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

New York Jets: Separating The Reality From The Hype

Separating the reality from the hype when it comes to the New York Jets

The general view of the 2012 New York Jets is the following – an overhyped team who went down in flames last year and is about to completely fall off the tracks, leaving both Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez unemployed. The circus characterization has been beaten to death by an unoriginal New York media who has spent the last 6 months making a mountain out of every mole hill possible. NFL “media experts” have piled on, pegging the Jets as a 5-7 win team that is more headlines than substance, even when they are the ones giving them the headlines they complain about.

Seriously, is there any thing more tone deaf that ESPN running a segment about how the Giants have flown under the radar because of excessive Jets coverage when ESPN ran the idiot brigade out there all August?

The public fellatio handed to coaches like the Harbaugh brothers isn’t extended to Rex Ryan because he isn’t an information hoarding Bill Belichick clone. He is loud, obnoxious and not afraid to open up in press conferences. His public personality has prevented him receiving the respect he deserves. The hot seat? Because of a 8 win season after back to back AFC Championship Games in his first two years? Give me a break.

Jim Harbaugh lost in a Conference Championship in his first year, exactly what Rex Ryan did, only Rex had to break in a rookie quarterback. Rex then followed up by beating Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Belichick in his own building in the playoffs in his second season. Let’s see how Harbaugh follows up in year two, when he has already been crowed as Lombardi 2.0. John Harbaugh has the same thing to show as Rex Ryan so far in his coaching career, two Conference Championship losses. They get the benefit of the doubt and lofty places in polls like this where Rex isn’t even mentioned. Comically, somebody would rather start their team with Greg Schiano than Rex Ryan, only problem is the biggest game Schiano ever won is the Insight.com Bowl.

Perception is the Jets went 3-13 last year. Reality is they went 8-8, one game worse than the eventual Super Bowl champions and 2 games better than the “upstart” Buffalo Bills who have been unanimously picked to finish ahead of them in the standings this year.

Perception is Mark Sanchez is the 32nd best quarterback in the NFL. Reality is the racked up 32 total touchdowns last year and has won 4 playoff games in his first 3 years. Could you imagine the fawning over Josh Freeman for those type of accomplishments? Yet, Freeman remains the “experts” choice for the big year in 2012. Other young quarterbacks require time to develop and every success is praised endlessly, the same benefit doesn’t fall to Sanchez who only receives armchair psychoanalysis.

The decision to bring in Tim Tebow reeked of headline grabbing. However, would a similar move by Baltimore, Houston or Buffalo inspire such criticism? The move isn’t an abject failure until Tebow is throwing more than 5 passes in a single game. If he comes out and runs 8 times for 45 yards week 1 as the Jets win, is it a stupid decision then?

Clown car? Here are the teams who have won less total games than the 32 the Jets have won the past three seasons (including regular season and playoffs) – Buffalo, Miami, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Houston, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, Tennessee, Oakland, Kansas City, Denver, San Diego, Philadelphia, Dallas, Washington, New York Giants (yes they have a Super Bowl though), Minnesota, Detroit, Chicago, Carolina, Tampa Bay, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, and Arizona. Atlanta has won 32 as well but with zero playoff wins.

So that leaves New England, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, New Orleans and Green Bay as the only teams who have been more successful than the Jets the past three years and we will throw in the Giants for their Super Bowl victory. Are the Jets ever mentioned in the same breath as these franchises for their success the past few years? Of course not. Save the clown cars for Tampa Bay, Cleveland, Minnesota and the other awful organizations, not the team who goes 8-8 and has it considered a colossal failure.

Plenty Of Work Left For New York Jets Heading Into Pre-Season Finale

The New York Jets still have plenty to sort out on their roster heading into their final pre-season game

The New York Jets head into their pre-season finale tonight against the Philadelphia Eagles with plenty of questions surrounding their roster. On the field tonight will be a minimal amount of impact players for the 2012 team, however there are a handful who still have an opportunity to lock down prominent roles. After the game Mike Tannenbaum needs to get to work in adding depth to a few spots by scanning the league for other team’s end of August cuts.

