Transcript of an interview I had with Jets right tackle Damien Woody a few days before the Pittsburgh game…
I guess it was too early to write off the 2010 New York Jets. When everybody figured them for dead, the Jets turned in a big time performance on the road and gutted out a 22-17 victory.
Credit the defense for sticking it out at the end. Drew Coleman came up big with two sacks. Jason Taylor made his biggest play in a Jets uniform, with a clutch safety. Rex Ryan was more aggressive than he had been in previous weeks and kept Ben Roethlisberger on his toes.
Credit the special teams for getting it started with a Brad Smith kick return touchdown. Steve Weatheford was a huge weapon in the fourth quarter and Nick Folk didn’t miss a field goal for the second week in a row.
Credit the offense for a well called game by Brian Schottenheimer. You have to give credit where credit is due and Schotty was in playoff form on Sunday. Mark Sanchez was poised in the pocket and didn’t turn the football over. Braylon Edwards played his best game as a Jet and made countless clutch catches over the middle. LaDainian Tomlinson looked slightly rejuvenated.
Overall it was impressive team victory and showed it was time for Jets fans to step off the ledge. The Jets have improved on their win total from last year and are great position to return to the postseason.
It has been dark times lately for the 12 Pack, as well as the Jets…let’s see if we can turn things around —
1. Joe McKnight will have at least five offensive touches that aren’t in garbage time and will make a case for more playing time during the last couple of games. LaDainian Tomlinson’s role in the game plan will be diminished…or at least it should be.
2. Santonio Holmes is going to have a monster game, on both offense and special teams. He is an elite playmaker in the NFL and will be beyond motivated this game to bounce back from his drop last week and to prove Pittsburgh was wrong for trading him.
3. Hines Ward is going to have a big day working against Antonio Cromartie and Heath Miller, Emmanuel Sanders, and Antawan Randle El will make a few plays in the middle of the field against Dwight Lowery and Brodney Pool at safety.
4. Both teams will struggle to run the football. There won’t be a 100 yard rusher in this game, in fact I’d be surprised if there was a 70 yard rusher in this game.
5. Nick Folk won’t make a field goal that is longer than 40 yards.
6. The Jets defense is going to rise to the occasion and play one of their best games of the season, keeping this a competitive football game.
7. Mark Sanchez will play better than he did the previous two weeks, but there is no way he is getting through this game without a turnover.
8. I think we will see another quiet game from Dustin Keller and Braylon Edwards.
9. The Jets defense will force a fumble from Rashard Mendenhall and sack Ben Roethlisberger at least two times.
10. Mike Wallace will have less than 60 receiving yards and will be kept out of the end-zone by Darrelle Revis.
11. The Jets inactive players and coaches will be about 30 yards from the sideline when the Steelers return punts.
12. Despite putting up a better effort than most people expect, the Jets are going to lose their third straight, 17-10. The loss will mean the Jets will have to win in Chicago and then at home against Buffalo if they want a playoff spot.
The Jets are falling down these power rankings faster than Mark Sanchez’s quarterback rating…
1. New England Patriots (11-2) – For the first time this season, there is a clear cut best team in the NFL. The Patriots are looking like they will roll to a 14-2 record and homefield throughout in the playoffs.
2. Atlanta Falcons (11-2) – There is no reason the Falcons shouldn’t be able to at least win 2 of their last 3 and wrap up the #1 seed in the NFC.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-3) – Their defense must be licking their chops after watching Mark Sanchez’s game tapes from the past three weeks.
4. New Orleans Saints (10-3) – Funny enough, they might have to go on the road to beat the St. Louis Rams in the first round of the playoffs after smacking them around this past week.
5. Philadelphia Eagles (9-4) – They can basically wrap up a NFC East title with a win on the road over the Giants this Sunday.
6. New York Giants (9-4) – They are back to running the football and playing superior defense, which makes them tough to beat.
7. Baltimore Ravens (9-4) – They are far from a dominant team but will still be dangerous in January.
8. Chicago Bears (9-4) – Embarrassment to the Patriots doesn’t hurt as much because of the Packers loss.
9. Green Bay Packers (8-5) – Bad timing to finally lose to the Lions, even worse timing to have Aaron Rodgers banged up with a trip to New England on the schedule.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-5) – The Jaguars can clinch the AFC South by beating Peyton Manning in his own building this Sunday.
11. Tampa Bay Bucs (8-5) – With Detroit and Seattle coming up on the schedule, there is no reason the young Bucs shouldn’t be playing for a playoff spot in week 17.
12. San Diego Chargers (7-6) – There is no reason they shouldn’t run the table with their remaining schedule, but will it be enough for a division title?
