New York Jets – Burn It To The Ground

The New York Jets need to be accountable for their mistakes and begin the process of gutting their team

When you watch that type of performance from a football team on a national stage with their season on the line, it begs the simple questions “What happened? What went wrong? Who is to blame?”  Yet, we’ve seen this movie before the past two years. The Jets had a chance to be a playoff team last year but were blown out by the Philadelphia Eagles, a non-playoff team. They then lost by 15 to the New York Giants and ended the season with a loss to another non-playoff team, the Miami Dolphins. In 2012, it has been more of the same. In a pivotal game against Miami, who is currently 4-6, they were blown out on their home field. Then last night…well you saw what happened.

Since their December win in 2010 against Pittsburgh, the New York Jets don’t have a single impressive regular season win on their resume. What they do have on their resume is a collection of blowout losses. Three losses by 17 or more last year. Five losses by 17 or more this year…and counting. This isn’t a one game issue, a one mistake issue, or a one player issue. This is an organizational failure that is the product of poor personnel evaluation and a lack of accountability.

The 2010 Jets were a very good football team who won 11 games and a beat a 14 win New England team in the playoffs on the road. They laid an egg in the first half of the AFC Championship Game, which cost them a trip to the Super Bowl…the first in a series of recent Rex Ryan coaching blunders. But how does a team that talented so quickly fall?

Look at the 2009 draft now in retrospect. Mark Sanchez, Shonn Greene and Matt Slauson were the only players they left that draft with. Three players. How do you build depth like that? Sanchez is clearly a game manager who can succeed if he is protected by a strong running game, talented skill position players and a very good defense. He is not built to carry a team. This was abundantly clear after 2010. Poor self-scouting led the Jets to believe otherwise, so they decided to proceed in 2011 with a three receiver base offense that was going to be pass heavy and neglected building around Sanchez.

Greene was a third round back who was effective after a defense was worn down by a quality starter like Thomas Jones or LaDainian Tomlinson. This wasn’t a first round back who had a skill set that was off the charts. He was a one-dimensional downhill runner. What did the Jets do heading into 2011? Make him their “bell-cow” back who was ready to receive 20+ carries every week. Poor self-scouting. Slauson was good enough to beat out Vladimir Ducasse and that was it. He started by default because a 2010 2nd round pick busted. Yet, the Jets didn’t replace him heading into this year. Poor self-scouting.

Now look at the 2010 draft, which is maybe the worst draft class in recent NFL history. The Jets left with four players…again no opportunity to build depth. Kyle Wilson. Vladimir Ducasse. Joe McKnight and John Conner. Think about that. Kyle Wilson is a below average nickelback, never-mind starting NFL corner and the Jets spent a first round pick on him. When you draft a corner in the first round in 2010 and you already have Darrelle Revis, you would think you wouldn’t be chasing Nnamdi Asomugha the next off-season and then settling on giving a big contract to Antonio Cromartie. But the Jets did. Ducasse can’t play in the NFL. Not at guard. Not at tackle. Not anywhere. The Jets replacement plan for Hall of Famer Alan Faneca was Ducasse…poor self-scouting. Conner was a one-dimensional fullback who brought nothing to the offense and the Jets already had Tony Richardson. So now you are carrying two fullbacks, including one who is useless…poor roster management. McKnight is a good kick returner and has potential on offense but can’t stay healthy.

Two poor drafts made worse by poor self-scouting set the table in a big way for the current issues. However, don’t forget the ill-fated chase for Asomugha. Remember, the Jets could have just re-signed Cromartie and they would have been fine. Instead they needed the “name” and they needed to be in the Asomugha chase. They lost and had to pay Cromartie an even bigger contract in the long run as “apology money.” What was worse is that in the process of going after Asomugha, they guaranteed money on contracts for Bart Scott and Calvin Pace to free up cap space, players on the downside of their career. They also went cheap at wide receiver and offensive line, ignoring the necessity of keeping talent around Sanchez and receivers that he had built chemistry with.

They began paying the price last year and are really paying it now. Scott and Pace are past their primes and aren’t equipped to start in this league anymore. The Jets didn’t want to pay Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery or Brad Smith. They went “name” and got Plaxico Burress and Derrick Mason on relatively low cost deals. They floundered and now the Jets are starting from scratch again at receiver. The “plan” to replace Damien Woody and Alan Fancea was Ducasse and Wayne Hunter. Poor self-scouting by planning on handing jobs to two incompetent players.

Where does this leave them now? A mess. Below average players weighing down the cap with bloated contracts. The Tim Tebow trade was a PR-stunt to distract attention from a roster with glaring holes all over the place. Rex Ryan isn’t built to handle adversity like this and seems at a complete loss on how to handle such an untalented team. You can’t bluster wins which is what he is trying to do. He knew this team lacked talent but couldn’t talk down expectations because that’s not who he is. He also failed by hiring Tony Sparano to coach his offense, foolishly sticking to the “Ground and Pound” theory in a league that is moving away from that trend.

