New York Jets vs. St. Louis Rams – Q&A with Rams Herd

A Q&A previewing Jets vs. Rams with Will Horton, owner of RamsHerd.com

One of the first games I circled on the New York Jets schedule when it was released was the upcoming game against the St. Louis Rams. Why? Because I knew we could break the game down with our good friend Will Horton of Rams Herd, without question the top Rams site out there. Will and I worked together back in the day at the Fanball Network when TOJ was just a little baby. When Fanball shut down TOJ would have died with it if it wasn’t for Will’s guidance in migrating the site to our own domain. Since then, he has consistently provided help to me in keeping the site running fluidly. So if you like TOJ, make sure to thank Will because it wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him. Anyway on to the game – 

RH – The New York Jets seem to be bottoming out under Rex Ryan, after going to the AFC Championship game twice in his first two seasons. Are you ready to  blow this team up at this point, or do you still have hope for a turnaround the season?

TOJ – There won’t be any kind of major turnaround happening this season. From a talent standpoint, this team has the worst group of skill position players in the NFL and I’m not saying that as a hyperbole. On defense they lack a pass rush and remain too slow at the linebacker position. Realistically, they need about 4-5 new starters on both sides of the ball in 2013 so I suppose I do advocate blowing it up.

RH – The Jets hardly lack for lightning rods, and you have two of them at quarterback in Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow. How do you handle the two of them for the remainder of the season, and does Greg McElroy enter into the picture?

TOJ – Mark Sanchez is going to start the remainder of the season. The decision to bring in Tim Tebow was pushed on to the coaching staff by Owner Woody Johnson. They very clearly had no desire for him and no plan on how to use him. Tebow will remain a poorly used gimmick. McElroy isn’t a factor at all. There have been desperation calls for him from some Jets fans but he is a 7th round pick with zero experience. Rex will lose the locker room if he hands the job to him with two quarterbacks on his roster who have won playoff games.

In 2013, Sanchez will be back because of how his contract is structured. Tebow will be traded or cut. And the Jets will likely bring in a veteran to compete for the starting job with Sanchez in camp. Maybe a Matt Moore type player.

RH – Obviously, age and injuries have caught up with this team in a big way. How different is this season if you still have Darrelle Revis and Santonio Holmes in the starting lineup?

TOJ – Not that different. GM Mike Tannenbaum will use that as an excuse to keep his job this off-season but this team had major problems even with those guys on the field. They are thoroughly mediocre at right tackle, guard, running back, quarterback, wide receiver and linebacker…and that has nothing to do with Holmes or Revis.

RH – The Rams rebuilt their team with a sizeable number of Jets castoffs, starting with offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. Meanwhile, the Jets continue to struggle on offense under Tony Sparano. Would you take Schottenheimer back at this point?

TOJ – No. Sparano’s incompetence doesn’t cover for Schottenheimer’s incompetence and stubbornness when he was here. I don’t blame Schottenheimer’s struggles on Sanchez either because his offense was poor under Chad Pennington, Kellen Clemens, and Brett Favre as well.

RH – Despite the cloud of negative press surrounding the team, the Jets have shown an ability to step up and play good football from time to time (vs Bills, Pats, Colts, and first matchup with Miami). What are their keys to playing well, and can they find success against the Rams?

TOJ – The Jets play well when their defense is stopping the run and forcing turnovers, and their offense is running the ball well opening up a downfield play action passing game…all things they are very inconsistent at. I think they will play well on defense against the Rams, creating a close, low-scoring game. Ultimately I just don’t have enough faith in their offense to pull a win out though. I’d take the Rams in 16-10, 17-13 type game.

TOJ – Jeff Fisher seems to immediately have changed the culture in St. Louis. Can you talk about the tangible differences in the type of the team the Rams have this year as compared to the previous couple of years?

RH – There are a lot of ways to answer to this question. This just feels like a radically different team this season than the one before, even though most of the primary playmakers – Sam Bradford, Steven Jackson, Chris Long & James Laurinaitis –  remain the same. The major differences are in experience, in the roster, and in the attitude.

