Initial Reaction – A Win Filled With Major Problems, Jets 2-1

The New York Jets won ugly…very ugly over the Miami Dolphins 23-20 in overtime

Today was one of those wins that wasn’t very easy to enjoy. Let’s start with this reality, it appears likely that Darrelle Revis tore his ACL. We won’t find out for sure until tomorrow but any educated fan understands what a season ending injury means to the quality of the Jets defense. A Jets defense that already is not very good. It certainly isn’t elite. It certainly isn’t great. I’m not even sure if it is fair to classify it as good. When you allow a rookie quarterback to drive up and down the field on you with his second and third string running backs and the collection of receivers Miami has, you have nothing to puff your chest out about. If Reggie Bush doesn’t get hurt, the Jets might have lost by 10-14 points today.

The Jets have no pass rush, no speed at linebacker and cornerbacks in Antonio Cromartie, Kyle Wilson and Ellis Lankster who play the ball poorly in the air and are susceptible to double moves. Quinton Coples and Demario Davis have brought nothing to the defense so far. Aaron Maybin is a non-factor and the tackling for the entire unit is below average. This defense has a ton of room to improve and Rex Ryan must start finding a way to manufacture a pass rush.

On offense, it is painfully apparent the New York Jets had no well defined plan on how to use Tim Tebow coming into this season. So far his primary use this year has been as a slot receiver, who can’t catch the football (sadly, I’m serious). The Jets have been awful in short yardage and around the goal-line. If Tebow can’t get on the field on the 1 yard line on any of the Jets attempts down there, why is he on this team?

At running back, Shonn Greene needs to be put on the bench. I have battled with readers of this site the past few weeks about Greene but the numbers and production don’t lie. 19 carries for 40 yards? 2 yards per carry? How could you defend this guy as the starting running back? Don’t talk about the offensive line not opening up holes because Bilal Powell had 10 carries for 45 yards or 4.5 yards per carry. It is time to make Powell the starter, Joe McKnight (the Jets aren’t good enough on offense to keep somebody with his speed on the bench) the 3rd down back and relegate Greene to 7-10 carries per game off the bench. He isn’t even reliable enough in short yardage to make him a speciality back for that. Greene is painfully slow and has no ability to break tackles or make people miss.

Mark Sanchez did not play well at quarterback today. Simply put, he needs to complete a higher percentage of his passes and improve his decision making. His interception in the red-zone was awful, regardless of the poor route from Jeff Cumberland. Yes, there were dropped passes. Stephen Hill dropped an easy touchdown and had an overall poor game. Bilal Powell had a key third down drop. Regardless, Sanchez supporting cast is weak. We knew that coming into the year. It is a reality that isn’t going away. He needs to find a way to elevate his play and the play of those around him.

Now to the positives because there were a few – Santonio Holmes as Mark Sanchez eloquently put it “played his ass off.” Despite coverage being rolled to him, Holmes racked up 9 catches for 147 yards and the key catch in overtime. Jeremy Kerley is turning into a reliable playmaker and the Jets must do a better job of the getting the ball in his hands more. LaRon Landry had a pick six and has been a substantial upgrade at safety. Sanchez deserves credit for driving the Jets for the go ahead touchdown and the game winning field goal and throwing for over 300 yards with the collection of receivers and tight ends he had on the field.

The Jets aren’t a very good team and have many things to improve on. Regardless, they are 2-1. 2-0 in the AFC East and currently in 1st place. A win is a win and we’ll take it.

Instant Reaction – Disappointing Jets Fall To 1-1

The New York Jets laid an egg in Pittsburgh to drop their record to 1-1

It was going to be a tall order for the New York Jets in Pittsburgh, against a desperate 0-1 team particularly without Darrelle Revis, Dustin Keller and Bryan Thomas in the line-up. However, there are no excuses for how the Jets lost today. Dropped passes. Muffed punts. Porous tackling. Questionable coaching decisions. The game was there for the taking and the Jets put forth a sloppy, borderline embarrassing effort.