13. Kansas City Cheifs (8-5) – They need Matt Cassel back as soon as possible because playing in St. Louis won’t be a gimme with Brodie Croyle under center.
14. Indianapolis Colts (7-6) – Do or die this week against the Jags.
15. New York Jets (9-4) – It is hard to see 9-4 not turning into 9-6 very quickly with road games upcoming against the Steelers and Bears.
16. Miami Dolphins (7-6) – They need to run the table and get major help for a shot at the playoffs.
17. Oakland Raiders (6-7) – The Raiders should at least be a .500 team this year, which is a major step in the right direction.
18. Dallas Cowboys (4-9) – Too bad they aren’t in the NFC West.
19. Houston Texans (5-8) – Still have no clue on how to win close games. It is shame because they wasted a great comeback last night.
20. St. Louis Rams (6-7) – Tough day at the office for Sam Bradford but he is going to dominate the NFC West for years to come.
21. San Francisco 49ers (5-8) – If they can upset the Chargers on Thursday, they will be in pretty good shape to steal a division title.
22. Washington Redskins (5-8) – Botched extra point snap only added to a miserable season for the Redskins.
23. Tennessee Titans (5-8) – It feels like it has been 5 years since the Titans have won a game.
24. Minnesota Vikings (5-8) – Didn’t show any heart in competing against the Giants on Monday Night Football.
25. Cleveland Browns (5-8) – Eric Mangini might need to win out to save his job.
26. Buffalo Bills (3-10) – Ryan Fitzpatrick has put together a very good year for the Bills under center.
27. Seattle Seahawks (6-7) – Yes, I am saying I think the Bills would beat the Seahawks right now.
28. Detroit Lions (3-10) – Nice to see them finally beat Green Bay.
29. Cincinnati Bengals (2-11) – Starting to become impossible to picture Carson Palmer under center for them in 2011.
30. Arizona Cardinals (4-9) – Larry Fitzgerald is still counting the seconds until this season is over.
31. Denver Broncos (3-10) – Why not give Tim Tebow a look?
32. Carolina Panthers (1-12) – Not really a positive thing you can say about this team right now.
Instead of sulking about the Jets disgusting offensive performance yesterday, which set the game of football back about 50 years, let’s look at some practical solutions on how they can manage a few touchdowns over the last three weeks of the season.
1. Glide To The Bench – It is painfully obvious how many steps LaDainian Tomlinson has lost throughout the course of the season. There were multiple times during the game yesterday, where there were holes that should have led to 8-10 yard runs and Tomlinson was getting 2-4 yards. The fact that he received 19 carries and Shonn Greene only got 8, is inexcusable. It is time to make Greene the starter and give him 20 carries a week. Tomlinson should be the team’s third down back and that is it. Beyond that, Joe McKnight needs to become part of this offense. He has received 1 non-garbage time touch all year, so he should be plenty fresh and he has a level of speed that none of the other Jets running backs possess.
2. Keep It Simple Stupid – Enough of the shotgun, 4-wide, shift to motion, when the Jets are going to throw the football. Unfortunately, it is time to cut the field in half again for Mark Sanchez to let him slowly build his confidence back up. The Jets need to increase their use of quick receiver screens, short stop routes, and stay with the slants so the ball can get into Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, and Dustin Keller’s hands in space.
3. Bag The Wildcat – When is the last time the Jets broke a big play when Brad Smith took a direct snap? Considering Brian Schottenheimer has decided to do nothing out of this formation except either having Smith hand off to Shonn Greene up the middle or run a quick option to the wide side of the field, it is time to put it on ice for a few weeks.
4. Better Shots – It feels like when the Jets want to take a shot down the field, all they can come up with is a go route down the sideline to Braylon Edwards or Santonio Holmes without play action involved. The double move to Holmes that he dropped was a step in the right direction but the offensive coaching staff must find more ways to get creative when looking down the field for a big play.
5. Get The Ball To Keller – Dustin Keller is too athletic and versatile to be such a small part of the Jets game plan. If you want to be an offensive coordinator in the NFL or a quarterback in the NFL, you should be able to find a way to get the ball to a player of his talent level more consistently.
6. Just Play Better – Not all of this is on Brian Schottenheimer. Mark Sanchez missed open receivers down the field and failed to execute a number of short passes and screens. Santonio Holmes dropped an easy touchdown pass on a double move. Jerricho Cotcherydropped a pass over the middle on the final drive that would have been a monster play. The pass blocking was inconsistent. Sanchez and Schottenheimer deserves the lion’s share of blame but everybody else on this offense needs to elevate their play.