At right tackle Austin Howard needs another strong showing to truly lock down the starting right tackle job. If he struggles tonight he could be on a quick hook for the recently acquired Jason Smith, who should also see some action tonight. At wide receiver, another good game from Patrick Turner and Jordan White should keep Chaz Schilens off the roster, if the Jets are going by merit. Schilens has hardly played at all this August and simply can’t stay healthy. There is no logical reason to keep him on at the expense of White or Turner and the Jets can’t afford to carry six receivers.

Shonn Greene won’t play tonight at running back leaving the workload to Bilal Powell, Joe McKnight and Terrence Ganaway. Powell is the least proven backup running back in the NFL and it would be nice to see him rip off a couple of big runs against the Eagles backups to build some confidence heading into the season. Joe McKnight appears to be completely out of the mix at running back which doesn’t say much about the coaching staff’s faith in him considering the current depth chart. Ganaway is in an interesting situation, he hasn’t received much work at running back this pre-season and should receive some carries tonight but he has also worked at fullback in practice. Will we see him get extended work at fullback tonight and if he succeeds, could he knock John Conner off the roster?

Conner has been nothing but below average since taking over as the starting fullback. Beyond that, he lacks any kind of versatility. Shonn Greene runs well in the single back set, so why bother to keep Conner on the roster? When you do want to use a fullback, you could let Ganaway step in and he has the ability to both run the ball and do some damage as a receiver out of the backfield.

As for the rest of the offense, Mike Tannenbaum absolutely must add a blocking tight end to the Jets roster. Simply put, they are currently not carrying a single tight end capable of blocking. It will be interesting to see who comes free in the coming days. It also wouldn’t hurt for Tannenbaum to take a long look at some available veterans at both wide receiver and running back. The Jets are thin in both spots and quality options like Ryan Grant, Kahlil Bell, Jabar Gaffney and Donte Stallworth remain out there.

On defense, the Jets are stacked at linebacker and will have to make some tough choices about roster cuts. It is hard to see them carrying more than 8 into their final 53 and with Calvin Pace, David Harris, Bart Scott, David Harris, Aaron Maybin, and Demario Davis locks, that only leaves two spots for Garret McIntyre, Nick Bellore, Josh Mauga and Ricky Sapp (who has been injured all pre-season).

In the secondary, Antonio Allen will get extended work at safety tonight and seems to have played his way into a roster spot. The fourth and fifth cornerback spots aren’t completely settled with Ellis Lankster, Isaiah Trufant, and Julian Posey battling for reps. It probably wouldn’t have hurt for the Jets to add a veteran here considering how cornerback heavy Rex Ryan’s defense can be.

Mike Tannenbaum has left holes in his roster with the season opener only 10 days away, hopefully between a combination of bottom of the roster players stepping up and some timely last second pick-ups he can patch them up.

New York Jets – Biggest Positional Question Marks

Who are the biggest question marks on the New York Jets heading into the 2012 season?

The New York Jets have a handful of sure things on their roster. You know Darrelle Revis is going to be a lockdown corner. You know Nick Mangold is going to anchor the offensive line. You know David Harris and Sione Pouha will play at a Pro-Bowl level and not receive the recognition for it. However, who are the team’s biggest question marks? Let’s take a quick run through

Austin Howard – Right Tackle – Howard has put together one pretty good pre-season and has the honor of replacing the least popular tackle in New York football history, Wayne Hunter. Let’s not forget he was an undrafted free agent who has never started a game before this season. If Howard starts to stumble, the Jets will likely have a quick hook to give the recently acquired Jason Smith an opportunity. He will be tested right out of the gate when facing Mario Williams or Mark Anderson week one and then Pittsburgh’s endless collection of pass rushers week two.

