Turn On The Jets with 12 predictions for the Jets week 3 match-up against the Miami Dolphins
How about this weather in New York City? There is nothing like the autumn. It reminds me of getting ready for another breakout 3 catch, 26 yard performance at Muhlenberg as we got ready to whoop up on Union College (sorry Chris Gross). Anyway, The New York Daily News or as we call them around here, TMZ has had a fun week of stirring the quarterback controversy pot and talking about Tebow shirtless. Fortunately, we have supplied you with all the necessary football coverage…emphasis on football you need here the past five days. The Mission To Civilize continues –
Breaking down the offensive game film from Jets/Steelers
Turn On The Jets broke down the offensive game film from the New York Jets week two loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. A big thank you to everybody who sent in their questions on Twitter on what they specifically wanted to see broken down from the film. Make sure to check back tomorrow when Chris Gross will go through the defensive game tape –
Let’s start with something positive, since the bulk of this article is going to be a negative review of Santonio Holmes, Shonn Greene, Mark Sanchez, and Jeff Cumberland. The New York Jets opening drive on offense was a thing of beauty. Mark Sanchez was accurate and aggressive, hitting Jeremy Kerley on a 45 yard completion on a well-designed play by Tony Sparano and a beautiful, shifty route from Kerley. The touchdown to Santonio Holmes took advantage of the Jets being so run heavy in their three tight end look that Sanchez’s well-executed play action held up both linebackers and brought the free safety towards the line to stop the run. This opened a huge window to Holmes for an easy touchdown. Great tendency breaking play-call by Tony Sparano.
Unfortunately after a strong start from Holmes, he grew impatient with Pittsburgh’s aggressive, physical coverage. He showed no ability to respond to it and terrible releases and overall route-running technique. On a key third down early in the game, Sanchez was keying on him to run a whip route (similar to an out, but when you run a slant, plant your inside foot and work back to the outside), however as Sanchez rolled right, Holmes slammed into a linebacker and falls over instead of releasing to the outside. With Holmes on the ground, Sanchez ended up taking a huge shot from Lawrence Timmons after throwing it away.
Later in the game, Holmes and Sanchez again struggled to connect on a third down. Last week on a nearly identical play, we praised Sanchez for being patient and hitting Jeff Cumberland on a 3rd and 9 instead of hitting Dustin Keller in the flat. However, here on 3rd and 16 and considering the Jets field position and complete lack of offensive productivity (this play took place midway through the 3rd quarter), he should have taken Kerley in the flat. Why? It either sets up a long field goal attempt, gives you a chance to go for it on 4th and roughly 6 or maybe Kerley makes a guy miss and gets a first down.
Regardless, Sanchez decides to wait for Holmes to reach the first down marker. Unfortunately, Holmes rounds off the top of his route. Instead of driving off Ike Taylor by threatening him deep, he rounds it off too early and doesn’t make a sharp cut back to the quarterback. This doesn’t move Taylor at all who squatted on the route and easily knocked the ball down.
Later in the game, Sanchez went to Holmes on a 2nd and 10 on a hitch route. Again, instead of driving his defender off, Holmes just slams into him and looks to push off. This disrupts the timing and it is why when he turned around, he wasn’t prepared to catch the ball which he dropped.
What I have seen through two games of Santonio Holmes this season is lazy route running, poor communication with his quarterback and endless complaining to the official to bail out his poor play. I have defended Holmes time and time again on this site, however so far this season he looks like a player who received a big contract and stopped working on the little things that make wide receivers great. When you watch players like Hakeem Nicks or Victor Cruz in the early game and then watch Holmes, the dropoff is enormous. Here is Holmes staring down an official after he dropped yet another pass (and there was no pass interference) while childishly trapping Ike Taylor’s feet between his legs. Taylor flipped out screaming at Holmes after this play for how long he held him there.