On offense the Jets got off a fast start but eventually fizzled thanks to a lack of a running game and dropped passes. Shonn Greene had 11 carries for 23 yards and again made nobody miss and broke no tackles. On the eye test Bilal Powell looked better when carrying the football and yes, the Jets should have turned to Tim Tebow more frequently as a rushing option. Greene isn’t good enough not be a supported by another option or two. Santonio Holmes spent the entire game whining to the officials and dropping catchable passes. Stephen Hill wasn’t involved in the offense at all and the Jets badly missed Dustin Keller, as Jeff Cumberland looked clueless at times. Mark Sanchez missed a few opportunities down the field and couldn’t get the offense in rhythm after the first quarter.

On defense, the tackling was awful. Rex Ryan consistently dialed up the proper blitz call but watch LaRon Landry and David Harris whiff on sacks. Landry also picked up a pair of personal fouls. It was frustrating to watch the Jets inability to bring Ben Roethlisberger down. Quinton Coples barely played. Aaron Maybin was invisible. Where is the pass rush going to come from? Antonio Cromartie looked lost on Mike Wallace’s touchdown and Kyle Wilson didn’t impress in extended duty.

Look, the Jets weren’t going 16-0. There are worse places to lose than on the road in Pittsburgh…like at home to Arizona for example. The entire AFC East is 1-1 and the Jets are 1-o in their division. They need to handle business in Miami next week before facing a pair of brutally tough games at home against San Francisco and Houston. In order to do that, they must find a running game and have their playmakers actually make plays.

Initial Reaction – 48 Points And A Barrel Of Laughs, Jets 1-0

The New York Jets rolled to a 48-28 win…thoughts on how they handled Buffalo

While we are happy to say we told you so about the Buffalo Bills being overhyped and the New York Jets remaining the second best team in the AFC East, we certainly can’t say we saw that coming. 48 points? Special teams touchdowns? The Jets looking like a high functioning NFL offense for an entire game? Today was a fun one at MetLife Stadium. Fun, because today demonstrated just how good this team could be and just how ridiculous all the negative pre-season hype around the team was.

Let’s start at the top, with the most important positon on the field and the most important player on the Jets roster not named Darrelle Revis…Mark Sanchez. Outside of a bonehead interception in the first quarter that had Twitter ablaze with cheap shots, Sanchez was as accurate as we’ve ever seen him, consistently fitting passes into tight windows and pushing the football down the field. Credit Tony Sparano for an aggressive game plan but credit Sanchez for dropping in some gems. He effectively spread the ball around, completing passes to 7 different receivers and showing tremendous comfort with rookie Stephen Hill. When you protect Sanchez, he can make all the throws necessary to win in the NFL.

The Jets wide receivers took a beating all summer, particularly Hill who many people claimed wasn’t ready for a big time role. He silenced those critics by turning in a monster 5 catch, 89 yard, 2 touchdown performance. Hill is a faster, bigger version of Braylon Edwards who Sanchez was extremely comfortable with in 2009 and 2010. Jeremy Kerley also got himself out of Rex Ryan’s doghouse with a 4 catches for 45 yards, a receiving touchdown an electric punt return touchdown. If they can stay consistent, the Jets offense has a ceiling much higher than anybody expected.

Austin Howard deserves to be singled out for praise. Mario Williams laid a goose egg today and Buffalo’s pass rush in general did absolutely nothing. The whole line deserves credit but Howard just recently stepped into a starting role and has the most prove. He was more than up to the challenge against Buffalo’s much hyped personnel.

Defensively, it was playmaking. The Jets made Ryan Fitzpatrick look every bit the overpaid, mediocre quarterback he is by intercepting him three times and taking one back to the house (we have been waiting for that defensive TD Cro!). Yes, the running defense and the lack of sacks was a mild disappointment but ultimately when the game was still in question, the defense routinely made game changing plays. LaRon Landry seemed to be in on every tackle and there is no question the tandem of him and Yeremiah Bell are a major upgrade from last year’s safeties.

The Jets and their fans have every right to enjoy this one. It was a statement victory in the division. However, there will be an even better chance to turn some heads this week in Pittsburgh. The talent is there to win, but will the consistency be there?