The logical move is to fire General Manager Mike Tannenbaum and completely rebuild the personnel department. Let your new GM improve the scouting, let him make a decision on Rex and the quarterback position. Let me oversee the gutting of this roster, which should see the departure of the following starters: Bart Scott, Calvin Pace, Bryan Thomas, Matt Slauson, Austin Howard, Shonn Greene, Lex Hilliard, and Brandon Moore.

There is no half-measure solutions. This roster needs to be turned over completely and rebuilt through strong drafts and wise decisions in free agency. There are a few scraps on this roster who have long term potential who will be useful moving forward (Muhammad Wilkerson, Jeremy Kerley, Quinton Coples, Demario Davis to name a few) but beyond that it is burn to the ground time.

You can’t get away with poor drafts and poor scouting in the NFL. The Jets are now a textbook example of that.

Initial Reaction – New York Jets Give Us Thanksgiving Turd

The New York Jets bottomed out on national television tonight

That has to be as bad as it gets, right? You couldn’t write a script for a more embarrassing performance on national television. Tonight was a large exclamation point on how far the New York Jets have fallen since their appearance in the AFC Championship Game only two seasons ago. Tonight was a large exclamation point on the overwhelming lack of talent on this football team.

There is no mystery. There is no in-season solution. The Jets are a bad football team who lacks talent at every single position. The failure is widespread and starts at the top. In a perfect world this will lead to Woody Johnson taking a hard look at his personnel department, deciding to gut it by starting with the firing of GM Mike Tannenbaum and then go from there. Unfortunately in the Jets world, they will finish 7-9 and use the injury excuses for Revis and Holmes instead of making any major changes.

That would be a shame. This team lined up for their first play tonight with Clyde Gates, Chaz Schilens, Jeff Cumberland, Lex Hilliard, Austin Howard and Matt Slauson on the field. They had Jason Smith ready to play major reps off the bench. Their play calling was ludicrously unimaginative and predictable. On defense, their lack of speed at linebacker is at comic proportions. They had Ellis Lankster trying to cover Wes Welker! Ellis Lankster!

Sloppy. Poorly prepared. Mentally weak. Embarrassing. Untalented. Those are your 2012 New York Jets. Mark Sanchez sliding into Brandon Moore and losing a fumble was a perfect microcosm of this team’s season. They deserve the ridicule. They deserve the GIF images of that fumble on every site. They deserve the butt of every joke this year. They are the Chiefs. They are the Browns. They are the Jaguars.

Destroy and Rebuild it. Any trace of those 2009 and 2010 teams are gone. There is no Ground and Pound. There is a mediocre offensive line blocking for mediocre backs with a mediocre quarterback throwing to mediocre receivers. There is a slow defense who can’t stop the run or sack the quarterback.

Turn On The Jets 12 Pack, Week 12 – Jets vs. Pats

12 predictions for the New York Jets Thanksgiving Night game against the New England Patriots

The Turn On The Jets 12 Pack is back with a very special Thanksgiving batch of predictions for Jets vs. Patriots. I am spending the holiday with my mother’s side of the family (The Jets fans side…the slightly crazier side…and ultimately the side I probably most resemble as a person, oh well) so it should it make for an interesting day of excessive eating. The beauty of Italian Thanksgivings is that turkey is never enough. No…no…no there needs to be nine different courses that hit every major unhealthy food group.

We have the 12:30 kickoff with antipasto (salted meats, cheeses and shrimp…damn it there’d better be shrimp). Followed by pasta (with a meat sauce of course!), ham (unnecessary excessive meat usage), and then of course a deep fried turkey. As if that won’t be enough to kill me by 6 PM, I’m sure I’ll eat two cannolis on the ride into MetLife and then promptly die when working my way up to Section 317. The air is so thin up there that Ryan Clark wouldn’t be allowed to sit in my seat. 

I could only hope I have enough energy to combat the inevitable group of Patriots fans in the section next to me decked out in their freshly bought Chandler Jones jersey and holding up a “YO SOY FIESTA” sign despite neither Jones or Rob Gronkowski playing. These are the guys who were booing Adam Vinateri (who won them two Super Bowls) last week even though Stephen Gostowksi is kicking at somewhere around 37% this year. “VINAWTERRY??? WICKED BUM, YA COULDN’T SPLIT A SAM SUMMER ALE WITH THAT HARDO AT A BAR IN DAW-CHESTAH. NOW WOODHEAD? THAT’S MY KINDA GUY. BET HE SPENDS OFF-SEASONS WATCHING BRUINS GAMES IN QUINCY”

Anyway (did I get sidetracked there?), on to the predictions…

1. Tim Tebow will play less than 5 offensive snaps in this game. Yet, he will see approximately 49 minutes of camera time on the network broadcast. Thank god I will be in the stands and the only Tebow reference I will see is the guy ten rows in front of me wearing a Florida jersey and holding up a “PUT IN THE FOOTBALL PLAYER” sign.