Kyle Wilson – Nickelback – Nickelback is a crucial spot in Rex Ryan’s defensive back heavy defense. Wilson has had a rough pre-season and patience is rightfully wearing thin with him. He is entering his third year and the former first round pick has never looked anything like one. Teams are going to pick on him with Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie on the outside but Wilson must do a better job of locating the ball in the air and avoiding giving large cushions when he can’t afford to.

Stephen Hill – Wide Receiver – The Jets are relying on Hill to start right out of the gate despite how raw he is. He has shown an ability to get open and make plays down the field in the pre-season, while showing a consistent problem with drops. Hill is a rookie receiver from a triple-option offense. Can his positives outweigh his negatives as a full time player?

Mark Sanchez – Quarterback – I don’t see Sanchez as anywhere near as big of question mark as most people do. Outside of his interception against the Giants, he has been accurate and in-control of the offense despite a shaky offensive line and a banged up group of receivers. At his worst Sanchez will be an effective game manager, at his best he can be the player who led four 4th quarterback comebacks and won a playoff game in New England back in 2010. The biggest question around him this year is how he will handle being pulled from the game for Tebow when the Jets use the Wildcat.

Tim Tebow – Backup Quarterback – Not sure why more people aren’t concerned that the Jets backup quarterback had a 26.5 QB Rating and 38 percent completion rate in the pre-season. How can this offense function if Sanchez goes down for an extended period of time unless they are going to let Tebow just run 20 times per game from the QB position?

Jeff Cumberland – Backup Tight End – Hopefully Mike Tannenbaum isn’t foolish enough to go into the season with him as the primary backup. Simply put he is a less talented version of Dustin Keller and is an even worse blocker. The Jets are in trouble if he gets pushed into extended duty.

LaRon Landry – Safety – He has been terrific this pre-season but if he gets hurt the Jets are right back to Eric Smith.

D’Brickashaw Ferguson – Left Tackle – It was a surprisingly down year for ‘Brick last year. The Jets badly need him to bounce back and be the Pro-Bowl caliber tackle he was throughout the early years of his career.

TJ Conley/Nick Folk – Punter/Kicker – The value of these guys on the Jets is extremely enhanced because of the type of football they are likely to play. Folk had a great pre-season but can’t afford to miss the chip shots this year that he did in the past. Conley has been inconsistent and is now in competition with the recently signed Spencer Lanning. You can’t shank punts when you are desperately battling for field position.

Shonn Greene – Running Back – Considering his primary backup has under 30 career NFL rushing yards, he better stay healthy and productive. Greene had a disappointing pre-season and has been a notorious slow starter. The Jets can’t afford that this year as he will be getting 20+ carries a game right out of the gate.

New York Jets – State Of The Roster

A conversation with a former NFL Personnel Executive and Scout about the state of the New York Jets

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to have an extended conversation with a former NFL personnel executive and scout about the state of the New York Jets roster. This individual still works in the league and requested anonymity, here are a few of the most interesting excerpts of our conversation –

John Conner – He cited Conner as one of the least valuable players in the NFL and somebody who does not merit a roster spot. “He can’t catch and is average at best as a blocker. His lack of versatility makes the Jets that much more predictable on offense.”

Have to agree with the assertion here. Conner got a catchy nickname early in his career and was a fun story on Hard Knocks but ultimately has brought just about nothing to the table in 3 seasons. It is a shame Josh Baker is done for the season because the Jets would have been better off starting him at fullback than Conner. 

Blocking Tight End – A recurring theme throughout our conversation was the inability of Mike Tannenbaum to properly scout players and understand actual football techniques. “Everybody in the league knows Dustin Keller can’t block. Last year you had the Jets trot out Matthew Mulligan and John Conner on every running play and Keller on every passing play. It makes them easy to defend. When they talk about using an extra tackle as a tight end this year, it is a dead giveaway to their tendency. Why not go get a blocking tight end? They had success with Ben Hartsock in the past but have completely ignored the position this year.”

My feelings about a blocking tight end have been well stated. I do not understand how a “Ground and Pound” team does not carry one on their roster. 