Moving on to Shonn Greene and the problems in the Jets running game. Here we see a well-blocked play and instead of Greene hitting the hole at full speed, he comes to a complete stop behind the of scrimmage and squats extremely low to the point of stumbling…again. This went for 3 yards and easily could have been a 7-9 yard again.
Later in the game, Greene had a monster hole on a well designed play by Tony Sparano. The Jets came out in a wishbone look and gave Greene a delayed draw. He literally goes untouched for 8 yards through the Pittsburgh defense, as you can see from both angles here. He has one person to beat, safety Ryan Mundy who steps up to fill. This is where it is a running back’s job to make the safety miss and score a touchdown.
What does Greene do? He squats as low as he can, starts stumbling and basically gives himself a concussion by getting smacked by Mundy for exactly a 9 yard gain. So basically Greene didn’t receive any contact until 8 yards down the field and finished with a 9 yard gain…not good enough.
There was a clear contrast between Bilal Powell and Greene in this game. Simply put, Powell looked quicker, more explosive and showed more of an ability to make people miss. On this play, Lawrence Timmons shoots through the gap unblocked and has a clear shot at Powell. If this is Greene, it is without question a 3 yard loss. However, Powell was fast enough to beat him through the hole and turn this into a 5 yard gain.
Later in the game, Powell should have had a 34 yard touchdown run. This play was well blocked up front and Powell made a great cutback. All it took was Jeff Cumberland sealing his man and he would have been off to the races. Unfortunately, Cumberland whiffed and the run only went for 10 yards. This is what happens when you have limited depth at tight end and don’t have a player who can block at the position.
Cumberland also showed no awareness on a hot route in the second quarter. If he read the defense properly, the Jets easily convert a 3rd down and don’t have to settle for a field goal.
A few other observations –
Austin Howard and the pass protection held up relatively well in this game. He did allow one sack but could have received more help from Shonn Greene on a chip block. Greene struggled in pass protection throughout this entire game.
Tony Sparano called a terrific first half. The Jets should have had an easy touchdown to Santonio Holmes in the end-zone to take a 14-6 lead. They rolled Sanchez out, got the coverage they wanted, Santonio Holmes ran a beautiful double move but Sanchez threw it high and behind him instead of out in front. Rob detailed this play here yesterday and it was a killer miss by Sanchez.
The deep ball to Stephen was another clever play call and a beautiful throw from Sanchez. Ultimately, it was just played very well by Ryan Clark. It is hard to put blame on anybody on this play. Hill probably could have ran a crisper route and he did struggle to get off press coverage all day…leading to Sanchez not looking his way very often.
Sparano got a little too conservative in the second half but his receivers weren’t helping the cause by getting pushed around so easily.
The 12 yard run by Joe McKnight was very impressive. There was nothing there and he broke a tackle, made two guys miss and showed good acceleration. It is time for more McKnight, Powell and yes Tebow running the ball. Shonn Greene doesn’t merit more than 15 carries per game at this point.
12 predictions for the New York Jets week 2 match-up against the Pittsburgh Steelers
The 12 Pack is back for another week of likely incorrect predictions about the upcoming New York Jets game. Make sure you check back tomorrow for our TOJ Roundtable picks for the game and the ongoing Race For Steak. In case you haven’t heard yet, the following players are OUT for the game on Sunday: Darrelle Revis, Dustin Keller, Bryan Thomas, James Harrison, Troy Polamalu, Rashard Mendenhall…so yea, no big names or anything.
1. We have discussed at length the problems Emmanuel Sanders and Heath Miller could cause for the Jets, those problems are only magnified now by Ellis Lankster playing nickelback and Isaiah Trufant playing in the dime. Kyle Wilson will likely spend most of the game covering Antonio Brown, a match-up Ben Roethlisberger will likely exploit and Antonio Cromartie will be on Mike Wallace. Pittsburgh is going to rack up a ton of passing yards, the question is can the Jets defense bend but not break? Roethlisberger should be good for at least 260 yards through the air on Sunday.