The Rams won Jeff Fisher over this offseason by giving him complete say over the organization. In Miami, he would have had to work with Jeff Ireland. Here, he hired his own GM, and assembled a very experienced coaching staff. Then, he went very young with his roster. This is a complete 180 from last year’s Rams, which had coaches learning on the job and a roster of veteran role-players half-assing it through the season.

Two key additions that Fisher brought with him from his Titans days are Cortland Finnegan and defensive assistant Dave McGinnis. Both of these guys fully embrace Fisher’s old-school football mentality that the physical battle has to be won before you can accomplish anything else. After beating up on Robert Griffin III and the Redskins (and being called “dirty” in the process), McGinnis sounded off: “I’ve been in this league 27 years and have never been on a dirty defense. I’ve been on some damn tough ones. Never been on a dirty one.”

TOJ – How would you evaluate the performance of former Jets on the roster, most notably Brian Schottenheimer and Wayne Hunter?

RH – I won’t say Brian Schottenheimer has been a revelation as offensive coordinator, but his offense is like a breath of fresh air compared to the Josh McDaniels days. McDaniels’ intricate pass routes work fine when you have protection like Tom Brady does, and you can hang out in the pocket for days. When you don’t have that, your quarterback gets ground to a fine paste.

What makes Schottenheimer’s offense really click, and turned Wayne Hunter into a surprisingly useful player along the way, has been the work of offensive line coach Paul Boudreau. Fisher lured Boudreau from Atlanta, where he built a near-impenetrable wall around Matt Ryan, and he has been a perfect fit here. The OL coach doesn’t require top-shelf talent, which is good because the Rams don’t have it. The mere fact that Hunter washed ashore in the final week of preseason and was starting by week 2 tells you all you need to know about the talent level here.

Two more ex-Jets have been valuable contributors as well. Robert Turner has been invaluable as a fill-in center, covering Les Snead’s ass for spending big bucks on a constantly-injured Scott Wells. And Matthew Mulligan is good for 30 or so snaps of quality blocking at tight end.

TOJ – What is the opinion of most Rams fans on Sam Bradford? Is there a strong confidence that he is the long term guy at quarterback? Do you hear complaints about not keeping that #2 pick and just taking RG-3?

RH – Sam Bradford is getting increased scrutiny in season three, for sure. He is far from a rookie now, and guys like Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, RG3 and even a little shrimp like Russell Wilson have been stepping into the limelight.

It’s a good thing, then, that Bradford is finally showing signs of being that franchise guy. He regressed badly last year in his pocket presence, and never established a deep-threat. This year, behind Boudreau’s line, he looks much more confident. And with Chris Givens reeling off 50-yard plays on a weekly basis and Danny Amendola dramatically expanding his game from being just a short-crossing-route guy, Bradford’s game is taking off in a hurry.

That said, he needs to get more consistent from week to week and start reeling off more multi-score games like last week’s. Even though Fisher loves to run the ball, you have to be able to win games in the air in today’s NFL.

TOJ – How far away is this team from competing with San Francisco and Seattle for a division title? What are the areas they need to improve in before reaching that level?

RH – Well, so far the Rams are 2-0-1 against their division after playing tooth-and-nail against a very good 49ers team in their own house. I think they are well positioned to hang in with each of their division opponents. Their biggest area of improvement has to come on the road, where they’ve yet to win a game this season, and against the upper-tier teams of other divisions. The 49ers and Seahawks have made hay outside the division this year, with 8 wins in 11 matchups. The Rams have won just one of six outside the West.

TOJ – Finally, what is your prediction for Sunday? And are most Rams fans very confident in winning this game?

RH – A lot of Rams fans will find it pretty easy to focus on all the stories of disarray surrounding the Jets, and have this game circled as a win on the schedule. I certainly have a lot more confidence in Bradford than I do in any of the Jets’ QBs, but it is a team game and there have been holes in our game over the last several weeks. Also, I’m interested to see what Rex Ryan has in store for his old offensive coordinator and vice versa, after spending so many years practicing against each other.