2. Both Dustin Keller and Jeremy Kerley will have another big game against the Patriots secondary. They will combine for 170 yards receiving and a touchdown between them.

3. Shonn Greene, Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight will combine for 35 total touches on offense. Look for Powell and McKnight to be active in the passing game as checkdown and screen options.

4. Wes Welker is going to have a big day, leading the Patriots in receptions, receiving yards and getting into the end-zone.

5. Tom Brady will throw for at least 250 yards and a pair of touchdowns. However, he will be sacked once and turn the ball over once.

6. Mark Sanchez will throw for 225-250 yards with a touchdown. He will have at least one turnover. His completion percentage will be 55% or higher.

7. The Jets special teams will avoid any catastrophes.

8. Stevan Ridley will have less than 70 yards rushing. Danny Woodhead will less than 50 yards of total offense.

9. Brandon Lloyd will have another quiet game. Aaron Hernandez will have at least 4 catches for 60 yards. Julian Edeleman will make at least two big plays for the Patriots offense.

10. Whether it comes on special teams or offense, the Jets will attempt some type of trick play.

11. Chaz Schilens will see much more playing time than Stephen Hill and make a couple of important third down catches.

12. The New York Jets are going to give us a little (likely misguided) late season hope with a 27-24 upset of the New England Patriots. The defense will be put in position to make a late stop and this time they will come through. Foolish optimism? Maybe. But I think the Jets have this upset in them.

Predicted Game Outcome Record (9-1)

A Recent History Of New York Jets Ruining Holidays

A recent history of the New York Jets ruining holidays

Being a New York Jets fan certainly isn’t the easiest thing in the world. Generally, it provides a consistent cycle of inevitable let-downs and heartbreak. What has been interesting is that the Jets have found a way to impact numerous holidays in recent years. So much so, that in my 25 years on this planet very few holidays have passed without me having a distinct Jets memory related to it.

December 21st, 1997 – Jets Lose 13-10 in Detroit – As a 10 year old Jets fan, I’d never seen my team anywhere near the playoffs. They always seemed like this enormous thing that my lowly team would never get to be a part of. Yet, all the Jets needed was a win in Detroit to sneak in. The top of my Christmas List that year was a sloppily scribbled “JETS PLAYOFFS” After waking up at the crack of dawn and putting on my Keyshawn Johnson jersey, I watched an early lead trickle away behind interceptions from Leon Johnson (a running back) and Ray Lucas (an early version of Tebow). Why oh why were these players throwing second half passes in the biggest game of the year? My Dad (A Giants fan) could only laugh and tell me…get used to it. What did I get for Christmas that year? A Neil O’Donnell jersey that I cried into all day (pathetic, I know).

December 19th, 1998 – Jets Beat Buffalo 17-10 – I skipped a recreational basketball practice to watch the Jets clinch a AFC East title and was benched for it two days later in our game, which we lost to end our season. Since I was our leading scorer, the entire team was mad at me and refused to hang out with me over Christmas Break. (You can see how unhealthy it is to be a Jets fan already).

December 24th, 2000 – Jets Lose to Baltimore 34-20 – The Jets needing a win on Christmas Eve to clinch a playoff spot? What do you think happened? An obvious 14-0 lead was quickly erased, thanks mostly to Vinny Testaverde throwing an interception that was returned 99 yards for a touchdown right before the half. I spent the night at my Grandma’s hoping the Jets could stil get in because of a Pittsburgh loss in the late game…they didn’t lose. No playoffs. Miserable Christmas Eve.

December 26th, 2005 – Jets Lose to New England 31-21 – A long break in-between holiday memories, I know. I got tickets to this Monday night game as a Christmas present. My only memory is walking into the game and hearing Patriots fans yelling “YA QUARTABACK IS BROOKS BOLLANNGAHHH!” and sadly knowing they were right. The Jets lost by 10.

December 25th, 2006 – Jets Beat Miami 13-10 – Hey, a positive memory! Chad Pennington, Leon Washington and the rest of the upstart 2006 Jets knocked off Cleo Lemon in a primetime thriller to save Christmas and propel the Jets to the playoffs…where they were promptly stomped out by New England.

November 22nd, 2007 – Jets Lose to Dallas 34-3 – Finally some Thanksgiving Jets Football! Nothing like gathering around the television to watch Kellen Clemens, Chris Baker and Justin McCariens get the ever living crap beat out of them by Tony Romo and Terrell Owens. I remember thinking after this game that the Jets were the worst team in professional sports and would likely never reach playoffs again.

