Turn Off The Jets: Comically Bad Loss to Bills Reaction

Being a season ticket holding Jets fan my entire life, I have sat through some bad football games. Today was among the worst I have ever seen. The Bills were awful. The officiating was awful. Most importantly, the Jets were awful. It was a long, painful game to watch with no rhythm or tempo. By the fourth quarter, it wasn’t a question of if the Jets were going to lose, it was how they were going to lose. They found a uniquely, cruel and unusual way to drag it out today but sure enough they did lose in the end and are now 3-3.

Paging Kellen Clemens…Paging Erik Ainge…Paging Kevin O’Connell…Just kidding, but wow Mark Sanchez was bad today. I understand he is a rookie but that can’t be an excuse to throw five interceptions. The kid looked shaken today. He was on nowhere near the same page as his receivers and repeatedly killed the Jets with turnovers. There are plenty of things to point fingers at today but the bottom line is that you aren’t going to win with 5 interceptions. We know the talent is there but how many more performances like this is Sanchez going to have this year? He has already cost the team two games.

Airing of Grievances…The early reports is that Kris Jenkins is out for the season, when it rains it pours. The Jets defense was already struggling the past few weeks but is now going to be in serious trouble without Jenkins, who is their most valuable player on that side of the ball…Before you even think about saying the Jets defense played anywhere near good today, remember they recorded 1 sack for 5 yards against an offensive line starting three rookies, Rex Ryan’s blitz schemes aren’t fooling anybody and nobody on the Jets is talented enough to beat their blocker and make a play…Ryan Fitzpatrick led a 10 point second half comeback on the road against the defense…Lito Sheppard was beat like a drum all day by Lee Evans before finally being pulled for Dwight Lowery…There is no excuse for Steve Weatherford for dropping that snap and denying Jay Feely at a chance at winning the game in OT…The amount of penalties on the Jets was astronomical, every single drive in OT started with a penalty and they had the game pulled out of their hands by the officials thanks to a holding call, after Thomas Jones ran down to the 13 yard line in OT.

More Grievances…James Ihedigbo should be cut for punching somebody on the opening kickoff in OT and costing the Jets 15 yards…Mark Sanchez also can’t keep taking 15 yard sacks, throw the ball away. Dustin Keller and Mark Sanchez look they have never been in the same room as each other and are running different offenses…Brian Schottenheimer’s playcalling still leaves something to be desired.

Welcome back to mediocrity Jets fans. We had a nice three weeks in the beginning of the year without it, but now we are back where we belong. You are kidding yourselves if you feel confident about flying out to Oakland next week and getting a win. The Jets never play well on the West Coast, particularly in Oakland and the Raiders just took care of the Eagles today, who are much better than the Jets. Also, Mark Sanchez is currently playing like JaMarcus Russell.

Time to Jump Off the Jets Bandwagon?

First a few updates:

1. Rex Ryan admitted he made a mistake by not using his timeouts during his conference call with media members yesterday. The big guy is guilty of being overconfident in his defense and denying his offense, which was playing very well, a chance to win the game at the end.

2. Site Updates – The newest episode of TOJ TV has been placed on the TOJ TV page, also the new commercial as been placed on the Jets Commercials page, the stats have also been updated. I got away from my normal weekly format because of the short week, but tomorrow I will be back to the usual Thursday game breakdown and Friday will have the new episode of TOJ TV with the Jets/Bills prediction.

3. Jerricho Cotchery (hamstring), Damien Woody (foot), Brad Smith (quad), and Shaun Ellis (knee) didn’t practice today. Lito Sheppard and Donald Stickland were both limited in practice. I wouldn’t bet on Cotchery playing this week.

Time To Jump Off the Jets Bandwagon?

A football season is undeniably filled with peeks and valleys. An important point often raised to players and coaches for that matter is to never get too high after a win or get too low after a loss. It is often easy to ignore this advice after a win, when the joy of victory covers the blemishes in a performance and after a loss, when the sting of defeat ignores the positives.  The point I am trying to make in relation to the Jets is that however stupid it was to consider them a Super Bowl contender at 3-0, it is equally stupid to bury them at 3-2.