The difference in this one could be the fans. The Rams have been playing inspired football at home all season (I am not counting the London game as a “home” game, no matter what the NFL schedule says). Big hits from our defense and big plays from the offense should keep the fans energy high, and help push the Rams over the top.

Turn On The Jets Week 11 Roundtable – Jets vs. Rams Match-Ups

The TOJ staff debates what match-up they are most looking forward to in the Jets/Rams week 11 game

Joe Caporoso – I hate to reiterate what most of our writers are saying but how could you not look forward to Rex Ryan’s defense versus Brian Schottenheimer’s offense? Without question a low point in a year full of them would be to watch Schottenheimer hang a 35 spot on Ryan. Considering how much crap Schotty took while he was here and how much pride Rex takes in his defense, it would be an ultimate gut punch to this organization. You can bet on Rex throwing the kitchen sink out there this week and likely playing more aggressive than usual. Are the Jets up to representing their now beleaguered head coach against a very average offense? Or will they let the humiliation continue?

Chris Gross – Match Up: Rex Ryan’s Defense vs. Brian Schottenheimer’s offense – Everyone has been talking about the eagerness to see Mark Sanchez face the Rams defense, for the world seems convinced that Sanchez’s former tutor, now Rams Offensive Coordinator, Brian Schottenheimer will have the exact script necessary for St. Louis’s defensive staff to magnify the surplus of Sanchez’s weaknesses. However, after 3 years of having Schotty on his staff, Rex Ryan is likely licking his chops at the opportunity to go head to head with his first and former offensive coordinator with the Jets. New York’s offense became highly predictable under the Schottenheimer regime, and Rex likely has an abundance of plays up his sleeve that he began scripting the moment he found out he’d be coaching against Schotty. Look for a dominant defensive effort led by one of Rex’s best, most prepared, coaching efforts this season.

Mike Donnelly –  The only matchup I’m really looking forward to seeing is Rex Ryan’s defense against Brian Schottenheimer and the Rams offense. The Jets did a very good job against Marshawn Lynch and the Seattle run game for most of the game last week, and I expect that to carry over against a lesser offense in St. Louis. But the big thing is how Rex is going to match wits with the Jets former offensive coordinator that was absolutely trashed here. If Rex lets the Rams come out and drop over 20 points on them and make the defense look silly, then things are much worse in Jets land than we even thought, and it will be the first time I will start to waver on whether or not Rex Ryan’s job security should be in question.

Rob Celletti – This season has gotten so strange that it feels absurd to discuss what’s happening on the field when it comes to the Jets, but let’s put aside the sideshow for a moment.  There are still seven games to play after all, and believe it or not, the Jets are going to try and win them (I think).

So what matchup can the Jets exploit against the Rams on Sunday?  How about this: commit to the running game against an average defensive front.  The Jets are arguably the most disorganized offense in the league for a variety of reasons that don’t all involve the play of Mark Sanchez.  If you look at when Sanchez has success, it usually happens when the running game is productive.  But whether it’s due to poor blocking, plodder extraordinaire Shonn Greene, or simply Tony Sparano’s gameplanning, the Jets have not stuck with their guns on the ground, especially when falling behind – even if only by one score. The Jets should be able to get something done in the run game on Sunday, and I’m excited to see Khalil Bell get some burn. He can’t be worse than Greene, can he?

TJ Rosenthal – We look forward to watching Schotty vs Rex. What would be more humiliating Rex, canning his OC only to get torched by him the following season, while the new offense and OC are worse? We honestly at this point, don’t know which of the two we are rooting for in this matchup. We are carrying decades of anger into this game. Whatever needs to be exposed for the true real nature of who the Jets are as an organization, and an offense this Sunday, let’s see it. The Rex and Schotty matchup will be a window into alot of it.

Chris Celletti – What I’m most looking forward to is a pretty simple, general matchup: the Jets’ offense vs. the Rams’ defense. The Jets’ offense has reached new levels of ineptitude over the past two games. The Rams have an okay but unspectacular defense, but at this point it doesn’t even matter who New York is going up against. Will they show any fight? Will Tony Sparano actually call a competent game? Can Mark Sanchez go an entire game without making a mistake that would make a high school QB cringe? Before we write the Jets off as automatically getting blown out, let’s all remember that the Rams aren’t very good. If, and its a gargantuan if, the Jets can actually get in the end zone a few times, they can win.