November 25th, 2010 – Jets Beat Cincinnati 26-10 – Another Thanksgiving night game for the Jets – this time a much more enjoyable one. The highlight of this game? Brad Smith ripping off two touchdowns, one on a kick return and one on a long reverse. Too bad the Jets only have the poor man’s version of Smith now AKA Tim Tebow.

December 24th, 2011 – Giants Beat Jets 29-14 – Somewhere Victor Cruz is still running.

New York Jets – Fork In The Road Again Involves New England

For the fourth straight year under Rex Ryan, the pivotal moment of their season will come against New England

The New York Jets are holding on to the slimmest of playoff hopes thanks to last week’s victory over the St. Louis Rams and the general mediocrity of the AFC. An upset over the New England Patriots this Thursday night could set the table for a late season playoff run, aided by an alarmingly weak schedule the rest of the way. The Jets don’t play a team with a better current record than 4-6 after this week’s game. Late season games against New England have marked the pivot points of every Rex Ryan led Jets season so far and this year appears no different. Hopefully, the Jets will be able to reverse their recent trend of disastrous performances in these pivot games.

In 2009, the team bottomed out at 4-6 after getting blown out 31-14 in New England thanks mostly to a four interception performance from Mark Sanchez. Ryan responded by benching Kerry Rhodes on defense and drastically scaling back the Jets offense and going even more run heavy than before (remember the color coded wristband?). The Jets won 5 of their next 6 and snuck into the playoffs to make an improbable run to the AFC Championship Game.

In 2010, it was the Monday Night Massacre which ended a four game Jets winning streak with a 45-3 loss. Another three interceptions from Sanchez and another loss to rally around, which the Jets didn’t truly do until they shocked the Patriots in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

Last year, the 5-3 Jets were coming off an impressive road win in Buffalo and appeared ready to overtake New England for the AFC East lead. What happened? 37-16 New England at MetLife with 2 interceptions from Sanchez. They lost the following week in Denver before going 3-3 down the stretch to miss the playoffs.

The Jets have no margin for error this Thursday. There is no time to rally around another New England blowout loss and Sanchez stink bomb. Simply put, a win makes the Jets very relavant in December. A loss means they are basically playing out the string. They are catching New England without Rob Gronkowski and Chandler Jones, along with a banged up Aaron Hernandez. Yes, the Patriots are still a much better all-around team but the Jets out-played them a month ago and still found a way to lose a heart-breaker in overtime. They should be confident.

Take away the kick return touchdown. Take away the safety. Don’t get gun-shy conservative on defense in a big spot and keep a balanced, yet creative approach on offense. This game will be competitive in the fourth quarter and who knows what could happen then.

The Jets defense played a strong game up until New England’s final two drives in the previous meeting. Rex Ryan is smart enough not to come with the same scheme at Brady twice in one season. Look for Antonio Cromartie to work between Brandon Lloyd and Aaron Hernandez (if he plays), while bracketing Wes Welker in the slot. New England’s running game is more potent than in previous years but you’d rather force the Patriots to put together 12-13 play drives to score points. You can’t let them rip off 25 yards a play in the passing game. Muhammad Wilkerson needs to continue his recent hot streak and generate pressure upfront along with Quinton Coples. The Jets don’t really have the horses to blitz Brady because of their lack of talent at linebacker and if you don’t get to Brady when you blitz, he kills you.

On offense, the Jets got a good push in the running game earlier in the season against New England’s front seven. It will be important to stick with the committee approach, alternating between Shonn Greene, Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight to keep a fresh back. Powell and McKnight also need to be used to make an impact in the short passing game.

When it comes to throwing the ball, Mark Sanchez needs to protect the football above everything. New England is a bad defense but an opportunistic defense. If you don’t let them take the ball away, the Patriots aren’t pulling away in this one. There is going to be chances for big plays down the field, particularly from Jeremy Kerley and Dustin Keller out of the slot. The two combined for 213 receiving yards back in October.

We mentioned a “creative” offense a few paragraphs ago. The Jets still lack overall talent on offense and shouldn’t be hesitant to empty the playbook out a little bit on Thursday. A well-timed reverse or flea-flicker could steal points for an offense that desperately needs any they could get.

This game is a referendum on both Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez. Can Sanchez protect the football and play well enough to give his team a chance to win, in a game that could propel a late season run that might save his job? Can Rex put together a game plan to steal a victory from a team with vastly superior talent? Any questions about Ryan’s head coaching future here will go radio silent with a national television victory over the Patriots with the current group of players he is working with.