Check back tomorrow for No Huddle, a full Report Card and a closer look at Sanchez’s performance

Initial Reaction – New York Jets Inconsistent Against Bengals

The New York Jets had an inconsistent performance, at best, in their pre-season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals

A handful of thoughts from the New York Jets pre-season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals, a 17-6 loss that was far from the prettiest football game you will ever see –

1. Mark Sanchez didn’t receive much help in the way of protection or his receivers getting separation. However, he protected the football, scrambled for a first down on a 3rd down and hooked up with Patrick Turner 3 times. Overall, the first offense was rather disappointing, particularly Shonn Greene who finished up with 11 yards on 5 carries. Tony Sparano’s new offense remains a work in progress but remember how vanilla they were tonight.

2. Tim Tebow was Tim Tebow. He had three very impressive scrambles and finished as the team’s leading rusher with 34 yards on 4 carries. Yet, he struggled to throw the football only finishing 4/8 for 27 yards with an ugly interception. I remain confident in my belief that Tebow will be the team’s second leading rusher and is more of their number two running back than their number two quarterback.

3. Quinton Coples was the star of the night. Few people were more critical of his selection than yours truly but the rookie impressed tonight with 4 tackles, a tackle for a loss, a sack, a forced fumble and a pass defensed. Yes, many of his big plays came against the Bengals second unit but Coples looked athletic and like he could be a factor against both the run and pass.

4. Bilal Powell played over Joe McKnight as both the third down back and number two running back but it was McKnight who stole the show at running back. Powell finished with 16 yards on 5 carries and 1 reception for 4 yards, along with a missed block that led to a sack. McKnight showed some good giddy-up with 32 yards on 7 carries and 3 receptions for 34 yards.

5. Overall the defense was very good against the run, surrendering only 2.8 yards per carry. Kenrick Ellis filled in admirably for Sione Pouha and David Harris racked up 4 tackles in limited action.

6. Defensive end Jay Richardson had a head turning performance with 4 tackles and a sack. Garret McIntyre also had a sack and was active. Rookie linebacker Demario Davis had 4 tackles and a tackle for a loss.

7. Aaron Maybin struggled against the run and wasn’t effective getting to the passer despite extended reps. Isahiah Trufant and Julian Posey were beat like a drum all night long at corner. Josh Bush also doesn’t look quite ready for any kind of first team reps yet.

8. The Jets backup offensive lineman were downright awful, nearly getting Greg McElroy killed in the 3rd and 4th quarter. Depth is a major concern with this unit.

9. Can we keep Bart Scott out of coverage? When you can’t keep up with BenJarvus Green-Ellis over the middle, you have a problem. Demario Davis needs to be in on passing downs.

10. Rookie Stephen Hill had an ugly drop on a 3rd down. However he did haul in two high Tebow passes. It would have been nice to see him stretch the field but I’m sure that will come in time.

11. I would hate to be in the special teams meetings tomorrow…

Initial Reaction – New York Jets 2012 Draft Class

Initial reaction to the New York Jets 2012 draft class. Boom or Bust.

 

The New York Jets left the 2012 NFL Draft with eight selected players. Many of the team’s decisions were somewhat surprising and fairly questionable. However, they did get good value in a few situations. Throughout the week we will be breaking down each player in-depth, looking at where they could fit in 2012 and beyond, along with plenty more. For now here are a few initial thoughts. The eight selections were as follows –

  • Quinton Coples – Defensive End – North Carolina – 1st round
  • Stephen Hill – Wide Receiver – Georgia Tech – 2nd round
  • DeMario Davis – Inside Linebacker – Arkansas State – 3rd round
  • Josh Bush – Free Safety – Wake Forest – 6th round
  • Terrance Ganaway – Running Back – Baylor – 6th round
  • Robert T. Griffin – Guard – Baylor – 6th round
  • Antonio Allen – Strong Safety – South Carolina – 7th round
  • Jordan White – Wide Receiver – Western Michigan – 7th round

Boom or Bust – The Jets rolled the dice with this draft class, many times choosing potential over production. The first three picks in particular have immensely high ceilings because of their athletic ability but viable questions about their transition to the NFL. At least with Hill and Davis, their motor/passion for the game is not in question. Coples is the player who needs to prove more than anybody that last year was a fluke situation and he can bring it 100 percent on every play.

