. He is the most accomplished New York Jet, and arguably the most idolized on the team. For him to be vacant during training camp, the most important time for the development of team chemistry, would not only be detrimental to the team, it would paint a very negative light of number 24, particularly after how last season ended.

While this likely weighed on Revis’s decision to ultimately not hold out and report to camp on time, the most probable reason for Revis showing up is a clause in his contract. ESPN’s Adam Schefter has reported that the clause in the extension Revis signed two seasons ago would extend the remaining two seasons left on Revis’s deal to a total of five more years had he held out. Therefore, if Revis missed one day of camp, he would not be a free agent for another five seasons, thus killing any chance of a huge extension for the All-Pro Cornerback in the near future. So, while it is nice to think that Revis is reporting to camp because he is an excellent teammate and leader, it is more likely that he realized showing up will ultimately benefit him financially. Either way, Revis Island is in Cortland this season.

2.) The New York Jets will add a Right Tackle in Free Agency. False. Outcome: Incorrect*

The asterisk is for the technicality that, based on the exact wording, we were actually correct. The Jets did not bring in a Right Tackle via Free Agency to compete with Wayne Hunter for the starting job. However, they did add a Right Tackle via trade earlier this week when Mike Tannenbaum swung a deal with Carolina for former first round pick Jeff Otah. However, the point of this argument was that the Jets were content heading into the season with Hunter and Vlad Ducasse battling it out for the starting RT job, therefore, other than the technicality, our main point was incorrect.

Why we were wrong:

Simple. The Jets, regardless of how many times they argued it, do not feel comfortable with Hunter and Ducasse as their primary options at Right Tackle, and rightfully so. Hunter had an atrocious year last season, and was a primary reason for most of the struggles of Mark Sanchez and the offense. Ducasse, on the other hand, will now likely get the majority of his reps at guard, which will seemingly be his last stop before the bus comes to take him to the land of the Vernon Gholston’s.

Tannenbaum realized he needed to, at the least, get legitimate competition for Hunter. If Otah is healthy, he will certainly provide that competition, and will likely win the battle, based on talent alone. However, that is a huge “if,” so Jets fans should not be excited about Otah until he proves to be durable, something he has failed to do thus far in his young career.

From May 31st, 2012-

What we said then:

3.) Jordan White will make an impact as a rookie. Fact. Outcome: Seemingly Incorrect.

Why we were wrong: This is another one that will still not be settled until the season officially kicks off. However, with his recent foot injury causing him to miss mini-camps and OTAs, White is very far behind the 8-ball heading into training camp. Chaz Schillens reportedly stood out during mini-camp, which does not bode well for White. While I do think he will still make the active roster at some point during the year, based on how far behind he will begin the season, a significant impact does not seem as likely as it once did following the NFL Draft. However, crazier things have happened, and with White’s work ethic, I still wouldn’t bet against him.

From June 14th, 2012-

What we said then:

Tim Tebow will be playing just about everything other than “traditional” Quarterback this seasonFact. Outcome: Correct. 

Why we were right: Again, this could be one that changes by midseason, but for now it looks like we were dead on with this proclamation. Other than the fact that Tebow has taken practice reps at personal protector on the punt team, as well as reps at Running Back, reports are now coming out that he may be used on both Kickoff and Kickoff Return teams. Our argument here, as it has always been, is that a player who is expected to see significant time as a “traditional” Quarterback does not see a down of Special Teams play, especially on such high impact teams like Kickoff and Kickoff Return. Until we see Tebow under center in an every down role, our position here remains firm: Mark Sanchez is the Quarterback of the New York Jets, while Tim Tebow is an effective role player.

5.) Santonio Holmes is still the team villain. Fact. Outcome: Correct.

Why we were right: Santonio Holmes is still public enemy number 1, the guy everyone loves to hate. Is this really a surprise to anyone? Holmes has tried his best to keep himself out of a negative light in the eyes of the public this offseason, yet has still failed to do so. Stemming from his notorious back page on the New York Daily News early this offseason, to his most recent comments regarding the New York media, Holmes cannot stop being the bad guy. Regardless of what he says or does, Tone will be painted in a negative light this year, until he proves to have repaired his relationship with Sanchez, and returns to his 2010 form, something we fully expect him to do here at Turn On The Jets. If Holmes can do this, while helping the Jets win games, then all of the negativity will likely be forgotten. Remember, winning cures all ailments. However, that is certainly in the distant future. For now, Holmes has to do his best to just remain quiet, otherwise he will likely find himself subject to headlines like this:

From June 28th, 2012-

What we said then:

Yeremiah Bell will provide more bang for the Jets buck than LaRon Landry. Fact. Outcome: Correct.