Turn On The Jets Stock Watch – Jets/Patriots Preview Edition

Mike Donnelly is buying and selling for his weekly Turn On The Jets Stock Watch. This week previewing Jets vs. Patriots

It’s a bit of a shame that the Jets play on a short week against the Pats this week because I would like to savor that curb-stomping Rex Ryan and his defense handed to former Jets coordinator Brian Schottenheimer’s current St. Louis Rams offense just a little bit longer. After all, we haven’t had all that much to be pleased with this year, right? It sure was sweet to be on the other side of a patented Schotty game for a change. The Rams were gashing the Jets early with the run but I wasn’t worried at all. I’d seen this movie too many times and I know how it ends. Naturally, he immediately stopped calling run and a smile broke across my face. Just like we had seen for years here in New York, Schotty much preferred the 2 yard outs and 3 yard crossing patterns that repeatedly resulted in incomplete passes. It was all so very familiar, and all so gratifying to watch. Thank you, Schotty, thank you. Finally, you brought me some joy after six painful years.

Now before we sweep the Rams game under the rug, let’s touch on a few things from it before moving on into full-on Patriots Week mode…

SELL: The “Schotty’s Revenge” jokes – It was funny checking my Twitter after the Rams scored that opening touchdown, seeing all the many, many, many, many stupid and ignorant jokes put out there by so many “experts”, reporters, fans, and haters, all based around the premise that Schotty is, was, and forever will be a genius who the Jets stupidly got rid of. Ha-ha, jokes on the Jets, right? By the 2nd quarter, when Schotty was back to doing Schotty things, leading to his offense not moving the ball, I didn’t see a single thing about it. Weird how that works, huh?

SELL: The Mark Sanchez haters – It’s really gotten to the point that even when Sanchez plays well he’s going to get zero credit and zero respect, huh? Prior to the game all I read about was how the Rams defense was going to tear the Jets apart. Didn’t quite happen. Hey Jets fans, Mark Sanchez is the quarterback of the Jets. Regardless of how you feel about him, when he does well, you should be happy. I will never understand this.

BUY: Tony Sparano’s Gameplan – This was probably Sparano’s best game of the season. The use of play-actions, rollout passes, and creativity in getting the Jets’ many bad receivers open in space was great to see. What else? Glad you asked..

BUY: The Jets 3-Headed RB Attack – FINALLY! I re-watched the game tape five times just to make sure that what I thought I had seen on the TV was not a figment of my imagination: We actually had a Joe McKnight sighting on offense! It was pretty funny — and sad — watching the game and hearing the shock and disgust in the announcer’s voice when he said “That was Joe McKnight’s first catch of the season!” Tell me about it. After 10 weeks of praying to various Gods, lighting candles, begging, pleading, writing letters, and ritualistically sacrificing a few Patriots fans (ok, the last one may not have actually happened), the Jets FINALLY did what I wanted and got Joe McKnight involved in the offense, and threw him a pass. That’s all I wanted, just one pass to show me the coaches were aware it is in fact legal to throw a pass to the running back.

It was also great to see Bilal Powell get a few touches and turn them into two touchdowns. Who would have known that maximizing the various talents your running backs possess would be a better alternative than just having Shonn Greene stumble into the line 20 times a game?

SELL: Joe McKnight Inside the 5 yard line – I am all for more McKnight, but perhaps using him as a pseudo goal-line back is not the proper time. Let’s go ahead and rip that page out of the playbook and pretend it never happened, Tony.

SELL: Calvin Pace, Kyle Wilson, Ellis Lankster – Just reminding you that they still stink. This game changed nothing.

SELL: Jets Special Teams (other than Joe McKnight) – Also still very bad.

BUY: Mo Wilkerson – Big Mo has started to look like the dominant All-Pro defensive lineman Rex Ryan talked him up as prior to the season. The last few weeks have been especially impressive for the 2011 first round pick. The scary thing is that he’s only beginning to scratch the surface on what he can do on the field as well. As Quinton Coples develops next to him and an edge rusher is presumably brought in to come around the corner and clean up after Wilkerson’s disruption up the middle, he’s really going to look tremendous. Nobody gives more crap to Mike Tannenbaum and his player evaluation ability than me, but I have to give him credit for Wilkerson. Having Mo and other young talent on defense like Coples, Kenrick Ellis, and Demario Davis will set this defense up very nicely up front for years to come.

SELL: Stephen Hill being “raw” – Ok, enough praise of Tannenbaum. The Stephen Hill debacle looks worse and worse every week. All we heard about after the draft was how “raw” Hill was and how he would need time to develop. Well if that was the case, WHY THE HELL would you not bring in a reliable #2 receiver to start while the rookie developed? And not to mention, it’s always been my understand that “being raw” means he runs the wrong route from time to time, or can’t separate from the cornerback at the line of scrimmage. Being raw, to me, doesn’t include “not being able to catch”, because that seems like a pretty basic thing that all wide receivers should have learned sometime around the 6th grade. If Hill doesn’t learn to catch — and fast — he’s going to just be another in the long line of bust wide receivers who can run real fast and jump real high, but aren’t actually good at playing football — which is a pretty important thing.

Now about that little ol’ Patriots game we have coming up this week. Below are my three keys to this game. If I’m not back here next week in this very column buying all of these, there’s a really good chance I’m also going to be loading the column up with more than a few expletives because the Jets will have lost another big game and the season will more than likely be kaput.