2. The Jets pass rush is going to break through against a suspect Pittsburgh offensive line. Todd Haley is going to get pass happy and while they will get their yards, it will also come at the cost of a few sacks. Look for Quinton Coples to record his first NFL sack and for Aaron Maybin to get on the board as well.
3. Mark Sanchez is going to play another good game in what will turn out to be a very good season for him. The Jets will pick on Keenan Lewis and Ryan Mundy and won’t be shy about attacking down the field with Santonio Holmes, Stephen Hill or Jeremy Kerley. Sanchez will be good for 20+ completions and 225+ yards.
4. Shonn Greene will have 18-22 carries and finish with under 100 yards.
5. Tim Tebow will be more effective in the Wildcat this week than he was last week. He will compete his first pass of the season and run for 25-35 yards.
6. Jonathan Dwyer will be Pittsburgh’s leading rusher and finish with 50-55 yards. Pittsburgh will abandon the running game fairly early in this one.
7. Santonio Holmes will score his first touchdown of the season and it will come on a completion of over 20 yards.
8. Mark Sanchez will be sacked 2 or 3 times on Sunday. However, he will not have any turnovers this week.
9. Garret McIntyre will have a rough game in the starting line-up for Bryan Thomas. Pittsburgh will attack him in both the rushing and passing game with a good amount of success.
10. Bilal Powell will have a bigger role in the game-plan than he did last week.
11. Antonio Cromartie will have his second interception of the season.
12. This is going to be a somewhat high scoring game that will be tight all the way throughout. This one will be decided in the final 3-4 minutes. Unfortunately this is the time for my yearly disclaimer that I can’t pick the Jets to go 16-0. Yes, this is a very winnable game. However, I think Pittsburgh does enough and puts it away late for a 27-24 victory.
After breaking down week 1 film, thoughts on the Jets/Steelers match-up
A couple of quick thoughts after watching Steelers/Broncos on the All-22 tape and re-watching Jets/Bills
– The Blitz Beater – We talked earlier in the week about how Emmanuel Sanders and Heath Miller could hurt the Jets in this match-up. Their ability to hurt them goes beyond potential coverage issues with Kyle Wilson, LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell. Ben Roethlisberger loves to use both players and particularly Miller as blitz beaters whenever opposing defenses aggressively come after him. Here is a first quarter 13 yard completion to Sanders. See how Roethlisberger and Sanders recognize the blitz pre-snap and he quickly delivers the ball down the seam to an open Sanders in the slot at the bottom of the screen –
Later in the game the Steelers convert a similar play for a 15 yard gain to Miller. After recognizing the blitz, Miller releases and turns to the outside, wide open, Roethlisberger quickly gets the ball out so Miller has space to run and pick up a big chunk of yardage.
Rex Ryan must do a good job of disguising his blitzes and the Jets linebackers and safeties need to quickly cover ground when left exposed in man coverage.
– Keenan Lewis – Keenan Lewis is the Steelers starting cornerback opposite Ike Taylor. The Jets would be wise to attack him early and often, particularly if he gets matched up with Santonio Holmes. Last week Lewis frequently found himself on Eric Decker, who plays the same position that Holmes plays in the Jets offense. Peyton Manning took advantage of the exceptionally large cushion Lewis was playing with in the two plays below, which went for 13 yards and 17 yards respectively. In the first play Decker and Lewis are at the bottom of the screen and on the second play, they are at the top –
– Back To The Well – We detailed here how the Jets took advantage of the wide receiver screen last week. They would be wise to keep it in the game plan after how Pittsburgh defended this 71 yard touchdown by Demaryius Thomas. Again, Peyton Manning took advantage of an excessive cushion and safety Ryan Mundy looks clueless on this play. It should be noted however that Ryan Clark will be back in the lineup instead of Mundy and it is doubtful the Steelers corners will consistently play with such a deep cushion against Mark Sanchez.