In the late rounds, Bush was an off the radar prospect who apparently has the smarts to compensate for a lack of athleticism. Doesn’t that sound like Eric Smith? Ganaway had one big year and was aided by having RGIII at quarterback. However, he will now have the benefit of working with Tim Tebow in an option package.

Speed Kills – Without the question, the Jets got substantially faster and more athletic in this draft. Hill is a physical freak who has the ability to blow the top off of defenses in a way a Jets receiver hasn’t since the 1980s. Davis runs a sub 4.5 forty as an inside linebacker and should have a good chance to contribute immediately on passing downs.

How Is That Possible – The Jets didn’t select a right tackle or outside linebacker. We will get into this more throughout the week but this a borderline mind boggling decision. For now, it looks like they are ready to roll with Wayne Hunter, Bryan Thomas and Vladimir Ducasse all potentially playing big roles on the 2012 team.

Value Picks – Two stand out in particular to me, Antonio Allen in the 7th round and Terrance Ganaway in the 6th round. Allen was projected by many as a 3rd to 5th round pick but slipped because of how much time he spent in the box while at South Carolina. Allen projects as a traditional strong safety and provides needed depth behind LaRon Landry this year and could become the long term starter at the position. Ganaway is experienced with the option and could be an immediately productive player in the Jets Tebow package of plays. Bilal Powell should be on notice for a roster spot.

The Home Run – Even more so than Coples, I think Hill has the most potential to become the star of this draft class. He will start from day one and provide a much needed deep threat opposite Santonio Holmes. 6’5, 206 pounds, 4.31 forty is scary. Beyond that, Hill routinely produced monster plays down the field in college, is a willing and strong blocker on the second level and has a terrific attitude by all accounts. He could be a special player from the first second he steps on the field in this offense.

Question Coples – I have offered some harsh criticism for the Coples pick. I hate to hear motor/effort/attitude questions on a player. I also liked the Jets depth at defensive end and I’m not crazy about Mike DeVito potentially being moved to clear more reps for him. However, physically Coples has the ability to not just be a 10-12 sack guy but a 14-16 sack guy. Can Rex get it out of him?

Embarrassing: Jets Lay Egg In Philly

The New York Jets embarrassed themselves today in Philadelphia

It was about as ugly as you could imagine for the New York Jets today. A terrible game plan. Turnovers. Penalties. Just stupid football en route to a 45-19 loss.

Why the Jets coaching staff thought Wayne Hunter, one of the league’s worst starting offensive players, could block Jason Babin one on one is beyond me. Babin torched the Jets all day long, finishing with 3 sacks. Mark Sanchez never had a chance. On defense, we saw plenty of Eric Smith matched up one on one with Brent Celek who carved up the secondary for 150 yards and a touchdown. On the whole the defense was putrid, missing tackles all over the field. They looked slow and out of place.

What was especially disheartening was the showing from “captain” Santonio Holmes today. A first quarter fumble gave the Eagles their first seven points and then he dropped a pass in the red-zone that turned into an interception. Even more annoying to watch was him doing a pre-meditated touchdown celebration with his team down 19 points and drawing an unsportsmanlike penalty. Selfish and immature.

To lay an egg in such a big spot is inexcusable. It is poor coaching. It was poor coaching to put Hunter and Smith in the spots they were put in. It was poor coaching in the beginning of the year to make somebody like Holmes a captain.

How could you feel confident about this team making the playoffs after what you saw today? Yet, somehow thanks to the help they keep receiving, they actually still control their own destiny. Win their last two games and they are still in.