Before You Criticize The New York Jets, Think About The Source

The New York Daily News and Manish Mehta should be facing criticism and scrutiny…not the New York Jets

If you have never watched the television show The Wire, I recommend it highly. In the fifth season, they focus on the degradation of the print news media by focusing on a journalist called Scott Templeton. In a bid to drive attention to his articles, Templeton exaggerates quotes and uses fake sourcing, while frequently hiding behind the guise of “anonymous” sources. The New York media has their very own Scott Templeton covering the Jets. His name is Manish Mehta and his employing paper is, The Daily News. 

Today the football world is up in arms about the “cowardly” Jets for trashing backup quarterback Tim Tebow. How dare they not put a name on it? There is one quoted player in the article, guard Matt Slauson, who confirmed today the quotes were taken “so many months ago, he can’t even remember it”…something confirmed by Rex Ryan.

Now, let’s do a thought exercise…

You are a beat writer for the New York Jets for a print newspaper. You work in a dying medium and industry. A quarterback controversy sells newspapers. You are dying for a quarterback controversy…practically begging for it…even charting every single pass thrown by both quarterbacks in training camp. You do this despite it being abundantly clear that there is no quarterback controversy. There never has been. This reality is now setting in because despite Mark Sanchez being awful this year, he still hasn’t been pulled for Tim Tebow yet. What if it never happens? What if Tebow leaves New York before ever starting a single game? Now you are desperate, desperate enough to dust off some old quotes from your anonymous sources for a front page story. These quotes weren’t necessarily taken recently or taken in any context related to anything that is occurring right now, but what the hell right?

Look at the quotes in this article about “Tebow” and add some hypothetical context to them –

“He’s terrible” – Defensive Starter – This literally could have been said by any Jets starter since Tebow burst on to the scene in the NFL at any point, in any context. It could have been said before Jets/Broncos last year. It could have been said by Aaron Maybin after he was cut (he has been announced as a starter at Jets games before). It could have been said by anybody at anytime. 

“Hell, no!” another starter said. “You got to keep defenses honest. You just can’t line up in the Wildcat all the time. That won’t work.” – This could very well be a quote taken from Calvin Pace talking about the Wildcat back in 2009. It could have been taken from any player over the summer when asked if they want to run a traditional offense or a Wildcat and then they responded with this answer. It could have been taken from Darrelle Revis last year before the Jets/Broncos game

“We can’t win running that shit” – One player 

“Nobody wants him to be the starter” – One member of the team

“We don’t look at him as a quarterback. He’s The Wildcat Guy” – Another starter

How many times after the Tebow trade and throughout the summer have we heard members of the New York Jets say something like this? Maybe one or two million times, I lost track. Like here. Or Here. Or Here. Think about how easy these quotes could flow from any Jets player asked in the past 6 months about Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow, and then they could be construed into what is above –

“Yes, we support Mark, we all want him to be our starter” = “Nobody wants Tebow to be a starter”

“Tebow is an athlete, he is going to help us in The Wildcat. Mark is our quarterback” = “We don’t look at him as a quarterback. He’s The Wildcat Guy” 

You can make these deductions when the quotes seem a little too perfect. It is easy to make them sound that way when you cherry pick from everything members of the team have said the past year or so.

If I was Rex Ryan? I’d deny The Daily News access to Florham Park. Lock them out. Let’s see if ESPN or the New York Post breaks any of these same stories. If they do, the Jets are the problem. If they don’t, you know who the problem really was.

Before you trash the entire Jets locker room and Rex Ryan. Re-read the article you are criticizing them over and think if it is really the most sound piece of sports journalism you have ever seen.