1. Pressure Tom Brady – Mo Wilkerson is going to be double-teamed the entire game because quite frankly, Bill Belichick isn’t dumb. He knows Wilkerson can single-handily disrupt the Patriots offense by getting in Tom Brady’s face all night, just like Shaun Ellis did in the 2010 playoffs. So it’s going to be up to Quinton Coples to step up, along with Calvin Pace (doubtful) and Ricky Sapp (maybe) around the edge. Bryan Thomas has also elevated his play of late, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see him turn back the clock a little bit and step up in what will likely be his last Jets-Pats game ever.

2. Stop Wes Welker – With Rob Gronkowski out and Aaron Hernandez likely to be slowed a little by his injury, stopping Wes Welker will be an even bigger key to this week’s game than usual. Typically the Jets would be able to just put him on Revis Island and forget about it, but that option isn’t available this week. And as amazing as Antonio Cromartie has been this season, moving to the slot and covering shifty guys like Welker has never been his strong suit. And that means that — sigh — it’s going to be up to guys like Kyle Wilson and Ellis Lankster to play as well as they possibly can (which isn’t very well, unfortunately) and slow Wes down. There’s going to be a ton of bracket coverage played, and don’t be surprised to see Demario Davis play a major role this week covering some of these short passes over the middle. Just writing this paragraph is giving me anxiety. Ugh.

3. NO TURNOVERS!! – This is the biggest one of them all. When the Jets don’t turn the ball over, they win. Mark Sanchez is unquestionably at a crossroads of his Jets career, and a big-time performance this week against the Patriots will go a long way toward building the confidence not just of himself, but all of his teammates, and the fans. We all know the Patriots defense is comically bad, but they thrive on being opportunistic and causing turnovers, so the Jets absolutely can not fall into that trap. The mission statement on offense this week is simple: Protect the ball, find the many, many soft spots in the defense, and win the game. Easier said than done, unfortunately.

New York Jets Week 12 – Early Thoughts On Jets/Pats

Early thoughts on the New York Jets week 12 Thanksgiving Night match-up against the New England Patriots

The New York Jets season received a shot of life with a 27-13 win over the St. Louis Rams. However, it will take an upset over the New England Patriots this Thursday night to truly make them relevant in the AFC playoff picture again. Here is a collection of early thoughts –

1. The big injury news this week is that Patriots tight end Rob Grokowski will not play because of a broken forearm. Considering he is the league’s best tight end and had 2 touchdowns in their early season match-up…yes this is a huge deal. Aaron Hernandez is expected to play and the Jets coverage attention must now shift to him and Wes Welker. It will be interesting to see how the Jets play Welker since Isaiah Trufant, who covered him the majority of the first match-up, is now out of the season. Look for them to frequently bracket him and throw a collection of different corners at him, hopefully led by Antonio Cromartie who is the only one with the ability to cover him man to man.

2. Mark Sanchez’s best game of the season came against the suspect New England secondary, as he went 28/41 for 328 yards with a touchdown (although he did have two turnovers). Sanchez finally looked in rhythm yesterday as the Jets kept Tim Tebow on the bench outside of three plays. This is another game to keep him on the bench. You don’t beat the Patriots with the Wildcat. You beat the Patriots by throwing down the field on their secondary.

3. That being said, the Jets still need to hit 35-40 carries to keep balance on their offense, protect Sanchez and give the play action passing game a chance. We saw the beginning signs of a committee approach yesterday. Bilal Powell merits 10-12 carries a game, along with Joe McKnight deserving at least 5-7. Powell and McKnight also need to remain factors in the passing game. They are both better screen and checkdown options than Shonn Greene. McKnight also has the ability to split out at wide receiver, something the Jets should consider with their lack of depth at the position.

4. Speaking of receiver, it is time to send Stephen Hill to the bench and reduce him to being a role player. The rookie clearly has his confidence shaken and cannot handle major reps. Chaz Schilens should start at split end, with Jeremy Kerley in the slot. Reduce Hill’s workload to 15-20 snaps and build his confidence back up with a few easy catches on smoke screens or hitch routes. Clyde Gates is another player who shouldn’t be seeing more than limited reps in certain packages. He does have very good speed but is a poor route runner.

5. The Jets special teams needs to wake the hell up. There is no way they could beat New England if they have another killer mistake from that unit.

6. An upset victory over New England on national television is the type of win that could start a late season playoff run, especially when you look at the Jets next two opponents (home vs. Arizona and at Jacksonville). The Jets are appropriately 6.5 point underdogs but this is a winnable game. The team should have confidence from the earlier match-up that they should have won and New England’s defense still has many holes.