Halfway There: Jets Destroy Chiefs, Move Closer To Playoffs

The New York Jets destroyed the Kansas City Chiefs and thanks to some help moved much closer to a playoff spot

The real drama so far today didn’t take place inside MetLife Stadium where the New York Jets steamrolled the Kansas City Chiefs, 37-10. It took place in Cincinnati, where T.J. Yates produced a game winning touchdown drive in the final seconds to give Houston a victory and in Tennessee where the Saints defense held at the end of the game, to escape with a 22-17 win. The Jets took care of their business and received the help they need. It will only take either a Green Bay win over Oakland (they are up 14-0 as I type this) or a Chicago win over Denver to control their playoff destiny.

Let’s talk about that business that the Jets handled today. Offense? They went right down the field on the first drive for a touchdown and tacked on three more in the first half to make this one a laugher by the time the teams hit the locker room after the second quarter. It is December, when the games matter more, so you know Mark Sanchez and Shonn Greene were bringing their “A” game. Sanchez went 13/21 for 181 yards with 2 touchdowns and also tacked on 2 rushing touchdowns for good measure. Greene continued his recent tear, rushing for 129 yards on 24 carries with another touchdown. He also added 58 yards receiving.

You have to give Brian Schottenheimer credit for the game plan today, which made good use of the screen game and his running backs as receivers. LaDainian Tomlinson added 50 receiving yards and a touchdown. Dustin Keller was involved early with 4 first half receptions and Santonio Holmes caught his 7th touchdown of the season. The only complaint could be on a pair of first half sacks allowed. The offensive line must be more consistent, with the Eagles and Giants pass rush on the horizon.

On defense. There isn’t much to it. The Jets completed dominated an inept Kansas City offense. They finished with five sacks, a safety and an interception. Unfortunately, the interception came at the price of liking losing safety Jim Leonhard to an ankle injury for the rest of the season. This will be a difficult injury to overcome, considering how reliable he is on punt return and his knowledge of the defense at safety. It will be on Jeremy Kerley to step up as a punt returner and not muff any kicks and on Brodney Pool and Eric Smith to handle an extended roll on defense.

Thanks to a timely 3 game winning streak. The Jets are a 6-1 team at home and will now very likely sit in complete control of their destiny when it comes to making the playoffs. What else can you ask for at this point of the year, considering some of the losses they have suffered this season?

Two Down, Four To Go: Jets Roll Late, Beat Washington 34-19

The New York Jets are still breathing after another come from behind victory in the 4th quarter

We have seen this movie before. The New York Jets play sloppy and inconsistent in all three phases of the game for 3 and a 1/2 quarters, yet when it comes down to the final minutes, they step up with a clutch performance led by their quarterback.

It happened all over again today in Washington. It was hard not be furious with the Jets offense, for horrible clock management, questionable and conservative play calling, along with another weak showing from the passing attack. It was hard not to be furious with the defense for allowing Washington to waltz right down the field on the opening drive before settling down into an overall strong performance. It was hard not to be furious with the special teams for muffing yet another kick (this time Jeremy Kerley was the culprit).

With a little under 5 minutes to go, the Jets trailed by 3 points. Finally, they decided to take advantage of running more slant routes than any team in the NFL by calling for a slant and go, which was perfectly executed by both Santonio Holmes and Mark Sanchez. Another clutch hook up for those two to add to the laundry list they have accumulated in the past two years.

The defense then responded to their reputation for not being able to close by coming up with a strip sack of Rex Grossman. Aaron Maybin continued his unbelievable season by coming up with that sack, his sixth of the season. Shonn Greene then put the game on the ice with a touchdown run and added another one in garbage time for good measure.

The Jets aren’t a great football team, they have flaws which we cover here all the time but hey…they know how to win close football games. We have seen them do damage once they get into the playoffs the past two years and the hope of getting back there this year remains alive, especially with losses from Cincinnati and Oakland today.

There won’t be any easy games the rest of the way, this team isn’t consistent enough yet to say there will be, but for now the Jets are still breathing…

One Down, Five To Go: Jets Win Ugly…Very Ugly

It was far from pretty but the New York Jets are alive thanks to a last second win over the Buffalo Bills

The New York Jets will never make it easy. They will make us sick at times. They will confuse us. They will make it as hard as possible on themselves. They didn’t play well today. They put themselves in a dogfight with a subpar, injured team. Yet, in the end, they fought…and they found a way to win. We’ll get to that later, but let’s start with the problems.