New York Jets – Thoughts On Kahlil Bell and Aaron Maybin

A few quick thoughts on the New York Jets decision to sign Kahlil Bell and release Aaron Maybin

A few quick thoughts on the New York Jets decision to sign running back Kahlil Bell and release outside linebacker Aaron Maybin, only because it is a rarity when GM Mike Tannenbaum makes two smart decisions in one day –

1. If given the proper opportunity, Kahlil Bell is going to be a strong addition to this roster. He is an immediate upgrade over Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight. He arguably could even be an upgrade over Shonn Greene. (Go look at Greene’s stats outside of the outlier Colts game this year and then come back to me). Why am I so excited about Bell? Predominantly from his body of work over the final five games last season when he saw extensive playing time for the Chicago Bears. Here are his game logs from those weeks –

  • Vs. Kansas City – 4 carries, 34 yards
  • At Denver – 9 carries, 40 yards, 5 receptions, 24 yards
  • Vs. Seattle – 15 carries, 65 yards, 5 receptions, 43 yards
  • At Green Bay – 23 carries, 121 yards, 4 receptions, 38 yards
  • At Minnesota – 17 carries, 54 yards, 5 receptions, 28 yards

I actually saw the Denver, Seattle and Green Bay game in their entirety and was thoroughly impressed with Bell. He was one of the backs I was hoping the team would bring in this past August after the Bears let him go. Unfortunately Mike Tannenbaum decided to wait until week 11. Bell is an excellent receiver out of the backfield, has good quickness and is much more explosive than Greene. I am not exaggerating when I am saying that he should be immediately receiving 7-10 carries starting this week and then work towards a playing time split with Greene. In the long term, he could be this team’s number two back when they find a legitimate number one back.

2. Credit Mike Tannenbaum for not waiting until the end of the year for cutting his losses with Aaron Maybin who was an enormous disappointment this season. Many (including myself) believed that with a full year in Rex Ryan’s defense, he would develop another pass rush move and remain a big weapon on defense. In eight games, he didn’t record a single sack and only came up with one tackle. Simply put, Maybin is a one trick pony who failed to develop any other skills. There was no point of keeping him around if he couldn’t get to the quarterback. It is smarter to give reps over the final seven games to Marcus Dowtin and Ricky Sapp to see what they can do.

However, the Jets media relations/community outreach had another disastrous handling of a situation today. They actually sent Maybin to a charity event for the team and then called him while he was there to inform him he was cut. Not a classy move at all. They did something similar with John Conner a few weeks back. Who is making the decisions in these departments?

New York Jets Offense – A Failure From Top To Bottom

The New York Jets offense is abject failure from top to bottom

The New York Jets offense has sank to 30th in the NFL. We are now talking Blaine Gabbert bad. When you are this incompetent, it is a failure of their entire unit and really of the entire organization. Consider this reality: through nine games there is ONE player on the entire Jets offensive roster who has exceeded expectations this year – Jeremy Kerley. Everybody else has performed below any type of realistic expectations for them individually this season and that includes the coaching staff and front office.

As always let’s start at the top. Woody Johnson forced Tim Tebow on to this roster despite his coaching staff having no grasp on how to use him. The Jets wasted cap space on an unproductive (in their system) distraction. Mike Tannenbaum (culprit #1 for the Jets failures as an organization right now) didn’t improve the running back position despite lacking a lead back and depth. He also ignored the evident shortcomings at right tackle and guard. Finally, he failed add necessary veteran depth at both tight end and wide receiver. This team needed a capable veteran at both positions…not Jeff Cumberland and Chaz Schilens.

Next on the list is Mark Sanchez who is trending away from “maddeningly inconsistent” into “simply awful.” Sanchez has completed less than 50% of his passes in 5 of the Jets 9 games this year. He has thrown an interception in every single game except for two of them. His record as a starting quarterback in his previous 12 games is 3-9, with only 1 road victory. The Jets have failed to develop him properly by giving him a below average quarterback coach, switching his top three wide receivers ever year, letting the running back depth deplete, the offensive line talent decline and of course the Tebow circus but that doesn’t give him a pass for this level of play. There is excusably average because of a lack of talent around you and then there is the interception he threw in the red-zone yesterday (in case you forgot, he ignored Stephen Hill on the backline and threw it 3 seconds to late towards Dustin Keller).