Rex Ryan must reverse a disturbing trend since he has taken over. Since 2009 (his first year), the Jets are 0-3 in their second regular season match-up against the Patriots with an average margin of defeat of 26.6 points. Mark Sanchez has also played very poorly in all three of those games with 2 touchdowns to 9 interceptions overall. There is no better time to break this trend than right now.

Initial Reaction – Needed Relief: New York Jets Finally Win

Initial reaction to the New York Jets 27-13 victory over the St. Louis Rams

It has been awhile hasn’t it? The New York Jets ended their three game losing streak with a dominant win over the St. Louis Rams, 27-13. After allowing an early touchdown drive, the Jets defense took over by forcing three turnovers and constantly staying in the face of Sam Bradford who was completely overwhelmed all afternoon. Shockingly, Brian Schottenheimer’s offense countered the Jets with confusing play calls and poorly timed short passes…or not shockingly to every Jets fan in the world.

Muhammad Wilkeson had another strip sack and is starting to look like the All-Pro the coaching staff was hyping him up to be this summer. In the back end Antonio Cromartie, LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell all played very good games. Landry had 8 tackles and forced a fumble, Bell had 2 tackles for a loss and a pass defensed and ‘Cro kept being ‘Cro. Since the second half of the Houston game, the Jets defense has generally been pretty good and it needs to keep improving with the Patriots on the way in four short days.

On offense, Mark Sanchez played an encouraging game finishing 15/20 for 178 yards with a touchdown but most importantly ZERO turnovers. The Jets finally moved Sanchez out of the pocket a few times, did a relatively good job protecting him and he responded with an accurate, savvy day. Most encouragingly, we saw him look off his main target and come back across the formation for his secondary target a few times. Chaz Schilens had a strong game with 4 catches for 48 yards with a touchdown. Schilens needs to be put in the starting line-up for Stephen Hill who looks overwhelmed right now…and that’s being kind.

The running game got a good push all day. Shonn Greene led the way with 18 carries for 64 yards. But in the second half, the Jets started leaning on Bilal Powell more often and he responded with two touchdown runs. He had a nice overall day with 11 carries for 42 yards and 2 receptions for 18 yards. This could be a sign of the Jets moving more towards more of a committee approach as Joe McKnight also chipped in 4 carries for 14 yards.

Overall, it was a badly needed victory against a mediocre team. The Jets are on the fringes of the AFC playoff race and could make some noise if they pull an upset at home on Thanksgiving against New England.

For a few days at least…all is good in Jets land.

Turn On The Jets 12 Pack, Week 11 – Jets vs. Rams

12 predictions for the New York Jets week 11 game against the St. Louis Rams

The Turn On The Jets 12 pack is back with 12 refreshing predictions for your 3-6 New York Jets who this week travel to St. Louis to face Robert Turner, Brian Schottenheimer, Matthew Mulligan, Kellen Clemens, Wayne Hunter and the rest of the 3-5-1 Rams. You may laugh at those names but the Jets are appropriately 3.5 point underdogs because in the game of football you need to score points and the Jets cannot do that. 

1. Shonn Greene, Joe McKnight and Khalil Bell will combine for 35 touches on offense. The Jets are going to run early and often on offense and I expect plenty of Mark Sanchez checkdowns, some completed and some knocked down at the line.

2. Danny Amedonla will take advantage of the plays Antonio Cromartie isn’t near him and lead the Rams in receptions and receiving yards, with 7 for 85.

3. St. Louis will struggle to run the ball on the Jets front seven. Steven Jackson will finish with less than 55 yards rushing and Daryl Richardson with finish with less than 35 yards.

4. Dustin Keller will lead the Jets in receptions and receiving yards, having a nice bounce-back game after his disastrous performance last week.

5. Mark Sanchez will have another fairly ugly stat-line, barley completing 50% of his passes, throwing for under 200 yards and having another turnover. He will also be sacked at least twice.

6. Sam Bradford will throw for 200 yards and a touchdown but will also have at least one turnover. The Jets will sack him at least twice.

7. Stephen Hill will have less than 25 yards receiving. Jeremy Kerley will again be the only Jets receiver who makes any type of impact on the game.

8. Tim Tebow will finish with 30 total offensive yards. Yawn.

9. Joe McKnight won’t get the chance to return any kicks because of Legatron.

10. There will be 3 or less total touchdowns in this game.

11. #63 will in fact be eligible…for at least 10 plays this week.

12. The entire week I picked the Jets to lose this game, including in my Q&A with the Rams Herd, yet something about it almost seeming too obvious to pick them to lose and the fact that St. Louis is coming of a full five quarter emotional tie in San Francisco…what the hell? I am taking the Jets 17-16.