Let’s reflect on the Jets first five games. In week one, they caught an average Houston team off guard in their building. Mark Sanchez played unusually well for a rookie and the Jets offensive line wore down a weak Texans front seven in the second half, springing a few big runs. Their defense spent the entire day in the face of a shell shocked quarterback who clearly didn’t know what to expect from their unit. In week two, the Jets played a poor first half but managed to keep the game close by forcing New England to kick field goals instead of scoring touchdowns. In the second half, they came out with more energy than the Patriots and rode the momentum of opening the half with a touchdown to a victory. In the third game, the Jets played a terrific first 7 minutes, jumping out to a 14-0 lead and then were thoroughly outplayed by the Titans the rest of the way. They hung on to a victory because of a muffed punt and dropped passes by Tennessee receivers. In week 4, their defense put together a great all around effort but they were undone by rookie mistakes from their quarterback. On Monday night, the Jets defense wasn’t prepared for Miami’s Wildcat approach and had the ball ran down their throat, wasting a great performance by their offense in 31-27 loss.

So, what do we have? We have a football team that is inconsistent on both sides of the football. The past couple of weeks they haven’t been able to sync up a strong performance from their offense and defense. Yet, here a few things to remember before you step to the ledge on the Jets 2009 season:

1. Their offense is only going to get better…much better. They just added a playmaking, legit number one receiver who appears to be hungry and focused. Their quarterback is maturing with each passing week and has shown an ability to push the ball down the field, and respond to adversity. Jerricho Cotchery is banged up right now but was playing at high level through 4 weeks and when he returns to 100 percent, the Jets will have one of the better starting duo of receivers in the league. David Clowney showed he was a capable playmaker on Monday Night, hauling in a 53 yard catch and finishing the game with 4 receptions. Brad Smith has made at least one big play in every game this season except for one (15 yard run week one, 17 yard catch week three, 18 yard run week four, 19 yard catch week three). Dustin Keller has been curiously uninvolved in the offensive attack but is still a capable playmaker as demonstrated last year and against the Texans this season.

The offensive line has shown signs of improvements the past two weeks, appearing to finally get in sync after having limited work together in the pre-season. Thomas Jones does appear a step slower but Shonn Greene is slowly developing a bigger role to replace some of his carries. Leon is putting together a pretty good year and is long overdue to pop a few big plays. The bottom line is that the Jets have plenty of weapons around a rookie quarterback who should do nothing but improve in the coming weeks.

2. When it comes to our defense the proof is in the rule, not the exception. It is foolish to miscast the Jets defense as frauds because they played poorly 1 out of 5 games. Their masterful performances against the Texans, Patriots, Saints, and in the 4th quarter against the Titans don’t get erased because of one bad game. Does anybody say the Ravens had a poor defense last year because the Giants and Colts ran it up on them? No, these things happen in the NFL. The opposing team is coached and wants to win too, they are going to be better in some weeks. Obviously, the goal is to limit the number of times it happens throughout a season but a 4 to 1 ratio isn’t bad and likely equates to double digit victories.

Calvin Pace is going to get his feet back under him. Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland are eventually going to return from injuries. This unit hasn’t been perfect all season and certain players need to improve their play, Kerry Rhodes needs to become a playmaker in terms of forcing turnovers, Marques Douglas has to be better against the run, and Shaun Ellis/Bryan Thomas and Pace need to generate a pass rush, in order for the Jets to become a truly elite defense.

The Jets aren’t running away with anything this season. They will be in a battle with the Patriots and Dolphins all year for the AFC East crown. The amazing thing about the NFL is how fickle it is. It is  comedic listening to people crown Chad Henne the next Dan Marino because he played one good half of football. Remember everything you are reading right now about the Jets and Dolphins and think about how much things could change by their next meeting, which is only three weeks away. I don’t think I am going out on a limb by saying I believe the Jets will take care of business against the Bills and Raiders the next two weeks or that there is a fair chance the Dolphins will lose to New Orleans after their bye. If those three games fall into place, the Jets will be 5-2 and Miami will be 2-4, with the Monday Night loss a distant memory and the Jets being presented with an opportunity to bury the Dolphins at home.

