New York Jets – Five Short Term Solutions

Five short term solutions for the New York Jets so they don’t embarrass themselves the rest of 2012

Five short term solutions for the New York Jets so they don’t embarrass themselves for the rest of the 2012-2013 season. Check back later in the week for five long term solutions, so the Jets can be a competitive team in the AFC in the coming years. 

1 – Use A Sensible Tebow Plan – The type of plan everybody assumed the Jets were going to use this summer. This offense is short on playmakers, particularly in the running game so there is a viable role for Tebow this season. Use him in every short yardage situation out of an empty formation. Let him run option with players that have speed like Jeremy Kerley and Joe McKnight. Lull a defense to sleep with him running a few times and then let him take a shot down the field. Stop lining him up at receiver or H-Back. He has zero value there and you are playing 10 on 11 in those situations. Turn him into your primary second rushing option behind Shonn Greene.

2 – More Jeremy Kerley, More Joe McKnight – Jeremy Kerley needs 8-12 touches on a weekly basis, regardless of whether or not defenses are keying on him. Take a look at how Green Bay uses Randall Cobb. They line him up in the backfield. He is in the slot. He is out wide. He is catching screens, going down the field and taking handoffs or pitches. Kerley should be doing the same thing in this offense. Give him 4-5 carries a week. Give a few wide receiver screens. They will be easy completions for Mark Sanchez and let Kerley make plays in space. As for McKnight, hopefully he gets healthy over the bye week. If he does, McKnight needs to get more carries and become a factor in the screen game, along with taking reps lined up at wide receiver. The Jets must utilize what few players they do have who can make people miss and have speed.

3 – Young and Varied On Defense – We have seen signs of this already but Rex Ryan needs to scrap the 3-4 as his predominant defense. The Jets personnel fits better this year with a 4-3 or 46 look, particularly when Kenrick Ellis returns healthy. At linebacker, the Jets simply can’t afford to keep playing Bryan Thomas major reps and Calvin Pace needs to see his time cutback as well. Give Marcus Dowtin more playing time. Get Antonio Allen in the box for certain looks. Call up Ricky Sapp from the practice squad. In the secondary, give Aaron Berry an extended look on the outside and in the slot. Cut back Kyle Wilson’s reps and cut back any reps that Ellis Lankster is receiving.

4 – Don’t Be Gimmick Shy – The Jets aren’t going to match-up well with many teams over their last eight games so a “kitchen-sink” approach is going to frequently make sense. Don’t shy away from the fake punts. Don’t shy away from Antonio Cromartie on offense. Don’t walk into games thinking you are just going to push teams around and play smash-mouth football because you don’t have the personnel for it.

5. Offensive Line Shuffle – Now is the time to make this switch, so there is extra practice time for the new front five to work together – move Vladimir Ducasse and Jason Smith into the staring line-up and get Matt Slauson and Austin Howard out. No more 1/2 and 1/2 for Slauson and Ducasse. You know he isn’t the long term answer and his level of play is comparable to Ducasse, so give Vlad 8 games here to see if he has any chance of being a long term answer. Howard has been below average all season and also isn’t a long term answer. Smith has first round talent and has been pretty good as an extra tight end. Give him eight games here, see if he could be better than Howard and if could be part of the equation going forward.

New York Jets – 25 Problems And Yes Quarterback Is 1

25 problems the New York Jets have, including the quarterback position

We are going to skip over handing out a report card full of “Fs” today and instead run down all the current problems we see with the New York Jets, yes including the quarterback position. These aren’t listed in any particular order since there are so many –

1. Quarterback – Many people think my defense of Mark Sanchez means I think he is a great or even a very good quarterback. I do not. Sanchez is a serviceable quarterback who you can win with in the NFL if he is surrounded with the proper supporting cast. The Jets have done an awful job developing him and supporting him and are now paying the price. Does anybody else think 3 years from now we’ll be watching Sanchez thrive on another team? If you don’t, you haven’t been a Jets fan long enough.

2. Backup Quarterback – The problem with having a circus at backup quarterback instead of a quarterback who can run your offensive system is that it creates hesitancy to pull an ineffective starter. If the Jets had Jason Campbell as their backup, Sanchez is likely pulled at halftime of the San Francisco game and halftime of yesterday’s game. There’d also be a good chance he’d be the starter coming out of the bye week. Unfortunately, you have a coaching staff who has zero faith in their backup quarterback to run their offense and Rex Ryan knowing if he puts Tebow in on now he might get stuck with him next year at quarterback at the behest of owner Woody Johnson who brought him here in the first place.

3. Rex Ryan – Rex hasn’t had the pulse on this team since the beginning of last season. He allowed the locker room to become divisive and his team has shown up under-prepared and unready to play too frequently. Rex is supposed to be an elite defensive coach and he currently leads one of the league’s worst defenses.

4. Mike Tannenabaum – Can’t really fit all his mistakes into a paragraph and we have been ripping him apart over the past year here enough. He has done a poor job drafting, scouting and in free agency. His team is woefully understaffed on both sides of the ball. He is a numbers/salary cap guy, not a football guy.