Predicted Game Outcome Record (8-1)

 

Ten Things New York Jets Fans Never Need To See Again

Ten things New York Jets fans never need to see again

New York Jets fans have been subjected to a generally crap product this season. However, these ten things in particular stand out as things they never need to stomach watching again. Fans of other teams…consider yourself lucky you don’t have to watch them on a weekly basis –

1. The Kyle Wilson Finger Wag

Everybody who has followed the Jets since 2010 knows Kyle Wilson is a textbook first round bust. At first the excuse was that he was being forced to play in the slot and “didn’t have the sideline to help him”…even though he was equally awful on the outside. The thing about Wilson is that he doesn’t know how to play the ball in the air, has terrible footwork and not much make-up speed. The most infuriating thing? His tendency to wag his finger after incompletions. He does it after he is beat by 10 yards and the wide receiver drops it. He does when he interferes with the receiver. He does it after he is beat for a touchdown earlier in the game and then somehow forces an incompletion later in the game. I look forward to Wilson not being brought back next year and settling into to a comfortable career of being Jacksonville’s 4th corner.

2. The Stephen Hill Flag Beg

Hill is a very raw rookie with a good amount of potential. However, he hasn’t yet mastered how to get open in the NFL. Actually he isn’t even really close yet. That is okay, most of us expected that in his first year. What we didn’t expect was Hill incessantly begging for a flag after an incompletion thrown his way, including on ones where there is clearly no penalty or he just drops the ball. I wonder where Hill learned to beg for a flag like that, hmmm….

3. Calvin Pace Rushing The Passer

The Jets paid Pace about $500 million dollars before the 2008 season to be their elite pass rusher (that number is only a slight exaggeration). He posted 7 sacks in 2008, then improved to 8 sacks in 2009. Here he comes! Not really, since then he declined to 5.5 sacks, 4.5 sacks and now only 2 sacks so far this year. Every year Pace gets just a little slower as we are forced to watch him struggle towards the quarterback while the quarterback calmly makes a sandwich in the pocket before lofting a pass over to the wide receiver old “Finger Wag Wilson” is covering.

4. Tim Tebow 2 Yard Runs

The Jets have been utterly clueless about how to use Tim Tebow this season. However, lost in the shuffle is how generally crappy he has been running the football when given a chance. He has 27 carries for 92 yards, for a whopping 3.7 yards per carry. What is worse is that when you take out his one outlier 22 yard scamper against Pittsburgh, he is averaging 2.5 yards per carry! Of course Tebow can always silence the criticism after his runs by flexing and yelling at the sideline. Things like that make announcers weep with joy…”My God…what a FOOTBALL PLAYER.”

5. Shonn Greene 2 Yard Runs Followed By The SLOWWWW Get-Up

Shonn Greene is the Webster’s definition of “Plodding,” after Greene plods for a 2 yard run to set the Jets up with 2nd and 8, he has a tendency to get up extremely, extremely slow giving off the appearance of being hurt. He then lumbers back to the huddle, as the Jets frantically shift personnel so they could set up for their inevitable 2nd and 8 miscommunication/incompletion followed by the 3rd down sack. Where’s the punt team?!!

6. The Mark Sanchez Pump Fake

Sanchez frequently chooses to pump fake when he has a wide receiver wide open in order to give the defensive back a chance to get into place for an interception. Whenever Sanchez starts pumping, if you listen closely enough you can hear every Jets fan in the tri-state area going “NOOOOOO….JUST THROW IT AWAY! AHHH”

7. The Clyde Gates First Down Point

This only happened once but it is the type of thing that drives fans insane. The Jets were down 27-3 in the 4th quarter against Miami when Gates (maybe the worst active WR in the NFL right now) caught a meaningless first down. He immediately got up and gave a prolonged first down point. Where would he learn such an idea? Hmmm….

8. The Muffed Punt

The Jets might have muffed 19 punts and kicks in the last 2 seasons. It is at the point now, where I’d be more comfortable if they just sent 11 at the punter and didn’t put a returner deep…but that would likely just lead to an Eric Smith personal foul for roughing the kicker.

9. Eric Smith

What are your five most memorable Eric Smith plays with the Jets? Mine are botching the blitz on Tebow against Denver last year (FOOTBALL PLAYER!), missing the tackle on Victor Cruz for the 99 yard touchdown (SALSA!), 4,000 helmet to helmet hits blended together for killer 15 yard penalties (HARD NOSED), him draped off Gronk’s leg when he caught his 8th touchdown against us on Sunday night last year (SPIKE), and when he had that interception back in 2009 (see this isn’t all mean-spirited and bitter).

10. #63 Is Eligible! 

Do you know any other team in the NFL that uses an offensive lineman at tight end 20+ snaps per game? I guess the Jets are just smarter than the 29 other offenses they are ranked behind who you know…use actual tight ends and wide receivers in their proper positions.

TOJ TNF PICKS (AFC EAST TURD BOWL)

  • Joe (Bills -2.5)
  • Chris C (Bills -2.5)
  • Rob  (Bills -2.5)
  • Chris G (Bills -2.5)
  • Mike D (Miami (+2.5)