Why we were right: Simply, due to our reasoning. Again, this another one that is TBD, yet the argument we used here seems very on point for the start of training camp.

“This could easily turn if Landry stays healthy for the entire year, as New York obtained the Pro Bowl caliber player on a rather cheap one-year contract, however, like Schilens, Landry comes with serious durability concerns. When healthy, Landry has been extremely productive, but over the past two seasons, the former first round selection out of LSU has played in just 17 total games. Bell, on the other hand, has not missed a game in the past four seasons and has accumulated over 100 tackles in each. While the ex-Miami Dolphin was certainly a bit more of an under-the-radar signing than Landry, his impact will likely be much greater with the Jets defense this season due to his durability and production.” 

With Landry beginning camp on the active PUP list, along with being absent for mini-camp and OTA’s, one has to believe that Bell is going to be far ahead of him when he does finally suit up. While Landry could certainly be a fast learner, and should still contribute decently, it will likely be Bell that is noticed for having the superior season. Still, only time will tell.

New York Jets Fact Or False: Sanchez, Holmes, and Linsanity Edition

Chris Gross weekly Fact or False focuses on Mark Sanchez, Santonio Holmes and Jeremy Lin

With less than a week to go before the New York Jets report to Cortland for the start of training camp, there have been countless topics and stories emerging on the Gang Green front, some good, some not so good. Regardless of what most sports books are predicting, we are carrying on as usual here at Turn On The Jets. For this week’s edition of New York Jets Fact Or False, we’ll examine some of those recent Jets topics heading into training camp, along with a little dose of Linsanity and America’s #1 new soap opera “As The Dwight Turns.”

Mark Sanchez is “The East Coast Alex Smith.” False.

In a recent article on Bleacher Report, columnist Michael Schottey referred to Mark Sanchez as “Alex Smith with a Jheri curl.” However, Schottey fails to provide any factual argument to back his proclamation. This is likely because there are no facts to support the comparison between the two. Smith has played three more seasons in the NFL than Sanchez has, yet has thrown for only 3,334 more yards, less than the total number of yards Sanchez threw for last season alone. Additionally, Smith has thrown for only 13 more touchdowns than Sanchez has while compiling a total of 7 more interceptions than number 6. Again, Smith has played six full NFL seasons to Sanchez’s three. Numbers aside, Sanchez has already won 4 playoff games on the road, while Smith has won just a single playoff game, at home. It is surely shocking how far people will go in their attempst to bash Sanchez, and this ignorant comparison is just the tip of an iceberg of criticism that the Jets’ QB has faced this season.

A more realistic comparison to Smith would actually be Jets’ backup Tim Tebow. Both players have a similar style of play and both played in the same system in college under Urban Meyer. However, Tebow also has 2 national championship victories and a Heisman trophy on his resume, while winning a playoff game in only his second season as opposed to Smith who took six seasons to finally win in the post season. As the roster stands now, Smith would be the third best quarterback on the Jets if he were in New York. As for the comparison to Sanchez, there is no debate.

Santonio Holmes will be the Jets scapegoat all season. Fact.

The perception of Holmes as the largest villain to grace Gotham City since the Joker isn’t dying anytime soon. In an interview on NFL Network this past week, Holmes simply stated the obvious fact that even the most casual NFL fan knows, when he said that teams cannot succeed in a two quarterback system. Could you imagine if Marques Colston or Hakeem Nicks said the same thing? They’d be laughed at for stating something so obvious, while lauded for praising their starting quarterbacks.

Not only did Holmes simply state what everyone already knew, but he actually defended Sanchez, while subtly telling everyone to pump the brakes on Tebowmania in New York for now. Holmes noted that, in order for a Quarterback to get into a rhythm, he needs to be allowed to make mistakes early in games, while settling in and growing comfortable. Holmes is far from stupid. He knows, just as everyone else covering the Jets knows, that the moment Sanchez makes the slightest mistake, most fans will be calling for Tebow to take the helm. However, Holmes also knows that this would not put his team in the best position to win games. Sanchez will make his mistakes, every quarterback does. The key to his success, as well as the success of the Jets, will be his teammates and coaches being confident enough to allow him to correct those mistakes.