Tannenbaum’s Future – “Tannenbaum will not be the fall guy if the Jets don’t make the playoffs this year. He has Woody Johnson wrapped so far around his finger, he isn’t going anywhere. He will be the GM for the next 5 years.”

Cameron Wake – “Prior to the 2009 season the Jets scouting department wanted Cameron Wake badly and the team was in a position to sign him, Tannenbaum personally overruled the move and said he didn’t want him.”

This statement caught me by surprise, as similar to many others I believe Tannenbaum is the first to go if the Jets don’t make the playoffs this year. Only time will tell. The Wake story is a frustrating one to hear considering the pass rusher he turned into and how the Jets have struggled to fill that spot. 

Shonn Greene – “An average to slightly above average back. For the type of offense the Jets want to run, they need an elite back or at least a capable 1B option which they don’t have right now. McKnight is not a NFL caliber running back and can’t stay healthy.

It still boggles my mind why the Jets didn’t sign Cedric Benson and I don’t see how they can give big money to Greene after this season. 

Jets 2012 Prospects – “Considering their defense and schedule, they are going to be right around or slightly above .500 all year and in position to make a late season run into the playoffs. However, they are still not equipped not overtake New England.

Agreed

Future Of Jets – “Tannenbaum gave himself minimal flexibility this off-season because of his habit of guaranteeing contracts. The decision to give that much guaranteed money to Wayne Hunter (this was pre-trade), Bart Scott and Calvin Pace (when they re-did his contract) is inexplicable and killed them this off-season. When those guys come off the books, they will then have the ability to make their needed moves, although they will continue to be hamstrung by the guaranteed money for Holmes and Sanchez.”

The handling of Wayne Hunter’s contract was truly awful, we know that. Scott and Pace are goners after this year. Only time will tell if Sanchez and Holmes can work out. 

Sanchez – “Needs to be in certain type of offense to succeed and the Jets have done a poor job building around him in recent years. The Tebow circus could be a disastrous distraction. Why keep trotting this guy out in front of the media so much?”

Rex Ryan – “A great defensive mind, who has a unit this year that will be good enough to keep the Jets competitive. However, he needs to stop talking his players up to the media so much. It puts unnecessary pressure on them and comes off as phony.

It has been nice to see Rex step up the public criticism of players this year, when it has been merited instead of the endless hype train. Hopefully this continues to be a trend. 

Other Tidbits

  • Stephen Hill – “A physical specimen but probably a year away from being a consistent contributor. He has a long way to go in the mental part of the game.
  • Right Tackle – “Only thing they can do is gamble and hope for the best. The position is a commodity. You need to draft and develop those players. Howard might be a one year stopgap but certainly isn’t a long term answer.”
  • LaRon Landry – “Can make a major difference but hard to imagine he gets through all 16 games.”

Something Positive For The 2012 New York Jets Season

Something very positive for the outlook for the 2012 New York Jets season

For everybody in hysterics about the New York Jets being a 3-5 win team in 2012…looking at you Merril Hoge, Peter Schrager and Evan Silva, a simple reminder that their defense will be facing the following quarterbacks –

  • Ryan Tannehill twice (0 career NFL snaps)
  • Russell Wilson (0 career NFL snaps)
  • Andrew Luck (0 career NFL snaps)
  • Jake Locker (0 career NFL starts)
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick twice (Mediocre, 0-4 career record against Rex Ryan as a starting QB)
  • Blaine Gabbert (Struggled heavily last year, 4-10 record as a starter)
  • Sam Bradford (Struggled heavily last year, Brian Schottenheimer is his offensive coordinator)
  • John Skelton (Struggled heavily last year, very poor offensive line)

That accounts for ten of their games. Their other six come against Tom Brady (twice), Philip Rivers, Matt Schaub, Alex Smith and Ben Roethlisberger. Rex Ryan has beaten Brady 3 times over the past 3 years, including a playoff win. He is 2-0 against Rivers including a playoff win. He is 2-0 against Schaub. And Alex Smith is still Alex Smith.