First off, what the hell were they thinking by putting Antonio Cromartie deep on punt return instead of Jim Leonhard? Cromartie hasn’t returned a single punt all season and you put him deep in a one touchdown game, in the windy Meadowlands? I heard the excuse about Jim Leonhard having the wind knocked out of him. I am not sure I am buying it. If that was the case, the Jets need a more sure handed backup option than Cromartie who has zero ball security skills. Put Santonio Holmes deep. Call a timeout to get Leonhard his wind back or tell him just to fair catch it.

While we are on Cromartie, he has been generally awful this year and it didn’t stop today. He let up a touchdown to Brad Smith and was beaten up and down the field by him. By Brad Smith, who is far from a quality NFL receiver. Wasn’t Cromartie supposed to be a playmaker? All I can remember from him this year is turning the football over on special teams and allowing touchdowns on defense.

Now on to the most confusing part of the day, Darrelle Revis who was beaten up and down the field by Stevie Johnson. It was bizarre to watch the eight receptions and the touchdown on him, granted they only added up to 75 yards. It was a busy day for Johnson, who cemented himself as three things: a talented wide receiver, a scumbag, and a choke artist. The imitation of Plaxico Burress shooting himself was as classes as it gets. Fortunately, everybody gets the last laugh on Johnson as he choked yet again, late in the game by dropping a potential touchdown pass. It reminded me of this one from last year.

Over to the offense. Mark Sanchez had the worst four touchdown performance you will ever see today. He was inaccurate, particularly in the first half and he continued to throw into coverage. For some reason he kept throwing the same dig route into triple coverage, fortunately it only intercepted once. There was also multiple communications with the wide receivers. Brian Schottenheimer was inconsistent again, calling too many passes and inexplicably going away from Joe McKnight when it appeared Shonn Greene was hurt. McKnight had 40 yards on 6 touches. Do the math. He needs more of them.

Turnovers. Miscommunications. Subpar Play. But still, a victory. And for that, you must give some credit to Mark Sanchez, who did improve his play in the second half and did put together yet another game winning drive that ended with a Santonio Holmes touchdown. The talent is there but the consistency needs to improve…immensely.

Plaxico Burress deserves a ton of credit for another terrific game, highlighted by a beautiful one-handed third down grab that kept the Jets game winning drive alive. He also scored his 7th touchdown of the season and never went down to Stevie Johnson’s level to respond to him.

In the end, the Jets are alive and very much in the thick of the AFC playoff picture. They need to get better…much better but they live to fight another day. Rex Ryan said in his post-game speech, “don’t let anybody rob us of our dreams”…let’s see if the Jets can prevent the Redskins from doing that next week.

Initial Reaction: Outclassed – Jets Get Smacked By New England

It was an ugly night at MetLife Stadium…

Sometimes football isn’t a very complicated game. When you miss chip shot field goals, commit stupid penalties, turn the football over, and manage the clock poorly, you aren’t going to win.

Tonight was an ugly, sloppy effort from the New York Jets at time when they could least afford it. Don’t put this one on any single individual or unit. Tonight was a team loss, that was as much about mental mistakes as it was about physical mistakes.

The sob stories will start surrounding this team again, as they blew a golden opportunity. Realistically a AFC East crown probably isn’t happening. It is now on to the dogfight for a wild-card spot. Shame on Rex Ryan for not having the team properly prepared tonight, particularly not having his defense ready for the Patriots hurry up. Shame on Joe McKnight and Donald Strickland for not being able to catch or fall on a punt. Shame on Mark Sanchez for an inconsistent performance and poor clock management. Shame on the offensive line for being abused all night, the linebackers for generating no pass rush and shame on Eric Smith for being generally awful at his job.

Fortunately, there isn’t time for the Jets to wipe up their tears. They will take the whipping in the media they deserve and hear how overrated they are yet again but the reality is that they are playing Denver in a couple of days and they badly need a win to wash the taste of tonight out of their mouth. The soft part of the schedule is here and the Jets need to tonight quick to take advantage of it.