5. Woody Johnson – He forced his front office to make Tim Tebow the backup quarterback when they wanted Drew Stanton for the job and seems to be tone deaf in his media appearances about the team.

6. Matt Slauson – Through 8 games hasn’t played like a capable NFL starting guard. He gets pushed around in the running game and isn’t a consistent pass protector. It actually makes sense to give Vladimir Ducasse his job at this point and that says enough about the Jets current guard situation.

7. Austin Howard – Remember the feel good celebrations when he replaced Wayne Hunter? Well according to our trusted friends at Pro Football Focus, Hunter has outplayed him this year. Howard isn’t a capable NFL starting tackle.

8. Brandon Moore – His level of play has continued to slip. Moore cannot consistently protect the quarterback and hasn’t been the same since a hip injury a couple of years ago.

9. Shonn Greene – Not good enough to be the only running back on a run heavy team because of his inability to break big plays and lack of range in the passing game.

10. Stephen Hill – Plenty of long term potential but the Jets put too much on his plate for this season by not pairing him with a proven, low maintenance veteran in the off-season to learn from.

11. Tony Sparano – Has he really been any better than Brian Schottenheimer? The offense seems unorganized and can’t find a rhythm. Does he realize the Jets are playing 10 on 11 when they line up Tebow at wide receiver?

12. Bryan Thomas – Can’t be starting player in the NFL anymore. Can’t rush the quarterback.

13. Calvin Pace – Can’t be starting player in the NFL anymore. Can’t rush the quarterback.

14. Bart Scott – Can’t be starting player in the NFL anymore. Seems to have been replaced, finally.

15. David Harris – Not playing like the Pro-Bowler he is paid to be. Actually has been thoroughly mediocre this season.

16. Muhamamd Wilkerson – He has been good against the run but is he the All-Pro player we heard he’d be all pre-season? Not even close. 1 sack through 8 games.

17. Quinton Coples – 2 sacks and 22 tackles through 8 games. Chandler Jones had 6 sacks, 18 tackles and 3 forced fumbles. Bruce Irvin has 4.5 sacks and 1 forced fumble.

18. Kyle Wilson – Routinely beat down the field. He doesn’t play to the level of a first round pick and probably couldn’t start on most other teams in the NFL.

19, Ellis Lankster/Garrett McIntyre/Eric Smith – Role players who aren’t good enough to be role players.

20. Darrelle Revis – Lost the best cornerback in football to a ACL injury. He has a tricky contract situation approaching that is scary to think about Mike Tannenabum handling.

21. Santonio Holmes – A proven threat but hadn’t been a productive player for over a full season before suffering a serious season ending foot injury.

22. Sione Pouha – Hasn’t been himself all season because of a back injury.

23. Kenrick Ellis – Was proving to be a more than adequate replacement for Pouha but is now hurt himself.

24. Clyde Gates – Is playing major reps on this team and is celebrating first downs in the 4th quarter while his team is down 24 points.

25. Matt Cavanaugh – Not sure where he has ever found success in the NFL as a coach and still remains the Jets quarterback coach.

Feel free to add on to the list in the comments section…

Initial Reaction – New York Jets Redefine Awful

The New York Jets reached another level of awful today against the Miami Dolphins

Where do you even start after something like that? The New York Jets were awful in every facet of the game today. They were out-coached and out-classed by a division rival in a hugely important game in their own building. To not even be competitive on a day like today is a damning indictment on Rex Ryan and his coaching staff.

Rex didn’t have his team prepared to play. Tony Sparano, his hand picked offensive coordinator, doesn’t have his unit together yet. They are sloppy and cannot consistently establish any type of rhythm. There were too many questionable play calls to even begin singling them out. Every time the Jets line up Tim Tebow at wide receiver, they are playing 10 on 11 and it still continues to happen. You want to shower praise on Mike Westhoff when the Jets special teams shows up? Blame him when they were an absolute disaster like they were today. A blocked punt. A blocked field goal. Allowing an onside kick recovery and a huge kick return…all in the same game? Embarrassing.

Mark Sanchez didn’t play well today. He had two brutal turnovers that were the fault of his and nobody else. On the whole, it was another inconsistent performance that will lead to two weeks of endless Tim Tebow speculation. He didn’t receive any help from his supporting cast. The offensive line had poor protection. There was no running game in the first half. Stephen Hill dropped another touchdown pass.

You can scream TEBOW as loud as you want. He isn’t the answer because he isn’t a better quarterback than Sanchez. Yes, the Jets should use him in some way, like a needed supplement to the rushing game. As a full time quarterback? You aren’t winning with the option every down in the 2012 NFL or moving forward. Spare me the citations from last year, Tebow went 8-8 in the worst division in football with a borderline elite defense and special teams. The Jets have neither.

Sanchez is a problem among many problems, that starts with a owner who forced a Tebow transaction on to his front office to sell tickets, then moves to a general manager who has been mediocre the past two years and to a head coach who hasn’t been able to find the pulse of his team the past year. It trickles down to a so far subpar offensive coordinator, an offensive line with holes, a running game that lacks explosion and a defense with zero pass rush or big play ability. The Jets are 3-5 through half of their season. Look at their roster right now and tell me they deserve to have a better record.