The Jets defense is good enough to win them games, particularly with the above slate of quarterbacks on the 2012 schedule.

New York Jets – Struggling To Find Silver Lining

The New York Jets still haven’t found the end-zone this pre-season, despite some encouraging developments last night

There is no reason to act like not scoring a touchdown in three full pre-season games isn’t a big deal. It is. It is an embarrassing failure that speaks to a lack of cohesion and playmakers on offense. The New York Jets offense has been the worst in the NFL to this point. They are just fortunate that up until this point nothing truly counts and that their defense has conversely been one of the best.

The offensive problems last night started at the wide receiver position. Santonio Holmes dropped what would have been probably a 25 yard gain. Stephen Hill dropped a very catch-able ball that turned into an interception and failed to make a tough catch in the end-zone that should have been a touchdown. Was it a perfect throw from Sanchez? No, but that doesn’t mean that Hill shouldn’t come down with that pass.

The dropped passes took away from what should have been a huge night for Mark Sanchez, who was still 11/18 for 123 yards with completions of 20, 24 and 32 yards. He drove the football well down the field, throwing two bullets over the middle for big gainers to Dustin Keller and Patrick Turner. He read the coverage perfectly and delivered a perfect back shoulder pass to Stephen Hill outside the numbers for the other long gain. Unfortunately all that is swept under the rug when you don’t convert in the red-zone.

Outside of the dropped passes, the running game was a let down yet again. The Jets have shown no ability to run the ball consistently this pre-season. Shonn Greene finished with 47 yards on 13 carries. 3.6 yards per carry is not good enough. Greene seems to be stumbling immediately after he receives every handoff and still is not breaking any tackles or making anybody miss. There is nothing impressive about running through a well blocked hole. It is impressive when you make something happen at the second level to turn a blocked 3 yard run into a 15 yard run or a blocked 8 yard run into a 29 yard run.

Joe McKnight appears to be completely out of the mix at running back, receiving zero carries and even working behind Terrance Ganaway. Bilal Powell looks to be the primary backup and third down back. He showed a little shiftiness last night but still only finished with 29 yards on 8 carries, the same 3.6 yards per carry as Greene.

The Jets also remain clueless in short yardage. They were stuff again on 3rd and 1 and in reality stuffed on 4th and 1. They received a ridiculously favorable spot on a Mark Sanchez quarterback sneak for a first down. What purpose does John Conner serve on this roster? He can’t catch. He can’t convert on short yardage when handed the ball and can’t help Greene convert on third and short with his blocking. Beyond that, Greene’s biggest runs last night came out of a single back set.

Finally the offense made another killer mental mistake when Matt Slauson picked up a senseless personal foul that killed a potential scoring drive. The Jets are nowhere near good enough to overcome needless penalties.

Over to the positives, on offense outside of Sanchez throwing the ball very well, Austin Howard was terrific. He held his own against Charles Johnson and appeared to be play both fluidly and with a high amount of confidence. There will be bumps in the road with him but last night was a very strong start.

The real positives remained on the defensive side of the football, where the Jets have the makings of arguably the best run defense in the NFL. Kenrick Ellis was dominant at the point of attack last night and has earned himself a much larger role in the defensive line rotation thanks to a huge pre-season. LaRon Landry is a force in the run game and came up with his second interception of the pre-season. If he stays healthy, the Jets got a major steal in free agency. Quinton Coples had another sack and another forced fumble, along with constantly being in Cam Newton’s face.

The disappointing thing about Coples is how Rex Ryan called him out after the game for being winded and complaining about having to play with the second team. Good for Rex for staying on top of this and not babying him to the press. He needs to do that more frequently. A rookie complaining about playing time is inexcusable. Coples is freakishly talented and Rex and all of the veterans constantly need to stay on top of him so he reaches his potential.

For the first time of the pre-season, the blitzes the Jets dialed up were breaking through. The constant pressure led to a difficult night for Newton who finished only 6/15 for 60 yards with a turnover. Outside of Kyle Wilson, who continues to struggle the Jets defense appears in mid-season form and should be a top three unit in the league this season.