A collection of early thoughts on the New York Jets week 2 match-up against the Pittsburgh Steelers
A collection of early thoughts on the New York Jets week 2 match-up against the Pittsburgh Steelers…stay with us all day today at TOJ as we have a roundtable discussion on the game coming later, along with new content from Mike Donnelly and Chris Gross.
1. Regardless of the flaws on Pittsburgh’s offensive line and disappointing showing of their defense in week 1. This is a very tough match-up for the Jets. Heinz Field is never an easy place to play, nevermind when the Steelers are 0-1 and desperate for a victory. A win on Sunday would truly put the league on notice that the Jets are a legitimate contender in the AFC.
2. Early indications are that Darrelle Revis is going to play despite a mild concussion. The logic match-up is to put him on Antonio Brown, put Antonio Cromartie on Mike Wallace and come after Ben Roethlisberger like crazy in an attempt to take advantage of their struggling offensive line.
3. The players on Pittsburgh’s offense who have the ability to hurt the Jets the most are Emmanuel Sanders, Heath Miller and Jonathan Dwyer. We all know the history of slot receivers and tight ends taking advantage of Rex Ryan’s defense since he took over the Jets. This is a big week for Kyle Wilson and for the Jets new safeties, LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell, to show their ability in coverage. The reason I say Dwyer is because Pittsburgh has ran the ball down the Jets throat in their previous two meetings and Dwyer looks to be the workhorse back this week.
4. The Jets will receive a nice boost to their run defense if Sione Pouha returns to the line-up. Chris Gross will discuss this later in his film breakdown but the defense missed badly missed him last week at nose tackle. It will also be interesting to see if Eric Smith can play, as he would provide a boost to the special teams.
5. We will get a nice barometer of just how legitimate the Jets passing offense is this week. Pittsburgh has a seemingly endless collection of pass rushers and will receive Ryan Clark back at safety. Mark Sanchez played well both times the Jets went to Pittsburgh in 2010 and you know Santonio Holmes will be fired up for his return. Tony Sparano must stay aggressive in the passing game to keep balance on offense. It will be interesting to see how Stephen Hill responds to the extra attention he should likely receive now from opposing defenses.
6. If Mark Sanchez is playing like he did last week, I’d prefer even less of the Wildcat than we saw last week. Give the extra carries to Bilal Powell, particularly the edge rushes which Shonn Greene lacks the speed for.
7. What in the world would be the justification by the national media for a Jets win this week? Pittsburgh is having a down year? We won’t be impressed until they play Houston or San Francisco? Who knows…
Turn On The Jets breaks down the game tape from Jets/Bills, answering your questions and giving other observations
Every week in this column we will break down the offensive game tape, both offering our observations and answering your questions submitted on Twitter. Tomorrow, our resident defensive lineman, Chris Gross, will provide a film breakdown of the other side of the ball. Thank you to everybody who sent in this week’s questions, which were aggregated into the following as many were on the same topic –
1. How effective was Mark Sanchez at going through his progressions and making the proper reads?
The short answer is very effective and this question led me to spend most of my time breaking down the Jets passing game, which was without question the biggest surprise of the week. Tony Sparano and Mark Sanchez both did a terrific job with a game plan that was built to feature Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley and Jeff Cumberland while using Santonio Holmes and Dustin Keller primarily as decoys.
The first two pass plays were designed for Stephen Hill who was open on both and caught the second one on a crucial early third down. The third play was for Cumberland who was also wide open and moved the chains on a 13 yard gain. After that completion, Sanchez alternated making poor decisions/throws with terrific ones before settling down and playing a great overall game.
First, came the interception which occurred because Buffalo quickly took away his first and second read. Simply put, he should have ran out of bounds for a 3 yard gain or threw it away, as he did later in the game when the Jets tried a similar play that was defended well. He then followed up with a beautiful strike to Jeremy Kerley on a third down, where he was the first read and beat his guy immediately. Sanchez then missed a cover 2 hole shot to Holmes that could have been a touchdown, although Holmes could have got a cleaner release to help him out. Sanchez was then bailed out when he went to Hill on a 3rd and 5 and he drew pass interference, when he should have went to Holmes on a deeper out behind Hill.