The NFL is a funny thing because the Jets could absolutely find a way to lose to Buffalo or Oakland. However, my gut instinct tells me that they will come out motivated the next two weeks to show the first three weeks weren’t a fluke and they’ll beat up on two inferior opponents, setting the stage for a game that should feel like the Super Bowl for the defense when they face the Dolphins at home.

You want to jump off the Jets bandwagon? At least wait until they lose to Buffalo at home or Oakland, not when they lose to the defending AFC East champs on the road by a last second touchdown.

Bills/Browns Highlights…If you could call them that

Grading Out the Jets/Dolphins Debacle & NFL Week 5 Recap

First a few updates:

1. Jerricho Cotchery admitted that he was nowhere near 100 percent and probably re-aggravated his injury trying to play in a limited role last night. The smartest thing for the Jets to do would be rest Cotchery for this week and allow him to get back to 100 percent or else he will be dealing with this hamstring injury all year.

2. David Clowney only had leg cramps last night and will be fine moving forward. Brad Smith had a foot injury in the first half but was out in there second half, regardless it is still something to keep an eye on this week. Who knows when Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland will be back at this point.

3. Calvin Pace refused to respect Miami’s Wildcat offense and had some pretty stupid stuff to say after the game, which can be read here http://www.thejetsblog.com/2009/10/13/calvin-pace-clearly-not-fond-of-wildcat/. He should probably spend more time worrying about setting the edge so the Dolphins can’t run high school Wing-T Jet Sweep around him every time for 15 yards and maybe getting within 5 yards of the quarterback.

Grading Out the Jets/Dolphins Debacle & NFL Week 5 Recap

Quarterbacks: (B) Mark Sanchez did more than enough for the Jets to get a win and twice in the fourth quarter drove them down the field for go ahead touchdowns. His numbers weren’t all that impressive (12/24, 172 yards, 1 TD) but he didn’t turn the ball over and made beautiful down field throws to David Clowney (53 yard gain) and Braylon Edwards twice (34 yard gain and drawn pass interference penalty). It is good to see him bounce back from a bad performance and hopefully he can keep it going this week against Buffalo.

Running Backs: (B-) Thomas Jones is slowly turning into nothing more than a very good goal-line back. He only finished with 42 yards and a 3.2 yards per carry average and is making the Jets look smart for not extending his contract. Leon added a little juice to the running game with 10 carries for 44 yards but still doesn’t have an offensive play that has went longer than 20 yards this season. Shonn Greene didn’t get much of a chance with only 3 carries, but don’t be surprised to see him get more carries in upcoming weeks.

Wide Receivers: (A) Braylon Edwards sure looked like a legit number one receiver last night despite being in the Jets offense for only 5 days and not having a healthy Jerricho Cotchery opposite him. The one major positive from this game is the how clearly the Jets improved their offense with the Edwards trade. Cotchery played mostly as a decoy despite a hamstring injury but will be better served by resting this week and getting back to 100 percent. David Clowney stepped up in a big way with 4 catches for 72 yards, including a 53 yard bomb…expect to see alot more of “The Clown” in coming weeks. Brad Smith had a nice catch and run for 19 yards and a huge play on a fake punt, where he shook about 3 tackles.

Tight Ends: (F) Paging Dustin Keller….are you still there…paging Dustin Keller…are you still a member of this Jets offense? Obviously some of the blame falls on the playcalling but Keller also did a poor job of blocking last night.

Offensive Line: (B) A better performance by this group but they still aren’t performing at the level they did last season. We haven’t had a 100 yard rusher since week one and Sanchez was still sacked once and hit three times, including being forced into an intentional grounding penalty.

Defensive Line: (D) I thought Howard Green played pretty well off the bench and Kris Jenkins had his moments but beyond that this unit was pushed around all night and applied absolutely no pressure to the quarterback. Marques Douglas and Sione Pouha might have been pancaked about 10 times.