Turn On The Jets 12 Pack, Week 8 – Jets vs. Dolphins

12 predictions from Turn On The Jets for the New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins week 8 match-up

The Turn On The Jets 12 pack is back and sporting a perfect 7-0 record at picking the outcome of New York Jets games this season. We had another big week of coverage here with our ongoing mission to civilize coverage of this football team. A big thanks to Chris Gross, Mike Donnelly, TJ Rosenthal, Rob Celletti and Chris Celletti for doing their thing as always. Here is a recap of the previous week –

On to the predictions –

1. The Jets are going to hold Reggie Bush under 80 yards total rushing. This might seem like a stretch considering how Bush was gashing them back in week 3 before leaving with an injury. However, he hasn’t been the same player since that hit LaRon Landry put on him. Also back in week 3, an injured Sione Pouha hurt the Jets defense by getting pushed all over the field. Mike DeVito isn’t a great nose tackle but him at 100 percent is better than the 50% it looked like Pouha was playing at in week 3. Demario Davis will also be replacing Bart Scott at inside linebacker, bringing more speed to the position.

2. Shonn Greene isn’t going to crack 60 yards rushing. Miami’s front seven is too stout and he has never found success against the Dolphins. Look for something like 15 carries and 50 yards from Greene. However, I do think he scores his 6th touchdown of the year.

3. Joe McKnight and Jonathan Grimes will combine for at least 8 carries. Credit McKnight for playing through the pain of his high ankle injury. He seems to have really grown up this season and is showing a new level of toughness.

4. Tim Tebow will have a minimal impact on the game again. He won’t crack 35 total offensive yards and will finish the first half of the year without a touchdown.

5. Brian Hartline will have less than 50 yards receiving and will not score a touchdown. Look for Antonio Cromartie to spend most of the day on him. Keep an eye on Jabar Gaffney in the slot, he is a savvy receiver who could hurt the Jets if he sees extended reps.

6. Mark Sanchez is going to outperform Ryan Tannehill in every major statistical category.

7. Nick Folk will continue his perfect season, knocking through two more field goals. Could the Jets have a kicker and punter (Mayday Malone?) in the Pro-Bowl this year?

8. Jermey Kerley will have another 75 yards receiving. Dustin Keller will catch his 2nd touchdown of the season. Stephen Hill will bounce back from last week’s drop to put together a solid all-around game.

9. The Jets haven’t ran a true trick play on offense since week 1 when they broke out a flea flicker. We will see another trick play this week that goes for a big gain.

10. Anthony Fasano will have a solid day against the Jets defense…he always seems to.

11. Dan Carpenter is going to shank another kick. Rex Ryan and Tony Sparano’s fist pumps are in his head.

12. The Jets are going to play their most complete football game of the season. I like the way this team has been trending since the Houston game, slowing improving every week particularly on offense. This is the week it comes together against a pretty good Miami team. The defense is going to be keyed up to slow down Reggie Bush and I think they answer the bell. Originally, I was going to pick a tight one but I think the Jets pull away in the second half and win 27-14.

New York Jets Week 8 – Early Thoughts On Jets/Dolphins

Early thoughts on the New York Jets week 8 match-up against the Miami Dolphins

A collection of early thoughts on the New York Jets critical week 8 match-up against the Miami Dolphins –

1. This game is without question a must win and has the potential to be a turning point in the Jets season in either a positive or negative way. They can’t afford to drop to 2-2 in the division, 3-4 in the AFC, take a season split with Miami, and have to sit on the loss for two weeks before heading cross country to Seattle, a game the Jets will appropriately be underdogs in. A victory keeps them within one game of New England, guarantees a tie-breaker with Miami (who will be a wild-card contender) and puts their conference record over .500. You can’t lose this game at home to a rookie quarterback.

2. Nobody is saying Ryan Tannehill hasn’t played well for a rookie or that the Miami Dolphins aren’t a talented team. Yet many people are getting carried away with their lofty praise. Let’s keep in mind Tannehill was 16/36 with a INT returned for a touchdown in the team’s previous meeting which was about a month ago. The Dolphins have beat Oakland and St. Louis at home along with a Bengals team on the road, who couldn’t even beat the Cleveland Browns. Overall, Miami is 1-2 on the road, averaging 16 points per game and Tannehill only has 1 TD pass between the three games.

3. The Jets are going to have their hands full with Miami’s running game. They were gashed back in week 3 and that was with Reggie “Don’t Call Me Hot Sauce” Bush missing the entire second half. It is doubtful that Sione Pou’ha and Kenrick Ellis are going to play making the challenge even more difficult. If the Jets can slow down Bush, it will put that much more pressure on Tannehill and likely force him into a handful of mistakes.