The supporting cast around Sanchez is the worst in the NFL right now. Austin Howard is not a starting NFL right tackle. Matt Slauson is not a starting NFL guard. Brandon Moore is at the end of career and is a shell of the player he was in 2009 and 2010. Even Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson have been good but not at the level of play we’ve seen them reach before. Jason Smtih plays 15 reps per game on this team, at tight end! Think about that. Shonn Greene is a backup running back masquerading as a starter. Go take away the stat line from the Colts game and then look at his stat line this year (122 carries, 406 yards, 3.3 YPC and 2 TDs). Not good enough. Stephen Hill isn’t ready to be a starting NFL wide receiver yet but the Jets don’t have a capable veteran to split his reps. Dustin Keller is inconsistent at tight end. Did I miss anything?

This unit needs to be gutted. Tony Sparano gone. Matt Cavanaugh gone. Shonn Greene, Dustin Keller, Matt Slauson, Austin Howard…let them walk in free agency. Mark Sanchez is probably coming back because of his contract and because what is the other option? They aren’t taking a quarterback in the first round. You want to go sign Michael Vick? What are the other options? Take your free cap space, take your draft picks and find yourself a new starting running back, two new starting offensive lineman and a new tight end. If you can find a taker for Santonio Holmes contract (they won’t) then trade him. Start from scratch and hope Stephen Hill develops in year two the way Jeremy Kerley did.

The Jets have officially regressed to the end of the 2005 season when they were starting Brooks Bollinger, Cedric Houston, Justin McCariens and Doug Jolley. The good news? They made playoffs in 2006. We needed something optimistic in this article, right?

Five Second Half Keys For The New York Jets

TJ Rosenthal with five second half keys for the New York Jets

The 3-5 New York Jets have an embattled GM, a coaching staff searching for answers, and a fan base wondering where the talent and depth filled “Goddamn Snack” squads of 2009 and 2010 went. Gang Green must go 6-2 in order to have a probable shot at a postseason berth. Here are five keys needed in order to make it happen.

1 – The Quarterback Becomes The Leader

Mark Sanchez will be given every opportunity to remain the starter. If the Jets can’t rise on offense collectively, will Tim Tebow get the chance to elevate his teammates? The Jets desperately need leadership at the QB position in the second half.

2 – A Pass Rusher Is Found: Coples Anyone?

The Jets have to locate a pass rushing presence among it’s own front seven. Rookie Quinton Coples has recently begun to show signs of life. If he can take it to the next level, the Jets secondary can collectively settle in, and even choose to play the ball more often.

3 – Dustin Keller Emerges

This was yet again, supposed to be a breakout year for the eternally emerging tight end. A hamstring injury however, slowed him in the first six games. Keller has to become that All-Pro threat over the next eight games, in order to help open up the passing game outside.

4 – The Special Teams Unit Reawakens

What in the world has gone on with Mike Westhoff’s group over the past two games? A Jets special teams crew that has thrived under Westhoff, a true gem coaching in his final season, has suddenly gone south. Lately, monumental game changing plays have gone against a unit that is always heavily counted on. Despite their recent struggles, this area will still be a key part of the winning formula for the Jets down the stretch.

5 – 
The 2012 Jets Identity Finally Crystallizes

Who are these 2012 Jets? Good question. We hear all the time about who they want to be. They are not however, that dominant ground attack and feared defense that Ryan hoped they would turn into. Not yet at least. Add in the confusion surrounding Tim Tebow’s purpose (or lack thereof) in the offense, and you have an even bigger mystery. 

Let’s hope that the bye week helped the Jets assess who they ought to become the rest of the way based on what they truly are and can achieve. Any gadgetry and trickery that lends itself to the game plan is fine by us. A continued lack of honesty regarding this club’s identity on either side of the ball, is not.