Keep this play in mind because Sanchez learned from his mistake later in the game. The following pass was the Jeremy Kerley touchdown which was a well designed play by Sparano. It was meant to look like a wide receiver screen to Santonio Holmes. As Holmes works back to the ball, Kerley appears to be going to block the corner causing a slight hesitation from the man who is covering him, he then jets to the back of the end-zone and Sanchez delivered a perfectly thrown pass.
Sanchez was pretty locked in for the rest of the game from this point. He hit Holmes in a tight window to convert a third down, the Stephen Hill touchdown on his double move was an easy read and a good throw. Throughout the rest of the game, he made only three throws that weren’t on point. First he slightly overthrew Jeremy Kerley on a quick out, which was caught but forced him to extend and stumble, ending up short of the first down. Second, he just missed Holmes on a quick post, although you could argue Holmes should have made the catch. Finally, he again missed the hole shot to Holmes at the end of the half which was nearly a touchdown. This is a tough throw and they nearly executed it but missed by about an inch.
One particular play later in the game that was encouraging from Sanchez was a 3rd and 9, when instead of throwing it immediately to an open Dustin Keller in the flat (a play he absolutely would have made last year), he was patient and waited for his primary option, Jeff Cumberland (who is on the 20 yard line in this screen shot), to run his 9 yard hook route before delivering a spot on pass to convert a third down.
Finally, remember the Kerley touchdown? Tony Sparano smartly came back to the wide receiver screen to Holmes, knowing that the defense would be hesitant to jump it after getting beat earlier in the game. This was executed to perfection, thanks to a great block from Dustin Keller and went for a 17 yard gain.
A few final observations on passing game – It was striking just how often Hill, Kerley or Cumberland were the first read on passing plays. It showed immense confidence in three unproven players and all three answered the bell. The plan worked well because Buffalo was keying on Holmes and Keller, which helped get the three of them consistently open. Ironically enough it appeared the receiver Sanchez had the least chemistry with was Holmes. They just missed on three completions that all could have been big gains (two of which should have been touchdowns). If they get rolling on the same page, the Jets passing offense could be that much more effective.
2. Austin Howard/Mario Williams
Howard’s game was as good as advertised. He spend the majority of the dropbacks singled up on Mario Williams and consistently stonewalled his pass rush. Williams continually tried to bull rush him and use his power but could not get through, which gave Sanchez time to go through all the progressions outlined above. Howard showed surprising quickness and the times WIlliams looked to adjust to more of a speed rush he looked a step slow. His complaints about illegal hands to the face certainly didn’t show on the film as there were not blatant penalties missed by the officials on Howard.
3. Shonn Greene
Shonn Greene did finish with 94 yards, unfortunately it took him 27 carries to get there. Yes, there were times Greene ran very well in-between the tackles and he pushed the pile. However, the Jets need another option when running to the edge. This play below serves as a perfect example of why Greene needs a complimentary speed back with him. This play only went for 6 yards and look how well it is blocked up. Greene, again inexplicably stumbles when he receives the handoff, a recurring problem for him.
After the stumble, he gets temporarily held up behind the line here yet still there is space for a run that should net more than 6 yards. However, he simply doesn’t have enough burst to hit the seam. This is why the Jets may need to consider giving more outside handoffs to both Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight.
Check back tomorrow for Chris Gross’ film breakdown of the defense, primarily focusing on the defensive line.