4. On offense, the Dolphins are stout in the front seven. The Jets can’t be stubborn and try to force the running game if it isn’t there. This Dolphins secondary can be exploited. Jeremy Kerley is rolling right now and hurt the Dolphins with two big plays in the previous meeting. Dustin Keller is back after missing week 3 and Stephen Hill looks to be 100 percent healthy. Tony Sparano and Mark Sanchez can’t be shy about throwing down the field.

5. Look for Antonio Cromartie to cover Brian Hartline for most of the game. If Cromartie keeps playing the way he has been, I’m not sure who else in the Dolphins passing game is going to hurt the Jets.

Turn On The Jets Offensive Film Breakdown – Jets vs. Pats

Turn On The Jets breaks down the offensive game film from Jets vs. Patriots

Turn On The Jets is back with another offensive film breakdown. Make sure to check back later in the day for Chris Gross’ breakdown of the defensive game tape. Today the primary focus is going to be on the passing game, which the Jets found a good amount of success with against New England. We will be looking at both “Good Sanchez” and “Bad Sanchez” and why Jeremy Kerley, Dustin Keller and Stephen Hill were so successful at getting open. 

The first two passing plays of the game were a perfect demonstration of Mark Sanchez’s inconsistency at quarterback. Tony Sparano called for a skinny post from the slot to Jeremy Kerley, which was executed to perfection. A good route from Kerley and a pinpoint throw from Sanchez in-between two defenders for a 20+ yard gain. The next play, Sparano goes right back to the well with the same play except to the opposite side with Stephen Hill in the slot. Encouragingly, Hill runs a very good route and gets himself wide open. Unfortunately, Sanchez overthrows him after just hitting a much harder throw to a much smaller target the play before. Frustrating to say the least.

The presence of Dustin Keller in the line-up made an enormous difference to the Jets passing offense. New England was forced to pay extra attention to Kerley on the outside, leaving Keller with one on one match-ups over the middle. Sanchez is extremely comfortable with Keller, particularly over the middle of the field. These are two separate 10+ yard completions, where Keller runs an option route, breaks the proper way and Sanchez correctly leads him away from the linebacker allowing him to turn up field. Expect to see a ton more of this throughout the year.

Sanchez only threw 12 incompletions throughout this game out of 38 attempts. At least five of those incompletions could be credited as drops. On the whole he was very accurate. However, Sanchez had his share of poor decisions as well. The interception was an indefensible mistake. He had two open receivers underneath, who he ignored and then floated an ugly, under-thrown pass to Stephen Hill. Later in the first half he tried to force this pass to Jeremy Kerley who is double covered and technically triple covered if you count the referee. He was lucky this didn’t turn into his second interception.

An appropriately criticized play-call was Tony Sparano’s decision to throw a slant to Chaz Schilens on 3rd and 1 near the red-zone. Regardless, the play was executed to perfection up until the ball went right through Schilens’ hands. This was a good route, a very good throw and a bad drop. Part of the reason you don’t make this call is because the Jets lack a big receiver who is reliable enough to make this play every single time.

Sanchez and Jeremy Kerley put on a clinic on how to operate the smash/fan combination in this game. Basically the Jets consistently had their outside receiver release on a short stop or in route and would send Kerley on a deep corner from the slot. The Jets completed this four times throughout the game, including this 19 yard gain where Sanchez drops a beautiful pass in all the way across the field.

We further see Sanchez’s arm strength on this touchdown pass to Dustin Keller. Look at how small that window is. Sanchez threw an absolute bullet in-between three defenders. There aren’t many people in the league capable of making this throw and I got news for you, Tim Tebow isn’t one of them.

A major point of contention towards the end of this game was Mark Sanchez taking a third down sack before the Jets go-ahead field goal. Anybody who criticized Sanchez in this situation is clueless (looking at you SNY). The Jets rolled Sanchez out and had Jeremy Kerley wide open at the 5 yard line. Sanchez cocks his arm back to fire it in to him but Kerley slips on his break so Sanchez pulls the ball back down. When he does pull the ball back down, he is immediately wrapped up. He then smartly takes the sack because if he threw the ball away, it would save New England a time-out. Yes, he added 10 yards to the field goal attempt but the Jets were so deep into field goal territory it didn’t matter at that point.

A few other player observations –

Jeremy Kerley – He is developing at such an impressive rate. Kerley runs precise routes and shows tremendous hands/toughness at consistently catching the ball in traffic. Honestly, he looks like a younger, quicker version of Santonio Holmes. Mike Tannenbaum got a steal in the fifth round.

Stephen Hill – His route running is really improving on a weekly basis. Outside of his drop, he easily played his best game as a pro. He made tough catches in traffic and did a nice job working back to the football on his routes. There is still going to be mistakes from time to time but Hill is going to be a very good NFL receiver, it is only a matter of time.

Shonn Greene – A solid effort from Greene, who picked up tough yards and somehow returned after taking an enormous shot from Brandon Spikes. Greene also deserves credit for being active in the passing game, where he made a positive impact and made a few difficult catches.

Joe McKnight – Ran very well, especially considering he played basically on one leg. When he is 100 percent healthy, it is hard to see him not being a much larger part of the offense.