Turn On The Jets On Boomer and Carton

Turn On The Jets gets some love on the Boomer and Carton radio show on WFAN

A little love for Turn On The Jets this morning on our favorite AM radio talk show, Boomer and Carton on WFAN. Thanks to the caller Kunal for reading and thanks to Carton for assuming we are an official New York Jets website. Considering the amount of negative press we have given their recent personnel decisions, we think they would have dropped us off the payroll a long time ago if we were. Regardless, we are now waiting for the call from Al Dukes to come in the studio and talk Jets. 

Follow the writers – Chris Gross, Mike Donnelly, Chris Celletti, TJ Rosenthal, Rob Celletti

New York Jets Playoff Pipe Dream – Week 10 Viewing Guide

The New York Jets playoff pipe dream viewing guide for week 10

The Turn On The Jets playoff pipe dream guide is back for another week. We saw a little positive progress last week as the Jets actually moved from 12th to 10th in the AFC. The beauty of inactivity! Before we get into it, we have a few more tid-bits from a former NFL personnel executive who still works in the league – 

On Mike Tannenbaum’s job security – “The GM has the owner convinced that he isn’t at fault. He will play the Revis and Holmes injury card and plus he can play the Blame Rex game. He is brilliant at that.” (Translation – as we have been saying all along, Tannenbaum isn’t going anywhere next year).

On Tim Tebow – “He commands zero value on the market. It will not be easy at all to find a team to take him off the Jets hands this off-season…including Jacksonville.”

The Current Standings

  1. Houston (7-1)
  2. Baltimore (6-2)
  3. New England (5-3)
  4. Denver (5-3)
  5. Indianapolis (5-3)
  6. Pittsburgh (5-3)
  7. San Diego (4-4)
  8. Miami (4-4)
  9. Oakland (3-5)
  10. Jets (3-5)
  11. Buffalo (3-5)
  12. Cincy (3-5)
  13. Tennessee (3-6)
  14. Cleveland (2-7)
  15. Jacksonville (1-7)
  16. Kansas City (1-7)

Week 10 Viewing Guide

Indianapolis (5-3) at Jacksonville (1-7) – Who is ready to root for Blaine Gabbert tonight? A few reasons for optimism on the upset: Jacksonville’s only win this season was against the Colts, these Thursday night games are always a little screwy and the Colts are much better at home than on the road. Have I convinced you yet?

NY Giants (6-3) at Cincinnati (3-5) – Thanks for the help last week against Pittsburgh Eli. You picked a great time to tank in the fourth quarter. The Giants can’t lose this game, can they?

Tennessee (3-6) at Miami (4-4) – Jake Locker is back in the starting line-up and we are ready to root for him. This would be a pretty crippling loss for the Dolphins with New England still on the schedule twice and a trip to San Francisco on the way.

Buffalo (3-5) at New England (5-3) – The AFC East race would be tightened with a Bills win. The Bills season would be over with a loss. Sort of a win-win. I can’t see Buffalo winning this game or even keeping it close for that matter.

San Diego (3-5) at Tampa Bay (4-4) – Go Muscle Hamster! It is hard not to like the Bucs here. Let the Chargers implosion start as soon as possible.

Oakland (3-5) at Baltimore (6-2) – Somewhat similar situation to the Buffalo/New England game. A Baltimore loss tightens the AFC and could lead to a late season slide for them. A loss for Oakland could basically eliminate them.

Houston (7-1) at Chicago (7-1) – Why would a Bears win be important? You don’t want Houston pulling away and resting starters in their late season games against the Colts, which the Jets will need them to lose.

Thursday Night TOJ Picks

  • Joe – Jax (+3)
  • Mike – Jax (+3)
  • Chris C – Ind (-3)
  • Rob – Ind (-3)
  • Chris G – Ind (-3)

New York Jets Week 10 – Early Thoughts On Jets/Seahawks

Early thoughts on the New York Jets week 10 match-up against the Seattle Seahawks

A collection of thoughts on the New York Jets week 10 match-up against the Seattle Seahawks 

1. On paper this is a terrible match-up for the Jets. Seattle has an elite defense led by a great secondary with an elite pass rush bolstered by the best homefield advantage on football. The Jets have a below average offense with an inconsistent passing game that can’t protect their quarterback. Seattle also has the league’s second leading rusher in Marshawn Lynch who is the best back after contact in the NFL right now. The Jets defense has struggled to stop the run mostly because they can’t tackle.