The bottom line with Holmes is that he simply wants to win. However, no matter what he says, it will likely be turned in a negative, selfish manner, until he lets his play do the talking.

 The Jets will add RB depth heading into training camp. False.

Cedric Benson recently revealed that the Jets were one of the teams to check in with the free agent veteran running back this offseason. While Benson joining Gang Green surely isn’t out of the question, don’t expect any moves to be made on this front anytime soon. The Jets are moving forward with Shonn Greene as the starter this season, regardless of what some may think. They are also ready to see what Joe McKnight can do as the primary backup to Greene, and rightfully so. McKnight has improved drastically since his rookie season when he was questioned for his work ethic and commitment. With an increased role on Special Teams last season, McKnight thrived as a kick returner. The Jets are hoping a similar increased workload on offense will produce parallel results.

Aside from Greene and McKnight, New York is also very eager to see if Bilal Powell is serviceable, as well as what newcomers Terrance Ganaway and John Griffin can do. They added these players because they are confident that Tony Sparano’s system will allow each of them to produce. If they prove incapable of such a feat over the course of the preseaosn, then the Jets may revisit bringing in a veteran like Benson. For now, they are more than ready to move forward with what they have.

Mark Sanchez will make the Pro Bowl this season. False.

While Sanchez is poised for a breakout year, the odds are against him to make the Pro Bowl this season. The new offensive system under Tony Sparano will likely limit the amount of passing attempts Sanchez has, thus limiting the statistics that would get him elected to a Pro Bowl. Additionally, outside of Santonio Holmes and Tight End Dustin Keller, Sanchez has an entirely new arsenal of weapons this season, most of whom come with very limited, if any, NFL experience. While Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley, Chaz Schillens, and Jordan White could all prove to be productive, it is going to take time for them to develop chemistry with Sanchez. While I firmly believe that Sanchez will be a Pro Bowl caliber Quarterback at some point in his career, this season is more about improving his accuracy and developing relationships with his new targets.

The Knicks made the right move letting Jeremy Lin leave. Fact.

Knicks fans seem split on this issue. Some are up in arms that James Dolan and co. allowed such a young and exciting player to leave after his brief stint of success last season, while others are perfectly content with the club’s decision to move in another direction. While Lin could certainly become a very good point guard, the luxury tax ramifications the Knicks would have had to pay in the third year of the deal he agreed to with Houston would have been far too large of a financial commitment to a player who is still somewhat unproven. Remember, Lin’s numbers dropped after the departure of Mike D’Antoni. The Knicks already have an abundance of money committed to Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, so taking a risk on Lin simply would not have been worth it. Additionally, what no one seems to be talking about, is the fact that Chris Paul will be a free agent next summer. Surely, there are no signs that Paul wants out of Los Angeles, but don’t forget, he is good friends with Anthony, and even hinted at the idea of playing with him and Stoudemire at Anthony’s wedding last summer. While this is a shot in the dark, don’t think for a minute that this did not cross the minds of the Knicks’ brass in weighing the decision of whether or not to re up on Lin.

Dwight Howard will start the season in Orlando. False. The ongoing saga of this situation is growing far too annoying, not only to NBA fans, but to people around the league as well. Howard wants out of Orlando, seemingly worse than Carmelo Anthony wanted out of Denver, and will not ease his stance on this issue. The Magic will soon realize that they need to rid themselves of this headache and start fresh. While General Manager Rob Hennigan has been rightfully patient in weighing his options, the alleged three-team deal that could soon be in place soon between the Lakers, Cavaliers, and Magic will reveal itself as the best option for all clubs involved. With Howard now committing to signing long term in LA, Mitch Kupchak and co. will go above and beyond to get a deal done. My prediction? Howard starts the season in the purple and gold.

New York Jets Fact Or False: Jets vs. Bills Edition

Chris Gross goes Fact or False on the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets, who are battling to be New England’s main competitor in the AFC East

With all of the hype surrounding the Buffalo Bills this offseason, particularly as the favorites to challenge the Patriots for the top of the AFC East this year, it seems as if many have forgotten that the Jets still play in the division. Since the Bills made the big splash this offseason in signing free agent defensive end Mario Williams, coupled with the Jets 8-8 season last year, most people have written New York off, and have proclaimed the Bills as the best team behind New England in the East. However, when comparing the Jets and the Bills, there are several things to consider before handing Buffalo two easy victories this season. This week’s New York Jets Fact Or False focuses on what to believe, and what not to believe, when it comes to the Jets vs. the Bills.