OL – This was an ugly game for Matt Slauson and Brandon Moore. Shockingly, it might not be a bad idea to start giving Ducasse even more of Slauson’s reps. There is no discernible drop off between the two and Ducasse has a higher upside. D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold both played terrific, Pro-Bowl caliber games. Austin Howard was “meh” but the Jets generally do a good job of giving him help.

New Look New York Jets Passing Game Has Potential

The new look New York Jets passing game has a high amount of potential and the Jets must take advantage of it

There was excessive lazy analysis by many NFL writers over the past month that characterized the New York Jets passing offense as a “wasteland” that lacked any talent. This went hand in hand with the analysis that ranked them as one of the worst teams in the league, which is a laughable assertion at this point. The Jets aren’t Jacksonville. The Jets aren’t Kansas City. The Jets aren’t Oakland. The worst teams in the league don’t beat the Colts by 30 points, don’t lose to the 6-1 Texans by 6 and don’t take the Patriots to overtime in their building.

But back to the Jets passing game. When all this criticism was being thrown around there was an ignorance of just how much Jeremy Kerley had been progressing. Kerley has pulled in 25 receptions on 40 targets so far this season, racking up 435 yards at an impressive 17.4 yards per catch. Over the last 3 weeks he is top ten in the NFL in both receiving yards and receptions. The much maligned by Mike Tannenbaum appears to have found a gem in the fifth round of the 2011 draft. Kerley has underrated speed to go with his quickness in and out of breaks on his routes. For such a young receiver, the precision on those routes has been extremely impressive. He has also shown consistent hands and an ability to make tough catches in traffic. Kerley has looked the part of a very capable lead receiver the past few weeks.

The value of a healthy Dustin Keller was also glossed over by many. Keller showed in the running game against the Colts as a surprisingly solid blocker but really made noise this past week against New England with 7 catches for 93 yards and a touchdown. With Kerley producing on the outside and in the slot, it frees up the middle of the field and creates favorable match-ups for Keller. Without an unnecessary amount of balls being funneled to Santonio Holmes, Keller should be able to consistently put up strong numbers.

Despite everybody being down on Stephen Hill because of a critical late game drop, he has flashed very good potential through 7 games. He is also now fully healthy. Hill has only logged four games this season that weren’t hampered by injury (he missed two and was clearly banged up against Miami), in those four games he has three touchdowns, 12 catches and 167 yards. Before dropping that pass, he had four tough catches in traffic and showed good body control and discipline on his routes. A rookie out of a triple-option offense is going to make mistakes but Hill is still going to make his share of big plays. Defenses must respect his speed and size, which will only further open things up for Kerley and Hill.

Outside of those three, you have two role players who at least have good speed and have made a few plays in Jason Hill and Clyde Gates. Hill drew a critical pass interference penalty against New England because he beat his man on a double move and caught a touchdown against Indianapolis. Gates had an impressive 27 yard catch against the Texans. Chaz Schilens is coming off a rough outing against New England but prior to that had been a productive possession receiver. It will be interesting to see if his role is reduced moving forward.

Obviously everything comes back to Mark Sanchez, who has quietly made strides over the past two weeks despite the usual round of criticism. Over the past two weeks here are his stats – 39/59 (66 completion percentage), 410 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception. Sanchez is going to make his share of mistakes just like the overwhelming majority of quarterbacks in this league but the Jets can’t by shy about letting him throw aggressively down the field when the match-ups dictate it. After a brutal start against the Dolphins, Sanchez carved them up the in fourth quarter and overtime, finishing with over 300 yards passing and leading the go ahead drive in the 4th quarter and game winning drive in overtime. Miami is strong in the front seven but questionable in the secondary. The Jets must attack down the field.

There are going to be match-ups the Jets need to be more careful about (see on the road in Seattle) but for the most part, they can’t be shy about utilizing Kerley, Keller and Hill who many teams will have a tough time matching up with. The Jets passing game, like their entire team is not the punchline it is generally portrayed to be and has the potential to keep them very relevant in the division and playoff race.

New York Jets – Ten Truths After New England Loss

Ten truths about the New York Jets through their first seven games

Yesterday’s game was arguably the most frustrating regular season loss since Rex Ryan has taken over as the New York Jets head coach. It has led to heated debates among New York Jets fans and writers about how to assess the blame for the squandering of such a golden opportunity. Despite correctly picking the winner in every Jets game so far this season and thus having their record be exactly what I expected right now, it still feels like time to search for some truths on this team after 7 games. 

1 – Mark Sanchez is ridiculously inconsistent – Sanchez played a terrific second half of football yesterday, probably as good as we’ve ever seen him play. We saw a similarly effective quarterback against Buffalo, late in the game against Miami and in spurts in other games. However, Sanchez has also played some of the worst football of his career this season and made a handful of inexcusably bad decisions and throws. He needs support around him to consistently pull out victories. You can win with an inconsistent quarterback but you better avoid too many mistakes in other areas of the game.