Linebackers: (D) Don’t be fooled by tackling stats, Bart Scott, David Harris, Bryan Thomas, and Calvin Pace were all invisible in this game when it counted. They all missed countless tackles and they all failed to apply pressure to the quarterback…wait why did I give them a D? How about a F.

Secondary: (D) Torched by Ted Ginn Jr…really, Darrelle Revis? You can cover Andre Johnson, Randy Moss, and Marques Colston but not Ted Ginn Jr? C’mon now. Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman were both exposed in big spots. Will Lito Sheppard ever recover from his quad injury? Kerry Rhodes hasn’t made a big play in seemingly 25 games. Seriously, is it so much to ask for this guy to have a sack, forced fumble, or interception?

Special Teams: (A) Steve Weatherford might soon be taking Thomas Jones job, by showing more elusiveness than Jones has did all season. Brad Smith was clutch on the other fake punt. Jay Feely is money in the bank. Leon Washington needs to improve on kick returns.

Coaching: (D) The Jets weren’t prepared to stop Miami’s offense and Rex Ryan did a poor job by not using his timeouts at the end of the game. Ryan was served a heaping dish of humble pie last night, so let’s see how his defense responds in the coming weeks.

NFL Week 5 Quick Recap

TOJ Top Five

  1. New York Giants – They finally play a NFL caliber team this weekend.
  2. Minnesota Vikings – Good test for them against the Ravens this week.
  3. Denver Broncos – When did Kyle Orton turn into one of the better QB’s in the league?
  4. New Orleans Saints – Huge game against the Giants coming up.
  5. Indianapolis Peyton Mannings – They will clinch the division in about 4 weeks.

AFC East Observations

New England Patriots – The Pats lost the type of the game they usually don’t lose in Denver. Fortunately for them, they get the hapless Titans at home this week. Their defense is more vulnerable than it has been in years and Brady still isn’t all the way back.

Miami Dolphins – Say what you want about their gimmick offense, they can run the football. I was wrong for burying them at 0-3 but we’ll see how legit they are after these next 3 games against New Orleans, New England, and the Jets in the Meadowlands.

Buffalo Bills – I am shutting the site down if they beat the Jets this week.

Jets/Dolphins Highlights

Back to Reality: Jets Defense Loses Game

Well Miami shut Rex Ryan up, the Jets defense up, and of course they shut me up. Mark Sanchez and the Jets offense did everything and more for the Jets to get a win. Time and time again the Jets defense had a chance to close the deal and end the game, and time and time again they were overpowered by Miami’s offense and Chad Henne who came up with key timely throws.

Darrelle Revis was toasted by Ted Ginn Jr for a 53 yard touchdown in the 4th quarter. However, the Jets offense responded like they did all night and answered with a Thomas Jones touchdown set up by a pass interference penalty drawn by Braylon Edwards, who couldn’t have done anymore in his Jets debut to validate trading for him.

Miami got the ball with about 5 minutes on the clock down by 3 and let’s call it what it was…they drove the ball down the Jets throat and converted multiple key third and longs, as backup turned starters Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman were beaten by Greg Camarillo. With the game on the line and Miami on the 2 yard line with one play to go before they’d be forced to settle for a field goal and send the game into OT. However, Kris Jenkins, Bart Scott, David Harris, Kerry Rhodes and the rest of the loud talking Jets defense was ran over without even putting up a fight.

For the second game in a row the Jets didn’t record a sack and in reality didn’t come near touching Chad Henne all night. Where is that hyped up Rex Ryan pass rush? Where is the run defense?

The positives? Mark Sanchez played very well. Braylon Edwards was terrific, also David Clowney played a great game. There were signs of life from the Jets running game, but it still isn’t all the way back yet.

Everytime the Jets get you excited, they quickly bring you right back down to reality. The 3-0 is start is just about gone now and the Jets are now just another 3-2 team. I am guilty of both overestimating the Jets and underestimating the Dolphins, especially Chad Henne and their offensive line. Well, at least we are all used to disappointment.