Fred Jackson will be an elite level RB this season. False. While Jackson surely experienced the greatest success of his career last season, the clock unfortunately struck midnight on his Cinderella story in week 11 when he suffered a fractured fibula against the Miami Dolphins. Now Jackson, on the wrong side of 30, will try to bounce back from the leg injury while battling father time, which just so happens to be horribly unkind to NFL Running Backs. In fact, last season there were only two backs that ranked in the top 30 in the NFL in rushing yards over the age of 30, Willis McGahee, who had just turned 30 in October of 2011, and Jackson. While it would certainly make for a nice story, it will be extremely difficult for Jackson to establish an elite level of production this season when considering all of these factors. Of course, crazier things in the NFL certainly have happened, however don’t forget that Jackson has had only just a single 1,000-yard season during his five years in the NFL. To expect him to surpass that less than a year removed from a broken leg at age 31 would be asinine.

Mark Sanchez is a better quarterback than Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fact. We can talk numbers all we want here, but there is only one number that matters in this debate: 4. That’s the number of playoff wins that Sanchez has over Fitzpatrick. In fact, Sanchez has won each of those games on the road against two good quarterbacks in Carson Palmer and Phillip Rivers, along with arguably the two greatest of all time in Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. While Sanchez has yet to take the leap and lead his team to the Superbowl, Fitzpatrick has yet to take his team into the post season.

While staying on the topic of postseason success, consider this: Sanchez has done all of this at the ripe age of 25. With only one collegiate season as a full time starter, before his very young 3 years in the NFL, it would be completely ignorant to think his best years aren’t ahead of him. Fitzpatrick, on the other hand, started two seasons at Harvard before his 6 seasons in the league, and will turn 30 by midseason this year. Sure, the argument can be made that he is finally starting to blossom, but realistically Fitzpatrick has likely maxed his ceiling for success in the NFL. Not many players in this league turn the corner after the age of 30.

The Bills’ top offensive weapons are enough to overcome the Jets defense. False. I’m sure everyone associated with the Bills will argue this until the cows come home, and for good reason. Buffalo certainly has some talent on the offensive side of the ball. However, when matched up with the Jets, the Bills’ 4 best offensive weapons have not exactly performed at a level that would produce an abundance of victories. Here’s a look at how Jackson, RB CJ Spiller, WR Stevie Johnson, and QB Ryan Fitzpatrick have fared against Gang Green over the span of their careers in Buffalo.

Jackson – 77 carries, 268 yards, 1 Touchdown, 3.4 YPC. While Jackson certainly has elite talent level, his career high in yards against New York is a mere 82. The Jets have repeatedly shut down the efforts of Jackson over the five year span that he has been in the division, and in comparison with how he has played against the rest of the NFL, the argument could certainly be made that the Jets have his number.

Spiller – In Spiller’s four career games against the Jets, he has amassed the stat line of 26 carries for 76 yards and no touchdowns. This number could certainly be regarded as misleading due to the fact that Spiller hasn’t necessarily gotten a heavy workload during his four games against the Jets, however after the injury to Jackson last season, Spiller was forced to take over as the full time back in Buffalo. Against the Jets in week 12, Spiller was given a sizeable workload with 19 carries, but amassed just 55 yards for a 2.9 YPC average. These are not exactly numbers that will cause Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine to circle number 28 on the scouting report.

Johnson – While all of the Revis haters will undoubtedly argue that Johnson owns DR, a notion which we have already dispelled at Turn On The Jets, his career numbers against New York tell the truth. Over a span of six career games, Johnson has 22 catches for 283 yards and 3 Touchdowns. Those numbers average out to 3.7 receptions for 37 yards and .5 Touchdowns per game. Considering Johnson is Buffalo’s primary passing option, it is fair to assume that he will not be carrying the Bills to any victories over New York in the near future.

Fitzpatrick – One thing that cannot be denied about Fitzpatrick is that his most recent game against the Jets was easily his most successful. During their 2011 week 12 matchup, Fitz threw for 264 yards with 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. However, when looking a bit deeper, Fitzpatrick has struggled against the Jets more often than not. Since becoming a Bill in 2009, Fitzpatrick has thrown a total of 145 passes, while completing just 72 of them, resulting in a completion percentage of 49.6. To gauge what a good completion percentage in the NFL is, consider this: Blaine Gabbert completed 50.8% of his passes last season. While it could certainly be said that Fitzpatrick is finally starting to get comfortable against the Jets after playing them for three years, a similar argument could be made that he took advantage of the Jets poor defensive effort that day, causing his awful 49.6 career completion percentage against New York to actually be inflated. Most people would presumably take the latter.