For all of the criticism heaped on the Jets offense, the same amount of praise should be heaped on their defense at this point. Will either unit play to their expectations in September? Only time will tell.

Turn On The Jets Roundtable – Jets vs. Giants Preview

The Turn On The Jets writers preview the New York Jets/New York Giants pre-season game

The Turn On The Jets writing staff breaks down what they are most looking forward to seeing in the New York Jets second pre-season game. Make sure to leave your comments below or on the Turn On The Jets Facebook Page

Joe Caporoso – I want to see the New York Jets offensive line find a way against this Giants pass rush. Give Mark Sanchez enough time to complete his drop back and get the football down the field. Beyond that, there is no reason this talked up “Ground and Pound” shouldn’t be able to grind out a productive night running the football. Shonn Green get the yards per carry over 4.0 and break a run over 5 yards for once in your life. Finally, let’s see Dustin Keller involved in the passing game. Tony Sparano needs to find a way to successfully keep him active every single week, no matter how vanilla the game plan is. And oh yeah…how about a touchdown?

Chris Gross – Is anyone going to step up and take the metaphorical bull that is the Jets Running Back job by the horns? I’d love to finally see Shonn Greene step up and put together a performance we can feel confident as we inch closer to the regular season. Bilal Powell has done well in pass protection, but his performance last week against Cincinnati (5 carries, 16 yards) certainly did not reflect the praise he has been receiving in practice. Joe McKnight showed signs of life last week with his 32 yards on only 7 carries, but it’s time that he became more consistent and reliable. The Jets seem to be holding onto hope that one of these three is suddenly going to breakout and be the answer to the ground and pound. It is certainly time for this unit to start playing to the identity of this team, otherwise Tim Tebow will be getting the majority of the carries this season. Whether Jets fans want to hear it or not, this team is built to run the football. If none of these backs can prove to do so, New York will likely turn to Tebow to carry the workload on the ground, either as a RB or by rolling out the “Wildcat” more than anyone wants to see.

Mike DonnellyWhat do I want to see? Well there are a few things I’m looking forward to seeing, such as Patrick Turner continuing to stake claim to a big role on offense, Quinton Coples and Mo Wilkerson continuing their excellent play up front against an overrated Giants offensive line, and for Demario Davis to get more reps with the first team defense. But this game is more about what I don’t want to see: I DON’T want to see the safeties struggle against Victor Cruz over the middle of the field; I DON’T want to see Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell struggle against a so-so Giants rush defense; And I mostly DON’T want to see Mark Sanchez get carted off the field as Wayne Hunter and his buddies on the offensive line struggles to block JPP, Tuck, and the rest of the Giants pass rushers. If we can avoid those three things, this game will be a success.

Jets vs. Giants: Turn On The Jets 12 Pack Of Predictions

12 Predictions for the New York Jets second pre-season game against the New York Giants

The Turn On The Jets 12 Pack is back with predictions for Jets/Giants tomorrow night. Will the New York Jets ever score a touchdown? Will Mark Sanchez leave the game in the body bag from the Giants pass rush? Read on to find out – 

In case you missed it, we had another great week of coverage. Make sure you are following the staff on Twitter – Chris Gross, Mike Donnelly, and TJ Rosenthal 

1. The New York Jets are going to be particularly run heavy with their starters. Considering four of their top six receivers won’t play, their pass protection is questionable and the Giants have the best pass rush in football…this is a logical move. Beyond that, the Jets need to get some momentum going for their running game and you can run the football on the Giants.

2. Mark Sanchez won’t turn the football over and will lead a touchdown drive in the first half. Look for Dustin Keller to be a point of emphasis in the passing game.

3. The New York Giants will rip off at least one huge play on the Jets starting defense. They have too much speed not to and even in the pre-season, they always seem to break off big ones against the Jets.

4. When Darrelle Revis is matched up on Victor Cruz, he won’t catch a single pass. However, if Cruz gets in the slot and matched up on Kyle Wilson the Jets will be in trouble.