2 – Mark Sanchez is the starting quarterback for the rest of the season – Even if you don’t think Sanchez is the long term guy for this team, which is a valid feeling at this point, he is without question their best option for the rest of this season. If he plays like he did yesterday the rest of the year, the Jets are winning 9-10 games and making the playoffs. You could give Tim Tebow 100 opportunities and he couldn’t complete the touchdown that Sanchez did to Dustin Keller yesterday, along with any of the deep seven routes to Jeremy Kerley. Sanchez is the best option at quarterback on this roster. There was never a real quarterback controversy on this team and there isn’t now.

3 – Rex Ryan and Tony Sparano wanted no part of Tim Tebow this off-season – There was no football motivation behind this trade as the Jets came into the season with no plan on how to use him and still haven’t really figured it out. Tebow has value in short yardage and as a change of pace runner out of the Wildcat but the Jets can’t even get him on the field for 3rd and 1s instead of throwing slants to Chaz Schilens.

4 – We have a Tony Sparano problem – As soon as the Jets broke the huddle and went into a shotgun 4 wide formation on 3rd and 1 against New England yesterday, everybody in their right mind knew a poor play call was coming. The Jets had been extremely effective in third and short with Shonn Greene and should have simply handed him the ball. Beyond that, going empty and letting Tim Tebow run up the middle isn’t going to be stopped in that situation, period. You don’t throw a backside slant there unless you have an elite receiver who has good size. The Jets don’t have that player on their roster right now. Chaz Schilens certainly isn’t it. Just an awful, inexcusable play-call and it hasn’t been the first time that has happened this year. Sparano has struggled with his red-zone play-calling and getting a feel for when to be aggressive and when not to be. There are 7 games in the books now and I know there has been moving parts on offense because of injuries, but it is time to recognize what you have and take advantage of it.

5 – Jeremy Kerley is a very good wide receiver – The Jets are going to try like hell to trade Santonio Holmes this off-season but will have a tough time finding any takers because of how much guaranteed money he is owed. Kerley looks like a younger, faster version of Holmes without the baggage. There is a very real chance he could put together a 1,000 yard season this year which would give him the same amount in his career that Holmes has. Kerley’s rapid maturation has been the best story on the offensive side of the football so far for the Jets. We criticize Mike Tannenbaum all the time and will continue to do so when it is justified but it looks like the Kerley pick was a steal.

6 – The coaching staff/front office is wisely embracing a youth movement and starting to recognize some of their mistakes – Quinton Coples and Demario Davis are slowly turning into full time players. Antonio Allen and Marcus Dowtin have been brought on the active roster. Marcus Dixon was cut. Bart Scott is seeing less playing time. John Conner was cut and replaced by a much more effective Lex Hilliard. Joe McKnight is starting to play more on offense. They ignored pressure to sign a veteran big name receiver. These are baby steps but they are all steps in the right direction.

7 – When you rely on young players, mistakes are going to happen – Stephen Hill can’t drop that pass yesterday. It was a brutal mistake at the worst possible moment. Regardless, Hill has flashed enough potential this season to know that he is the opening day starting split end next season. He is going to play major reps the rest of the year and learn on the job, which is going to cost the Jets at times. You will see the same thing with Davis, Coples and Allen on defense. However, in the long term the positives will outweigh the negatives.

8 – The Jets are painfully shorthanded at outside linebacker – When you run as much 3-4 as the Jets do, you need outside linebackers who can rush the passers. The Jets have zero who can. Calvin Pace, Bryan Thomas and Aaron Maybin have a combined 2 sacks between them through 7 games. Pace has value as a run stopper but that’s it. Maybin isn’t good enough to make any impact at all most weeks. Bryan Thomas is finished. Rex Ryan must find a way to manufacture a pass rush by utilizing his secondary more on blitzes.

9 – Antonio Cromartie is an All-Pro and is leading a very good secondary minus Darrelle Revis – Cromartie has played the best football of his career since Darrelle Revis went down with a season ending injury. Simply put, he has embraced and thrived in the role of being Rex’s new lockdown corner. LaRon Landry has been a very good addition and helped improve the safety play from last year. Even Kyle Wilson has been better in previous weeks. The secondary has rallied after the Revis’ injury and remains very good.

10 – The Jets are going to be in the division and playoff hunt – Anybody who classifies the Jets as an awful team or a bottom feeder isn’t paying attention. This is a team who will remain around .500 for the next few weeks and will have an opportunity to make a run late for a division title or a wild-cart spot. New England isn’t running away with anything this year (look at their schedule) and certainly nobody is pulling away in the AFC wild-card race.

Gut Punch – New York Jets Lose Heartbreaker To Patriots

The New York Jets lost a heartbreaker to their hated rivals in New England

The New York Jets lost a brutally painful game today to New England, in one that will be intensely debated about and vented over the next few days. Let’s try to go over a few key points of contention –

– Mark Sanchez finished 28/41 for 328 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Throughout the game he made impressive throws into tight windows and pushed the ball down the field, completing a large collection of passes over 20 yards. He also put the team on his back for a key 92 yard drive that got them back within 3 in the 4th quarter. Regardless, he threw an awful interception in the first half and fumbled the ball away in overtime. There will be intense criticism for those plays with a general ignorance of the 70% completion percentage and all the positive he accomplished, that is the nature of the business. However, you are kidding yourself if you think Tim Tebow should get anywhere near the starting quarterback job on this team. You are also kidding yourself if you think this loss falls 100% on Sanchez’s lap.