Rex Ryan is a better Coach than Chan Gailey. Fact. This is one that surely is not up for argument. Gailey is 28-36 as an NFL Head Coach, while Ryan is 28-20. Gailey is 0-2 in the post season, while Rex is 4-2. Ryan’s biggest coaching accomplishment is winning a Super Bowl as the Defensive Line Coach for the Baltimore Ravens in 2000. Gailey’s greatest coaching accomplishment is winning a Division II NCAA National Championship in 1984 as the Head Coach of Troy. What else is there to debate?

Mario Williams will dominate the Jets in every contest. False. Based on his ability alone, it is certainly easy to assume that Williams is going to come into the AFC East and wreak havoc across the division. If healthy, Williams will undoubtedly have a great impact not only on the Bills, but against everyone he lines up against. Williams has played against the Jets just twice in his career, getting to Sanchez twice, both coming in their most recent matchup in 2010. However, Williams has never beaten Gang Green in his career, and when observing his surrounding talent in Houston, it is seemingly much better than what he has joined in Buffalo. Brian Cushing and DeMeco Ryans, two All-Pros, each played in both of Williams’ matchups against the Jets. The proclaimed “Super Mario” now joins a Buffalo defense that has just one former All-Pro in Shawn Merriman, who hasn’t exactly been “Lights Out” as of late. While there is surely an abundance of young potential in Buffalo’s front seven, let’s not crown Williams the sack king just yet. He will likely face a great amount of double teams until that young talent proves itself worthy of respect.

The Bills are still the Fredo of the AFC East. Fact. This notion has been looked at time and time again here at Turn On The Jets, yet it never seems to get old. When observing both characters here, the Buffalo Bills and Fredo Corleone (The infamous brother of Michael Corleone in The Godfather films, most known for going against the family), the similarities are uncanny. Both want to be the top dog, but just don’t have what it takes to garner any real respect. Fredo was overlooked to take over as head of the Family after Sonny was shot at the causeway because no one truly believed he had it in him to be the Boss of the long respected Corleones. Similarly, no one truly believes the Bills have it in them to overtake both the Jets and Patriots as the Boss of the long respected AFC East Division. The Bills want to be good, they really do, but like Fredo, they have a long history of never having quite enough in them to succeed. When Buffalo tried to act like the big dogs, they lost 4 consecutive Super Bowls. When Fredo tried acting like the big dog…well we all know how that ended.

New York Jets Fact Or False: Secondary Edition

Chris Gross with his weekly Fact or False, this week focusing on the New York Jets secondary

Chris Gross is back with his weekly Fact or False, this week focusing on the New York Jets secondary. Make sure to give Chris a follow on Twitter

The New York Jets have one of the most intriguing defensive secondaries in the NFL. While they have, arguably, the greatest trio of cornerbacks in the league in (All-World) Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, and Kyle Wilson, they have not been very strong at the safety position as of late. However, the Jets addressed this issue the best way they possibly could this offseason, by adding 4 newcomers. The two free agents, LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell, along with the two rookies, Josh Bush and Antonio Allen, have the chance to revitalize this position for New York, and officially give the Jets the best secondary in the league. Will these additions, along with the players already on the roster, combine to make such a secondary? Find out all you need to know in this week’s edition of New York Jets Fact Or False.

Kyle Wilson will emerge as a starter this season. False. Although I fully expect Wilson to improve greatly this season, as we witnessed a fairly decent leap in play from his rookie to sophomore season, he is still not ready to take over as a full time starter. Last season, Wilson ranked 59th among active cornerbacks in the NFL in completion percentage when targeted, as opposing quarterbacks completed 66.7% of their passes when throwing at the former first round pick out of Boise State. While this number is certainly a bit inflated due to the fact that Wilson is picked on as the nickel corner in the same secondary as Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, this number will need to decrease if Wilson is going to become a starter on this defense. Players are not selected in the first round to serve as situational/back up players, so look for the Jets to attempt to increase Wilson’s role in the defense, but only if he proves capable.