NFL Week 4 Recap/Jets vs. Dolphins First Look

First a few updates:

1. The Jets actually jumped up a spot to number 5 in ESPN’s Power Rankings despite their 14 point loss to the Saints. Their defense made a strong statement to the rest of the league that they are one of the elite groups in the NFL, regardless the offense has something to prove these next few weeks.

2. The trash talking has begun this week, courtesy of Dolphins linebacker Akin Ayodele discussing the Rex Ryan/Channing Crowder feud in the off-season, “Their head coach really blew the fire even more this offseason with Channing and both of them going back and forth. How does a head coach, why would you even try and go with words, you know battle with a player. That to me doesn’t make any sense so yeah, the animosity is there, the hatred is there. You know there’s no love, It will feel great once we put that whooping on them”.

3. MLB Playoff Predictions? Twins over the Tigers tonight. Yankees over the Twins. Red Sox over the Angels. Dodgers over the Cardinals. Phillies over the Rockies.

NFL Week 4 Recap/Jets vs. Dolphins First Look

Wrapping Up Jets/Saints

Defensive Player of the Game: Darrelle Revis – Another lockdown effort by the Jets corner, who held Marques Colston without a reception when he covered him. On the day, Revis only allowed one reception for 14 yards to Devery Henderson and also collected three passes defensed along with doing a strong job in run support.

Offensive Player of the Game: Shonn Greene – Why Shonn Greene who only had 4 carries for 23 yards? The reason is because his production provided some extra motivation for Thomas Jones who started out with 6 carries for 12 yards, and then after Greene took a series from him, came back with 8 carries for 37 yards and a touchdown. Hopefully, Greene will be healthy for this week and provide another weapon for the Jets rushing attack and keep Jones on his toes.

Honorable Mentions: Jerricho Cotchery for having another strong game…Alan Faneca for some superb run blocking…Bryan Thomas for a productive, all-around game…Dwight Lowery for holding his own as the Jets starting corner the past two weeks…David Harris for racking up 12 tackles…Kerry Rhodes for piling up 8 tackles and a key pass defense.

AFC East Observations

New England Patriots – The Patriots scored a big victory over the undefeated Baltimore Ravens at home. They were aided by a few ridiculous roughing the passer penalties and a key drop by Mark Clayton on the Ravens final drive, but a win is a win. Also, Tom Brady appears to be looking like his normal self again. New England has another tough task this week, as they travel to Denver to face the undefeated Broncos.

Buffalo Bills – Yuck, what an embarrassing performance by the Bills in Miami who appear to be quitting on their coach. The Dolphins ran all over them and Trent Edwards and the rest of the Bills offense looked awful. The good news? They get to face Eric Mangini and the Browns this weekend.

Miami Dolphins – They got their first win of the season over Buffalo, who didn’t put up much of a fight. The Dolphins continued to run the ball successfully but let’s see what happens when a team stops the run and Chad Henne has to complete some passes for them to move the football.

TOJ Top Five

  1. New York Giants – They will roll over Oakland this weekend and head to New Orleans at 5-0.
  2. Indianapolis Colts – Their offense is scary good right now, even without Anthony Gonzalez.
  3. New Orleans Saints – Big play defense to match their big play offense.
  4. Minnesota Vikings – Let’s see how Favre holds up into November/December.
  5. Denver Broncos – Their defense is legit…chance to make statement against NE this weekend.

TOJ Bottom Five

  1. Oakland Raiders – JaMarcus Russell is terrible.
  2. Kansas City Chiefs – They showed some fight in the 2nd half against Giants but lack talent to compete.
  3. Tampa Bay Bucs – Josh Johnson at least let them be competitive on Sunday.
  4. Cleveland Browns – Good effort against the Bengals.
  5. St. Louis Rams – Wow…I think losing by less than 20 is a victory for them.