2. Where do the Jets find a hope for an upset? Seattle’s offense has been inconsistent and is led by a rookie quarterback in Russell Wilson. He has been much better at home than on the road. Unfortunately the Jets have to face him in his building. Regardless, he remains a rookie and we saw what the Jets defense did to Andrew Luck a few weeks back. Seattle will likely have a tough time moving the ball through the air but if the Jets can’t slow down Lynch, that won’t matter anyway.

3. Dustin Keller needs to have a big week. Their wide receivers are going to struggle against Seattle’s cornerbacks, Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner, so Keller needs to be a factor in the middle of the field. The running game must also take pressure off of Mark Sanchez. Fortunately, Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight are both expected to play to help support Shonn Greene. It isn’t worth making any comments about Tim Tebow’s usage at this point until the Jets show any desire to use him more than 4 plays per game.

4. The Jets special teams needs a bounce-back in a major way. A key recipe for any upset is making big plays in that third of the game. Whether it is a big return, a turnover or a faked punt. The Jets need to get points here.

5. Ultimately this is a gut-check game for the Jets. If you want to be relevant for the second half of the season you need to pull the upset here. They had an extra week to prepare and this team should be playing with immense desperation and aggressiveness. A big upset on the road is the type of thing that can propel a 6-2 second half and a run to a playoff spot. A blowout loss is the type of thing that can propel a 5-11 season.

Seattle Memories

New York Jets – The First Half Positives (Yes, They Exist)

A collection of positives from the first half of season for the New York Jets

Here I was ready to write a feel good article about the New York Jets when they clog up my Twitter feed with foolish decisions. First and most importantly, the organization hasn’t been proactive enough about sending support to hurricane victims throughout New Jersey and New York. We have heard about the New York Giants heading to South Jersey to pitch in. Where are the Jets? Outside of Mark Sanchez who went down there today, the organization has been painfully quiet in their support of the state they play and practice in. Get your checkbook out Woody. Get your community relations and media department in order New York Jets.

Second, the Jets made yet another collection of bonehead roster decisions today by releasing rookie safety Antonio Allen and signing wide receiver Jason Hill and offensive lineman Hayworth Hicks off the Colts practice squad. Why are these foolish decisions? Antonio Allen is a promising rookie safety who fits well into the big nickel, an essential modern NFL defense. Jason Hill is a journeyman receiver who didn’t receive a single workout or claim after the Jets released him last week. Hayworth Hicks couldn’t make the Colts active roster and the Colts have a terrible offensive line. Memo to Mike Tannenbaum, you don’t find wide receivers in Jacksonville and you don’t find offensive lineman in Indianapolis.

Tannenbaum has continually been below average at his job the past few years. He actually seems to be getting perpetually worse. We can only hope that he is the fall guy this off-season…

Rant over and now to a few first half positives

Jeremy Kerley – He has developed into a better player than many imagined he could. Kerley has shown he can be more than a slot receiver, lining up all over the formation and making plays. With his crisp routes, good hands and good run after the catch ability Kerley is a building block for the future.

Demario Davis – The early returns have been good on the Jets much hyped 3rd round rookie. He brings a needed element of speed and should be a long term starter at inside linebacker.

LaRon Landry – One of the few shrewd signings of the past few years by Mike Tannenbaum. If Landry finishes the season healthy, the Jets should lock him into a long term deal. He is a strong fit in Rex Ryan’s defense and has been a major upgrade over Jim Leonhard or Eric Smith.

Antonio Cromartie – Playing the best football of his career. He deserves All-Pro consideration thus far.

Kenrick Ellis – Before he got hurt, he was the Jets best defensive lineman. He will be back against Seattle. The Jets can build around him, Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples up front.

Joe McKnight – Gutted through an ankle injury against the Patriots and seems to have turned a corner at running back. He needs more work in the second half of the season.