There is not one Wide Receiver in the AFC East that will escape Revis Island this season. Fact. We’ve previously gone over why Chad Ochocinco is no threat to Revis, but the obvious argument here is Buffalo Wide Receiver Stevie Johnson. Many feel that Johnson “owns” Revis due to the fact that over two games last season, Johnson caught 11 balls for 159 yards and a touchdown. While these numbers certainly are not Revis-like, let’s not put Johnson in that life boat just yet. Although he did beat Revis on a 52 yard catch down the sideline during their week 9 match up in Buffalo, the sole touchdown that Johnson has on Revis in his career was a clear case of miscommunication within the defense.

Prior to the 5 yard touchdown Johnson snagged off of a slant route, Revis was lined up in what appeared to be man coverage, as displayed by the rather tight alignment to the line of scrimmage. Just before the snap, though, an obvious check in the coverage was made as Revis bailed out just as the play began. Johnson hit the slant, which should have been covered by Calvin Pace, who was running around like a chicken with his head cut off, as he clearly missed the check. So, while Johnson did have his 5 seconds of fame against Revis, he by no means “beat” the All-Pro corner. This is not to say that Johnson is incapable of such a feat, but let’s see him gain some consistency against 24 before declaring him the victor in any such matchup.

The Jets will add another Cornerback before the season. Fact. While the Jets have arguably the greatest trio of corners in the NFL in Revis, Cromartie, and Wilson, there is not too much experience on the depth chart behind them. The five other cornerbacks currently on the Jets roster have played in a combined 31 NFL games. While Ellis Lankster and Isaiah Trufant have contributed on Special Teams in the past, it would not be wise for the Jets to enter the season with this amount of inexperience at the position, particularly if none of them stand out in training camp. One name that has been discussed greatly among Jets Nation is former Jet Drew Coleman. A free agent, Coleman is coming off of a career year in Jacksonville last season with 46 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 interceptions, and 9 passes defended. Coleman is also familiar with Rex Ryan’s scheme having played in it in 2009 and 2010. This would be a great fit for both sides if the Jets decide to add depth heading into the season.

Antonio Cromartie is unfairly criticized based on performance. Fact. While Cromartie’s tackling has certainly never been the strength of his game, his coverage numbers have been very good for a number 2 corner. Cromartie is typically criticized for poor play, however in his two seasons with the Jets, he has 7 interceptions with 29 passes defended. While he certainly gives up his share of catches, and misses more tackles than anyone would enjoy seeing, Cromartie has arguably the toughest job in football: playing opposite Darrelle Revis. It is nearly impossible for anyone who is targeted as much as Cromartie, due to the presence of his counterpart, to maintain a perfect resume. Therefore it should not come as a surprise to anyone to see him give up a few catches. Yes, the best ones prove to consistently shut down anyone that lines up against them, but how many corners are there like that in the league? About one, and he plays in the same secondary as Cromartie.

The Jets collectively have the biggest group of meat heads at the Safety position in the NFL. Fact. Although their coverage skills are going to be tested to their greatest extent this season, is there truly a bigger group of meat heads at this position than LaRon Landry (6’0″ 220 lbs), Yeremiah Bell (6’0″ 205 lbs), and Eric Smith (6’1″ 207 lbs)? While their play on the field is critical to the success of the Jets defense this year, there is no debating the fact that these guys get after it in the weight room. Besides the countless bone crunching hits we’ve seen from them in the past, this picture should put any argument on this issue to rest.

Bonus – Having no captains will hurt the Jets this season. False. The no captains policy that took effect at the conclusion of last season following the Miami meltdown has been blown out of proportion ever since Rex Ryan uttered those words at his year end press conference. Guard Matt Slauson summed it up perfectly when he said that not naming captains has forced players to step into leadership roles. Leadership ability is something that players either have or don’t have, it is not a quality that can be attained or taught. Appointing captains can sometimes hurt a team because it could place the wrong people in leadership roles that they are unfit for, while excluding players who are natural leaders from such a position (Brandon Moore anyone?). While captains have been important to sports, the title does not automatically make a player a leader. The focus on this issue is certainly being sensationalized. Regardless of whether or not players have the “C” on their jerseys, those who are leaders are going to lead, it is encrypted in their DNA. Expect to see players like Moore, Nick Mangold, Darrelle Revis, Mark Sanchez, and David Harris step into those leadership roles this season, on and off the field, without being officially declared as captains.