– The coaching left something to be desired today, to say the least. Tony Sparano calling a slant route to Chaz Schilens on a 3rd and 1 near the goal-line was just negligent considering how the Jets were running the ball in short yardage. They were content to settle for a field goal after recovering a fumble deep in Patriots territory after a kickoff return, when they could have attacked the end-zone.  Rex Ryan’s defense was also not aggressive enough on the final drive of regulation or the first drive in overtime. They repeatedly kept rushing 3 or 4, instead of mixing a blitz in. If they needed to switch personnel (which they did), they should sacrificed a timeout for it in overtime.

– You can’t allow a kick return for a touchdown to be that easy .You can’t repeatedly go offsides. You can’t get personal fouls on punts that keeps the ball in New England’s hands. You can’t drop passes. These are mistakes that happen when you go young because of injuries and other necessities but they must be avoided to beat a team like New England.

– The Jets can’t afford their traditional post-Patriots game hangover. Next week’s game against Miami is of critical importance. They cannot afford to lose a home division game to them considering how tight the division and conference is going to be.

– Yes, the division remains wide open. The Jets are a flawed team. So is New England. They aren’t a 12 win team. They might not be a 10 win team. The Jets let one get away, which is what made this loss so painful but the Patriots aren’t running away in the division race.

– Jeremy Kerley is developing into a legitimate number one receiver. Dustin Keller was terrific today. Joe McKnight deserves a ton of credit for gutting through his ankle injury and putting together a productive game. Demario Davis showed flashes of why so many Jets fans were excited about him this summer.

– Get the venting out now Jets fans, you need to. It was an emotional roller coaster today. The Jets blew a golden opportunity but must now quickly regroup to keep pace in the jumbled AFC East.

Turn On The Jets Talks With Pats Propaganda – Jets/Patriots Preview

Joe Caporoso talks with Mike Dussault of Pats Propaganda about the upcoming match-up between the Jets and Patriots

I had the opportunity to talk with one of our favorite writers behind enemy lines, Mike Dussault of Pats Propaganda, to preview the upcoming New York Jets/New England Patriots showdown. Here is our conversation –

JC – What is the issue with New England’s secondary and is it a solvable problem this season? Is it actually as bad as it is being hyped up to be?

MD – Really the only issue, and it’s a glaring one, is that they cannot stop the 20+ passing plays. They’re giving up almost 6 per game. It really just boils down to that, and it’s maddening because they’ve been the worst in the NFL at it for two seasons and just can’t seem to get it fixed. Now injuries have played into it somewhat. When Russell Wilson heaved the 46-yard game winning TD last weekend it was two rookies that were on the back end. But things weren’t especially better when it was starters Steve Gregory (out since week 4) and Patrick Chung (dinged at the end of the game).

JC – Are you surprised by some of the game management issues that are arising, particularly with two Hall of Famers like Belichick and Brady leading the way?

MD – Yes, there have definitely been some head scratching moments this year, like last week’s debacle at the end of the first half, where they took an intentional grounding with one second left inside the 10-yard line that basically cost them the game in the long run. They should’ve just kicked the field goal when they had the chance with 6 seconds left.

There are a couple factors contributing. With Josh McDaniels back and his aggressive/often unconventional style, and the Pats trying to execute at such a fast pace it has led to some of the miscues, but ultimately I think they’ll be okay in the long run. There’s no question they’re still trying to lock down their identity and I think that has played into it as well. Sometimes they’re unstoppable, other times they seem to be going backwards. They need consistency and with that the game management stuff will take care of itself.

JC – Can you talk about how New England has rebuilt this offense to be a dual threat with their newly found power running game?

MD – Honestly I don’t think they have much of a straight up power running game as some might think, and we saw that against the Seahawks last week.  What they excel at is running on nickel and dime defenses, and once their passing game that’s when their run game is most dangerous.

Now there’s no question Stevan Ridley, Danny Woodhead and Brandon Boldin are still a more dynamic group than they’ve had in some time, but so far we’ve only seen them dominate the run game situationally, when teams are on their heels and overly concerned with the passing attack. Whether they can consistently move the ball on the ground to run the clock out and seal a win, when the opposition knows they’re trying to run, remains to be seen. This includes short yardage situations too. And we’ve already seen a ton of negative plays that were rare in recent history. Make no mistake, you’ve got to stop the passing game first and foremost.

JC – If you were the Jets how would you attack the New England defense? The New England offense?

MD –  For the Jets offense you have to take some shots down the field. There’s no weaker link than the Patriots back end. They’ve been effective in stopping the run every week, with Brandon Spikes really being the tone setter there, and they’re a good tackling team for the most part as well. The short pass and ground attack is less effective so far this year than it has been in year’s past.