A grade report for the New York Jets opening season win over the Buffalo Bills
Quarterbacks (A) – If Mark Sanchez is completing 70% of his passes and throwing 3 touchdowns on a regular basis, the Jets are going to be one of the toughest teams to beat in the NFL. Sanchez showed accuracy, poise and a short memory after a first quarter interception. He pushed the football down the field and spread it around to seven different receivers, consistently finding the proper read based on what the coverage was dictating. Yesterday’s performance confirms something we have been saying about Sanchez for a long time here, if he is protected properly he has the skills to be a very good NFL quarterback who can lead a winning team.
Tim Tebow didn’t do much with his limited reps, finishing with 11 yards on 5 carries and handing off for a few short runs. There has to be some ongoing concern about disrupting Sanchez’s rhythm by replacing him with Tebow but it wasn’t an issue yesterday. Eventually, he will be need to throw the ball out of the Wildcat to keep defenses honest. It will be interesting to see how long it takes Tony Sparano to dial one up.
Running Backs (C) – Shonn Greene ran hard for 94 yards but let’s keep perspective, it took him 27 carries to reach that total. His longest run of the day was 14 yards and he fumbled twice (losing neither). He continues to look like nothing more than a slightly above average back who lacks the ability to consistently break tackles or make people miss. Bilal Powell showed a little giddy up on a 16 yard reception and you have to wonder when the Jets will bump his carry total up. They can’t give Greene 27 carries on a weekly basis, so maybe Powell will start getting 7-10 carries a game.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends (A) – Stephen Hill had a spectacular debut, scoring 2 touchdowns including one where he smoked fellow rookie Stephon Gilmore on a double move. We knew Hill would be a vertical threat but what was really impressive was how he moved the chains on a few third downs with precise routes and tough catches in traffic. Hill has a chance to be a better version of what Braylon Edwards was for Mark Sanchez in 2009 and 2010. Santonio Holmes was productive and just missed having a ridiculous touchdown catch at the end of the half. Jeremy Kerley came up huge in the slot with a 27 yard catch and a 12 yard touchdown…hell even Chaz Schilens caught a pass for 8 yards.
Dustin Keller was quiet in the passing game but Jeff Cumberland pulled in three nice catches for 33 yards. Newcomer Konrad Reuland deserves credit for logging 17 plays after being signed just a week before the season starter.
Offensive Line (A) – Austin Howard completely shut out Mario Williams. I feel as if that needs to be typed again…Austin Howard completely shut out Mario Williams…just an unbelievable job by the Jets first year starter. The rest of the unit was excellent as well, keeping Sanchez clean all game and giving him to go through his progressions.
Defensive Line (C) – Without Sione Pouha, the Jets rushing defense struggled at times, particularly in letting CJ Spiller rip off a few monster runs. However, despite not logging any sacks they received a good push up front when the game was still in question. Muhammad Wilkerson did have a quarterback hit and Mike DeVito had 2 tackles.
Linebackers (B) – David Harris led the way with 7 tackles, Bart Scott wasn’t far behind with 5 including one for a loss. Calvin Pace hit Fitzpatrick twice and also had 5 tackles. Bryan Thomas tweaked a hamstring and will be questionable for next week. Quiet game for Aaron Maybin.
Secondary (A) – An interception for each of the Jets top three corners. Antonio Cromartie’s was gift wrapped for him, both Darrelle Revis and Kyle Wilson made nice breaks on their respective picks. LaRon Landry seemed to be in on every tackle, finishing with 7 and a pair of quarterback hits, along with forcing a fumble on CJ Spiller. This secondary has the potential to be one of the league’s best, particularly if they keep forcing game changing turnovers.
Special Teams (A) – A beautiful punt return touchdown by Jeremy Kerley, two made field goals from Nick Folk and great distance on kickoffs…not much for Mike Westhoff to complain about. New punter Bob Malone looked very good as well.
Coaching (A) – Rex Ryan pushed all the right buttons this week by keying his team up from all the “circus” talk. His decision to publicly call out Jeremy Kerley also seems to be paying early dividends. Tony Sparano’s game plan was a refreshing break from Brian Schottenheimer ball the past 6 years.
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
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.
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.
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.