5. Demario Davis is going to see extended time with the starting defense. The slow phase out of Bart Scott is going to begin. With his lack of speed, he simply can’t be on the field when it isn’t a likely running down.

6. Both starting defenses will record at least two sacks of the other team’s starting quarterback.

7. Stephen Hill will lead the Jets in receptions and haul in a couple from Mark Sanchez for the first time this week. Patrick Turner should also register 2-3 catches again.

8. Tim Tebow will have a rushing touchdown. The ESPN production truck will explode in response.

9. The Giants will win the game and the ridiculous Snoopy trophy that comes with it. Mike Lupica and Ian O’Connor will each write 1,500 word articles burying the Jets season and worshipping Tom Coughlin in response. Oh wait, O’Connor already did.

10. Antonio Allen is going to take another step towards leap frogging Josh Bush on the depth chart at safety.

11. Joe McKnight will have another strong pre-season game, making a few big plays as both a runner and receiver.

12. Quinton Coples will record his second sack in as many pre-season games and continue his strong pre-season.

New York Jets: Make or Break Year For Dustin Keller

This is a make or break year for New York Jets tight end Dustin Keller

New York Jets tight end Dustin Keller is entering the most crucial season of his NFL career. The team has understandably held off on giving him a large contract extension, instead choosing to wait and see how he produces in Tony Sparano’s offense. Through four years, Keller has been good but has never truly broke out in the way many around the team expect him to. This season, more than ever the Jets need the Pro-Bowl season that he has personally declared is on the way.

It doesn’t take an expert to see that the Jets are lacking proven offensive playmakers heading into this season, particularly in the passing game. Beyond that, Mark Sanchez is yet to have an opportunity to work with two of his top three receivers, Santonio Holmes and Jeremy Kerley, this pre-season because of his injuries. Without question, Keller is the receiver he is most comfortable with and should see a ton of passes coming his way all season.

Keller has never been able to sustain productivity throughout his career. The four seasons are marked by stretches of All-Pro caliber play followed by weeks of inactivity. The productivity tends to occur early in the season and then tail off throughout the year.

Last season, Keller caught 16 passes for 249 yards 2 touchdowns in the Jets first three games. Over the next six games, he only collected 15 receptions for 224 yards and o touchdowns. He improved slightly down the stretch but not much, finishing the season with only 5 touchdowns and 12.5 yards per reception. In 2010, it was the same story. He caught 5 touchdowns in the Jets first 4 games and then didn’t catch one the rest of the season. He also saw a gaudy early season yards per catch average drop off to 12.5 by the end of the year.

Keller needs to improve his consistency, his red-zone production and downfield playmaking ability. All of these issues don’t fall solely on him. It is fair to place blame on Brian Schottenheimer’s horizontal passing attack and perplexing game plans. It is also fair to blame Mark Sanchez for his occasional struggles.

Regardless, the top priority of the Jets passing game this year should be keeping Keller involved on a weekly basis and getting him the ball inside the 20 yard line. His yards per catch should improve thanks to Tony Sparano’s scheme. Anthony Fasano averaged 13.5 yards per catch and 14.1 yards per catch the past two years respectively and he is substantially less athletic and versatile than Keller.

It can’t be used as an excuse that defenses are keying on Keller. Santonio Holmes is enough of a threat on the outside to keep double teams away from Keller in most situations, nevermind if Stephen Hill develops into a viable deep threat. Keller needs to be moved around the formation to get matched up on defensive backs who he can take advantage of with his size, particularly in the red-zone. If he is seeing coverage from linebackers, the Jets have to get him down the seam where Mark Sanchez throws the ball particularly well.

The Jets can’t afford to have Keller go 5 straight weeks with less than 3 receptions. The Jets can’t afford Keller to have another 5 touchdown season. It is time to expand his route tree beyond bootlegs. Creativity will be needed because he is without question the team’s second best all around receiver and their most versatile weapon in the passing game.