But if you look at Seattle’s game plan, they stuck with their ground game even though it wasn’t dominant and took a lot of play action shots down the field, especially on early downs. The Jets have some ammo to keep the Pats defense off balance, I’m sure Rex has been saving something Tebow-y just for New England. Those plays that confuse or put the Pats on their heels will open up the long balls down the field. But the difficult thing, and most key part, is not throwing interceptions on those deep shots. Simply put if Sanchez and the offense have one turnover or less they’ll be in the game until the end and then they just have to make the clutch plays. The Patriots defense lives or dies by turnovers, if you give them two or more New England will probably win.

For the Jets defense it’s all about patience. There will probably be a couple drives where the Patriots run no-huddle and look unstoppable. You just have to weather those storms and continue to force them to execute for 60 minutes. Because they’ve got a habit of going stone cold during crunch time. I know Rex loves to mix things up a lot, but the Pats no-huddle will make that difficult, so I’d say stay in base and simplify the calls so they can get in quickly. If the Jets go DB heavy the Patriots will not hesitate to run so they’ll have to be prepared for that as well.

Obviously they must try to confuse Brady’s reads as much as possible, and when the Pats offense goes no-huddle they must be prepared. So much of the damage New England does in the no-huddle is because teams are not lined up, don’t have the call, or simply gassed. You can’t give them anything easy. Make them work for it till the end and it’s entirely possible they won’t make the clutch plays in the clutch moments.

JC – Prediction for the game, how many wins the Patriots finish with and how many wins the Jets finish with?

MD – Well hey, I’m biased but even when I do my best to be non-biased I like the Pats in this one. They’re always tough coming off an embarrassing loss, even moreso at home. I’d expect them to bring their A-game this week.

The wild card is Sanchez and the deep ball. If the Jets can get a couple long scores, not turn the ball over, move the ball a bit on the ground, and keep it close until the 4th quarter it could be anybodies game.

Let’s go Pats 24, Jets 13.

At this point I like the Pats at 12-4. Jets 9-7.

MD – The Jets have had a season of injuries like none I’ve seen before. Who are some of the players that might be unknown to Patriots fans but have been elevating their play in the absence of so many starters?

JC – On offense, Jeremy Kerley has stepped into being the offense’s top playmaker. He is averaging over 17 yards per catch and has shown a consistent ability to create big plays down the field. The Jets receiving core gets a ton of flak for lacking talent but that isn’t a fair assessment. Outside of Kerley, Chaz Schilens has been a capable possession receiver and a healthy Stephen Hill has big play potential. He already has three touchdowns, despite missing 2 and 1/2 games.

On defense, Patriots fans know Antonio Cromartie obviously but he has taken his play to a different level in the absence of Darrelle Revis. The past three weeks have been the best I’ve seen Cromartie play since joining the team and he seems to have embraced a leadership role in the secondary.

MD – Is this a make or break year for Mark Sanchez? Has he progressed or regressed as a quarterback?

JC – Considering the structure of his contract, he will likely be back next year unless the bottom truly falls out on the season and his performance. Even the staunchest Sanchez apologist would have to admit he has regressed since the 2010 season. There have been flashes of strong play but the inconsistency has been maddening. The last two weeks have been baby steps in the right direction after a disastrous game against San Francisco. We have seen some of Sanchez’s best work against the Patriots since his career started, so hopefully he can keep building positive momentum.

MD –  How have the defense and offense evolved this year, if they have? What kind of team are the Jets trying to be? Is ground and pound really accurate?

JC – Ground and Pound needs to go as an expression (which is why we changed the tag-line on our site haha). Prior to last week, the Jets had been dreadful running the football and stopping the run, along with having a non-existent pass rush. We saw strides in the right direction beginning the in second half against Houston and then carrying over to the Indianapolis game. On offense, they are still going to be run heavy but do take more shots down the field than they did under Brian Schottenheimer. On defense, Rex Ryan seems to recognize his base defense’s shortcomings and has slowly been getting more creative with his schemes and integrating younger players into more playing time.

MD – Name a player on offense and a player on defense that will be key to the Jets chances of knocking off the Patriots.

JC –  Offensively, it has to be on Sanchez to hit his throws down the field. The Jets have the players on the outside who can beat the Patriots secondary deep (Hill, Kerley and yes even Cromartie) but Sanchez must be accurate. Defensively, they must knock Tom Brady off his mark and get him rattled early in the game. Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples are their best natural pass rushers and both must make an impact early and often.

MD – If you were the Patriots where would you attack the Jets offense and defense? What can be exploited?

JC –  The Jets still lack speed at linebacker in a big way. I would be running to the outside heavily with RIdley and Woodhead, along with looking to hurt the Jets in the screen game. If the Jets try to match up the Patriots tight ends in man coverage with their safeties, it should be a match-up Brady can take advantage of as well. On defense, I would make Sanchez beat you. Bottle up the running game and force him to hit throws down the field into tight windows and hope he throws a few interceptions.