Jets vs. Dolphins First Look

The Opponent: Last year’s Cinderella story got a healthy dose of reality the first three weeks of the season with losses to the Falcons, Colts, and Chargers. They did respond with an impressive win over the hapless Bills last week, to move their record to 1-3. Chad Henne will be making his second career start against the Jets (Rex Ryan is salivating more than he does over a fresh pie of pizza). Miami relies on their rushing attack led by Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. Regardless, their gimmick based offense didn’t work in playoffs against Ryan last year and the Jets defense is better than any unit they faced this season. Miami had plenty to say about Ryan and the Jets this off-season, so let’s see if they can back their words up or if they are in over their head against an opponent with more talent.

Miami Dolphins Starters/Key Reserves

OFFENSE

  • Quarerback: Chad Henne – 24/41, 207 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
  • Running Back: Ronnie Brown – 72 carries, 369 yards, 4 TD’s
  • Running Back: Ricky Williams – 50 carries, 248 yards, 2 TD’s
  • Running Back: Patrick Cobbs – 5 carries, 37 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Ted Ginn Jr – 14 receptions, 138 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Devone Bess – 20 receptions, 157 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Greg Camarillo – 11 receptions, 86 yards
  • Wide Receiver; Brian Hartline – 6 receptions, 53 yards, 1 TD
  • Tight End: Anthony Fasasno – 4 receptions, 18 yards
  • Left Tackle: Jake Long
  • Left Guard: Justin Smiley
  • Center: Jake Grove
  • Right Guard: Donald Thomas
  • Right Tackle: Vernon Carey

DEFENSE

  • Defensive End: Kendall Langford – 10 tackles, 1 sack
  • Defensive Tackle: Jason Ferguson – 6 tackles
  • Defensive End: Randy Starks – 8 tackles, 1 sack
  • Defensive End: Phillip Merling – 8 tackles, 1 sack
  • Outside Linebacker: Joey Porter – 6 tackles, 2 sacks
  • Inside Linebacker: Channing Crowder – 14 tackles
  • Inside Linebacker: Akin Ayodele – 16 tackles
  • Outside Linebacker: Jason Taylor – 8 tackles, 3 sacks
  • Outside Linebacker: Cameron Wake – 6 tackles, 3 sacks
  • Corner: Will Allen – 16 tackles, 2 INT’s – 6 tackles
  • Corner: Sean Smith – 7 tackles
  • Corner: Vontae Davis – 3 tackles, 1 INT
  • Safety: Yeremiah Bell – 28 tackles
  • Safety: Gibril Wilson – 17 tackles

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • Kicker: Dan Carpenter
  • Punter: Brandon Fields
  • Kick Returner: Patrick Cobbs
  • Punt Returner; Devone Bess

Key Players: Ronnie Brown is their most dangerous player on offense, especially out of the Wildcat formation. Devone Bess and Greg Camarillo are decent possession receivers. Tedd Ginn Jr has big play capability. On defense, they have a variety of pass rushers including Joey Porter, jason Taylor, and Cameron Wake.

Injuries: Joey Porter is recovering from an injury and missed last week. Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland have missed the past two weeks, but should be back. Damien Woody has a bad ankle but is expected to play.

Early Story Lines: Channing Crowder vs Rex Ryan…Mark Sanchez bouncing back from his first bad game…Jets/Dolphins rivalry…How the Jets respond to their first loss of the season…Calvin Pace returns from his suspension.

Dolphins/Bills Highlights

Grading Out the Jets/Saints Game

First a few updates:

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

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

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

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

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

Grading Out the Jets/Saints Game

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jets/Saints Game Highlights

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

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

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

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

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

NFL Week 3 Recap/Jets vs. Saints First Look

First a few updates:

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

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

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

Wrapping Up Jets/Titans

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

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

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

AFC East Observations

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

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

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

TOJ Top 5

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

TOJ Bottom 5

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

Jets vs. Saints First Look

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

New Orleans Starters/Key Reserves

OFFENSE

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

DEFENSE

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

SPECIAL TEAMS

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

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

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

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

Saints/Bill Highlights

Grading Out the Jets/Titans Game

First a few updates:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grading Out the Jets/Titans Game

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jets/Titans Game Highlights

Undefeated: Jets Move to 3-0, Instant Reaction

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

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

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

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

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